The Golden Rule

British Go Journal No. 66. November 1985. Page 20.

Black: Jim Bates, 4d, UK
White: Cheong, 5d, Singapore

The game-file in SGF format.

Jim Bates had about as good a result as could be expected in the World Amateur, finishing 12th with 4/7. His best win was the following game in round 2 against the Singaporean 5 dan.

Figure 1 (1-60)

  • White 22: He must play at 30. Black's kikashi at 25 is too good to allow.
  • White 28: An overplay, but black 29 is worse - black must come out with 34. Even if white gets to play at 29, he is not completely alive.
  • Black 43 should be played before 41. It is unreasonable to hope for answers to both these moves.
  • White 44: However it works - white absolutely must play 44' at A. In the game, black 43 becomes light, and white is under severe attack.
Figure 2 (61-100)

  • Black 61 seems natural, preparing to play 63 and make some territory on the side, but its main effect is to help white expand his corner, both by pulling out with 64 and by forcing with 80 and 82. 61' at B would be normal.
  • Black 65' should be at 67 first. This forces C, after which 65 gives white an empty triangle.
  • Black 77: Too slow - the black group becomes weak as well as over- concentrated. The ordinary move here would be D, but 92 might be even better.
  • Black 95: A ladder breaker, so that 97 does not die simply, but even so, 97 feels like a bit of an overplay. If 98' had simply extended downwards at E, black would have a lot of work to do.
Figure 3 (101-160)

  • White 108: Incomprehensible - white could have forced 109 with 110, and it is hard to imagine that he would then have continued at 108.
  • Black 111: Very sharp - there is no way for the four white stones to escape.
  • White 116: Strange - if this had been one point to the left, he could have connected along the edge.
  • Black 137: Now that the last weak group is connected to safety, black is clearly ahead. But a string of slack moves lets it get close. Black 137 does nothing except save black's stones. If Jim was really worried about the connection in this area, at least he could have played F, preparing an attack on the big white group at the top. Actually it was quite safe to take one of the big points at 138 and 149.
Figure 4 (161-219)

  • Black 153-159: It is hard to believe that Black is trying to win. The golden rule of yose is not to answer your opponent unless it is absolutely forced. If White had played 160' at 171 he would probably be a few points ahead.
  • Black 161: What happens if this is played one point to the left?
  • Black 169: Worth 10 points, which is more than most of the preceding 30 moves.

Black won by 8½.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 66
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.