Sunday, October 02, 2005

Give Me Sente Or Give Me Death!

Any beginner kyu knows the feeling of being led around the goban like a dog on a leash. The advantage of going first as Black can be lost within only a few moves while playing a higher kyu. Not only does this make it hard to win a game, it also makes for a less enjoyable game. The question is: How do you take back the initiative? The first answer would be to wait until your opponent plays a move you don't have to respond to. That usually doesn't happen. For me, as a beginner, I decided to make a small sacrifice and ignore my opponents good move and attempt to gain sente elsewhere on the board. This helped me very much in my 5 handicap game against
JohnBrian (25k) [5 stones making it an even game]. Rather than respond to many of his moves, I chose instead to build moyo and ignore any move that I could. If I had to respond, I made every attempt to make it a dual-purpose move. By the middle game I had a large moyo and knew an attack inside my territory was imminent. At move 123, White jumped inside my upper left group at the 3-3 point. I have not spent much time with Life and Death problems, and had no desire no lose the game over a lost corner. Instead I played only to contain him. Thinking me a coward, he jumped inside my upper right corner. That changed my mind. I fed him a stone, causing White to become heavy, and after a short exchange, killed his attacking group, and a few moves later, killed off the straglers that tried to crawl further down. I am certain that I owe this victory to taking off the leash and playing my game, and not responding to my opponents' moves. [I hope very much that JohnBrian doesn't speak English because he did not respond to my greeting or thanks at the end of the game. Go has a long heritage of tradition and respect, and the greeting is very important. --I don't know many people named John Brian who don't speak English, but we will give him the benefit of the doubt-- For further reading on the greeting, please stop by and read Chiyodad's blog entry about Greetings. Very well done.


At 6:28 PM, Blogger GreatnessBlog said...

The first answer would be to wait until your opponent plays a move you don't have to respond to.

That's the right idea, but it's imprecise. The real answer is that you can take sente by playing a bigger move than your opponent's. If he invades and threatens to take 20 points, you can gain sente by threatening 30 somewhere else. Always look for the biggest move on the board, regardless of where your opponent played last.

Also, you did well by deciding to just contain your opponent when he played at the 3-3 spot. In fact, you can't really kill there unless he lets you, so the idea is to build up outside influence in the direction most advantageous to you by containment.

(I'm 15 kyu on kiseido.)

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Shugyosha said...

I actually meant to say something to that effect (only by repeating what I have read), but you have done a much better job. thanks for the clarification.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous wolvie said...

I've played JohnBrian a couple times on KGS, and he does indeed speak English. I know this, for when I greeted the game with "Onegaishimasu", I was greeted with "You are going to finish this game, aren't you?"


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