Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Notes from stronger players: GW

A belated Merry Christmas to you all! It's been busy in the Chiyo-household and at work, and I'm still trying to clean-up and finish a few more posts to this blog. There's never enough time, is there?

The following diagram comes from a match where I was playing White. Although White won, the game replayed itself in my mind for most of the evening after it was over.

Focus on the left side.

Black makes a three-point jump on the same line in his 15th move to C6.

A three-point jump on the same line; something that is often not advised when the opponent has back-up stones or a strong formation nearby. It has the inherent weakness of being split in the center. Under these circumstances, a two-point jump is stable and almost worry-free; resonating a degree of strength that could be used for an attack.

The big debate for me was whether to play right in the middle of that jump with W-C8 or not.

My 8-kyu mind had to weigh these considerations:
  • White's D16 string is stable. (Group A)
  • Black's C14 string is stable and strong; particulary with "iron pillar" of B17 and B16 which are next to C18. I didn't finish the joseki to take sente elsewhere. (Group B)
  • White's C12 string (Group C) is reaching out into the center after having gotten pincered with B-C10. It is still somewhat weak. It could escape, but it's still pressed against Black's strong Group B.
  • White has a stone on D4 in a keima relationship to the Black stone on C6. This White stone could be used as back-up in an attack.
I felt that W-C8, right in the middle of the 3-point jump would weaken both the C10 and C6 stones (splitting them into two weak groups).

But Black would probably respond by jumping-out with E10 which would further weaken White's Group C. I was very wary of having to fight two battles.

So, ... of course, I jumped right in.

White won, but ...

GW (4D): "Idea usually right. Not technique"
GW (4D) reviewed my game the following day and explained that the strategy was correct.

W-C8 pits 3 white stones against 1 Black stone and there's good back-up with White's D4 stone. White's Group C can easily run out into the center. The burden of the fight would rest on Black's shoulders; being forced to manage the survival of two group. GW demonstrated that it would have been difficult for Black to manage both. Either one of these would die or White would gain considerable profit.

However, in this game, White won because Black's mistakes compensated for White's own mistakes.

GW told me, "Idea usually right. Not technique." His remark summarizes where my development is still lacking.

Still seeing "ghosts"
As GW took me through the review, it became obvious that I was still making small or defensive moves because I didn't fully understand the inherent strengths and weaknesses of shapes and connections. As yoyoma (1k) had once joked to me, I was "seeing ghosts".

That's rather typical and, as a KGS 8k, I see other beginners playing to defend against the same ghosts that I saw when I was a 30k-20k.

Clue to my deficiencies: I'm still scoring about 70% on Bruce's tests?

Bruce Wilcox has a very nice software called Contact Fights. I very much like it because:
  • It provides a progressive program of training. You start with basic rules and move onwards to more complicated ones.
  • It thoroughly explains the concepts behind its guidelines for managing a contact fight.
  • It has tests to gauge how well you've internalized these concepts.
Now, this is rather embarassing, but I have to admit that I'm still erring on the elementary concepts (20k-ish) by about 15% of the time and the intermediate concepts ('teen k-ish) 30% of the time.

I interpret that as a statement that I'm still giving away roughly 1 out of 3 moves that someone about five stones my junior in rank would not!

Now, that's not necessarily a harsh assessment. As Bruce demonstrates in his demo games, even SDKs and lower-level dan-level players err (and err often) in contact fights.

But still, I'd like to reach a point where I know these guidelines by heart and only deviate from them knowingly.

Fuseki Quiz 19/20

Black to play. Miyamoto says that a professional would see
the solution at a glance.

Scoring the last Fuseki Quiz 18/20
(Jump to the last quiz!)
  • A = 8
  • B = 4
  • C = 2
  • D = 6
  • E = 10, White has two weak groups of stones: the five on the left and the one stone on the lower right. It is imperative that she defends one of them. It is a bad strategy to have two groups in danger. If Black plays R10, White will have a difficult time in this game.


At 10:04 AM, December 28, 2006, Anonymous ScatCat said...

My gut reaction is "d". things seem hard on b's 2 southern groups if w gets the point first.

I know what you mean about seeing ghosts. I frequently make unnecessary moves to forstall possibilites that are shown in review to be unreasonable at best. :)

At 10:13 PM, December 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So where are these ghosts everyone's talking about?



At 3:14 AM, December 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also go with d, even though there are other huge moves on the board.


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