Wanted - New Trophy Cabinet

British Go Journal No. 92. Autumn 1993. Page 12.

Francis Roads

One sunny day in July, six strong players from Wanstead Go Club set off for Cambridge, accompanied by the club's new mascot Rex. Cambridge is a difficult place to approach by car at the best of times, and today it was cordoned off by a ring of police protecting marathon runners. Eventually a friendly copper gave us permission to drive through the pedestrianised area to reach Trinity College.

The rules for competing for the Sonoyama Trophy are as yet somewhat imprecise -- refer to the Cambridge Club for details.

One interesting feature which we observed was that it is permissible to field substitutes in Round 2. Our team was the only one to turn up to relieve the host club of this handsome cup. We played a two round match over six boards, with one hour time limits, handicaps minus one, and, in a slight departure from our original game plan, won the trophy by only the narrow margin of seven games to five.

Our visiting professional, Mrs Feng, then arrived and commented on three of the games which had just taken place, using a demonstration board. The following game was one of those selected, and the commentary is based on hers.

Sonoyama Trophy, Round 1, 11th July, 1993
Black: Francis Roads, 4d, Wanstead
White: John Rickard, 4d, Cambridge

The game-file in SGF format.

Figure 1a
BGJ had Fig 1a and 1b as one diagram, Fig 1.

  • White 6: This, with 2 and 4, makes the low Chinese fuseki, which I occasionally meet with against my san-ren-sei (1, 3, and 5). Black 7 is on such a good point for white that it seems to me that black can take a small early lead, but the move brought no comment from the pro.
  • White 10': Normally played at C; then black D, white 10, black 13. The shape that black gets with 11 and 13 is better than this.
  • White 14: Not too bad, but rather low and flat. Mrs Feng suggested A. John was concerned about the possible invasion at B if he played there, but the professional thought that he had enough pressure against the black group below to withstand it.
  • Black 15: I found it hard to choose between this, 74, and the points below and left of 98. Mrs Feng politely said that they were all good points, and that 15 was as good as any.
  • Black 23: Better at 35, because after white 30 and black 31 white cannot capture it in a ladder, which ends on 7. Therefore white 22 should be at 50.
  • Black 25: A rather loose move, which is normally played at 30 in this line. But it looks good, making the eye-stealing tesuji with 5, and I use it to frighten my opponents when I fancy my chances.
  • White 34: Too conservative; should be at 67.
  • White 36 et seq.: With this move, John decides to give up four stones including 16 to live in the corner. Mrs Feng thought that this sacrifice was too large, and that it puts Black clearly ahead.
  • Black 45': Should be at 47. After 47 I have gote anyway, but if I omit 45 I have the option later of cutting above 36 and taking the corner; white then lives along the upper edge. I can still choose to play 47 in sente later on if I prefer. 45 is a clear case of aji-keshi. After 47, the point left of 98 becomes a big point for me ...
  • White 48 - 52: ... but John has some aji-keshi of his own to play. The pro criticised these moves, especially 52, as being too early, even if only kept for ko threats. A nasty cut is left behind at E.
  • Black 57: Choosing this line instead of 66 hopes to make use of the aji around 67 and 69; there is a threat to capture three stones and thus weaken the group as a whole. This move won professional approval.
  • White 60 and 62: But these ones didn't. 66 instead of 60 makes the right shape. 62 makes only one eye; he should start escaping to the centre immediately.
  • Black 63: I missed a chance to capture the corner here by playing a point above 58. If black extends from 58, Black plays 66 and the entire white group dies.
  • Black 65': I should play this at 67, not fearing the ko.
  • Black 71: Misses a chance to kill white off completely by playing at F.
  • Black 73: I debated long whether to play here or a point below. What I didn't think of was the correct shape at 75; then I am a jump ahead of white in the race to the centre. 73 becomes a redundant move.
  • Black 81: Rather a slow move. When I pointed out that I was playing solidly because I was ahead in the game, Mrs Feng appeared satisfied. The move is certainly huge territorially.
  • White 84: This too is huge, and greatly weakens 11, 9, and 13. Nonetheless, it was criticized as being yose and too early.
  • Black 85: This move, the proverbial hane at the head of two stones, keeps the lower right white group separated from the newly strengthened lower left group, and looks forward to making use of the aji around 71 and at E. I hope that my attack will be more severe than the expected attack on my left hand group ...
  • White 86 - 92: ... which promptly materializes. Having played tenuki from 84, I can no longer expect territory or even eyes on the left*.
    * [BGJ had 'right'.]
  • Black 93: Right idea, wrong point; should be G, to give more help to the the left hand group. I should not be trying to threaten 8 and 82 because my bottom group is already very strong.
  • Black 97: Another very solid move played in the same spirit as 81.
  • White 98: Enormous yose, but not urgent. John should continue the attack on my left side group, hoping to patch up his bad aji on the other side in the course of so doing. Mrs Feng suggested H.
  • Black 99: Yosu-miru; see Strategic Concepts of Go, Chapter 8. After White 100 I can live in this corner with ko.
Figure 1b
BGJ had Fig 1a and 1b as one diagram, Fig 1.

  • Black 101 - 113: The time has at last come to use the aji on the right. After 111 John decided to strengthen his upper group, but 113 captures the lower right group completely -- the two cuts below triangle and 113 are miai. But I have to be careful to keep enough liberties on the group including triangle. As the position stands, it is likely eventually to be necessary to fill in all the White group's liberties.
  • Black 117: This move seems to be small, and leaving the left side group to its fate. But now I no longer have to fill in the said liberties to keep the centre group alive, so that it can be used aggressively.
  • White 118: John could kill off my left side group cleanly with 127. The trouble is that he has now lost too much territory for this to give him a winning position; he needs to capture it on a large scale, i.e. taking a goodly chunk of territory with it. White 118 attempts this, but ...
  • Black 119: This was another reason for 117. I cut off a small White group, and because the centre group is now strong and aggressive John has to defend eventually at 126. My group now has one eye, and a series of threats either to make another or connect out left this group safe. The record ends at 159; John resigned a few moves later.

John made a number of uncharacteristically passive moves in this game. I too missed chances, but in the end it was the bad aji that John left behind which did for him.

Winning the Sonoyoma Trophy leaves our club with a problem. What with the Pink Stone, the Jubilee Challenge Trophy, team prizes at Leicester and Edinburgh, and numerous individual prizes, we are running out of space to put all our trophies. So has anyone out there got a large second-hand trophy cabinet surplus to requirements? ... or alternatively, how about giving us some opposition?

This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 92
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

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