An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

by Sorin Gherman

White to play next.

The game is in the fuseki stage. There are many possibilities - which means we may have a hard time choosing among them. Sometimes, when it's hard to choose what is best for oneself, it helps if we think from the opponent's point of view: where would the opponent want to play mostly?

Think for yourself where you want to play next with White, and why. Try to come up with at least 2 fundamentally different moves, think of pros and cons for each separately, then compare them and make your final choice. Don't forget to think of a few moves ahead, not just the next move.

Dia 1

The left hand side looks like the widest open area, and one Go proverb says: "In fuseki play in the largest open area".

White 1 in Dia 2 is one of the standard extensions on the left hand side (it is not one point wider because Black is strong in the lower left). Next Black can play 2, and suddenly his flat looking area in the lower right has turned into a very large, box shaped moyo. This Black moyo is very impressive as it is built around a solid keima shimari, and therefore it is pretty hard to invade. Also, White's group on the lower side looks thin after Black 2 in Dia 2.

So it looks like White needs to do something about the Black moyo on the lower right - something like preventing it from growing too large. With this hint in mind, how would you play next with White?

Dia 2

This capping move in Dia. 3 is where White should play - so that Black cannot develop his nice box shaped moyo anymore, and at the same time White builds some influence towards the center, which works well with his hoshi points on the upper side. White 1 is really a wonderful vital point to play in this position.

Dia 3

In the game, White (myself) chose the wrong move, so Black go the chance to play on the lower side first. He has even more aggressive in expanding his lower right moyo (he was a very young insei) and expanded his lower right moyo with a shoulder hit.

Take a moment and think how to play with White next. Of course Black's fuseki is better - White just missed an important vital point - but the game is of course not over, we're still in the beginning of the game after all. Even if we made a mistake, we have to keep our head and make the best out of the current situation.

Where to play next with White?

Dia 4

You have full points if you decided to reduce the Black moyo with 1 in Dia 5 - it may be one of the last chances to do that before the box is closing forever.

If Black pushes with 2 in Dia 5, White defends calmly with 3.

In the game, White played at 2 himself instead of reducing with 1, but that only helped Black's moyo grow bigger.

Dia 5