Which stones are important?

Which stones are important? 1

The Open Study room is a online Go community where people of all ranks are playing and studying games in a friendly environment. 

Below is the first lesson of a series of different topics on games played in OSR Leagues. Whole game will not be analyzed, but only the most significant lesson which I think the game contains. Today the game which I choose is from November Dan League between RedPanda101 taking white versus Whirly.

The lesson is about which stones on the board are really important and how to build successful strategy based on this.

Although the opening was favorable for black due to some experiment of white on the lower right corner. It is time for white to decide which part of the board is important to focus on. Black is clearly building something big on the right side, so to me to play A or B is natural and I believe this is the correct way to play. However, since white did not choose that area, I will adapt to white’s idea and show how it could have been done better without following my instinct to play on the right side.

Which stones are important? 2

White cut at A, which was huge mistake, because black’s two stones are not important at all. After black extends his stone on the top, black is more comfortable with his stones than before, white only helped black. Furthermore, white’s corner group was far from being weak, so killing these two stones is not profitable at all. I remember myself doing such mistakes long time ago and this same lesson Catalin Taranu 5p was teaching me over and over again until I finally grasp it.

Which stones are important? 3

Even if black plays at 1 it would still be good for black. White will most likely Atari from below instead of capturing two stones, because if he captures the two stones, he will let black make wonderful shape, although this shape is great as well. After white’s cut it is just hard to find a bad variation for black. I believe white regretted cutting.

Which stones are important? 4

Although this move is too direct, this is another option to play instead of white’s actual game move. Now black has to decide whether to play B or C.

Which stones are important? 5

I would play from below at 1 and after white pushes, which manages to press black down and to get more of influence for white in the center, I would play A, because if I hane at B, white will cut at A and complications will arise.

Which stones are important? 6

For black to connect at 1 is maybe too passive and after white exchanges 2-3, white will make base which shifts the strength of stones and suddenly black is a lot weaker than before. As you can see, this is one way to put pressure on black stones instead of cut, this way as white is gaining strength for his stones, invading on the right side might become easier.

Which stones are important? 7

This is another way, a bit more popular and not too direct as the attachment on the last diagrams.

Which stones are important? 8

If black makes shape at A, white will push up and this way you can see how cramped black is and how well white is building some strength for his stones facing the top side where white can make base afterwards. 

Which stones are important? 9

This way is honte to play for black and now white can play either A or B, personally I prefer B because it is more sneaky.

Which stones are important? 10

Once white plays this kosumi, white is looking forward to cut at A, jump at B or to always in need make base at C. You remember when the teachers say that your moves should have two purposes? Well, can we count that this one has three?

Which stones are important? 11

If black is greedy to take 1, white will cut at 2 and connect below with 4. This would be disastrous for black.

Which stones are important? 12

For black to defend at 1 is to be expected, white can get to jump and white can either seal black in with A or make base with B, we can say this is playable game for white.

Which stones are important? 13

In the actual game white even played 1 to capture completely the two stones at A, so black took the top side with 2-6 and as you can see, white completely failed as C is now strong and black has time to invade at B. Finally black won this game without any problems. My advice is to always rethink if stones are worth killing/chasing and if possible – to attack whole groups, not to kill, but to gain influence, strength and points.

Which stones are important? 14
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