9x9 moving past just controlling the center

I am good at identifying how to control middle of the board and in 9x9 games and making long lines to win the game. How do I move past this mentality? Once my opponent controls the center I don’t know how to split him up. For example the database says if… e5, h2 h5 b2. Now if white plays b5 how does white approach the game?


You should learn about invasions. Here’s some resources:


As its name suggests, an invasion is a play inside an enemy area. Invasion is possible when the enemy surrounds a larger area than he or she deserves. The amount of space is key. A large amount of space makes invasion easier, because living is easier. And a small amount of space makes invasion harder, because living is harder.

Here’s your example, except I moved some stones from the second line to the third line, which is more common:


Black made a straight line that surrounds a little too much space. White should invade in the middle at A or B. From A or B, White can extend either to c7 or g7—Black can’t prevent both. Black should see this coming and avoid a play at c5.


c5 is greedy. It grabs too much space. Instead, consider A or B. The bent jump of A takes a little less space and so makes invasion harder. White would not easily jump to c7 after an invasion, so Black can block the other one at around g7. White would not live easily. B is more conservative, the space is so small that White can hardly expect to invade at all. White then faces the difficult choice of invading anyway, or making the single group big enough to compensate for Black’s center control.


This is also true when the White stones are more spread out like in your example. Here, too, c5 is greedy. And A and B are a little better. But in this case, Black can also split the White stones at C. After this, both White stones will have to live on their own, which is hard for the g3 stone that has so little space in which to move around.