Monday, 28 December 2015

Don't Attack Until It's Time

A game I played about a year ago; I was black. White has just cut black. What should black do now?

This was my choice in the game. As usual, I couldn't resist the temptation to attack. White 6 & 8 are textbook approaches to sacrifice and get rhythm. As a result, black has to spend a move (15) to fix his own weakness. White 16 is a huge move. It's worth lots of points and keeps the pressure on black G-12 group, which now becomes weak. Black gets thickness in the centre. But because white bottom and right are both thick, that thickness is of limited value. Overall, black's whole attack initiative fails.

This is my reflection. The fact is overall white is thick, and it is premature for black to attack. The B-14 is not only a cash move. It settles down black G-14 group, and aims at follow-ups like A through D on white's left. Also the squared white cutting stone automatically becomes weaker, with a threat from black as if saying: 'I am alive with points, what about you?'.  In fact, the squared black stone is nicely positioned to prevent the squared white cutting stone from connecting.

The net result will be much better than the game. Compared to an hastily attack, it often pays off by simply drawing the archer and accumulate power, and shoot only when the target has come closer and expose its weakness.

Happy new year!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Another Go Party At Lao Ruan's Place

Last weekend some local Chinese Go players had another party at Lao Ruan's Quizno's store.
Lao Ruan kindly calls for a party like this a few times a year. For most people it's the main occasion to play face-to-face games with fellow Go friends.

Usually Lao Ruan is busy with his business in the store and can only play a game or two after the peak hours. This time he decided to give Li Jun a serious challenge. Somehow this became a group participation game. Both players constantly got comment and suggestions from people around the board. We not only wanted to help Lao Ruan out but also make the game entertaining. At move 189 the game seemed won by black. However that's the where the best part started, and the following fight was very nice. In the end white caught up a lot but black managed to maintain a lead of about 10 points on board. It's a game full of laughters and the funnest one in recent memory.

Thanks Jun for providing kifu. He also found out a way for white to live locally, at move 220.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

2015 Ottawa Cup

I participated in the 2015 Ottawa Go Tournament this weekend. It's great to see lots of Go friends as usual. The competition is fierce in group 1 with almost all top players from Ottawa and Montreal regions present. Congratulations to champion Manuel Velasco! He beat 3 strong players and won convincingly.  Considering he also won Montreal Winter Cup last year, his recent good run reminds me of Spanish national soccer team who won the World and European champions in a row.

Ottawa Cup 2015 Album

Even I lost 2 out of 3 games, I tried my best and was content with the quality of all 3 games. Here are some highlights.

This is my game #1. I was black. Game is still early but due to some mistakes black's central dragon is in serious trouble amid white's influences. Black 1 attachment and 3 counter-hane seem a good way to make eye shape. White has a bit of weakness too and it is not easy to find a safe way to kill black. In the game white let black live and won the game by good judgement and endgame plays.

Game #3. I was black against local Go friend and rival Jun Li. We have played lots of games since early 2000's. Jun is no doubt stronger but I always try to show good fighting spirit and resistance. Our recent games tend to be decided by my success or failure to kill his dragons.

I played san-ren-sei opening this time. I decided to give up territory and go all-in for attack and kill, since I am always behind in territory against Jun anyway. But when white 1 extends, I am puzzled and don't know how to continue the attack, and the game seems hard for black. San-ren-sei opening is hard and you often find yourself behind playing all the seemingly right local moves.

After spending about 10 of the total 60 minutes time allowance, I played black 2 invasion, which seemed to me like the only move. The idea is, it may be overplaying locally. However if black can use it as a sacrifice and create some sentes in surrounding areas, white's weak group on the right may die naturally.

As expected, a very complex global war erupted with the black invasion. This is what happened later:

Black paid a very high price on the left and died epically. In return, I did get some sentes in centre and what I wanted in the first place: capturing white's right. There are still lots of ajis with the white dragon and black really should have fixed them if in the lead. I had only about 10 minutes left and based on my count, the game is getting close and black has to play Q-17 big move to have any chance. That is the right judgement except I missed the atari at A and a couple other sente moves in the centre before playing Q-17. Eventually white managed to live the dragon by making good use of ajis in the bottom right area, and won the game.

It is quite an epic game! Black might have some ways to fight more severely after black 65 invasion. I have added some variations in the game record shown below.