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 Post subject: general flow of the game questions
Post #1 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 8:15 am 
Beginner

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So, as a beginner with poor understanding of the game, my games have fallen into a predictable and boring pattern; do 4 josekis that I have largely memorized, build out sides for the next 15 to 20 moves, then invade somewhere so I can get a big wall and work off of that. I know that for the deepest game in the world, I am doing it wrong.

1. I know how to do individual josekis, but how do I decide which 4 josekis to do to get to an advantageous whole board position?

2. Should I always just go for the sides following this? How do I decide where to go other than find the big spot on the board?

3. What comes next after this? I try to find an invasion point because that's all I know, but there is a depth of strategy I know I am not getting to. Do I select a group to target somehow? Is there some sort of trick with groups I should be trying with my opponent?

Basically what I'm saying is I play a seemingly canned flow of gameplay, but I'm pretty sure I play this way because of my limited understanding. Any suggestions (other than play more, haha)?

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 Post subject: Re: general flow of the game questions
Post #2 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 8:27 am 
Gosei
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Your questions are a bit abstract, if you post a game with specific questions you will get more precise responses.

If you want games that follow a different scenario, how about: build a moyo, invite your opponent to invade it and try to attack the invading stone with profit?

Or: play a 3-4 point, and when your opponent approaches it, pincer the approaching stone and fight?

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Post #3 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 9:31 am 
Judan

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Since one player loses, one of you or your opponent must make a mistake during your game flow. Learn positional judgement to find out who. Then that player must correct his mistake.

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 Post subject: Re: general flow of the game questions
Post #4 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 11:54 am 
Lives with ko

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Gobani wrote:
So, as a beginner with poor understanding of the game, my games have fallen into a predictable and boring pattern; do 4 josekis that I have largely memorized, build out sides for the next 15 to 20 moves, then invade somewhere so I can get a big wall and work off of that. I know that for the deepest game in the world, I am doing it wrong.
What is your rank on OGS, KGS, Fox, etc (not an app)? That could help us help you.

As for choosing joksei and playing the sides, there is a lot to think about here. I'm not good at this myself, but essentially it comes down to recognizing the strength and weakness of the stones around the rest of the board and playing accordingly. If a position is already strong (for either you or your opponent), then there is less of a reason for you to play there -- that area is less valuable. "Strong" meaning how easy is it for a group to create a living shape, sometimes compared to another local group, or how well can the group counter attack. All difficult things to figure out.

I've been reading an old book (Hoen Shinpo by Honingo Shuho and translated by John Fairbairn on SmartGo/GoBooks) and I'll just give an examples from a 4-stone handicap game there because I am familiar with it. I'm not saying these are great moves or anything, and they are outdated. But this will show variety and decision making in playing the opening.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Wc
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . 8 . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . . . . , . . . 2 . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 0 . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 . . |
$$ | . . 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . . . . , . . . . . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . a b . . . 7 . . 3 . 6 . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]

Black could easily have followed joseki and played 10 at a or b (a being typically today, b being outdated). But instead Black played a corner enclosure in the top right. Black beginning to build a framework on the upper side and maybe the lower side wasn't seen as valuable because of White 3 and 7 already staking a claim to the lower side. The left side only had White 9 -- it is more open for development.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Wcm11
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . X . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . . . . , . . . X . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . X . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . a b . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 7 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . O 2 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 4 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . 1 . . , . . . . . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . O . . O . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]

White plays a second approach to the bottom left corner and Black attaches with 12. The most typical joseki (at least in this book) is for Black to extend from 12 (at 15) but instead Black played 14. The joseki with 14 is typically done when White already has a stone at a, b, or closer (which is not the case here), as this makes White a bit overconcentrated. Then black follows up with 18. The author explains "Black 14, intending to slide lightly down to 18 is good in this case. Normally it is not a desirable move."

Normally Black would like to get into the center and not be sealed in. Normally Black would not play 14 if White would not be overconcentrated. Normally Black would not slide down to the 2nd line at 18. But here it is "good" because Black has taken the corner territory and White 11 is on the 4th line and 2 spaces away. Now Black is below White 11 reducing the value of the lower side since an additional move would need to be played by White to secure it.

In game commentaries you will see that strong players often abandon joseki before completion, or play different joseki based on the board position, fail to respond to their opponent to play elsewhere, or sometimes they just choose a certain joseki because that will be their "strategy" for this game.

Here is another example from an old game between soon-to-be Honinbo Shuwa and Inoue Gennan Inseki.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Wcm12 :wt: is White 22
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O . . . . . 5 . . . . O . . . . |
$$ | . . . , 1 . . . . , . . . 7 . , X . . |
$$ | . . X . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 . . . |
$$ | . . . 3 . . . . . . . . . . 9 . . . . |
$$ | . . 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 . . . |
$$ | . . . Q . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . 2 . . . . . . . . . . . O O . . |
$$ | . . X , . . . . . , . . . . . , X X . |
$$ | . . . . O . . . . . . . . . X . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]

White 18 and 20 are a little weird. I've seen 18 but I don't think I've seen 20 other than this game. And then White plays :wt: at 22. White 18, 20, and 22 are not very typical moves but White already played 14 and decided to make building a moyo on the upper side as White's strategy for this particular game. Notice also that White has left plenty of Josekis unplayed. A stronger player knows how to recover or get value from these stones in a way that I do not, so there is some danger is just doing this. But the point is more that you can introduce variety adn efficiency (and fun) into your opening. Pretty much every professional game does this same thing. Very few professional games follow just play josekis and extensions, though I have seen some bland games like this from the 1980s and 1990s.

If you are finding certain josekis to be boring, maybe you'll have fun switching it up.

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 Post subject: Re: general flow of the game questions
Post #5 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:12 pm 
Gosei
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Gobani wrote:
So, as a beginner with poor understanding of the game, my games have fallen into a predictable and boring pattern; do 4 josekis that I have largely memorized, build out sides for the next 15 to 20 moves, then invade somewhere so I can get a big wall and work off of that. I know that for the deepest game in the world, I am doing it wrong.

1. I know how to do individual josekis, but how do I decide which 4 josekis to do to get to an advantageous whole board position?

2. Should I always just go for the sides following this? How do I decide where to go other than find the big spot on the board?

3. What comes next after this? I try to find an invasion point because that's all I know, but there is a depth of strategy I know I am not getting to. Do I select a group to target somehow? Is there some sort of trick with groups I should be trying with my opponent?

Basically what I'm saying is I play a seemingly canned flow of gameplay, but I'm pretty sure I play this way because of my limited understanding. Any suggestions (other than play more, haha)?


Your approach is systematic, which is not bad. It sounds like how a chess player might approach the game, building onto known opening patterns. The tricky assumption underneath your question is that it assumes the opponent to follow suit. What if the opponent plays away from your corner early? What if they don't play the joseki you have memorized but a slightly inferior variation? Do you know how to "punish"? Do you know the size of the punishment? Will you not make a mistake bigger than theirs? What if the opponent keeps on playing after you consider the joseki done? Do you know if you should answer or play elsewhere? How much is that decision worth?

If you know the answers to all these questions, you are damn good at Go and it shouldn't be boring either.

And from there: there's no formula for combining josekis into a favorable position. There's territory, influence, frameworks, aji, sente ... and how all of that combines into positional judgment. When the going gets tough, it's all about reading and knowing vital points.

I can't fathom you have never encountered this kind of richness, even when starting out systematically. There's no way to avoid the richness of Go really.

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 Post subject: Re: general flow of the game questions
Post #6 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:18 pm 
Dies in gote

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General ideas:

- Play some handicap games against players 2 or 3 stones stronger than you,

- Are you just playing other beginners? Playing in a club would expose you to a different styles and types of play and keep it interesting,

- Just observe (on a server) a few games that players of your strength or slightly stronger are playing (even just the opening).

- See if you can find some ideas on one of the youtube Go channels that interest you and feel like trying out.

I think it can be easy to get stuck into a rut of playing the same openings - but there's really no need.

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 Post subject: Re: general flow of the game questions
Post #7 Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2021 10:38 am 
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Which books are you reading? Two books that are worth reading more than once (I keep them in the bathroom) are:
  • "Opening Theory Made Easy" Otake Hideo, and
  • "All About Thickness: Understanding Moyo and Influence" by Ishida Yoshio.

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 Post subject: Re: general flow of the game questions
Post #8 Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2021 10:46 am 
Lives in gote

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I think you mostly need 30-100 more games, maybe with some interactivity with your opponent, exploring instead of simply trying to win. I'll play with you on OGS, conversational and non-aggressive until you want to get more serious.

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