Schools Championship

British Go Journal No. 65. July 1985. Page 14.

Francis Roads

Black: S. Loft, 22k (Furze Platt D)
White: D. Banerjee, 24k (St. Dunstans B)

The game-file in SGF format.

Figure 1 (1-50)

30 at 23.
  • White 2, 4 and 6 show a disregard for classical opening theory (corners, side then centre is the usual order of play in the opening). Black might just as well play 7' in an empty corner.
  • White 14: White is still playing in the centre and ignoring for the time being the chance to make territory along the edge and in the corner. this being so, 14' might as well be at A, since it takes away a black liberty. This would also be the natural point for black 15', threatening to separate 14 from 10 and 12. White's strength in the centre might be useful in later fighting, but the trouble is that it faces two very strong black stones, 1 and 3.
  • Black 15: Not good, he must expect white to push in at 16.
  • Black 21: Another poor defense, leaving the fatal gap at 22. White connects at 23 with 30 and the sequence up to 32 is a disaster for black, all caused by his poor move at 15.
  • White 32: After this move Black must play again on the lower side (best would be B), since if white attacks at C black will have trouble living. He can come out at D, but then white can use 2 and 4 very effectively as part of his attack.
  • Black 33 to 37: This manouevre, known as the 'ni-dan bane' in Japanese (meaning 'two-step hane') is often skilful. But here Black has not thought out the consequences. 33 ends up on very poor point as it is jammed right up against very strong white stones.
  • Black 45: Not necessary. Perhaps Black is confusing the situation with the joseki shown in Dia 1. A better move would be an extension around F, since it strengthens the stones and makes territory.
  • White 46: Does not achieve very much. It threatens an attack at E - this won't kill Black's group but makes the territory in the corner, especially if white can bring himself to attack at C.
  • Black 47: The wrong place. B is still the most urgent point to strengthen his weak group. Up to 54 White's strategy is consistent with his policy of developing strength in the centre.
Diagram 1

Figure 2 (51-120)

78 at 73
BGJ omitted white 28 from Fig 2, and omitted 78 at 73 from text.
  • White 58: If white is to play here at all, the normal move is 73. But more urgent is 72, which prevents black from playing there - at the head of two stones. There is a well known proverb that advises you to play at the head of two stones whenever possible, it is such a good move. The reason is that it usually puts your opponent's stones into acute shortage of liberties. Another possible move for white, though more ambitious, is at 85. (Note that black 53 and 55 are not a two-stone group, since they are connected to 47 (triangle)).
  • Black 59: If he wants to play away from the top left corner, then B in Fig 1 is still more urgent than this move, which does however have the slight advantage of holding out hope of a rescue by playing G.
  • Black 69: An overplay. this move does not work, since white could have captured it in a ladder by playing at 71.
  • Black 73-85: Black achieves almost nothing with this sequence. 85 is a good move, however, and now White in turn plays some pointless moves with 86 and 88. he has to go back to 90 to avoid losing some stones. 91 and 92 are also unnecessary.
  • White 94-96: White captures a stone, but so what? he has bigger fish to fry. For example he could invade the top side with H, or attack the lower edge black group.
  • Black 97: Presumably this empty triangle move is meant to make eyes. Why he suddenly needs to make eyes now I don't know, but a jump down to 100 would make better shape and more territory.
    (Anybody who does't know what an empty triangle is should ask a stronger player at their club or read Francis' article "What is Good Shape" in British Go Journal No. 62. Ed)
  • White 100-120: A disaster for White. 100 is terrible because black can, and does, cut it off from the outside (always check you can keep your stones connected). White then makes the misake of playing good stones after bad, increasing his loss. He ends up with a big dead corner, and what's more, lets black connect up his lower edge group that ought to have been captured. The result is that black has four large corners, and white's strength in the centre is insufficient compensation.

Black eventually won by 29 points.

Advice to both players:

  1. Make sure you have a good reason for each move you make. This game is full of vague-looking moves.
  2. Don't play moves of small value when larger ones are available elsewhere.
  3. Watch out for weak groups. Protect your own and give your opponent's no mercy.

Advice to White

  1. Learn to spot and read out ladders (see move 70)
  2. If you open with moves in the centre, make sure you know how to use them properly. Takemiya, a Japanese 9-dan professional wins games with a strategy. But can you?
  3. Don't make a dead group bigger. Instead, try and find a way to make it into a useful sacrifice.


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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