Lesson 152: Patterns with Double-Approach 8
What if your opponent plays a move that you don't already know? Well, this is a pretty silly question because most of the moves played on the Baduk board have never been played before. Lee Chang-ho 9-dan, the best player in the world, often hesitates before answering when asked about where he will play next, saying ``I've never played in this way, so I have to think about it some more.'' His answer is not a humble gesture, but a true confession. It is impossible to be omniscient in front of the Baduk board, even for the world's top player. Then, what must we do? Think more.
We've learned the variations that may occur when White plays A against Black's blocking with 3. However, White can bend at 4, instead of seeking for a life in the corner right away with playing A. Black can consider as his next move, A or B for locking the corner which White abandoned, or C, obeying the saying ``when the opponent bends, extend.''
If Black extends as the saying goes, White will return with 2 to save the corner. Three to 7 is a sequence easily anticipated after White 2, and White gets the profit in the corner while Black builds an influence toward the center. Black's problem is that the influence can be checked by White 8 with no trouble. Moreover, if Black occupies the side with 8 instead of blocking with 7, White will push up with 7, which reduces Black's influence and isolates the △-marked black stone as well. Therefore, C in Diag.1 is ruled out.
If Black secures the corner with 1, White will play atari with 2. It is insignificant for Black to save the stone in atari, and the shape after the saving is not good either. Because of the △-marked stone pressing the white group in the lower side, it is far better for Black to split White into two by attacking at 3 and keeping on the attack.
It is naive for White to bend with 1, following the saying ``when being attached, bend.'' Owing to the 1-2 exchange, the white stones on the left side now reveal vulnerability at A, and the ones on the lower side become weaker as well.
When your opponent is much stronger than you, it's better not to come too close to him. White 1 is quite a clever move in this sense. Of course, Black can capture the ▲-marked white stone by bending at 3, but then White will cut at 2 and limit Black's shape in the corner through the sacrifice of the cut stone. Therefore, the best choice for Black is to keep attacking the white group on the lower side with 2 and 4. I'll leave the management of the following fights to you.
For White to give an atari with 2 when Black blocks with 1 may be a pleasant move to play, but it isn't very profitable. Black can capture the ▲-marked white stone thanks to the good move on 5, and Black's territory on the side is pretty big.
It is good for White to force Black to protect the corner with 3 by making a tiger's mouth with 2, before giving atari with 4. Since it becomes unimportant to save the stone in atari, Black will try to separate White into two with 5 and 7. Unlike in Diag.4, now White 6 and 8 are okay because the white stones on the lower side can easily escape with A.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.