Lesson 133: Popular Openings (4)
We've been through the famous Kobayashi Opening, and its variations and innovations in the three previous lessons. The one we are going to study in this lesson is as popular as the Kobayashi Opening, especially among amateur players, and has many variations as well. Unfortunately, however, it has no special title, so that I will call it PO-2 (Popular Opening 2) here.
The basic layout of PO-2 is composed of Black 1 to 7. With this, Black can develop the lower right corner and can also have the initiative on the right side, which helps him to plan ahead for the other parts of the board. What will follow is wholly dependent on whether White expands/approaches with A or B.
Until the 1980s, when the pace of the opening was not as rapid as the present, and when players preferred less aggressive moves than now, White approached with 1, and Black answered with a large knight's move. You may also be able to feel the peaceful and harmonious atmosphere of that time. After White 3, Black plays either A or B according to his mood.
However, the modern way of playing is much more dynamic. Nowadays, against White 1, Black squeezes White with 2 rather than occupying the upper side as in Dia.2. Even though White can have some territorial framework on the upper side, it's more entertaining for Black to be able to harass White by pressing from above with Black A, White B and Black C.
Scared of Black's aggressive reply, White chooses a tighter approach with 1. Playing 1, White wants Black to answer with a nonviolent knight's move with 2. Then, White will settle his group on the right side with 3 and 5. Since White doesn't need to worry about the safety of his group, he can aim to squeeze the black group in the upper right corner with A, or to intrude into Black's territory with B.
Black's jumping into the middle of the two white stones is an endeavor to avoid the outcome of Dia.4. Against it, the commonest White's answers are A and B.
White 2 to Black 7 is one of the most frequently played sequences. Later, Black can move Black 1 with A while White can invade the corner with B.
Let's see what Black can do by pushing up with 1. Against Black's cutting at 3, White's extension with 4 is the usual answer. As you see, Black's influence on the right side is quite huge up to Black 13.
If White plays at 1 here instead of White 4 in Dia.7, a severe ko fight is expected as shown.
If there is the △-marked black stone in the corner, it will also be possible for Black to come out with 2. Up to 7, again Black can build a powerful influence on the right side.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.