Revelations

British Go Journal No. 55. March 1982. Page 22.

Charles Matthews

The diagrams as uncommented files: Dia 1 in SGF format; Dia 2 in SGF format; Dia 3 in SGF format.

This piece of enlightenment crept up on me a couple of years ago, when my 3 Dan diploma was still wet behind the ears. I’d been told by a strong player that my game was good locally, but that I lacked overall vision. Trying to figure out what I was missing, I came up with a slogan about balance. We all know that we are supposed to maintain balance between the third and fourth lines during the opening (even if some prefer to balance between the fifth and tenth!) My newly discovered Go proverb was "balance between corner and side is as important as balance between high and low". A bit verbose, but I am sure the Chinese could boil it down to four characters.

My illustration of this is a handicap game, since the point is even more crucial there. The two stone game opening in Dia 1 was played in a recent match - my opponent was 1 kyu. Dia 2 shows how I might have played before my revelation. Dia 3 shows how the game could have developed along very orthodox lines, and was the sort of thing I had in mind when I played 6, the critical move. I give some detailed comments below, but the point should be clear. In Dia 2 White controls two corners, but only got to the sides with 14; an invasion of the top right seems both necessary and unappetising. In Dia 3 White controls one corner but two sides, as does Black, so that if White manages to gain in the fighting in the top left he is in with a good chance. It would be too much to say that White has pulled back some of the handicap in Dia. 3, but in practice this style of rapid development on the side offers more hope than slower profit-taking in the corners. The game is better for White than Dia 2.

Diagram 1


















  • 6: This is one of the better known tenuki josekis. Black chooses between 7, A, and B. White plays this way to get established on the top side.
  • 8: In an even game Black would now invade between 6 and 8 and a hard fight would ensue... but in an even game White wouldn’t be making this sort of slight overplay, but would rather play 8 one or two points to the left.
  • 9: This is bad, as it strengthens White.
  • 18: Joseki is one point to the left this is played to balance with the stone in the corner. Again a slight overplay, but if Black ever pushes above 14 it will be in a better position.
  • 19: This must be further up the side, on the star point or one point to the left; balance between corner and side again!
  • 22: The notorious hazamatobi (see BGJ 51 page 16). Basic Techniques recommends black at 28 in reply in a comparable position.
  • 25: The toughest reply is 26, White at 25, Black at 28.
  • 31: This end result is good for White
  • 32: The right way to revive 4.

White’s upper formation eventually turned into a large central territory which won him the game.

Diagram 2


















  • 12: This is an urgent point - Black here would press White very low. White could play at A, but the chosen play gives White a pressing move of his own at B.
Diagram 3


















  • 12: White’s shape on the upper side is ideal.
  • 13: This is the proper way to finish the joseki. Black might feel like playing a kakari at A, but if White managed to play at B, Black’s corner would be cramped and he would probably have to defend at C.
  • 21: This is a joseki continuation, leaving White with the tricky decision of how to play on the left side.

[Start] In the real game my opponent played 33 at [Dia 1]A rather than [Dia 1]B, and ended up with an inferior result.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 55
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.



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