Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Komoku of the Chinese Opening

While browsing the first chapter of The Chinese Opening, written by the late Kato Masao, I finally understood the proper use of the komoku (3-4) stone in the Low Chinese Opening.

Black actually wants White to approach this stone, and preferrably with a low keima. It's a trap. White can and, most likely, will live. Black, however, will make living a painful affair and will build both points and a huge moyo while chasing White.

Coincidentally, on the evening of that same day, I had a game on IGS where my opponent made exactly that approach and I applied Masao's guidance of immediately attaching to the approaching stone.

If you've ever used Hiroki Mori's interactive Go tutorial, then the interactive diagram with the full opening sequence will be visible to you below. It's the GoodShape Applet and one of his creations. The buttons will allow you to navigate through the moves. The board is also clickable in case you would like to experiment with some variations of your own.

(And, of course, if it doesn't work, please let me know about it and inform me which browser/OS combination you're using.)


At 12:41 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Marcel Grünauer said...

Attacking a weak group is always fun. You can force the opponent to travel through neutral space while you make thickness and territory quite naturally. Always finding the most severe points for attacking is another matter, though - and severity counts. It's no good if the weak group is let off too easily. And a good way to sharpen your eye for vital points is solving tesuji and tsumego.

In the Chinese Opening shown in the applet, I'd prefer to the high approach to the komoku line, i.e. on the 4th line, not the 3rd line as shown. That way White gets reasonable shape - not perfect, but then Black had a lot more stones there to begin with, so he's entitled to a better position locally.

I really like that book by Kato Masao, it's pretty thorough. Especially the section on the Magic Sword joseki comes in handy even without the Chinese Opening.

At 4:07 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello Marcel! It's good to now be able to read your blog in English.

Yes. As Masao points out, the high approach can give White more breathing room but Black still benefits.

And while the komoku of the Chinese Opening can be attacked before black plays his third stone, there is the pincer threat of The Magic Sword of Muramasa joseki. This joseki, however, seems to branch out to complex variations.

Masao dedicates a whole chapter (27 pages of dense text and diagrams) to this joseki. Even Ishida's Dictionary of Basic Joseki contains only 18 pages.

At 4:48 PM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous xed_over said...

Hello ChiyoDad,

some compatability feedback for you...

the GoodShape applet works well on the Mac using either Firefox or Safari browers.

the ZGo applet works using Safari, but not Firefox, on the Mac.

At 9:37 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Many thanks, xed_over! I think I'll be using GoodShape a little more often for interactive boards.


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