New opening theory

Today I’m giving you a taste of the newest fuseki research that Japanese professionals have done! This fuseki pattern has been carefully developed and tested out by several professionals in secret, to be used to utmost efficiency in tournament games against China and Korea.

Black 1, a stone at the 7-5 point, is a relatively new move. Given that white will likely not want to jump directly into black’s plans by approaching the upper right corner, white 2 in the lower left corner is the most predictable white move. Black then occupies a second 7-5 point with black 3, and finally makes a corner enclosure in the upper right corner with black 5. This is a very fast-paced way of playing for black, emphasizing the centre of the board, and aiming to create a huge framework one way or another.

If black gets the chance, he’ll like to play the move of black 7 in the upper right corner. That creates pretty much a perfect balance in this area; it’s almost impossible for white to live in the corner, so black can expect some profit as well as influence this way.

White’s attempts to counter black’s opening are still being researched. Taking the 3-4 point in the upper left corner with white 6 is a plausible-looking idea, after which black will pressure white with black 7.  White 8 and black 9 are a natural continuation. White 10 prevents the black corner approach from the right side, which would create an enormous black moyō. Black 11, then, prevents a white sanren-sei on the lower side while increasing black’s presence in the centre. The game is probably still even, but black can be optimistic about the future.

In insei games, we have tried out something like black 1-3-5 here. Black’s triangular formation is certainly interesting, but seems to lack the elegance of black 1-3-5 in the very first diagram. This way of playing isn’t recommendable.

One way for white to continue is to approach the upper left corner with white 6. Black may answer with the keima of 7, which leads to a familiar-looking joseki sequence up to black 21. White 22 is again to prevent a black approach stone on the left side, after which this time black will switch to the right side with moves like black 23 and 25. This black moyō is still wide open, while white has already made some good profit.

Now then, who feels like testing this black opening out in their games?

14 thoughts on “New opening theory”

  1. Im sorry Antti but this opening is already being studied intensively in Korea. I guess some Japanese player tried it out on tygem and it gained popularity. It’s really a magnificent and elegant way of playing and countering the too big komi .

  2. Still not sure, if this was an April’s Fool joke…
    But I’ve played two games with this fuseki. One loss, one win. Both game were pretty messy, but funny :)
    With one opponent I had a short discussion about this one(on 2,3k level on KGS). He said, he would like to play W7 at K17 or G17.
    What do you think about this?
    I think, I will stick for a while with this fuseki, it’s very variable and fun 😉

    Another about your time in japan; are you (a bit) disappointed, you did not reach A or B class, yet?

    Keep up with your blog!


    1. There are certainly many reasonable white moves next; I don’t see why white k17 or g17 next wouldn’t work. If it’s me, I’ll directly approach the upper left corner, for example at d17 or e17. Good to hear if you found an interesting fuseki to try out. :)

      I did initially expect to have gotten to B class by this time, but when that’s not the case, it simply means that I’ve got more work to do. I’m not one to get overly disappointed over matters like this. With focused studying, results will follow sooner or later.

  3. Two things:

    1. As you say this has been developed in secret, is there any concern that you’re letting the cat out of the bag?

    2. I did experiment with this myself a couple nights ago. Only about 2 or 3 kyu, so not particularly meaningful for theory. Split two games, both interesting. In 2nd game, particularly both wound up with very large territories. (I won this one as black 106 – 92. Seems to me large moyos on both sides may often result in this fuseki. I find it very hard to estimate the count in the middle game in such positions, accordingly, how to decide such things as building scale versus reinforcing, or reduction vs invasion. What pointers can you give me in this?

    1. 1. The blog post was in fact an April fools’ joke, and a double joke at that. The first layer of the joke is that a part of the readers will take the post seriously, while the opening formation is completely unorthodox. The second layer of the joke is for the readers who figured out that it’s an April fools’ joke: the black opening moves have indeed been used by professionals in tournament games several times. I coloured the story a little bit though, as the opening isn’t really a top secret or anything. The theoretical side of the opening that I explained is all pretty much true.

      2. In any battle between two moyō, it’s key to get to claim areas of the board that are big for both moyō — see for this. A second important theory is miai thinking: for instance, if both moyō are subject to an invasion possibility of a similar size, you don’t have to hurry to defend your own moyō against it (you will get one of the two anyway). A common amateur mistake also is that you focus too much on your own territory and stones, while you should be thinking just as much about your opponent’s territory and stones.

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