Review of game I won (18k 19x19)

I played a game earlier today that I won. I also felt like I held the lead for a fairly long time, but mainly due to poor moves on my opponent’s part. It would be great if anyone stronger could review the game, and perhaps give me some points on good responses to the odd style of opening I was faced with. Or reassure me that how I played was fine when dealing with someone roughly my strength… Or recommendations on how best to utilize the oddly slow moves that cropped up.

My own review - I placed a few comments and sequences into the game where I felt I made decisions based on my confidence in my opponent not responding correctly. Overall, I don’t think I played poorly, but I don’t want to fall into any bad habits at this point. I’m also aware that I sacrificed a few stones while probing my enemy’s weaknesses - at that stage in the game I just wasn’t sure if my opponent would see it or respond, based off the game so far. If it had been anyone else, I may not have bothered.

Thanks in advance!

Let me just comment the opening.

D17 is bad, but not responding to E17 is even worse. Black can cut at C16 and both white stones are in trouble.

Black C18 is a good move, but D14 would be even better. White should have played D14, read about it here:

B15 is a wasted stone, and here again white should have played D14.

Same issue with E10. The shape is too weak and black can cut right away.

I posted some variations.

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Thanks for the feedback! I actually took a fairly long time to think about connecting at C16 (I was white), but wasn’t sure if it was the right response or not. Would you have recommended a connection there, or some other move?

Also, what would your recommended opening have looked like then? It would be great to see a variation where I could have avoided the whole black wall (assuming that’s possible).

I actually posted a variation that I think covers your comments and looks better for white - do you think that’s a reasonable expectation? Or would/should black play differently?

Correct, C16 is the solid choice. I don’t have a continuation to show, let’s just say that white is strong AND takes the corner points.

I understand your concern about the black wall, but black has to get something. If white gets 4th or 5th line territory in exchange, there’s nothing to worry about.


Thanks for the clarification! I wasn’t sure during the game that 4th or 5th line territory would be enough to offset the benefits of that black wall (especially when it looked like it could surround your group), which is why I played differently. Hopefully if I’m in the same situation again, I’ll be able to choose the right moves!

Here’s a review:

For the opening, C18 was the critical move that you missed. It shows up a lot in similar positions around the side. The cut doesn’t work after that, as long as you’re careful. Connecting is fine, if you don’t want to be careful, but I’d just descend.

In terms of black getting the wall in the opening, if you hane on the inside, you give black a wall in exchange for the corner. Hane on the outside to give black the corner in exchange for outside influence. Both are fine results for both players.

Sorry @ckersch88, allow me to insist that C16 is the right move (“honte”). And I sincerely doubt that you’ll ever see a “similar position” in any game against strong players.

To get a proper evaluation, I just ran LZ on that position:

Also note that at move 30, D10 is the only move.

I didn’t check the rest of the review.

@ckersch88 - Thank you for the review! I especially appreciated the input on the moves I played that were smaller (though I do agree with @SanDiego about D10 and C16). If I ignore the atari at D10 I feel like there is too much aji left in my white shape, especially with some of the weaknesses already present. As for C16 - I just like how much more solid it is, and removes any possible aji. C18 leaves open a clamp, and black looks like it could trade a stone through the cut to make white overconcentrate. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what my kyu eyes see! The rest of the review does touch on pretty much every move I played in the game where I felt like I was getting away with bad/slow moves. The information on the invasion was useful too!

I do have one question (to either of you) - I see the large knight a lot for making bases in higher level play. Is there a particular reason for this? I know of the “two space extension to make a base” rule of thumb, and don’t know exactly why/when you would want to use a large knight instead. Is it simply a chance to gain more space/territory if there isn’t much pressure on your stones?

3d line=Territory looking for the edge (easer to erase)
4th line= influence Looking toward the center (easer to invade)

When you have multiple stones on a side, it may be valuable to alternate 3d and 4th to maintain some balance.

Thanks for the clarification!

Here’s a pro game where the descent is played:

It’s the most common response in pro games, searching on ps.waltheri, followed by the connection. It’s also the first variation on josekipedia, though there’s plenty of suspect variations, there. Regular, non-zero leela thinks it’s fine. The connection’s fine too, of course, and is the second most common move in the position. The connection shows up in side positions a lot more in pro games (compared to the descent), but pros almost always extend on the third line when they’re extending towards their own stones, so undercutting doesn’t really matter. Every pro game where the descent is played in a side position is where the black stones extend towards white strength, and descending leaves the black stones weak.

That being said, not playing honte is probably my biggest weakness, right now. D10 at 30 is a good example of this, and looking at it again, it does seem like a move that white shouldn’t ignore.

@lswest: The large knight makes a bigger base, but leaves a lot more aji. Computers like it, so it’s been getting a lot of attention at pro levels, lately. Even before computer analysts got strong, it was popular for amateurs because it’s a bit bigger than the small knight.

I just had a look at the pro game - the biggest difference I see in your example is that black already has some stones near the corner. Maybe that plays a factor?

As for the large knight’s move - thanks for the information! It does seem to be getting very popular lately - I’ve had a few opponents play it all the way down to 20 kyu.

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@ckersch88 your example is far from a “similar situation”.

When the player already has an extension on either side, then a more aggressive play is expected to deny the invader a base and build the side (not the corner). It’s about direction, not just the corner shape. In the OP’s game, the contact is played very early, at move 5, without the presence of any extension stone.

I checked josekipedia and it says the same as me. The descent is considered a good move, but only a third choice, while the ideal moves are the same LZ showed in my diagram above.

Good point. Expanding the position search, it seems like pros are happy to play the descent if there’s an extension on either side, but not in a totally open board. Leela still thinks it’s fine, so it’s probably playable, but connecting seems like the more principled option.