Does this style of play have a name?

I have seen this a lot in amateur dan level games. Both opponents get engaged in mega capturing races. There is not much focus on territory. As soon as you are sure a group is alive, you use it as a lever for invading the opponent. Seems to me that if none of the groups involved in the race gets captured, there will be very little territory left at the end. I have linked an example below. Is there a name for it? Like a particular doctorine that is advocated by a school of go?

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I’m just a lowly 20k, but when I look at pro games they scare the heck out of me. At any point when you start looking at the connections, you realize some groups will have to die. I think it’s just high level play.

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A popular go teacher in the US, Yilun Yang (7P), distinguishes between three main styles: territorial, moyo, and fighting. Perhaps fighting style would be the best characterization for what you mean.

However, I don’t think the players are using a fighting style in this game. They mainly chose joseki in the beginning that go after territory and influence and not joseki that start complicated fights. Other joseki lead to complicated fighting by creating many weak groups, which does not happen in the game.

I’ve added some comments to the first 50 moves (https://online-go.com/review/146568) to try to explain some of what was likely going through the players’ heads in this game. Of course I am only 7-10K, so I can’t say I completely understand all of their choices.

I think there are a few characteristics of very strong players that may give weaker players the incorrect impression that the strong players do not care about territory. Strong players are always trying to be efficient, getting as much utility as they can from each stone they play. They are not content to make small amounts of territory. For example, building a large wall that doesn’t give immediate territory while letting your opponent take small territory is efficient in the sense that you are gaining a larger potential for making points in the future, either by surrounding a large area or using the strength of your wall to help attack your opponent.

In the opening, once your group is alive, there is often (perhaps usually) a bigger move elsewhere than continuing to make territory by extending from your group. An exception is if your opponent is threatening to seal you in; then, an extension that prevents this is often best.

If your opponent starts to develop a large moyo, invading may be more important than building territory. But, it is not correct to think of this as ignoring territory. In go, reducing your opponent’s territory is equivalent to gaining territory yourself. If your opponent has the potential to build more territory by sealing in a large area than you could by trying to build territory yourself, it is time for you to invade. This happens, for example, when white invades at move W34 in the game.

Strong players only like to answer their opponent’s previous move if there is no other more important move on the board. Often, a player choose not to respond and lose territory locally in order to take sente and play a big move elsewhere. For example, in the game, there is a point where white decides saving his corner is not as important as playing elsewhere. But, this decision is actually about maximizing territory even though white lets his corner die (white decides to save this group later on in the endgame when there is no bigger move available).

Hope that was helpful!

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