A Game From The Leeds Congress

British Go Journal No. 14. June 1971. Page 9.

Black: Bob Hitchens, 1k
White: John Tilley, 1d
Komi: 5

The game-file in SGF format.

This game was played in the final round of the Leeds Congress, and contains many interesting and important points. Comment is by John Tilley.

Figure 1 (1-64)

  • Black 7: There is nothing to say about the fuseki up to this point, but this move is slightly unusual - most professionals would play at 11, white 12 etc. Black thought of playing here as it is a good pincer attack on white 6 and prepares to make a large area on the left if White chooses the wrong variation.
Diagram 1

Diagram 2

Dia 1. This is the normal joseki. In this case black's upper stones are in excellent relationship with his shimari in the lower corner.

Dia 2. White must therefore stop black from achieving this result by playing 12' at 1 in this diagram. But there is a ladder to consider.

Diagram 3

Diagram 4

Dia 3. If black can play as in this diagram and capture white by the ladder as shown, then this turn at 1 in Dia 2 is clearly unplayable for white. But in this game white 2 in the figure is a ladder-breaker. So ...

Dia 4. ... this joseki should materialise. Note black 4, a calm play to secure the corner. But in Fig 1.

  • Black 23: This move is contrary to the joseki of Dia 4, since he permits white the moves at 28 and 30 with sente.
  • White 32: I chose this move to simplify matters.
  • White 34: On looking back, this is a mistake. Black can immediately play A, white B and then C is difficult for white to answer. White C is better, but even then white's position is weak and black's stones 25 and 33 are dangerous.
  • White 38: I was happy to play here - it patches up my weak point.
  • Black 41: A nice choice of joseki - black 45 gives black an influential position, which helps reduce white's influence in the top left corner.
  • White 46: A big mistake. Look at the position: black cannot make a move on the left side if it were his turn, for the Go Proverb says "Don't approach thickness". Should black play at D, white can answer at E and this stone will easily escape, making black D rather weak. So black can only extend as far a E, which at present is not large enough. Therefore white need not play on the left side, and should follow the joseki in the bottom right corner by playing at F.
  • Black 47: Now white must live with 48 & 50 , giving black sente to play 51.
  • White 52: The vital point for this shimari.
  • Black 63: A good move. If black tries to run out with 35 and 61 he will be in trouble because white is so strong in this area. Remember the proverb: "Play lightly in an area of your opponent's thickness". This 63 increases black's moyo, and threatens to rescue 35 and 61, without committing himeself irrevocably. The stones still have a good chance of escape after white 64.

At this stage the game ceased to be instructive as the middle game confusion set in. Black eventually won by 1 point.

During the post game discussion Bob remarked that he became much stronger when he realsied that, unless he absolutely had to play a move, he shouldn't. Most low and middle kyu players tend to make the obvious move first and then think, giving themselves no chance of finding a tesuji. Bob's strategy in playing 63 is a good example - he waits for the right moment to rescue 61 and 35. Go is a long game, and partience is often required.

Bob Hitchens was promoted to shodan [1d] after the Congress.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 14
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.