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 Post subject: Classifying situations in Go and their flavour
Post #1 Posted: Mon Jan 03, 2022 1:16 pm 
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Go situations
Drawing from standard term usage, perhaps one way we can roughly characterise situations in go as:

Expanding, developing, a moyo: When you develop your own area when the opponent doesn't have stones nearby, but instead you surround areas where the opponent could have entered, but after your move will find it much harder to. (You could think of as weak empty space). Generally you can't go too wrong with a few opening rules of thumb (keep playing near corners, empty space, weak groups, where you can stop your opponent making territory, but away from strong structures). At the highest level, AI still many miniscule mistakes, but it depends very much on tedomari + preemptive control of big areas + judgement of whether it is worth fighting to invade/save a weak group.

Good shape: A concept that usually arises when weak stones of both sides are in contact, generally fighting over space (not eyespace) to develop into. Normally neither side is particularly stronger than the other which means there is everything to play for since more moves not only claim more space but also damage the opponent's group. There are often many standard shape patterns that you can choose from (including tenuki), and correct play can depend very much on the surroundings. Driving tesujis, cuts and nets remain blind spots of even top players (and AI).

Bad shape: This still appears in top level play as a shape that is normally bad but necessary in this position, generally because it is solid enough to save a weak group and remain connected. For example, the empty triangle, or attaching to a wall, or pushing from behind (many AI joseki invasions push from behind and live in sente)

Life and death: When one move or two can affect the life and death of a group (e.g. invading the opponent's area), that side must be a bit flexible and play accurately. This is quite a tough part of the game as you often need to sacrifice something in return for aji that you use to live but you might not be sure that you can live either. This includes threatening a weak connection point/cutting point. Although values depend on the surroundings, optimal moves are generally local, allowing for tsumego problems. Attacking isn't easy either. This tends to require much experience, and is also very important.

Ko: ...

Endgame/boundary plays: When both sides have fairly alive groups nearby and the goal is to shift the boundary as much as possible and not to kill. Earlier on, this normally needs to be very big or sente, but as the temperature cools, smaller and smaller moves are played and things other than points may become relevant to what is the best move (i.e. ko threats). Lots of aspects need to combine to play endgame well, but less reading is required compared to attacking, and more precise counting is needed, and the mistake of one move makes less of a difference, but can still add up to a lot (humans make a lot of mistakes here).

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