Flexible thinking on a joseki – Golaxy

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 1

Flexibility in a joseki situation showed by a Chinese AI called Golaxy played against a very strong professional player giving him two stones. After watching many games of AI, humans noticed that bots really like to kick, however, to me it was really surprising to see it kicking even in this situation. I studied the position with Leela Zero 40 blocks and I still find it quite fascinating how flexible AI thinks on joseki, it never limits itself, always looking on the whole board rather than just the local position.

In this board position, instead of playing the ordinary extension at A, Golaxy played the kick which is unthinkable for me, due to the fear of black Atari on my stone.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 2
The professional played the Atari at A, another move to think about would be the extension, it is also a good move.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 3
This is what I think most people would play for white without any hesitation, black can follow with one of the three moves A-B-C

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 4
When you invade in san-san, white is most likely to block at A because lower side is more interesting than right side.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 5
When white blocks on lower side, white can continue by playing hane at A which is modern joseki. However, there are some people who still play B, which is of course still a move, although it helps black too much and professionals avoid playing it.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 6
For instance, this would be a normal moden fighting sequence. Black defends at 2 and white also defends his shape at 3, after black small jump at 4, white peeps at the vital point starting a fight.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 7
Wedge just helps black create a good shape, white does not gain a lot and now it is even hard to finish the shape on lower side with one move.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 8
Although blocking on right side is quite thick after white plays 3, however, this does not feel like the correct direction to me, since lower side stone of white is feeling lonely.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 9
Black attachment is another way to play, white takes corner with 4 and black extends with 5, white attaches to create a fight, as you can see mostly the variations are leading to a very complicated fight.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 10
Black extension is really calm and then black attaches to punch white in the face, well done.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 11
The extension of black is quite interesting, after white extends at 2 which is pretty much the only move, black extends at 3 to take the base and plays 5 which is a good shape move which you might not think about, after white takes 6 to pressure lower left group, black can take the corner on lower right. I would say I feel comfortable taking black in the local position.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 12
In the actual game, black played Atari and after white damaged the stone on the lower side, black captured the stone at B which was too passive, instead black should have went for extension at A.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 13
Once black extends at A, white will make quite painful shape with 2 and will give black possibility to strengthen his lower left group by erasing white’s cash on the bottom.

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 14
Black played quite passive in the game and simply captured the stone with 1, allowing white to exchange 2-3 and to defend lower side in a bigger scale. White ended up winning this game, seems like Golaxy is good at handicap games.

Would you experiment with this kick in your games?

Flexible thinking on a joseki - Golaxy 15

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