Lesson 151: Patterns with Double-Approach 7
One of my students doesn't like to play handicapped games as Black. He insists that he cannot learn the opening theories and techniques if he lays down handicap stones. His claim is not completely wrong. However, there are many more things you should learn in Baduk, and if you cannot get a balanced result in the opening by bridging the gap of strength between you and your opponent with handicap stones, you will not understand how to play proper middle and end games.
The reason why you have to study so many josekis is somewhat similar to this. If you mess up the opening because you don't know a joseki variation, you will be hard pressed to proceed to a nice middle game. I hope this excuse for my tedious joseki lesson makes sense.
Instead of wedging in at 2, Black can just connect with 1. After White connects with 2, Black 3 is the common move. You may remember you saw a descending move at A for White's answer in a similar situation. Yes, there is a pincer joseki where White comes down with A. In this case, however, to play A leaves Black's influence stronger as the black group has one more liberty. So, if A, Black will happily go to B.
Why Black 3 in Diag.1 is commonly played can be guessed through a simple comparison. If Black goes to 3, the sequence up to 9 is expected. However, this time, it is not such a strong move for Black to come down with A as it was in the situation with Black's wedging in at 2.
It is worse for White to play 2 than to descend at 6. Through the sequence from 3 to 6, Black builds a much stronger wall than before. Now the exchange of A and B cannot hurt the power of the wall.
After Black's bend at 3, it is most common for White to extend with 4. During the sequence from 5 to 9, White becomes squeezed in the corner and Black's influence in the center and the lower side becomes quite big; nevertheless, White can still be content with the result, because he managed to swiftly occupy important points such as 4 and 10. White's group in the corner is alive. Please verify this yourself.
If White goes for the tangible profit rather than occupying good positions for the future, he can answer with 4 against Black 3. However, the difference in result between this diagram and Diag.3 is not that big for White, and I don't recommend it so much.
We've seen what happens when White answers with A against Black 2. But, as mentioned before, every move should be examined with a skeptical mind. What will occur if White bends with 3 instead of simply playing A? That is the topic of the next lesson.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.