Lesson 131: Popular Openings (2)
The Kobayashi Opening has been one of the most widely played opening formations from the 1980s to the present. Due to its popularity, the innovations and transformations of this opening can dramatically illustrate the alterations and changes in the players' way of thinking over time. Seeing its continuing development will help you become sensitive to evaluating the positions on the board.
Out of the two pincers, the high at A and the low at Black 1, the latter was preferred at first. When White pushes up with 2, two answers are most common for Black, B and 3. Out of those two, Black 3 was tried first.
Diagram 2 (B14 is at W5)
White's bending with 1 and Black's cutting with 2 is the sequence mostly agreed upon as soon as Black bends at 3 in Diagram1. The sequence from 3 to 14 is also inevitable.
Continued from Diagram 2, the resulting position up to Black 6 here is regarded as being unfavorable for Black. As you see, Black stones are forming a big bulk on the right and the △-marked Black stone is too close to Black's influence. Also, White can activate the stone in the center with A. For that reason, this sequence is barely played nowadays.
If Black connects at 1 as shown here, instead of capturing one white stone as Black 10 in Diagram 2, he can get a slightly better result than the one in Dia.3. Now Black can exercise dominion over the white stone in the center with 11, and also keep the lower side more securely than before. However, the position of the △-marked stone is still too close to the wall, and White's territory in the corner is much bigger than before. Because of all these reasons, to bend at 3 in Diagram 1 has almost disappeared from recent games.
After players realized that one of the two options led to undesirable results, the sequence starting from Black's push at 1 became the only available choice. Perhaps it will be to your surprise that the result of playing this branch was much more successful than expected for Black. Until White found another response, the sequence up to Black 11 was played by everybody, and most people regarded it as a joseki. However, sensitive players, although they were unable to put their reasons into words, favored Black.
To make a tiger's mouth with 1, instead of jumping at 4 as in Diagram 5, is an innovation. Although there are still debates about who has the more advantageous result, because Black's approaching at A is pretty painful for White, at least here White can prevent Black from having both the lower and the right side as in Diagram 5. Since personally I'd like to take Black in this situation, I hope players find out a better option for White than this. Thus, this opening is still in the process of developing.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.