UK Start New Season with a Win
In the first match of the new season of the Pandanet Go European Team Championship B-League the UK beat Belgium three games to one. There were wins for Daniel Hu, Alex Kent and Jamie Taylor, their game reports are below. This placed UK second behind Germany who beat Croatia four-nil and just ahead of Finland who beat Netherlands.
Jamie wrote: Against Gabriel Mercier I managed to isolate a nice chunk of stones fairly early on, but then messed up the capture a bit, giving away some nice influence in exchange unnecessarily. I thought I was only a bit ahead after that, but my opponent played some slow moves and let me neutralize the influence to get comfortably ahead. I lost the ability to read towards the end and let him capture some important stones but my opponent seemed to be having the same difficulty and I managed to hold on to the lead and win by resignation.
Interestingly, for all the clever and dodgy tactical moves we both made, the biggest swings according to katago were all just caused by someone playing one extra move locally when they could've tenukied. There's probably something I should learn from that.
Alex wrote: I won as black against Jan Ramon.
I've been enjoying Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock's AlphaGo Master reviews recently and I had a chance try one of Master's favourite openings: on a side where I could have played a mini-Chinese I approached the 4-4 point and then made a two-space high shimari in the corner.
After the opening we ended up with a position where I had a lot of central influence but my opponent had a lot of territory and the game seemed quite balanced.
I was then forced to cash-in a lot of my influence and gained a weak group on the side. My handling here was probably sub-optimal, and in stabilising that weak group I gave away a lot of territory.
Things were looking a bit difficult, but my opponent then played a dying corner invasion which gave me some extra points. The rest of the game was quite peaceful and I won by 11.5 points.
My opponent, Lucman Bounoider, took four corners but I was happy with my position. He then attacked my side positions but this resulted in his own corner territory shrinking while I started to build in the centre. I think I was ahead at this point. He attacked a large wall of mine which initially ran with reasonable shape. However he tempted me to cut through a knight's move. I should have cut with good shape but giving him the option to capture two stones in exchange for letting me connect and solidify my territory. Instead I cut in bad shape and missed his counter cut resulting in the loss of my wall. I resigned soon after.
Daniel wrote, shorter version:
In my game I took white against Lucas Neirynck, an opponent I've played many times with good results. We started with the super tricky flying dagger joseki, he played a trick move for which I knew the refutation but I regretted my decision to cut and not squeeze in the centre. Still I managed to gain a big wall on the lower side in sente. At move 39, two corners were still open and I took sente to take both corners, after he played another move to hane at the head of 3 stones. In the upper left joseki, I gained another big wall in sente, making a few points with my lower side wall, and I tried to attack his upper side star point. My opponent didn't really respect my attack enough, and repeatedly cut my stones off but it was difficult for him to fight against my big walls. After I cut his centre stones off, his upper right corner was in a shortage of liberties and his centre stones were vulnerable too. He took gote to live, but I had sente to reinforce my centre that now spanned from the left wall, lower wall to all the way from the upper middle to right middle. I was shocked that he proceeded to spend 3 moves killing my lower right corner and letting me seal off the centre. In the centre I played slightly over ambitiously and he ended up gaining a little bit of profit but it could have been more if he wasn't in overtime. I had to give up a little at the top, but I had sente to play the biggest endgame moves, and still had a nice squeeze at the top. I won by 50.5 points with all my groups (except one small one) connected in a giant centre territory.
Daniel wrote, longer version:
Well, in my game I was white, we played the crazy flying dagger joseki, but my opponent played a trick move and I knew the refutation, though I regretted my decision to cut on move 32 and 34 as though he had to crawl on the second line, I didn't get to squeeze him. Still my result seemed good, getting a big thick wall. I'm not sure my move 39 to tenuki to take one of the two remaining corners was good, letting him hane at the head of 3 stones, though I suppose his group was completely alive anyway. Next, black approached the 3-4 I'd just played, I pincered to use the wall and black dodged the immediate fight to take a big point that would make the fight better for him. I was slightly surprised by that, but after I reinforced, black lived locally immediately. I think his move at 57 to make that group completely alive was questionable, though he probably did owe a move as I could chase it out towards the wall I got in the opening and hence try to kill, but defending on the left seemed better for points. My move 60 was ambitious, trying to use my thickness that spanned from the upper left to the lower middle to attack a stone that was fairly far from it. I had also considered a central move such as J15 to directly expand my moyo. I fought strongly to attack when he try to poke at my weak points, cutting his stones off on the top side, and I think black's attempt to counter-attack and seal me in backfired, starting with move 63. In particular move 67 seemed too much and even 71 might be too much. After he left a vital cutting point while still trying to push into my area, I cut immediately with move 80, which seemed tricky but very powerful as I had almost no weaknesses. Move 84 was a standard tesuji, but I was shocked that he didn't try to resist, letting me force him into a dumpling shape, and his corner would still come into trouble later. Again he tried to cut and fight with his flimsy stones to attack my lack of liberties with my cutting stones, and I wondered if I could fight more strongly against it, but I think my decision to just jump and make shape with move 92 was correct. He played solid shape with 103, but it was too passive, not taking care of the centre stones. His move 105 to reinforce the upper right corner was inexplicable, letting me capture the cutting stones. Shortly he spent 3 moves in a row killing my lower right corner which was already weak when his lower side group was so strong. Of course he should have done something in the centre. I sealed off the centre in the most ambitious way. Even in overtime he managed to set up a ko with move 163 that I missed but by 170 it was unconditionally dead. With 173, he took his profit at the top, but I had roughly read the variations already and he couldn't kill my main group and had to take gote, letting me get the ridiculously big endgame 184. His profit also lost the aji of capturing two stones with M18. In the remaining endgame I think I played pretty accurately and gained a few points more, but he saw my threat with move 224, and I saw his threat with move 277. In the end, I won by 50.5 points!