VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 1

The event VaDo Cup was held on 8th till 10th of February and got 141 participants with participation of players from many European countries and guests even from China (Ge Yuhong Go Academy) ! This event was part of the 3rd Winter Go Camp which started at 2nd of February and finished at 11th with success. Many strong players were fighting for the first place including Artem Kachanovsky 2p and Mateusz Surma 2p.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 2
Stanislaw in his game against Mateusz, photo by Nataša Bošnjak

However, as some of you might remember Stanislaw Frejlak 7d, who performed really well on Grand Prix Finals earlier this year and came back from 6 months of study in China, tried to take the first place by defeating Mateusz Surma 2p. Although he defeated Mateusz Surma 2p, he lost to Dusan Mitic 7d in the last round by 1,5 and he got the second place, while Mateusz Surma took the first place! This article will show you thoughts and brief commentary of Mateusz Surma and Stanislaw Frejlak on their game. Today ELF V2 was also released, so I also tested it out slightly with high amount of visits. I hope this commentary of these two strong players help you to understand the game better and learn something new !

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 3
Photo by EuroGoTV

Let’s start !

Stanislaw: For me this was the most important game in the whole tournament. Mateusz has been my rival for years. I lost to him 21 times and I won only once, eight years ago. Before the tournament I was studying his games from the Grand Prix Finale and thinking how I should play against him. Mateusz is a very strong fighter, He’s good at middle game and endgame, so I decided that I need to try to seize an advantage in the opening. My plan worked. I took a chance to enter two unusual corner variations which I’ve studied with LeelaZero. In the fight which emerged I felt confident. Mateusz never accepted an inferior result and for the whole game kept fighting very hard. Fortunately I maintained my lead until the end.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 4

Stanislaw: I’m not sure if professionals ever played this move. According to bots it is a powerful way of play focusing on the influence. Mateusz spent over ten minutes thinking how to respond to Black’s nobi. In the end we played a joseki variation.

ExploreBaduk: Leela Zero likes black’s nobi quite a lot, however, ELF does not really love it so much, but it agrees that it is a playable move indeed.

Mateusz: I didn’t really know how to play after this move. After the game I’ve been told that I played fine in this corner.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 5

ExploreBaduk: ELF V2 seems to like kick in the early fuseki (280k).

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 6

ExploreBaduk: ELF V2 seems to not really see the nobi of black’s. It prefers the normal corner sequence with atari (223k).

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 7

ExploreBaduk: Once being played, it loses only 0.4 % (gains in LZ versions), which makes it a playable move and a definitely a great idea to consider while you play (340k).

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 8

ExploreBaduk: Expected development, move 20 could have been tiger mouth instead of connection.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 9

Mateusz: When I played this move I didn’t think that black will play O18 (extend down) in sente and counterattack.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 10

Mateusz: This was my plan.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 11

ExploreBaduk: Black managed to create miai, either connect under or atari white’s stone (30).

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 12

Mateusz: I’ve played this exchange, so that when black gets sente, he will not play in this spot.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 13

Mateusz: If tenuki (A), now there are almost no weaknesses in the marked group.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 14

Mateusz: After this exchange it’s not so easy for black to attack the marked stones in one move. However, this exchange made black’s stones (marked with squares) strong as well – in the following moves it turned out to be very bad exchange for white.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 15

Stanislaw: After playing some exchanges in the neighboring corner White went back to answer Black’s kakari. A purpose of this attachment is very clear: to make Black’s shape over-concentrated. Of course I couldn’t accept it and play hane. Instead I chose a wedge which is a powerful technique, especially when Black has a thickness on the side.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 16

Mateusz: Strong move – black uses his solid group and tries to cut.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 17

Stanislaw: At this point White needs to connect his stones at A and let Black seize the corner. However, I was hoping that White chooses to play tight and block the corner. Mateusz rarely compromises and apparently he didn’t know this variation so he chose to block. Then I cut him at A and the emerging fight should be favorable for Black.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 18

Mateusz: When I played this move I knew that black will cut, but I didn’t think that the following fight will be so bad for me. I didn’t want to give the corner easily, but I had to connect in this situation.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 19

ExploreBaduk: It is very interesting that black’s percentage on this stage was already close to 85% according to ELF V2 (652k). The variation given is some crazy fight, hard to understand indeed, not gonna try to interpret it, pure beauty it is, just watch.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 20

Mateusz: Now the A-B exchange is really bad for white – no aji in black’s shape.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 21

Stanislaw: White’s next move was very interesting. It looks naturally to play a tiger’s mouth now. However it wouldn’t end up well. Instead, White played an empty triangle which left Black with two problems to handle.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 22

Stanislaw: This attachment is a tesuji. White cannot capture the Black’s stone in a ladder and he will suffer escaping with his four stones.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 23

Stanislaw: This White’s clamp is a tesuji. If Black doesn’t want to give White an easy life, he needs to push through. The variation ends in a big ko. It started getting complicated. I knew that the fight should favor me, but anyway I was scared.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 24

ExploreBaduk: Now white has two choices and it is very important to take the correct decision.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 25

Stanislaw: Should Black start the ko immediately? If Black plays elsewhere White cannot capture Black stones with one move. However, I was not sure if I have any reasonable move to play instead of giving an atari. Moreover, White has very many ko threats in the other corner. Can I give White my seven stones? What is bigger? Should I fight the ko by threatening three White stones in the center? Aren’t these threats a minus? I was very confused at this point.

Mateusz: I could start this ko immediately, but I wanted to exchange A for B earlier.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 26

ExploreBaduk: There are two ways to play in this situation.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 27

Mateusz: This result must be good for black – the corner is too big.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 28

Mateusz: I was a bit surprised after this move – I thought black will simply play atari on the second line.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 29

Stanislaw: Everything ended up in a different ko. I had no threats myself so I had to give White my seven stones. White’s push through is a very strong move. White plays it before playing the atari to start the ko. If I answer, his next threats will be bigger. I have no choice but to finish the ko. White managed to skip a bad exchange: A-69.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 30

Mateusz: Better not to play А, because black will win the ko (no matter what white will play) and A-B(last move-dot) is a loss for white. The sequence is A-C-D and connect.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 31

Mateusz: Like this white would get much bigger ko threat.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 32

Mateusz: I felt quite desperate while playing this move and keeping on escaping – I had to play tenuki and let black capture these stones. After I tried to rescue these stones, it was basically game over. I had to run to my strong group (marked with squares). This way, the strength of this group is closed after helping the weak group (marked with triangles) – black will get a wall after this attack and the strength of the group marked with squares gets useless.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 33

Stanislaw: The first big fight finished. I felt that I managed to maintain an advantage but the result is still not clear. There is a running fight in the center and a lot of empty space on three sides. I thought that White should just jump with his stones at A and try to make it a long game. Instead, White decided to attach which led to another complicated fight.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 34

Stanislaw: I managed to break White’s shape and I felt the upcoming fight should be favorable for me. However, it was still very messy and difficult. I think that there are two important rules to follow during such fight. First, Black needs to think what is his general goal. Right now White’s four stones look like a good target to attack, so Black should try to get out of the center fight with a thickness and sente to split White stones on the side. In the other corner there is still an unfinished shape. Black needs to make sure that White doesn’t activate his stone in a too severe way. Once that Black figured out what his goals are, He should keep them in mind and lunge headlong into the war. Every move should be as tight as possible. If it is possible to hane or to cut, then Black only needs to read if it doesn’t end up in an immediate collapse. If not, it’s obligatory to play it. If Black steps back just once, White will get too much freedom and severely harass Black’s shape.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 35

Mateusz: Last hope…

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 36

Stanislaw: The fight was unbelievably complicated. Even though I knew it should be good for me, I was feeling like if I was fighting with Mateusz hand to hand at a cliff. It was very important to remember what my goals were. If I tried to kill White’s group I would probably collapse.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 37

Stanislaw: Here was another interesting situation. White used a good technique to break my shape and secure his stones but he ended up in gote. My first intuition was to make the A-B exchange and switch to my final plan of attacking White’s four stones on the side. But then I realize that I can make the exchange any time I want and moreover I am about to go to fight so maybe at one point it will be even better to play at B myself. I decided to skip the exchange and directly start a fight.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 38

Stanislaw: 16 moves later…

White fought back. My stones got split and didn’t have life yet. I thought that probably I can kill White’s group but I was in byo-yomi and didn’t have time to read it properly. However, I remembered that my goal in this fight is not necessarily to kill White. The point was to make enough profit to win the game. And then I realized that I have another possibility. I could play a B-A exchange and squeeze White. My decision to not exchange A for B before paid off.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 39

Stanislaw: I squeezed White stones and made life with my group. White was forced to also make life and take gote. Then I erased White’s corner and confidently led the game to the end with a nine points lead.

VaDo Cup 2019 : Commentary By Mateusz Surma 2p & Stanisław Frejlak 7d 40

ExploreBaduk: This is the end of the game, wonderful commentaries by both, really impressive fighting game ! Congratulations to both for performing well in this tournament !

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