One of the more common mistakes I see in any endgame-related discussion is related to the value of a kō capture. The usual touted value of ½ points only applies to the very last kō of a game; and the more knowledgeable players who have heard of the ⅓-point theory often use it wrongly in relation to other endgame values. This essay seeks to remedy the above mistakes while deepening the reader’s understanding on how endgame calculations work.
Yesterday, on Saturday, was another special occasion in the Experience Go in China trip: the main organizer’s, Peter’s, teacher — an eight-dan professional — came to visit the program, and to play simultaneous games against some of the students. Six students were picked to play, including me, and the rest of the students were following my one-stone handicap game against the 8 dan in the other room, with Ben 3 dan professional commenting the game.
I started the game with my standard opening as of now, the modern sanrensei, and forced the 8 dan to invade. My handling of the invasion group was deemed a bit questionable, though not a complete failure, since I did end up getting a fair amount of territory and outside influence. I however failed to use the outside influence to attack the opponent’s positions, and seemed to fall a bit behind in territory. Later on in the game, I had to depend on two complicated ko fights to even the game. Though white seemed to be better off, he had no easy way to take the win home. Finally, white decided to ignore a big ko threat by black, and the result was pretty much decided for black’s favor. The end result was a black win by 12 points. Kifu is given below, with short comments based on what the teachers told me after the game!
The Takapotku Open 2011 tournament is now well over! The situation got very interesting towards the end: I lost a game to Su Yang (known as Jeff) 6 dan, who in turn later lost a game to Juri Kuronen 5 dan. So, in the end there were three people from the top group with five wins, and the winner would be decided by the sum of their opponents’ scores (SOS). My and Juri’s games ended well before Jeff’s, and for the last two hours we were zealously calculating how the SOS scores would turn out – it seemed I was in the worst position of the three. In the end, the unlikely event of four different games ending up in my favor occurred, and so I beat Juri by one SOS – only losing by one to Jeff! A bit ironically, the calculations proved gratuitous: prize money was divided evenly between us, save for the fact that Jeff wasn’t eligible for the Pandanet prize money.
On a somewhat different note, for the last month, I’ve been attending a philosophy and systems intelligence course in my university. The most important part of the course are weekly 3-hour lectures, in which the lecturer aims to provoke dynamic living experiences for the attendants – the themes vary each week. Last week I found one of the themes very close and applicable to go: the will to get results. The lecturer’s points were as follows:
- Do what works
- Fix what doesn’t work
Simple, huh? The main thing to look out for, here, is that you don’t start lamenting the situation or looking for guilty parties. Further applied to go, this means that if you find you have made a mistake, you are not to lose heart or to throw the game immediately away by doing something utterly reckless. Instead, keep going at it, carefully formulate a plan on how to turn the game around – one by one fix the problems on the board, and do what works. Rome wasn’t built in a day, either. A key thing in all this is to analyze the whole board carefully.
The lecturer also provided the attendants with his analysis of the key points of 007 philosophy, very closely intertwined with the will to get results. I’ll list the points that are easily applicable to go:
- Never get annoyed
- Act immediately (if there is a point on the board that you really need to take, don’t do “something else” first)
- Be confident (don’t doubt yourself)
- Let your style be a part of your playing strength (play the kind of game you’re familiar with – unless you’re looking to learn new things)
The lecturer even told a short James Bond story that I also found analogous to go: in one movie, there’s a situation in which Bond is thrown off a flying airplane, without a parachute – we might call this an awkward situation. Bond doesn’t get shaken up, however, but instead analyzes the situation carefully, looking for other flying objects, and indeed notices a parachute further down below. He then takes an ideal flying posture and flies down straight for the parachute. Talk about improbable!
Further on the theme “the will to get results”, I’ve got here the game I lost to Jeff in Takapotku last weekend! I had white.
Hi there! Today is a time for more professional game analysis. There are already a good number of questions sent, but I’ll wait a few more days if even more appear, and then answer them at one time! Some people might’ve seen me play an interesting game against smartrobot on KGS last Monday – I’m planning on reviewing that one here a bit later, as well.
Today’s game is played by the enigmatic pro player whom I named to have had the biggest impact on my style. He’s playing black in the game – can you guess who he is? The game itself is very interesting, with many nice strategical ideas.