Long Time No See! Steve.

Because I am a resourceful person, I’m digging up some old games that I deem instructive for the average reader of Viktor’s blog.


Well, the real reason is because I did not have any spectacular games or results at my recent tournaments:S I also stopped making the early invasion at 3-3 because some AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo games were released and I’m sure my opponents now know it better than me. (I was advised against watching them so I have – almost – no idea about the latest research.)

This game is from EGC 2013. You can (probably) see from the direction of the first move that I was playing White. At that time I was transitioning from 5 dan to 6 dan and acquiring new abilities.
I am introducing one of them here. It is sort of an inner eye for fuzzy planning, that is supposed to happen before imagining actual moves. (By now it has become an automatic process for me so I barely notice it anymore.)

I have not yet found a cool name to describe this ability, so for now I am going to call it Steve.

In this very game, the players (I in particular) have already made a few severe mistakes within the first 38 moves by not having adequate control over Steve.

Anyway, in the first joseki, after Black’s nobi 13, one area on the board has become a desert region. This is marked red in the diagramme. Both players should do their best to avoid this area.

White is never going to build points there, so Black as well has no reason to play there (and to prevent White from playing there).

(By the way, nowadays I wouldn’t play 12 anymore, but one line further to the south.)
That is why White (I) put the next stone as far away from that area as reason allows.

Steve is telling us that the green area is the one to develop. It is also connected to the yellow centre area, a sort of bonus.

I believe 14 to be one of the best moves on this board.
Black invaded at 15, which I’m not sure is good. (It turned out good though.)

White pressed happily with 16 and 18.
But of course Black wasn’t stupid enough to jump at 1 in gote.
I was hoping to get to play 2 to develop the greenest part of the board.
On the contrary, Black was smart and pushed twice more and got to split at 23.
This stone makes a green blop in the area White could have built and destroys all White’s hope to expand the right side bigly.
If I had been better at Steve back then, I would definitely have played around 1. What a huge move… (especially in comparison with that tiny red spot.)

But isn’t the hane on the head of 3 stones kinda severe?
Another part of Steve is to imagine a fuzzy development of a sequence. Often you can just make lines where you think the stones would be placed around. (I sometimes do this in my videos.)

In this case, Black’s hane would result in stones on the black line, and by responding to those moves, White gets stones on the White line.

Even without seeing the actual stones, it is obvious that White would be happy about this development:S
To put an actual sequence, Black plays the standard double-hane in this diagramme. White responds with the simplest and most straightforward moves. (They make a straight line.)

Black would actually end in gote, meanwhile achieving close to nothing…

(White 13 is just an example to emphasise how useless it would be for Black to put his stones on this line.)
Alas, I had been tempted by shape to nobi at 22. By comparing with the previous diagramme, it is obvious even without marking the colours that this is a severe mistake that shows a lack of understanding of Go. White does not even feel like turning at A next.

Such a ridiculous move…
A few painful moves later, this position occurred.

Regardless of how these shapes came to be, where should White play next?
Now, we should identify the Black group as strong and impeccable.
Just as the nobi 13 turned the upper side completely uninteresting, playing close to strong groups is likewise a big no-no, symbolised by the red blop in the diagramme.
White should dodge nimbly at 1. The moves at 2 and 3 are miai, so White can make an easy base.
In the game, White was an idiot and followed the normal shape again.
This is very different to the position shown here where Black’s group is weak.

In this case, descending at 1 would be imperative and Black would handle the group with 2 and 4. (A sort of joseki.)
In the game, of course Black would not follow joseki. His group needs no handling.
37 is an attempt to stay further away from the marked group, but it is not the best move, showing a lack of Steve.

White is relieved to be able to slide under the stone and, you know, not die.

What instead of 37?
How Black could have made White cry: stay farther away from the strong group and pincer lower!

This would have been so very painful for White…
We can imagine that White would need to escape on the white line, adjacent to the red blop where nobody wants to play, and Black’s stones on the black line would conveniently build the next green area.

This game was sort of important as the winner would basically enter the quarter-final of the European Championship. (Or was it the play-offs for the quarter-final? The system was different back then, the best 8 European players were isolated from the EGC main tournament for the last three rounds.)

I eventually lost this game and it was a big lesson to learn Steve better.

One thought on “Long Time No See! Steve.

  1. Pingback: Win a game and lose the review | Viktor Lin

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