No Brakes

British Go Journal No. 65. July 1985. Page 6.

Matthew Macfadyen

Black: Tim Hazelden, 2d
White: Jim Clare

The game-file in SGF format.

In many games of Go both players are more or less in control of what is going on. More often, one player takes charge while the other is dragged around the board. Just occasionally, both players lose control simultaneously, and the game itself takes over in a headlong downhill rush, while the players merely try to hang on.

The spectators in this game from the British Congress in Worcester were Tim Hazelden, who put the black stones down, and Jim Clare, who captured them.

Figure 1 (1-68)

  • Black 5: An amusing play, though it would make more sense to play 7' at A, then cut.
  • White 32 should probably play 34 - 40, but Black should certainly not answer with 33. He can push at 68 to save his stone, 31, in sente.
  • Black 45 connects up but in bad shape. The proper move is to connect at 67, then if white pushes and cuts, his cutting stones are short of liberties, so Black should be able to manage.
  • White 52, 54: The game is taking control.
  • Black 55: Probably better simply to play 61. White will still play 56, and then Black doesn't lose a move protecting at 59.
  • White 68: Very prudent.
Figure 2 (69-107)

  • Black 71: Should be played at 72. Of course white can cut, but his cutting group is short of liberties, so black B is possible.
  • Black 75: Too thin. White's cut with 76-80 is severe.
  • Black 99: Black has escaped, but white gets a large side.
  • Black 107: This would be a good time to play C.
Figure 3 (108-144)

  • White 110: Dangerous - his group on the side is not secure.
  • White 112: Overplay. This stone gets killed almost immediately as white has to play 118-122 to get eyes. Suddenly black gets a large corner and a playable position.
  • White 134: Very good. This play re-opens the attack on the black centre group while helping the white stones on the side.
  • Black 143 Must be at 144. Then if white secures the top corner the game is close.
  • White 144: Devastating - now white can steal eyes with D or E, so Black's 26 stone group is dead.

Black played on for a few more moves then resigned.

This game illustrates how weak groups drastically cramp your freedom of play. Both players make big gains by punishing indiscrete play near a weak group (75 and 112). And Black's final failure to strengthen a weak group is fatal.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 65
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

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