7k vs 6k game - need some hints

I would really like some pointers on this game. I thought I was playing reasonably well, but obviously much more lax than I thought! I have made some comments on the game, but would appreciate a review.

Here’s a quick review. This was technically a correspondence game, so I felt that you should have had the opportunity to contemplate multiple choices over the whole board a bit more often.

You lost because of a poor positional game in the opening, which was lax in the sense that you delayed your compensatory attack too much, and let White develop rapidly on the left. Middlegame was mostly structured by sente issues with your choice of area for size becoming more important as things rolled into endgame. Nothing big got into too much danger and the groups solidified pretty rapidly overall, so while I wouldn’t say that Black lost by a landslide (for your level), White was still clearly ahead for pretty much the whole game.

Overall it felt to me that your valued sente less than your opponent, and inattention to the importance of this consideration structured a lot of your major mistakes. This was a relatively fast review and I haven’t tried very hard to model your Go-playing mind through your play, but sente felt like the strongest theme from what I saw. I appreciate that you took the time to review the game yourself and ask questions and if any arise while reading my review, please let us know.

Thanks Severance - the review is really excellent - and ideal in terms of the amount of info I can handle! Thanks for taking the time.

One question I have - I was under the impression the idea of the low chinese is to build a moyo - so that is why I played closer to my stones (and lost the game). Is this idea completely wrong? You say the low chinese is “money in the bank” - do you mean the stones on the right are able to fend for themselves more - and so needn’t fear approaches?

Also , your move of C6 at 9 was really nice, but not something I would generally play. I think I need to get more of an idea of when to play “inside” the opponents space rather than extend from my own stones. Is this direction of play?

The low chinese can grow laterally into double-winged kinds of things. From there it can grow upward but the low stone is always going to be low, so upward growth tends to take an extra move to raise that area up and prevent a pressing move, and with White alternating moves with Black, it isn’t usually possible to get all this progressive growth in. Part of why you don’t see games pitting huge moyos against each other so much in high level play is that this sort of massive growth gets broken up before the situation snowballs for the player who is ahead in growth (usually Black).

The money-in-the-bank idea is that Black’s formation, especially when choosing low chinese over high, is already in place to pincer invading stones on the side. With this in place, Black has a privileged claim over that side and can postpone the moves needed to really reinforce it until later on. Support on either side of the formation is nice because it increases the efficiency of the formation and eliminates reduction from the sides, but it’s not a hard and fast rule that you must continue building into a half-board framework with the low chinese. You can break the board up if White’s potential is better due to more influence oriented stones. The high chinese is susceptible to an inside invasion much more quickly because the linking stone is high and can be undercut. In that situation Black feels to me to be pretty much obligated to grow. Part of why I think the low chinese has stood the test of time in professional play is because it is more flexible in this way.

Trust me that some high dans will play the move that you played occasionally in that situation, though from what I’ve seen it’s pretty unpopular . While I think it is a bad choice in that it makes the game a bit more difficult for Black, it won’t lose the game immediately or anything like that except perhaps in extremely high-level play, and much of the problem that stemmed from the move was probably in the way you answered the shoulder hit.

The extension without approach is always a move worth considering if you fear the pincer, particularly if you have some potential for growth on that side. I just don’t think there’s too much reason to be worried about the pincer in that situation since the southeast exchanges already limit Black’s potential for growth, and Black has chosen a low formation that is more easily content to be as it is. If for example Black is pincered and White invades, White isn’t easy to develop in the north due to Black’s occupation of the northeast corner, and Black’s corner position provides concrete profit while reducing the growth potential of the west side, which was the other large area and nominally under White’s control. That kind of flow is fairly equitable.

I personally like C6 for move 9 better than any move in the north, but I wouldn’t get too mystical about a unique direction of play in that situation. The opening is still pretty flexible at that time, and you chose the north, which is one of the two natural areas. If you play the low chinese a lot as Black I’d probably mix it up between north and west and see if you can plan effectively in both situations, because both are playable and lead to different games.

1 Like

I realize you didn’t ask for a second opinion, but I think I can add something since your style seems a bit similar to mine. Speaking personally, I think move 9 was fine. It appears in 12 professional games, so I don’t think you can say it’s an inferior move to others. It’s only less common. It’s pretty similar to approaching the top (F17) because you can often trade F17 for white’s answer at any time after that.

But when white invades the corner, black has some hard choices. I think you answered the shoulder hit well, but honestly white has the momentum there doesn’t she? I’d consider interrupting white’s framework before that. One thing I notice is that white has three star points, meaning the framework potential is strong, stronger than yours. You can imagine white taking the final star for a double wing formation, and that’s so painful. This is why C6 is played professionally. It prevents the double wing. You can play it for move 9, or my suggestion is to leave the corner joseki unfinished (temporarily) and play it for move 21. If white clamps, you can just cover the stone and keep it low.

1 Like

Thanks Severence and Mark5000 - excellent and very helpful points. For some reason I am not getting email reminders so I missed the fact you had replied. Sorry if I appeared rude. I will take what you have said and go and think some more.

It seems that I have a bad time at judging when (or how) to disrupt the opponents framework. Is this just a matter of feel and experience, or is there something else I can do to improve this aspect?

Invasion timing is one of the trickier parts of Go, but this hasn’t stopped people from searching for hard rules and quick fixes. (see “Invade A Moyo One Move Before It Becomes Territory”)

I won’t tell you the rule is correct because I’m not sure I believe in it. (Rule-based judgments are a box of rocks if you ask me) The main reason I considered C6 is because I recognize the pattern. I’ve seen a lot of professional games with two star points, and C6 is almost always played next. It’s a similarity-based judgment. I realize your position is similar to a well-traveled library of similar positions where pros have sung the praises of C6.

Ok, so the fact that pros play it isn’t good enough for you. You have to have explanation like a good western Go player. Well, here’s a solution to your self-imposed predicament:

Positional judgment is a basic element of Go skill. You could write books about positional judgment theory (and Cho Chikun 9p did write a book), but in general you have to consider three elements: territory, thickness, and framework (moyo). First you have to estimate the definite territory. Then you estimate the value of the influence projected from strong outward-facing shapes (this is equivalent in value to territory). Finally you have to add some extra points for any moyo that is formed as a result of your influence. This will form the basis for positional judgment, and you should weigh any move choices against these values.

But what’s the point of this exercise anyway? An evaluation of the C6 move will show you why it’s good. Without it, white can play a fourth star point, and the moyo value of white’s position increases greatly. To remove the possibility for this increase in your opponent’s moyo value, you would interrupt it. (C10 also accomplishes this purpose, although white can enclose the lower side to increase the moyo value on a smaller scale)