Shape

British Go Journal No. 55. March 1982. Page 8.

Most games contain several positions in which it is necessary to run out into the centre with an eyeless group, and the choice of exactly how to run out is often very difficult. This article is devoted to one of the lesser known ways of running in good style.

 Diagram 1 Diagram 2

Let us suppose that you wish to run away with the two white stones in Dia 1, and that the general direction of A, B and C seems appropriate. Whichever of these points you choose it will probably be necessary to add a second stone quite soon. Dia 2 shows the pedestrian approach. " Ikken Tobi is never a bad move" the proverb says. Never bad perhaps, but often not best. Black is likely to play 2 immediately, forcing 3 and now White would prefer to have his stone 1 at A.

The point is that, given that you are going to have to play two of the points A, B, C in Dia 1, it is better to play A and C than any other pair.

 Diagram 3 Diagram 4

One possibility is to play 1 in Dia 3, and indeed this is often the best move. Black can push through and cut with 2 and 4 but White gets good shape with 5 and 7. In many cases Dia 3 will be good for White and so Black will not play 2 and 4 there. Dia 4 is an example where this is not true.

Black would be delighted to see the sequence of Dia 3 in Dia 4 - the white cutting stones are hardly worth saving if Blacks centre group is to be given eyes immediately. White 1 in Dia 4 shows the other possibility. This stone can, of course, be cut off - but the sequence A, B, C, D is useless for Black, White will kill his group on the side.

 Diagram 5 Diagram 6

The vital point of White's shape here is 1 in Dia 5. If Black occupies that point, which is often a good idea, it is essential for White to answer it at 2. These two points become miai.

Dia 6 shows Blacks other choice. After exchanging 1 for 2 there are weaknesses in the white shape, but often the best black can do is to make white heavier by forcing 4 with 3. Now this result is just Dia 2 with the addition of black 3 and white In most cases @ will be slightly more valuable than 3 and this difference is the measure of Whites gain.

To recap then: White A, B and C in Dia 1 are all possible. A is only good when Dia 3 is bad for Black: B is safe but a bit slow, it is only best if the exchange of 3 for in Dia 6 is good for Black: C is fast, light and dynamic but it does leave weaknesses. You have to check that the cut A, B, C, D in Dia 4 doesnt work, and you have to remember that 1 and 2 in Dia 5 are miai, Black must not be allowed to play both of them.