Do you play boring Go?

British Go Journal No. 56. June 1982. Page 26.

Toby Manning

On occasion, most players find themselves in a position where their games seem very predictable. Perhaps because we always play the same people, or perhaps because we have all read the same books. We all have a tendency to learn joseki parrot fashion, and because most people's repertoire is limited the same joseki come up time after time. This article is an attempt to give you some new ideas of looking at moves - it is a sort of case study of how one can play interesting, and not necessarily bad moves.

The opening moves of this game (it was a friendly played at the club) are shown in Dia 1. Please play through it, and concentrate particularly on moves 10, 17, 18 and 20, None of them was what the other player expected, and the choices made altered the whole character of the game.

Diagram 1

Black 1, 3 and 5 make up the "Chinese fuseki". The idea is similar to that of San-ren-sei (three star points along a side); Black encourages a white invasion, which gives White a weak group so that Black can take profit by chasing it.

White plays one of the standard invasion points, I was expecting Dia 2, or something similar, a sequence which I have played fairly often (I was white). But, instead of playing as in Dia 2, Black played the diagonal move. He was expecting Dia l, which is better for him than Dia 2 because the white group is weaker.

Diagram 2

Diagram 3

BGJ had Dia 3 in the lower left corner.

I naturally refused to follow Dia 3, and the moves 10 to 15 in Dia 1 followed naturally (although one suspects that Black is being just a little too submissive). However when White played at 16 in Dia 1 he was expecting the continuation in Dia 4 and Black gave him a rude shock.

In refusing to submit by playing Dia 4 (and moves like Black 2 in that diagram appear in all the joseki books) Black wrested the initiative, and instead attacked the white wall which was significantly without shape. Black was prepared for Dia 5 but now it was White's turn to play something unexpected.

Diagram 5

BGJ had Dia 5 on the lower side.

White 18 in Dia 1 was an experimental move, designed to expand his framework on the lower side. To have submitted to the peep at 19 (Dia 1) by connecting would hove been very submissive, so White played at 20. Black cut, giving him a large corner, and White made shape with 22 (aiming at A later).

Please note that I am not necessarily saying that any of the moves are either particularly good or bad but more trying to stress the philosophy behind them. Don't always respond directly to your opponent's move (note that none of the moves discussed was actually ignored, more that it was answered in an indirect manner). Such play has a threefold advantage; it tends to put your opponent off, it makes you think about your moves, and I can assure you that it leads to much more interesting games.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 56
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

Last updated Thu May 04 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.