How To Become 1-Dan #3

How To Become 1-Dan #3 1

This series “How to Become 1-Dan” focuses on habits, mistakes, knowledge, strategy and much more, which in my opinion would help every Go player to reach their desired level.

Furthermore, these articles might also help players who have already reached the level of 1-dan. I noticed that while teaching Go to kyu level players, they have many similar strategical mistakes or lack of knowledge in certain area. I decided to combine ideas that I find important and to build these series. I hope that by following this series, you will have an easier time reaching the 1-dan level. The topics are various and the examples are taken from games of kyu to dan levels.

Today we will see three games which are of our readers and I believe here we have several important lessons to learn in order to become 1-dan.

Let’s start !

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This is the first game and black just played this kosumi move instead of the triangle move which would be expected. The triangle puts more pressure on the corner stone. Now white has to decide whether to play A or B, to choose correct, one has to just make judgement on what is more important on the board. If white will get to play B, he will surely develop the lower side, but he will damage the stone in the corner. So, therefore, white has to push at A to defend his stone. This also affects black’s strength of stones. It is very important to not let your opponent make his stones strong. If that happens, he will not worry about strength and weaknesses and he will just enlarge his territory. When you put pressure, you get to make territory while your opponent runs or tries to settle.

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White played A and black enclosed the corner stone, suddenly black group became happy, something which should not have happened.

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Although this did not happen in the actual game, this could be the expected way to see this position to develop. White plays hane on the bottom to which black plays 1 (the captured stone). White captures the stone with 2-4 and black cuts at 5-6 and hanes at 7 to extend with the last move. As you can see, there are still some weaknesses in white’s position, so white will most likely add another move, while black strengthen his group even more. Black succeed.

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If white had made the correct decision to push with the marked stone. Even if white plays B now instead of A, it would still be better than the actual game result. Although it might seem strange, but it is really important how we act towards our stones, we have to make sure we understand which stones are important and how to treat them.

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That’s the second example and white has to decide what to play after black’s jump in the center. White played the move at A in the actual game, which was a really severe mistake, just because it was too slow and not necessary. We can see there are two very important points on the board, B and C.

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After white’s slow move, black could play this shoulder hit which threatens to enclose the stone of white with A. White’s move gave black quite a lot.

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To play A is a bit better and this is because after push at 1-3, black will either get to play block at B or shoulder hit at C. This way black will get to take not only one move which he wants, but he might get two.

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If white jumps simply at A, black will play more active and after white jumps at 8, black will defend, which will make a huge wall and you can feel black strength in the center. This is pretty much what you don’t want to see happening in your own game.

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On the other side, if white plays at A, black will get to close the top and his stones are still very strong and white’s move at B, seems a bit wasted. This is the fuseki stage and I understand that there are urgent moves, however, B was not really urgent at all. This lesson is very hard to grasp and I believe even strong players can make mistake like this, probably including me when I play passive. However, it is good to keep this in mind and try to avoid letting black get this. So how to do it?

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White had to play at 1 and if black proceed with the same sequence up to move 10, white will get to play approach on the top right. You can see that with 1, his approach works pretty well and also black’s strength in the center is not that huge, because 1 is shining and not letting black to develop so much. So one move makes such a big difference after all. Having the stone placed at 1 instead of being in the corner, makes a huge impact on the outside influence and strength of stones.

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As you can see I am talking about strength of stones and importance of stones all the time and it might seem too much, but it is really important to grasp this and to see these important moves on the board instantly. This is the last game and you can see that white’s stones A and B are connected. When I show you this game at first, you might say that white marked stone on the top is not exactly secure and that black group can be attacked and you are completely right. However, while playing the game, white just totally forgot about this and he went for something else, he missed a chance to put pressure on the black stones marked with circles.

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White played this move which is not really important right now, it is indeed big, however, it is not the move which you should focus on. Playing on the top matters the most, it is the turning point for both players. Black even played A right now and he also did not focus on his top right group. Both players just forgot how important top right is.

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Black had to play this move, it is so huge, if you think about it, this not only makes your group safe, but it also makes quite a lot of points. If later black gets to play kosumi at A, this top right black territory can go over 25 points, which is a lot.

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White had chance to fight with 1 and then keima in the corner. Black does not really have that easy time settling his group. Also, this makes points for white and does not give black the possibility of making a lot of points on the top.

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I wanted to show another very interesting decision by white late on. White played A in order to reduce with B or to connect with the corner. However, this only damages white’s corner. Black went down and white’s corner marked stones got damaged and white still needed to connect at B. When you want to achieve something, get some territory or anything else, it is necessary to calculate how much you give and how much you get. In this situation it is obvious that white’s corner is worth more, but while you play, other factors influence you, so I understand. White might decide to save the corner now, but then after black plays B later, the exchange of A with black’s last move in the diagram, is just a bad exchange.

I hope it was helpful, stay tuned for #4 and share with us your experience !

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