Competition Solutions

British Go Journal No. 64. March 1985. Page 28.

Richard Granville

The problems for these solutions are on page 25 of BGJ 63.
This month's problems are on page 8.
The answer to problem 2 may be found on page 26.

The original article used coordinates (such as K10) for most of this article. It has been altered to use marked up diagrams for the EBGJ.

Problem 3 - Marks

Marks for various black moves.

Diagram X8

This replaces BGJ's Dia 8.

Problem 3 - Commentary

Diagram X9

Panelists replies:

  • L - Jeff Ansell
  • L - Jim Bates
  • E - Andrew Daly
  • A,E - Matthew Macfadyen
  • L - John Rickard
  • M,G - Francis Roads
  • B - John Smith

Like problem 2, an early middle-game position which actually tempted some panelists to express an opinion on who is winning - though not with complete agreement!

Roads: "I prefer White's position here, perhaps because I am an inveterate san-ren-sei (three star points in a row) player."

Daly: "Another amateur game, as can be seen from White's poor combination of sequences on the lower side. The joseki (opening) in the lower right gives up a large corner in return for influence, which has however been nullified by Black's group in the lower centre.
The left side looks impressive, but will never be enough. Worst of all, it is Black's move."

Macfadyen endorses this view: "A terrible choice of joseki on the lower side, Black is clearly winning."

Bates also backs the 6 dan view, but Smith thinks the position about even, and that Black cannot afford to play safely.

But where to play?

Diagram X10 If white I.

Smith: "The urgent area appears to be the upper side, where there are four single stones. However Black must first check the consequences of a white attack on the lower side. White can start with I, as in Dia X10 after which an all-out attack suggests J. Black can break through this position without consolidating White's left side too much, though Black's group would still be subject to attack."

All the panelists make similar remarks - Black has to choose between strengthening his group at the bottom and playing at the top first.

Just how weak is Black's group?

Daly: "It is difficult for white to attack Black's group, because the cut at K (which doesn't work at the moment) will be a constant worry."

Nonetheless some of the panel prefer to defend anyway.

Rickard: "The black group at the bottom has no clear eyes and is surrounded by white influence; it seems urgent to reinforce it. However the moves running into the centre all either seem to leave weaknesses that let white force black into bad shape, or seem to be too slow."

"I therefore feel inclined to find some white weakness to use as a lever to settle myself. L aims at both K and O; the latter forces white to grovel on the edge while strengthening black in the centre... The single stones at the top are light, so should be able to look after themselves; the bottom is much more important."

Bates: "Black can afford to take the time to strengthen his central group. He should eschew violence such as N. Instead play a shape move like L, seeking to strengthen his group in sente and clarify White's weaknesses (yose-miru strategy), then play on the left side - either A or H."

Ansell: "As the cut at K does not work, best for black is to threaten the cut. L not only does this, but also threatens O or P. White does best to reply at Q, allowing black to cut at K."

To me the move L is aji-keshi (erasing your potential), since it removes the possibility of a black cut at K, and does not do much to strengthen Black's group - the white combination of M and J destroy its shape.

Diagram 9 Black O.

Roads wants to play M at the bottom, for similar reasons, but the best move is surely that found by Macfadyen:
"If Black decides to play at the bottom he should play as in Dia 9. White is deprived of all his territory and black 7 in sente is nice. However Black actually ends in gote, so this is no good as yet. The most likely result at the bottom is that White will exchange M for J, which is bad for him, but patches things up in sente."

As far as the top of the board is concerned, various approaches were suggested.

Roads: "The white stone upper right is a kikashi (forcing) stone and not worth attacking unless on a large scale. So how about E, doing just that. However, bearing in mind White's possible kikashi at I, G is perhaps a better point to start with at the top. If White protects the top left corner, Black can attack both White stones on a large scale, and there is still the invasion at H to try."

Diagram 10 Black A.

Macfadyen: "Black has many ways to play at the top. The most straightforward line is to invadethe corner as in Dia 10. Black gets the left corner and White seems obliged to try for a big side with 10 and 12. However the side is full of holes, and Black has plenty of time to play 13, almost completing his own side and waiting to decide whether to reduce or invade the top."

"Black can also play E and fight it out at the top, but Black should simplify the game rather than start a fight, as he is so clearly ahead."

Daly: " Black O is possible, but E is simple and best. White must concede either F or D to Black and is clearly lost."

In my view, any of the moves A, B and E are reasonable. When the position arose in one of my games I actually played C (to which I have given a sentimental consolation award) in order to solidify my corner and strengthen my triangle stone. White was then able to take the initiative in the top left, but my position remained very playable.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 64
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

Last updated Thu May 04 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.