For the fun of it, we have started a Gobango series in the club. The gobango is inspired by the old Japanese masters where they have a series of 10 games but because we don’t have that much time, we reduced it to 5 games and thus Go bango. Each player in the club is free to choose his or her opponents. My opponents confirmed so far are Alex, Xinwen and Philip. I have two more slots of which to fill.
Yesterday I had my first game with Alex and it was a disaster especially towards the late midgame/early endgame where I lost a lot of points and needlessly throw away stones because I have failed in my second precept in Go, i.e., to always think and verify before playing. I failed to do that and as a result my opponent captured the stones that I have carelessly played and increased his territory. If not the result won’t be as disastrous as this.
At the beginning, it was still ok but a joseki mistake and some psychological problem resulted in my stones getting sealed in. The joseki mistake was the star point-kakari-pincer-jump joseki which I am not very good at but somehow chose. I have used the low Chinese Fuseki which I am currently studying and below is the board position up to move 8:
I have had a game with Alex previously and the board position up to here is exactly the same. And Alex made the same jump. As I was studying this fuseki, none of the games in the database suggested this jump. Here is the board pattern search of over 100,000 professional and high dan amateur games. The most common reply for White is at “a”, i.e. san-san. There must be a reason why no one in that 100,000 plus games played the jump as Alex did with move number 8. I wanted to experiment to find the answer but the results for me was disastrous. Perhaps I am not strong enough. Maybe someone strong reading this can help.
My theory is that it is bad for White to let Black get territory on both sides of the board, i.e. the right side and the top side. But I am not sure.
Below is the position up to move 81. I notice my weakness of loving territory too much and getting sealed in everywhere, resulting in my opponent getting a huge center framework. I am working towards improving this psychological weakness and be more daring to venture into the center and be non-attached to corner and side territory.
As per above, I have failed strategically to limit White’s center potential and did not exploit the weakness in the formation and this breaks my first precept, i.e. always have a plan. I have failed to evaluate strategy and failed to formulate a plan to counter that central potential.
So I deserve to lose this game but my next game, I will improve and do my best again. Go is such an enjoyable game. Even more so when playing with great friends :)