South Africa makes Go Moku for the UK!

Pandanet Go European Team Championship
13 January 2015

Our match against South Africa, probably our strongest opponents in League C, was a nerve tingler, coming down to the closest of all possible finishes.

We managed to put out our top three players for the occasion, Andrew Simons, Jon Diamond and Des Cann, with Paul Taylor (number 6 on our players list) playing on board 4.

Paul was struggling a bit in the opening, but captured a group slightly unexpectedly and was going happily along into yose with about a 15 point lead when he missed the implications of a throw-in and lost an 11 stone group though dame-zumari. Sigh...

Still, Des Cann (pictured right) soon made up for this, as he says: "I had quite a safe game. He made two low extensions from his hoshi, so I invaded in sente and then shoulder hit. Got a good lead and kept it."

This left the score tied, with Jon Diamond struggling on board 2. He played a territory-oriented opening and was quietly confident, with an invasion of Black's big moyo in prospect. The attachment against the corner was OK, but then he played a quick move which was far too heavy, allowing his group to be strongly attacked and it eventually died. However, the compensation was to reduce one of White's corners to nothing in sente. This meant he needed to do something special and managed to luckily cut off some of the stones surrounding his 'dead' group. (Perhaps time pressures helped here as there did seem to be a counter-threat to stop the cutting off?) This resulted in a large semeai which eventually was won by one move by Jon ... phew.

So, with the score 2-1 in our favour Andrew's game was the outstanding one and a large crowd was congregating to watch the finale. Andrew says: "I had been looking forward to playing Victor Chow 7d, since I heard South Africa was joining the PGETC, as he's a very strong amateur known for his fighting style and has beaten several pros. My plan was to play a thick, solid game and try to avoid severe attacks; fortunately I was black. He started with a 3-3 point and a tight one space extension when I approached, and then in a Kobayashi-esque opening jumped out rather than making a side group with the hanging connection (s7). So I peeped and attacked and he made shape in the centre whilst I got to develop on both sides. Just as I thought I could relax a bit and he wasn't going to fight, he made a severe approach that scared my right side group, so I attached and crosscut to make strength and give up the corner territory. I was rather relieved when he obediently answered my s14 cut tesuji (learnt from a pro game) and I didn't have to prove it in a fight (s15 leads to q18 and t18 tesuji) which I could misread and screw up and, although it was gote, got a nice solid shape with the p12 net.

Playing k6 continued my solid plan, helping defend the h3 weakness (unlike usual Kobayashi I can't dodge into lower left 3-3 so f3 is hard to sacrifice) and prepare an attack on the centre. He invaded anyway and lived (I carefully read I won semeai after the g5 cut by one liberty), but then he played a slow reverse sente move at l2 so I got to approach his corner.

My m8 was a pleasing attack on his centre group (following up from k6 power) and I was planning to continue at n10 (as he didn't take a liberty with bamboo answer), but had a change of heart and played h17. He immediately reinforced the centre and I was downcast at missing such a key power point, but in compensation got to attack at the top. Around move 119 I had counted and was surprised and pleased to see that I seemed to be quite a bit ahead even without the c7 invasion (which was a bit dangerous against a 7d with the e12 and g5 aji) so tried to solidify by hassling the middle group some more. j11 was a crucial mistake from white though (m11 better) and I cut off some centre stones. However p19 was probably a bad idea: I had missed s9 (7d tesuji finally arrived! in overtime by now I figured I couldn't answer at r9 as r10 was a huge ko) and he ended up living with points and taking mine: p19 at s12 would have made points and forced him to connect on dame at p19 and also lessen s9's severity.

After losing a bunch of points there, I then lost a load more in the centre with the e12 cut, he got b10 double sente, and then captured some more stones with a nice throw-in ko; the 7d endgame had arrived! He also found a nice sequence at o3, and then n8 was 0 points in gote due to my needing a defensive move inside later, whereas n15 was 2 points in gote. With that final mistake I thought I had managed to snatch defeat from the jaw of victory, but actually I had miscounted and had luckily hung on to a half point win!"

[The spectators were convinced that Andrew hadn't seen the final fill-in, since he took such a long time to think about it, but there were cheers when he played it and the final result came up.]

So, congratulations to the team, especially Andrew, on winning 3:1, making it five in a row (Go Moku is the name of a Japanese game of 5-in-a-row played on a Go board - the literal translation is 5 stones)!

We are still second in the league, since Bulgaria is the only other team in all the leagues with a clean record and haven't lost as many individual games as us. We meet in a crunch match on 24th February. Please support us!!!!

As usual the game records are available from our main PGETC page.

Last updated Wed Oct 11 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.