Yesterday on Tuesday was the first round of the Pandanet European Team Go Championship tournament in the A league. Finland’s team, consisting this time of me, Juri Kuronen 6 dan, Juuso Nyyssönen 5 dan and Javier-Aleksi Savolainen 5 dan—our strongest possible line-up—faced Russia. Though we had several good opportunities to tie the match or possibly even take the win, in the end Finland lost 1-3 after a rather breathtaking fight.
In this post, I’ll provide you commentaries on the board 1 and 2 games, Antti Törmänen vs. Ilya Shikshin and Juri Kuronen vs. Alexandre Dinerchtein, respectively. Juri was the only one of the Finnish team to win their game. The comments are provided by the Nordic Go Academy!
Board 1: Shikshin (b) vs. Törmänen
Up to white 10 is a commonplace opening, though I actually felt a bit bad about white 10 after I’d played it—maybe because most of the white stones are then on the upper side of the board. Maybe, instead, some move like white 12 on the lower side would be more interesting. Of course, there’s nothing really wrong with white 10 either.
For white 12 (after 10 has already been played), on the other hand, a more interesting option may be available.
Jeff’s suggestion, which I also considered during the game, was to play white 1 and 3 as in Dia 1. This way, white gets a good shape in his corner. If instead of 4 black tries to cover white with A, white can simply take 4 on the left side himself for a double wing formation in the upper left corner.
After black plays 4 or something else on the left side, white would probably next continue to B.
I dismissed this way of play in the actual game, wanting to get a better balance between low and high stones, and thus I played the fourth-line stone of 12. It is hard to say if white 12 is actually worse than Diagram 1’s outcome.
Black 17 came arguably too early. If he didn’t exchange 17 for 18 this early, alter in the game black would have options such as sliding to A, or exchanging B for white C and then peeping with 26, which is a better way of playing endgame-wise.
However, white 20 could be classified as a mistake as well; white is unnecessarily going for complications, while jumping to D instead would be more than enough for white in this game.
White 26 is incredibly big territory-wise, and conversely, black 26 would even be sente against the white corner.
Black 27 seems to be another mistake; if instead black jumped to E on the left side, fixing his group’s shape, it would be painful for white to move about in the centre with his stones at 20.
For white 28, again, there may have been a more interesting option available.
White’s shoulder-hit at 1 could turn out to be really severe. If black responded with 2, white would extend to 3, and black would suddenly have two cutting points.
Black might play at A instead of 2, to which white would respond with B. That way, white’s shape is however notably stronger on the left side than in the actual game.
By white 32 in Figure 2, black already has an advantage due to his thick centre shape.
After black 33, a natural move, white hops in with 34 to ask black what exactly he wants from the lower side. After black 43, there are many forcing moves left for white on the lower side, and even a way to live locally, which is shown in Dia 3.
White can live quite simply with the sequence from 1 to 9 in Dia 3, but doing so at this point of the game would be too early.
After black 45 in Figure 3, white moves to connect his right-side stone to his upper-side position, which received some criticism from Jeff and Juri (who both didn’t want to let black easily surround corner territory with 47). No obviously better way of play was found, however, and I personally am fine even with black getting the corner territory, as white’s outside position has also become reasonably strong.
Black 51 seems to be a mistake, resulting in a heavy black group. Instead—
Jeff points out that black’s jump of 1 in Dia 4 would be normal. If white attacks with 2, black quickly gets a light, eye-rich shape with 3 and 5.
After white 58 in Figure 3, black cannot start a ko fight with a counter-atari, because white has too many threats on the lower side.
By the cut of 66, white is back in the game, and it is hard to say who is leading.
To white 70, black responded with the aggressive cut of black 71, but this (probably) didn’t work out as hoped. White had the tesuji attachment of white 76 in handy, to which black has no good local response.
If black tried to get out with his two stones—
—a sequence such as that of Dia 5’s could follow. Up to the double atari of white 12, however, it is clear that black is in big trouble.
For that reason, black sacrificed the two stones with 81 in Figure 4, but with 82, the game starts looking easy for white.
Black, consequently, didn’t give white time to catch up his breath, and immediately cut with 83. White 86 and 88 may look like normal moves, but in fact, white seems to have had a better way of play available.
White could instead have jumped to 1 in Dia 6, letting black play the big-looking double atari of 2. After white 5, black 6 is essentially necessary, after which white can turn to 7 to live on the lower side. With this, white would probably lead in the territory contest.
By 110 in Figure 4, it is hard to say who is leading.
Black 11 seemed off-beat; white 12 is definitely bigger as a move. Perhaps black should have played at around 12 himself—quickly counting the score, the situation wouldn’t look bad for black.
However, white 14 is a bigger mistake. Instead—
—white should have played the double atari of 1, and then proceeded to sacrifice with white 3 on. Up to 9, white seems to hold the lead.
After black 25 in Figure 5, it is clear that white doesn’t have enough liberties for the capturing race, and as a result, white doesn’t have enough territory.
207 moves: Black wins by resignation
Board 2: Kuronen (b) vs. Dinerchtein
The game started with the rarer white extension of 12, instead of the normal move at A. The reasoning behind 12 is that after black 17, black B doesn’t provide for a very severe attack, unlike if white had played A. In exchange, however, white loses up on speed.
—because black’s shape in the upper right corner is very solid, it is more interesting for black to build on the lower side with 1 in Dia 1 instead. White would likely respond with 2, after which black can for example force with 3, 5 and 7 in the lower left corner and then play 9. This is, of course, just one possibility among many.
Black’s turning to 17 means a game plan that takes profit first, and is confident at handling possible weak groups later.
Again, in response to white 22, black disregarded his lone stone on the right and moved to solidify the lower left corner group instead. The result up to 35 is reasonable to both sides, after which white 36 looks good.
Black 37, 39 and 41 are standard tesuji for getting out from such a situation. White’s 42 is somewhat odd; it was probably correct to fix white’s shape with a hanging connection at 53.
In response black played 43 and 45 in sente, then cutting at 47. White 54 is important in not giving black an opportunity to surround any territory in the centre, also looking to attack black’s lower-left corner group later.
Still, with 55, black has a strong shape in the centre, and the game looks easier for him.
A close combat exchange followed on the right, starting with black 57. White’s attachment of 58 shows good fighting spirit. However, white 64, although being suji, appears to be off-beat, letting black easily take profit with 65 and 67. Instead—
—it seems better for white to play 1 and 3 in sente as in Dia 2, and then cut with 5. Although white’s shape isn’t perfect, it seems to just about hold for now, which would mean a big territorial gain in the lower right corner.
With black 79 in Figure 4, the local situation is a several-step ko in black’s favor. Essentially, white is dead, but he will get some profit in the endgame while black has to kill white’s stones off.
With white 80, a new mêlée follows.
Juri reported playing 81 as a simple move due to time constraints—he was in byo-yomi at the time—but no better spots instantly hit the eye. At most, black might consider attaching to a white stone first, to the right of black 83.
If black tried to attack white 80 directly—
—even with black 1 in Dia 3, white has a good move available at 2. If black responds with the standard move of 3, white could descent to 4, making miai of A and B.
Needless to say, black 3 is unacceptable, but there doesn’t seem to be a clearly better option readily available. One way or another, white would get something out of this corner.
Back in Figure 5, white 82 appears to come too early: black is happy to take territory with black 83 on. Possibly instead of 82, white had to jump to A or devise another plan.
The cut of 91 is also hasty: black should first cut at 107 no matter what, to make sure that his group is safe.
In the following, if instead of 102 white played at 104, it would be difficult for black to figure out how to defend his group.
White 114 is a shape mistake: the correct move is at D instead.
Black instantly struck back with 15, and white was in for a hard fight. With black 25, the result is a ko fight, one purely advantageous to black. Realizing his gain, black simply played 29, and then 31 and 33 as a big endgame sequence. With 35, black has a solid lead.
White 36 however was a spirited move, and black 37 likely an overplay in return. Instead—
—it would be safer for black to play the lower hane of 1 in Dia 4. Though white can get some local gain up to black 7, after that white 8 is the biggest move on the board, letting black get sente to capture at 9, which would be a considerable improvement for him over the actual game.
At 49 in Figure 6, black switched directions and didn’t insist on killing the white corner.
Black could have killed the white corner with up to black 7, but that would have let white make profit on the left side in sente with 6, and then turn to 8 on the lower side. Also note that this would be greatly superior for white over Dia 4.
By black 165 in Figure 6, white seems to have turned the tables, and is now holding the lead—albeit, the game is still rather close.
Figure 7 shows the rest of what happened. Essentially, white missed black 119 and 121, which made a double attack on white. White 124 was necessary, but after that, black 125 kills the upper-side white group unconditionally. If, for example, instead of white 118 white had played at 120, he would likely have retained his win.
Any thoughts, impressions and comments on the games and this blog post are warmly welcome!