Lesson 122 : Power of a Bend (2)
This example is taken from a game played between the legendary Dosaku Honinbo (White) and Shunchi Yasui (Black) in 1683. Black attempts to finish the borderline of his territory in the center with 1 and 3. However, Dosaku frustrates Black’s effort with an excellent bend.
All three moves by White shown here are great. Even though there are two cutting points A and B in White’s position, neither can help Black to secure the boundary he originally intended.
It is quite easy to ascertain the brilliance of a move after it is played. If Black cuts at A in Dia.2 to capture the white stones inside his area, the △-marked five black stones will be dead.
Although the result of this sequence is less disastrous for Black, it is still painful. If Black could have anticipated White 1 to 5 in Dia.2, Black wouldn’t have played the atari with 3 in Dia.1.
This example is also taken from a professional game played by Lee Chang-ho (Black) and Norimoto Yoda (White). Lee is famous for his supremacy in the endgame, and is known to create territory in the center where mediocre players can find only neutral points, meaningless for both Black and White. The sequence following this diagram shows how wonderfully Lee finishes the center to his favor.
From 1 to 5, Lee bends three times in a row, creating three cutting points as the result. Lee exposes them to Norimoto in cool blood. What if White cuts at A?
As you may have already guessed, if White cuts at 1, the ▲-marked white stones in the upper center will be trapped by Black 2. To cut at A doesn’t improve the situation, but just helps Black save one move for defending the cutting points after White connects his stones at 2 instead of cutting at 1. See how neatly Lee arranges the center with three bends!
After exchanging White 1 and Black 2, White needs to arrange the situation on the right side.
However, White’s connection at 1 cannot be the answer. As shown, Black easily splits White into two groups, upper and lower, with the sequence 2 to 6.
Of course, the answer is to bend at 1. Even though there are many cutting points in White’s position, it is not a problem for White to be cut by Black. The sequence up to 7 enables White to connect all his stones together, while black stones are concentrated into a big lump. If Black captures the two white stones, White will throw in at 1.
Black’s cutting at 2 is not threatening either. If Black goes out with A after White 5, White will capture Black 2 with B, and if Black saves Black 2 by connecting at B, White will capture the other four stones with A.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.