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Play Against Stronger Players- Vol 1


Version 1

How To Play Against Stronger Players Vol

English Language Go Super Book

 2001 American Go Association All rights reserved

Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without explicit written permission

Original Japanese language edition published as Go Super Book No

first printing Showa 44 (1969),

Deep thanks to the Nihon Ki-in for granting permission to translate and publish this book for the benefit of English speaking Go players

Printed in USA First Distribution February,

Stephenson Proofreaders Roy Laird,

Andreas Balser For general information about American Go Association activities,

org For obtaining this book on-line,

visit the Wings Across Calm Water Go Club website at www

org A single copy of this book may be downloaded for personal use

Reposting to the Internet,

selling or distributing is expressly prohibited without explicit written permission

Preface To the AGA Edition In the 1960’s,

the Japan Go Association (Nihon Kiin) published the popular “Go Super Books,” a series of theme-oriented instructional volumes for mid-level players

Immensely popular in Japan,

they became legendary among the small,

Many Western players owned “Super Books” even though we spoke no Japanese,

just to derive what benefit we could from studying the diagrams

Now for the first time,

we can study the diagrams and read about them too

When former AGA President John Stephenson and translator Stephen Bretherick decided to produce translations of Japanese material for the AGA,

they chose well for this wonderful first effort

With more and more serious beginners entering the US go scene,

there is a growing need for material that will help up-and-coming players to climb the ladder of success by defeating those above

The AGA is extremely grateful to the Wings Across Calm Water go club for producing and distributing this book on the AGA’s behalf

In a wonderful irony of life in the 21st century,

an AGA Chapter that exists only in cyberspace has placed this book in your hands

This is a book that goes beyond the usual review of moves and sequences,

suggesting productive goals and attitudes and then showing how to back them up

Most English-language writing on handicap go counsels patience and restraint for the weaker player

Take your time,

and let the handicap stones assert their power

This book,

advocates a more aggressive stance

The first four words of commentary on Basic Position 1: “Don’t be too respectful

” Learn to refute these White overplays,

and suddenly shodan may not seem so far away

Roy Laird,


The American Go Association,

New York,

January 2001

Introduction In my many years of working with amateur players,

one thing I’ve felt most acutely is their exaggerated fear of the stronger player

They add a move where none is needed,

avoid fights they could easily profit from and in general react in fear to shapeless shadows

Based on these observations,

I’ve written this book in the hopes that you can cast off your needless fears of stronger players

The book is divided into two volumes

Volume one treats 25 local positions that frequently arise in handicap games

I expect working through these positions to help build up your fundamental strength

In Volume two,

I’ve examined amateur weaknesses using as source material actual handicap games I’ve played with students

I’m sure many of these games contain moves not too dissimilar from moves you’ve played yourself,

which should give you a greater appreciation for the lessons they contain

In general,

I’ve tried to select problems at about the 4-5 kyu to shodan level

I hope that reading it will nurture in you a confidence that helps you say “Stronger players don’t scare me

Professional 8-dan,

Autumn 1969


Basic Position 1


Don’t Waver White 1 is an unsound bluff hoping for an error by Black

If Black doesn’t know the correct response,

he can get in a lot of trouble

Proper Black Attitude Firmly taking away liberties is the best way

better than to give atari with 4 and save the two stones with 6

Black can now turn his attention to attacking the two marked stones

Diagram 1 (Proper play by White) Instead of 1 in the Basic Position,

proper play consists of cutting at 1 and extending to 3

Black grips a stone with 4 and jumps to 6 to complete the joseki

White’s hope in playing the unsound bluff of 1 in the Basic Position is …

Diagram 4 (A huge success for Black) Black can give atari with 7,

If White tries to escape with 10,

then Black 11 is a brilliant move that stops White cold

White’s cut at a is a trifle worrying,

White is caught in a ladder

3 4 2 1

2 1 5 4 3

Diagram 2 (Black is snared by the trap) that Black will extend to 1

Then White cuts at 2 and catches two stones by extending to 4

The marked stone is in just the right position to get the job done


Diagram 5 (Watch for the ladder) As we mentioned in Diagram 3,

the successful result in Diagram 4 is predicated on a ladder being favorable to Black

If the ladder favors White,

then it’s possible to answer the marked stone with White 1 and 3

Now it is Black whose position crumbles,

so you need to watch for this ladder

Diagram 3 (Correct resistance by Black) Black 1 is absolutely necessary

Although the shape is bad,

this move takes away a liberty

The best White can manage is to hane at 2

If the ladder is favorable,

the descent to 3 is a great move

White has nothing Page 2

Black has absolutely nothing to fear from this fight since Black a is forcing

But if Black misses the chance to play at 2…

2 3 1 6 5

Diagram 6 (Black is fine) If the ladder is bad Black can solidly connect with 1

White gets some extra space by forcing with 2,

Black can still capture with 5 and 7,

Diagram 9 (White gets his wish) Hurrying to play the extension at Black 1 gives White his wish after the push and cut of 2 and 4

Black’s only option is to give atari from below with 5,

but the loss of the marked stone leaves his position lifeless

3 6 4 5

Diagram 7 (White can breathe) When White plays the marked stone (returning to the Basic Diagram),

Black can start by giving atari with 1 (although this is less preferable than the course of play in diagrams 3-6)

Black’s connection at 3 makes a miai of the extension at 6 and the net at 7

White will push out with 4 and play will follow the course up to Black 7

This final position is playable for Black

5 3 4 6 2

Diagram 8 (If White gets greedy … ) If White skips 4 in the previous diagram,

and hopes to use the push at 1 as a forcing move,

he’s wishing for an early Christmas

Black can force with 2,

Basic Position 2




Capture Them All Common sense should tell us that White’s invasion at 1 is unreasonable,

but if Black doesn’t know the correct response he can easily find himself getting swindled

Proper Black Attitude If Black attacks correctly there is no way that White can live

Black should look to swallow the invasion whole

Diagram 1(Preceding moves) For reference,

here are the moves leading up to the Basic Position

White approaches at 1 and Black responds with the attach-and-extend joseki

After White and Black each protect with 7 and 8 respectively,

White suddenly invades at 9

Diagram 3 (White lives) Continuing from the previous diagram,

White makes shape with 10

This is a great move

When Black connects at 11,

White protects with 12

This shape is absolutely alive

Letting White live this brazenly is no good for Black

Black a followed by the hane at b will kill the group

Diagram 2 (Black 1 is an absolute must) Black 1 is an absolute must

One possible try for White is the peep at 2

For Black to block at 3 and 5 isn’t quite right

The problem is that after connecting at 6,

White can jump all the way to 8

Now this White group is very unlikely to die

Diagram 4 (Black can resist more vigorously,

but) Instead of Black 9 in the previous diagram,

jumping in at 1 is more powerful

Of course White responds with 2 and 4

Now Black 5 is effective

When White connects with 6,

Black takes away a liberty with 7

1 2 5 3 4

Diagram 5 (Ko) Continuing from the previous diagram,

White must hane at 1

Black in turn must bend at 2

Now White 3 is a superb move

Even if Black tries to avoid a ko with 4,

the hane at 5 brings one about

Getting a ko in this position is a success for White

Diagram 7 (Black forcefully captures) Black’s kosumi at 1 is the right move

If White blocks at 2,

Black blocks at 3 and connects at 5

The entire White group is captured

If instead of 2,

White flees with 3,

then Black just snips off the tail with 2

3 2 4 5

4 2 5 3 1

Diagram 8 (A slip by Black) If Black leaves out 1 in the previous diagram,

then the attachment at White 1 succeeds

White responds to 3 and 5 with 4 and 6 and lives

As you can see,

Black 1 in Diagram 7 is a vital point

Diagram 6 (Black’s correct line of play) Instead of 5 in Diagram 2,

Black should play 1 in this diagram,

The sequence from White’s kosumi at 2 through the block at Black 5 is forced

Then perhaps White can try to push out with 6

Black’s response to this move is the key point

5 4 1 2 3

Diagram 9 (Another White success) (Going back to Diagram 2) White can also attach at 1

This offers formidable resistance

If Black blocks at 2,

White makes shape with 3 and sets up a ko with 5

White should be able to get a good result here


Diagram 11(A crushing placement) After Black connects with 1,

White can’t quite find an easy way to live

Black’s placement at 5 is crushing

If Black skips 5 and just connects at 7,

White 5 lives

But continuing after 7 … 8

Diagram 10 (A fierce attack) Extending with Black 1 is an effective attack

If White extends with 2,

Black jumps with 3

After attaching and extending with 4 and 6,

it looks as if White has gotten some breathing room,

Diagram 12 (5 stone nakade) Even if White tries to make more space with 8,

Black plays the kosumi at 9 and again at 11 creating a 5 stone nakade

White dies

The move order is important

If instead of 9 Black plays at 11 first,

then White plays at 9 and doesn’t die

Basic Position 3



Enclosure comes first In handicap go,

White frequently must dive in with moves knowing that they are unreasonable

White 1 in the Basic Position is a case in point

Proper Black Attitude Whatever happens,

Black should make sure that this White group couldn’t get to the outside easily


the first Black move should be an enclosure

You should also study the variations that follow

Diagram 1 (Attachment) No matter what,

Black should begin with 1 to prevent White from sticking his head out

This can’t be bad

White naturally responds by wedging at 2,

looking to separate Black’s stones

Now Black has a choice between aor b

Diagram 2 (Cutting below) Cutting below at 3 is correct

And when White extends to 4,

connecting at 5 is a good move

At first glance,

it seems that when White moves out with 6 and 8 that Black’s position is getting split,

Diagram 3 (Black is secure) Although White’s hane at 10 makes a good shape,

Black 11 and 13 are a good sequence

Black can force with the attachment at 15 to make White heavy,

then capture with 17 to obtain a fully secure position

Diagram 4 (White gobbles up Black’s territory) What happens if Black ataris from above at 1,

? When White connects at 2 and Black connects at 3,

White can run out with 4 and 6 and live easily

White has gobbled up Black’s territory

Diagram 5 (Black tries a more violent approach) The result in the previous diagram is just too bad to tolerate

Instead of 3 in the previous Diagram,

White seemingly has no choice but to cut at 2

After Black’s connection at 3,

White 4 is a natural try

Page 10

Diagram 6 (Even) Black 5,

is the only move—if Black tries to cut at 12 instead,

Play continues with White giving atari at 6 through the connection at 12

The final result gives Black thickness in return for territory for White,

Diagram 7 (White dodges) The previous diagram ended in an even result,

but this is due to a problem in White’s play

That is,

White should avoid the seemingly natural cut at 2 in Diagram 5,


White should first run out with 1 in the current diagram

Black has to be patient and connect with 2

But then White grabs the vital 3-3 point with 3,

and has skillfully dodged Black’s attack

Diagram 8 (White develops quickly) Continuing from the previous diagram,

disrupting the White connection with 4 and 6 is about the best Black can do

White can jump out to 7,

Black pretty much needs to repair the cutting point with 8,

so not only does White get 7 in,

This is no good for Black

Page 11

Diagram 9 (Unreasonable for Black) In Diagram 7,

we saw White getting the vital 3-3 point

What happens if Black tries to get there first with 1 in the current diagram

exposing Black’s play as unreasonable

3 5 2 4 6

Diagram 10 (Black goes for a capture) Black’s descent to 1,

blocking the knight’s move at a,

is an attempt to capture White


White can secure life by playing atari at 2 and calmly extending to 6

Diagram 11 (Black is left with cutting points) If Black extends to 7,

White 8-14 give a completely living shape

What’s more,

there’s not much to admire in Black’s final position,

which has cutting points at a and b

Page 12

Diagram 12 (Sabaki for White) In the initial position,

the knight’s move at 1 is too loose for Black

This lets White look for complications with the attachment at 2

If Black plays 3,

then White plays 4 to make sabaki

Basic Position 4



Which direction

? This position is important for developing a basic understanding of go

The key point is learning how to proceed to develop a moyo

Proper Black Attitude Black needs to consider which direction to block in order to make sure the triangled stone is not wasted

Page 13

1 2 3 4 5

Diagram 1 (Correct move) Blocking with 1 is the correct direction

And then Black should follow with the double hane at 3 and 5,

What follows is joseki

Diagram 3 (A try for White) In the previous diagram,

White can try the hane at 1 and the cut at 3

Black’s best response is to calmly connect at 4

Diagram 2 (Joseki) Gripping a single stone with 6 and 8 is the most reasonable response for White,

but then Black can cut off the two White stones with 9 and 11

This should be considered a nice profit for Black

Diagram 4 (Black is playable) White has no choice but to grip the stone with 5

Black can grab the corner with 6 and 8,

and has sente after White settles with 9

This is eminently playable for Black

Page 14

Diagram 5 (Reading the ladder) What Black really needs to be careful about in Diagram 1 is a ladder

That is,

White can connect at 1 if the ladder is favorable

Black can’t grip with a,

but needs to improvise with something like 2

Then Black needs to worry about a splitting attack such as 3

Black can resist with 4 and 6,

but when White pokes his head out with 9 …

Diagram 7 (Black is thick) Instead of going all out to capture the triangled White stone,

Black 1 is a good move

If White grips at 2 then Black can force with both 3 and 5 before completing his position with 7

Black has great thickness

4 3 5 6 1

12 11 13

Diagram 6 (Split) The sequence from 10 through 16 is necessary,

but when White jumps to 17 the position is uncomfortable for Black


Diagram 8 (An overplay for White) Suppose White cuts with 1

? Drawing back with 2 is a calm move for Black

After White 3,

Black blocks and guards the cutting point with 4 and 6,

and the unreasonableness of White’s play is exposed

Page 15

Diagram 9 (White is in trouble) White needs to play 7 and 9 to prevent the corner from dying

When Black controls the single White stone with 10,

it is clear that White is worse

Diagram 11 (Black’s wall accomplishes nothing) White crawls with 6,

When White gets in the 2 line extension with 10,

one has to wonder what in the world Black is doing

The two White stones neatly erase all of the Black thickness on the right side

4 5 3 2

6 4 1 2

Diagram 10 (How not to play for Black) Back in the original position,

blocking in the other direction with Black 1 is not good

When White hanes with 4,

even if Black extends with 5…

Diagram 12 (Split) Instead of the extension at 5 in Diagram 10,

if Black tries the double hane,

then White takes a stone with 2 and 4

When Black finishes the exchange with 7,

White moves to the upper left corner with 8 and Black’s stone on the top gets isolated

Page 16

Basic Position 5





Moving Out White can’t just allow the right side to become Black territory


White moves out with 1

What is the best way for Black to attack

? Proper Black Attitude Working directly against White 1 won’t work out well

The secret is to attack on a large scale

Page 17

9 5 8 6

Diagram 1 (Preceding moves) Let’s look at the moves leading up to the Basic Position

Black pincers at 1 and White counter pincers at 2

You’ve probably seen the position after 11 in one of your own games

Diagram 3 (Black is cut to pieces) About the best Black can do is to give atari at 5 and then grip with 7

White gains thickness with 8 then invades with 10 – a big success

1 3 2 4 1

Diagram 2 (Black attacks directly) First,

let’s look at a bad line for Black

Cutting at 1 is radically bad

White can easily sacrifice the stone with 2 and 4

5 3 2 4 6

Diagram 4 (White gets sabaki) The hane at 1 is the first move that springs to mind,

but Black deserves no credit for this move either

White can jump lightly to 2,

If Black tries the atari at 3,

White plays 4 knowingly sacrificing 2 stones

Then White answers 5 with 6,

completing the initial objective

Page 18

Diagram 5 (White’s tesuji) In Diagram 3,

if Black gives atari from below instead of above,

roughly the same result as Diagram 4 is reached

White counter ataris at 2,

and gets a fine result after 6

If White skips 2 and connects at a,

then Black plays 5 and White is in trouble

Diagram 7 (Attacking on a large scale) Returning to the Basic Position,

Black should lean against the top with 1 instead of attacking directly

If White extends,

Black should just keep pushing

Continuing …

6 11 10

Diagram 6 (White comes under attack) Of course,

if White responds to the hane represented by the triangled stone with the obedient extension at 1,

this just gives Black the opportunity to attack

Black peeps at 2 and continues through to the jump at 6

If White pushes out at a,

Black b continues the attack in good form

Diagram 8 (White is captured) If White extends to 6,

then Black can go all out to capture with 7 and 9

Black can meet 10 with 11 and White absolutely can’t escape

It follows therefore that White can’t afford to extend at 6 and must instead make shape with 7,

holding off the attack for now

Black plays the hane at 6 and has an easy position

Page 19

1 3 2 4

Diagram 9 (Proper play by White) Given the result in the previous diagrams,

White really can’t afford to play the hane at 1 in the Basic Diagram

The best course is to give up on the triangled stone and bend around at 1 and 3

Page 20

Basic Position 6





Seal In This is a position that frequently appears in handicap go

Black needs to block from one side or the other

in this case the best approach is to seal White in the corner

Proper Black Attitude This is a basic position,

so the variations that develop need to be learned so thoroughly they become second nature

Page 21

2 2 4 3 5

Diagram 1 (White is cramped) In the Basic Position,

White plays the attachment at 1 looking to make sabaki,

but suppose he had played the meek kakari at 1 instead

? When Black plays the sequence through 4,

White is cramped

Diagram 3 (White’s shape collapses) In the previous diagram,

if White does not force at 4 but jumps to 1 in the current diagram,

Black can push at 2 and White’s shape collapses

Diagram 2 (White gets his wish) After White attaches as in the Basic Position,

blocking from the inside with Black 1 grants White’s wish

White pulls back with 2 and Black’s descent to 3 is a severe attack,

but White settles by forcing with 4 and jumping to 6

White can also be satisfied

When the triangled stone is not on the board,

this is the best course for Black,

Diagram 4 (Black is stretched thin) In Diagram 2,

if Black omits the descent with 3 and pushes with 2 in the current diagram,

his position gets stretched thin

Of course white hanes at 2

Black has nothing better than to continue with the hane at 3,

but when White hanes back with 4…

Page 22

6 7 5 11

Diagram 5 (White lives comfortably) Black barrels along with the double hane at 5,

but White simply connects with 6 and continues through to the ponnnuki at 10 and lives comfortably

Diagram 7 (Black completes the outside) Continuing from the previous diagram,

Black can force with the diagonal attachment at 7

White needs to live with 8 and 10,

and when Black jumps to 11 he completes his outside position

Diagram 6 (Black emphasizes the outside) When White attaches with the triangled stone,

Black should block from the outside with 1

If White pulls back with 2,

then the descent with 3 is severe

White can jump to 4,

but then Black firmly connects the outside with 5 and White needs to add another move with 6 in order to live

Diagram 8 (More of the same) If White wants to prevent the diagonal attachment of 7 in the previous diagram,

the attachment at 1 is forcing,

But after Black responds with 2 and the jump at 4,

Black’s outside position is no less imposing than in the previous diagram

Page 23

Diagram 9 (A slack move by Black) Going back to Diagram 6,

suppose Black leaves out the descent to 3 and instead firmly connects with 1 in the current diagram

When White plays the knight’s move at 2,

Black needs to take a defensive posture with 3 – if Black omits this move,

White jumps out to 3 – and after the sequence to 7,

Black’s position is over concentrated

Diagram 11 (An even result) Continuing from the previous diagram,

playing solidly with 8 is a good move for Black

White plays 9 through 13 to erase any bad aji in the corner,

settling the situation with an even result

But if White leaves out 13 3

4 2 1 5

7 6 5 2

Diagram 10 (White’s best continuation) White cannot bear to be sealed in as in Diagram 7

It follows that when Black blocks with the triangled stone that White should resist with the hane at 1

The usual continuation is for Black to connect at 2 and White at 3

With the sequence up to 7 White establishes a home in the corner

Diagram 12 (Bad aji for White) Black can make the placement at 1 and White has bad aji

White defends with 2 and Black hanes at 3 and when White hanes at 4,

Black bumps up against White with 5

As a result…

Page 24

4 2 3 1

Diagram 13 (A one step yose ko) White must connect with 6 and Black bends at 7,

White must block with 8

After first playing the hane at 9,

just connecting with 11 is a good move,

resulting in a one step yose ko


White can’t leave out 13

Diagram 15 (A forceful continuation for Black) Black can respond forcefully to the hane at the triangled stone with 1 and 3,

but there are ladderrelated considerations

These are good variations to learn by heart

Diagram 14 (Black destroys aji) If Black plays 1 to begin with this just destroys his own aji

White is happy to defend at 2 and now Black has little choice but to connect at 3

Black has lost a move

Diagram 16 (The related ladder) Instead of 6,

White can play at a and live,

If White plays 6 and the ladder favors Black,

then the hane at 7 and the block at 9 are violently forceful

The ladder arises when White cuts at b then forces with the atari at c

Page 25

Diagram 17 (When the ladder doesn’t favor Black) If the ladder doesn’t favor Black,

then drawing back at 1 is about the best that’s available


that gives White the tesuji that arises after the cut at 2

Black 8 throws in at white 2,

then black 9 captures at white 4

After Black 9…

12 10 18

Diagram 18 (Eminently playable for White) The sequence from the atari at White 10 through the jump to 18 is forced

Black 17 retakes at a

This position is eminently playable for White

It follows therefore,

that if the ladder is not favorable,

Black should not attempt 1 and 3 in Diagram 15

Page 26

Basic Position 7





A challenge from the weaker player Even as the supposedly weaker player,

if White’s position has weaknesses,

Black must resolutely attack

This is a familiar position,

but … Proper Black Attitude The first move is pretty easy to find,

but try to find the most severe possible follow-up

Page 27

Diagram 1 (The most vigorous followup) Black 1 is the location most people would look first

White 2 follows as a matter of course

After that,

even though it seems to be going in the wrong direction,

Diagram 3 (More of the same) Instead of 4 in the previous diagram,

if White just moves out with 1,

Black attaches at 2,

once more bringing the single White stone under control

This result is essentially the same as the previous diagram

7 6 5 5 7

Diagram 2 (A success for Black) Continuing from the previous diagram,

Black resists by bending at 5

When White connects at 6,

Black 7 brings the single White stone under control,

and Black’s invasion is a big success

White’s large group still does not have eyes

Diagram 4 (An old position) Instead of the push at 3 in Diagram 1,

bumping up against White with 1 in this diagram is also a wellknown move

In response to White 2,

Black can force with the hane at 3,

After Black 7 …

Page 28

8 10 9 11

Diagram 5 (A success for Black,

but ) When White pushes out at 8 and cuts at 10,

Black plays the cut at 11 and continues with 13

Even though White is allowed the ponnuki at 12,

capturing the 3 White stones gives Black an advantageous position

However …

Diagram 7 (Black is half crushed) If Black resists by pulling back to 6,

White has a good move with the bend at 7

Black needs to play 8 in order to live,

and when White plays 9 Black must wonder what in the world he’s been doing

6 5 3 4

Diagram 6 (White resists) Before capturing with 12 in the previous diagram,

White can first put the question to Black with the cut at 1

Of course Black plays 2

Now White captures with 3

Black has little choice but to play 4,

Black is left with a burdensome position


Diagram 8 (Black improvises) However,

if Black wants to avoid the disaster in the previous diagram,

the connection at Black 1 succeeds

If White resists by connecting at 2,

jumping at Black 3 is the correct move order

Page 29

Diagram 9 (Black can capture,

but ) Black cuts with 7 and creates an eye with 9 and 11,

winning the race and capturing 5 stones


even with the capture of 5 stones it’s unclear that Black’s position is superior

And if we go back a few moves…

Diagram 11 (Resistance by Black) When White descends with the triangled stone,

Black’s hane at 1 offers much stiffer resistance

After White connects underneath with 2,

when Black connects with 5 Black has a quite playable position

Diagram 10 (White tosses a curve) When Black bumps up against White,

White can vary with 1

If Black jumps to 2,

White can force with 3 and then connect underneath with 5

In this final position,

Black’s marked stone is not usefully placed and Black’s position is unsatisfactory

Diagram 12 (A sharp cut by White) However,

(instead of 4 in the previous diagram) White can cut inside with 1,

After Black gives atari with 2 the sequence that follows is forced,

and after the jump to 13 White has a fine position

The conclusion,

is that Black’s strongest line is 1 and 3 in Diagram 1

Page 30

Basic Position 8



Keep the attack going Black has a number of ways to respond

(In order to choose the correct way),

Black has to remember that White has come into his area to make sabaki

Proper Black Attitude Making use of the triangled stone,

do whatever it takes to keep White from settling

Keep the option to attack going

Page 31

Diagram 1 (The case where Black attacks first) For reference,

let’s suppose that White does not play 1 and 3 in the Basic Position

In that case,

Black gets to attack first at 1,

In that case,

trying to live with the triangled stone will be extremely painful for White

Diagram 3 (White is heavy) Again going back to the Basic Position,

White’s hane at 3 is an important tesuji to make sabaki

If instead White pulls back at 1 in the current diagram,

White is left with a heavy shape when Black descends to 2

Diagram 2 (Putting wind in White’s sails) The knight’s move at 1 is often seen,

but the sequence of 2 through 4 puts wind in White’s sails

What’s more,

it leaves open the possibility of a White invasion in the corner at a

Diagram 4 (Black’s correct attacking method) White has come into Black’s area to make sabaki,

so Black needs to prevent this

Making a strong bar shape with the connection at 1 is a forceful way to play

Making the hanging connection with 2 is the correct shape move for White,

and then descending at 3 to continue the attack is the right method for Black

After this,

Black can look forward to attacking with the peep at a

Page 32

5 3 4 2 a

Diagram 5 (White is heavy) In the previous diagram instead of the hanging connection at 2,

if White plays the solid connection at 1 in the current diagram,

then Black plays the descent at 2 anyway

White’s position is a bit heavy

Diagram 7 (Black’s position is strange) If Black plays the connection at 1 first,

Even if Black connects at 5,

after White’s connection at 4,

and Black’s attacking potential evaporates as well

And if Black leaves out the connection at 5 and tries to take sente…

1 3 4 2

Diagram 6 (Taking sente) Diagram 4 shows a sequence that defends with an option to attack later

Of course,

there will also be cases where Black wants sente to play somewhere else

In those cases,

solidly connecting with 1 is wise

White’s best is still the hanging connection at 2,

so now Black can exchange 3 for 4

Then Black can tennuki and play elsewhere


Diagram 8 (White captures in sente) When White captures a stone with 1 and 3,

Black can’t avoid responding with 4

In other words,

White is able to capture this stone in sente

To see how bad this is for Black,

compare this position with the one in Diagram 6


Page 33

Diagram 9 (Black’s stones aren’t effective) Playing the connection at 1 followed by the descent at 3 isn’t effective for Black

It goes without saying that a stone at a would be more useful in attacking White

For example,

it is much easier for White to continue to try to settle with the attachment at b (than it would be with a stone at a)

Page 34

Basic Position 9




Aiming to bankrupt Black This is a position that frequently arises in handicap games of 6 stones or more

In desperation,

White attaches at 1

In a handicap game,

this sort of situation can frequently lead to a bankruptcy on Black’s part

Proper Black Attitude This action is occurring deep in Black’s territory,

Black has to be determined to cause damage to White

Page 35

7 6 8 10

Diagram 1 (Preceding moves) Here are the moves leading up to the Basic Position

White plays the approach at 1,

and Black responds with the attach and extend joseki

Then when White approaches with 9,

Black defends with 10

Diagram 3 (White makes sabaki) If Black blocks with 5 and submissively connects with 7,

then White can jump to 8 and make a sabaki

Rather than saying that Black’s upper right corner has been thickened,

it’s more accurate to say that it’s been made overconcentrated

Diagram 2 (A standard defense) First let’s look at a commonsensical defense in which Black extends to 1

When White responds at 2 Black must block at 3

Then White will hane at 4

Diagram 4 (Black resists) Rather than submit with the connection at 7 in the previous diagram,

Black should at least try resisting by jumping to 1

White cuts with 2 and pushes out with the sequence through 6,

Page 36

Diagram 7 (Black is crushed) White pushes out with 8 through 13 and Black falls apart

Diagram 5 (Black grabs territory) Black plays 7 through 13,

grabbing territory and getting a fine position

Diagram 6 (Black tries to capture) What happens if,

Black forcefully tries to capture the White group with 1

? Black attaches with 7 and…

Diagram 8 (White aims for ko) However (going back to Diagram 2),

there remains the possibility that White will aim for a ko with the attachment at 1

Black takes up the challenge with 4 and 6,

Page 37

8 9 10 4 5

Diagram 9 (White gets a playable position) White has a good ko threat at 7

If Black resolves the ko with 8,

White destroys the corner with 9 and has an eminently playable position


Diagram 11 (Capturing race) White is aiming at the push and cut starting with 8


Black is okay after responding to 4 by simply extending to 5

The only trick is that after the cut with 8 and 10…

11 13 12

Diagram 10 (A pragmatic good move for Black) In order to avoid the ko shown in Diagram 8,

Black can play the diagonal attachment at 1

This is a pragmatic,

If White responds at a,

Black plays b with a good position


White should play the clamp at 2,

Extending at 3 is the clearest course for Black

Diagram 12 (Black wins) Black 11 is the key point in the capturing race

White has no choice but to force with 12,

then push and cut with 14 and 16

Bending at Black 17 wins the capturing race

After that,

even if White forces with a and surrounds Black with b,

White has only 3 liberties,

Page 38

Diagram 13 (Black goes astray) Instead of the extension at 3 in Diagram 10,

gripping the stone with Black 1 gives White something to play for

White plays atari at 2,

Page 39

Basic Position 10






Looking for simplicity When White invades with the triangled stone,

and Black plays the marked diagonal stone,

White has attached and cut with 1 and 3

Black should look for a simple response

Proper Black Attitude There are many ways to respond,

but Black should look to avoid complication

Page 40

2 4 3 5 6

Diagram 1 (Black falls into the trap) Extending with 1 grants White’s wishes

White gives atari with 2 and 4,

skillfully sacrificing a single stone

After White gives atari again with 6…

Diagram 2 (Black is thin) If Black captures with 7,

White gives atari with 8,

Black’s lower group has become extremely thin

What’s more,

the upper group has an ugly dumpling shape

Page 41

Diagram 3 (White is thick) Extending to 1 is probably a bit better for Black than the previous diagram,

but the sequence 2 through 6 still gives White a good thick position

Black 7 is an attempt to prevent a White move at a,

but the Black stones on the bottom are so thin that Black probably can’t really afford to play this

1 3 2 4

4 5 6 7

Diagram 4 (Correct response 1) Giving atari with 1 then connecting with 3 is a good,

Black is willing to give up the triangled stone

If White grips the stone with a

Black can block at b then jump to c,

surrounding a nice piece of territory in good form


Diagram 5 (A simple line for Black) White will crawl with 4 and 6

Black responds patiently with 5 and 7

When White responds with 8,

the diagonal contact at 9 is perfectly timed

Even if White extends to a,

this group still has extremely bad aji because Black has a placement at b

This line is one simple continuation for Black

If White had played at c'instead of 8,

Black has a nice move at d

Page 42

Diagram 6 (Correct response 2) Giving atari with 1 and connecting with 3 is another good,

When White grips the stone with 4,

Black’s plan is to give up the stone with 5 and 7

Diagarm 7 (Ponnuki) Trying the same sacrifice strategy but skipping 1 and 2 in the previous diagram isn’t good

In this diagram (where White has a ponnuki),

White will resist with the hane at b

1 2 5 3 4

Diagram 8 (Playable for Black) If White skips 4 in the previous diagram and extends to 1,

Black can play forcing moves at 2 and 4 to get a playable shape (thereby gaining time to play 6)

Page 43

Basic Position 11



? Surprise Attack Instead of peeping at White 1,

joseki is jumping to a followed by Black jumping to b

But it’s not enough just to know joseki

Take this opportunity to learn about the surprise attack of White 1

Proper Black Attitude Trying too hard to cut 1 off will fail

Page 44

5 2 2 3

Diagram 1 (A quiet response) Blocking with 1 is a commonsensical response for Black

When White pulls back with 2,

the diagonal attachment at 3 and the attachment at 5 are the right timing

Continuing …

Diagram 3 (White is suffering) Instead of 8 in the previous diagram,

it is impossible for White to try to resist with 1

Black can hane at 2 and Black has to defend with 3

When Black attacks the top with 4,

White’s position is painful

4 3 2 1

9 6 8 7

Diagram 2 (Looking to attack) For White,

expanding with 6 is the only move

If White allows Black to extend to 6,

White’s shape will collapse

But Black can force with the peep at 7,

eyeing attacks on both the two stones on top and the White group on the right side

Diagram 4 (White varies) White won’t necessarily defend quietly as in Diagram 1

White can vary with the diagonal move at 1 of the present diagram

Black’s connection at 2 and White’s hane at 3 follow as a matter of course,

but now for Black to block at 4 falls right into White’s plans

Page 45

5 6 7 8

6 4 5 1

Diagram 5 (Nice shape for White) The sequence from the peep at 5 through the jump at 9 puts wind in White’s sails

White responds to Black 10 with 11,

making good shape while attacking

Diagram 7 (No eyes) If Black tries to descent to 1,

White can jump to 2 and watch for Black’s response

If Black jumps to 3,

White plays 4,

Black cannot make eyes

Diagram 6 (Painful for Black) Suppose Black tries to force with the diagonal attachment at 1 before connecting and blocking

After White 6,

Black’s position is still painful

Black has a choice between descending with a or defending with b …

Diagram 8 (Painful shape) If Black defends with 1,

White gives atari with 2,

When Black jumps to 5,

White protects the top with 6 and has an easy game

Page 46

Diagram 9 (A resolute move) Black should not play the block of 4 in Diagram 4

The right course of action is to resolutely build outside influence with the sequence from 1 through 5

This is a good,

Back answers White 6 with the block at 7 and…

Diagram 11 (Black is good) If White dislikes the outer influence Black gets in the previous diagram,

he can try 1 in the present diagram instead of 6 in Diagram 9

But after first forcing with 2,

Black can play a very good move at 4

This allows White to connect with 5,

but Black 6 shows good judgement

Black’s outer influence in this diagram is just as good as in Diagram 10

4 1 2 5 3

Diagram 10 (Black’s outer influence is superior) When White hanes at 8,

Back resists with the double hane at 9

The outside influence Black gets after gripping the single stone with 13 is huge

White has gathered a little territory,

but this is not a problem at all for Black

Diagram 12 (A failure for Black) Immediately trying to cut the White stone off with Black 1 is a bit unreasonable

White plays the hane and connect with 2 and 4,

then pushes and cuts with 6 and 8

Both sides have cut off a single opponent stone,

but White’s corner territory is big

Page 47

Basic Position 12



Exchange Pushing out with White 1 really isn’t very good


White can reap a huge dividend

Proper Black Attitude Black should consider the two triangled Black stones as light,

and look to exchange them for the triangled White stone

This is the simplest way to proceed

Page 48

3 1 2 1

Diagram 1 (Preceding moves) This position arises when White approaches with 1 and Black pincers with 2

White plays the double approach at 3,

Black attaches and extends with 4 and 6,

Instead of White 9,

it’s usual to start fighting with the diagonal move at a

Diagram 3 (Unnecessary resistance by Black) Blocking with 1 is unnecessary resistance by Black

White’s cut at 2 leads to a burdensome fight for Black

If Black cuts with 3,

White plays the hane and connect with 4 and 6,

2 1 4 3 5

Diagram 2 (Calm play for Black) Black’s best move is to pull back with 1

If White keeps coming out with 2 and 4,

Black can quietly respond with 3 and 5,

Comparing Black’s territory with White’s outside thickness,

Black is clearly better


Diagram 4 (Black collapses) If Black’s descent at 7 worked,

Black is crushed


Page 49

6 5 4 8 7

3 5 1 3

Diagram 5 (A different approach for Black) Black has no choice but to give atari with 1 and protect the corner with 3


capturing the stone with 4 is great for White

Black forces with 5 and 7,

Diagram 7 (Advantage for White) Black can try to set up a net with 1,

but now the block at White 2 is sente

Black can’t leave out 3,

so White gets a chance to poke out with 6

Black’s triangled stone is in an awkward position

Diagram 6 (Painful for Black) Black gets to play 13 and 15,

In this sequence,

White has gotten clearly stronger on the top,

while Black’s 4 stones in the center lack stability

Black has clearly gotten the worst of the bargain

There is one more thing Black can try instead of 13…

Diagram 8 (Black rushes to capture) For reference,

in Diagram 2 when Black played 5,

rushing to capture the single White stone with 1 was not an option

After White cuts with 2,

Page 50

8 9 7 a

3 1 4 2

Diagram 9 (Black is squeezed) If black cuts with 7,

White’s descent to 8 starts the sequence through 14,

Diagram 11 (Ko) Black’s cut at 1 is a clever move

White grips a single stone with 2,

and Black crawls along with 3 and 5,

But at any rate,

ko is not a good result for Black in this position

Diagram 10 (Black is captured) White’s block at 1 starts a capturing race

Black 2 is an uninspired move,

Black loses the race

When Black cuts at 4,

White’s descent to 5 works


Diagram 12 (A big loss for Black) To avoid the preceding,

Black can replace 7 in Diagram 9 with the circumspect 1 in the present diagram


allowing White to play 2 is a big loss for Black

What’s more,

later in the game White can squeeze Black with a sequence starting with a

This is more than Black can stand

Page 51

Basic Position 13




Solid and Thick The attachment at White 1 seems unreasonable,

but how it turns out depends on Black’s answer

Take this opportunity to master the proper response

Proper Black Attitude White has an invaded Black’s area of influence

Capturing the invading stone is unrealistic


Page 52

2 3 4 5

Diagram 1 (Preceding moves) However you think about this position,

it is out of the question for Black to start with anything other than the block at 1 (or 2,

When White pulls back with 2,

solidly connecting with 3 is a good move

White will run out to 4,

looking to gobble up as much Black territory as possible

But Black needs to put up with this

Of course,

it would be necessary to have blocked at 2 instead of 1

Diagram 2 (Turning to attack) Continuing from the previous diagram,

the diagonal move at Black 5 is an absolute necessity

For White,

about the best that can be managed is to live with 6 and 8,

so Black gets a chance to turn to attack with 9

This Black 9 not only attacks White,

but plays a big role in completing Black’s corner territory

In other words,

this follows the ideal pattern of surrounding territory while attacking

Page 53

Diagram 3 (Half-hearted) Playing 1 in this diagram instead of the solid connection of 3 in Diagram 1 lacks conviction

After White hanes with 2 and crawls with 4,

blocking with Black 5 leaves behind bad potential

6 3 4 1 2

Diagram 4 (Sealed in,

White runs out with 6

Black responds with 7 through 11 and appears to sealed White in,

Diagram 5 (Cutting points remain) White can develop quickly with 12 through 16

After this,

even if Black turns to attack with a,

Page 54

Diagram 6 (A better attempt for Black) Instead of the diagonal move of 7 in Diagram 4,

Black probably does better by decisively forcing with 1

White needs to live with 2 and 4,

and now when Black plays the diagonal move at 5,

there are fewer cutting points left behind

But this result is still not particularly good for Black

That is because…

Diagram 7 (White is secure) After forcing once with 6,

White gets to play first on the bottom

After White settles and makes profit with 8 and 10,

the value of Black’s thickness has been reduced by half

On the other hand,

if Black skips 7 and turns to attack the bottom first,

Black a and White b put Black in a territorial hole for the contest that follows

It’s hard to expect a satisfying result

Diagram 8 (Complications from White) Playing conventionally as in Diagram 1 is not very attractive for White,

so complicating matters by answering Black’s block at the triangled stone with 1 is a strong possibility

Giving atari with 2 and extending to 4 is a good,

White can try to settle with 5,

Page 55

Diagram 9 (A strong response from Black) Black connects with 6

Then when White links up with 7,

Black can rough White up a bit with 8 and 10

14 11 13

Diagram 10 (White is captured) Even if White tries to squirm away with 11,

After Black 16,

White is obliterated

It follows then that White 1 in Diagram 8 was a bit unreasonable

Page 56

Basic Position 14




A Desperate Stab White 1 is a desperate stab

There are a number of ways to play – the best choice probably depends on your style

Proper Black Attitude In general,

it’s best to play straightforwardly without straining


it’s sometimes hard to play straightforwardly…

Page 57

12 11 10 9

Diagram 1 (Normal play by White) First let’s look at how White really should play

Instead of 1 in the Basic Position,

it’s normal to cut with 1 in the present diagram and try to make a sabaki

After this,

there are a number of ways to play,

but the simplest is for Black to play the atari at 2 followed by 4 and 6

When White grips the stone with 9,

the situation is settled for now

Diagram 3 (Black falls into a trap) Capturing a stone with 7 is exactly what White wants

The sequence from White through 12 follows,

which is a huge failure for Black

Instead of extending with 9 Black should at least play at a and squeeze,

But at any rate,

after Black 7 it is clear that Black has been outwitted

Instead of 7…

3 2 4 1

Diagram 2 (Vigorous resistance) Coming back to the current problem,

cutting with Black 1 puts up strong resistance

Black responds to 2 by gripping a stone with 3,

Black has to worry about the fight becoming complicated

That is,

Diagram 4 (Black 1 is good) Giving atari with Black 1 is the correct move

If White captures at a instead of defending at 2,

then Black captures at 2 and it’s clear who has the advantage


White has to resist with 2 and 4,

but when Black captures with 5,

White has no good response

Page 58

6 5 2 3 4

9 1 10 11

Diagram 5 (Black gets a big advantage) White can save the corner with 6 and 8,

but the diagonal move at 9 is good,

White makes the hanging connection at 10 and Black defends with 11,

White’s corner is not yet completely alive and the center group is thin

White will have a hard time surviving

Diagram 7 (Straightforward play by Black) Extending to Black 1 is a straightforward response to White’s hane at the triangled stone – let’s see how that works out

White’s hane at 2 is a tesuji looking to see what Black’s response will be

Black 3 and 5 seem like a natural response,

After this… 7 11

Diagram 6 (Black is better) Therefore,

White has no choice but to give atari with 1

Cutting at Black 2 is the strongest response and White must capture at 3

Black splits with 4


Black must not play at 3 instead of 2

Diagram 8 (Even) Black must block with 7

If White wants to play for outside influence,

cutting at 8 and capturing 2 stones with 10 is the way

Black can force at 11,

and the position is settled for now after White grips the 2 stones with 12

Compared to the variations after Diagram 4,

White is in somewhat better shape

What’s more…

Page 59

1 5 2 3

Diagram 9 (White goes for territory) If White wants to play for territory,

then instead of 10 in the previous diagram,

the sequence from 1 through 5 in the current diagram is possible


Black can take up a thick position with 6 and doesn’t stand badly

But it would be wrong for Black to answer White 1 at 3,

capturing the two triangled stones but allowing White to force with 5 then play 2

Diagram 11 (A firm response) Black’s firmest defense consists of giving atari with 1 and then connecting at 3

If White pulls back with 4,

then blocking with 5 gives Black a nice,

It follows,

that White should try something else instead of 4… 2 4

Diagram 10 (Black gets outside influence) Instead of 3 in Diagram 7,

it’s probably better to connect at 1 in the current diagram

White has no choice but to play the hanging connection at 2,

after which Black can either take sente and play elsewhere,

Either way,

Black gets outside influence

Diagram 12 (Black gets an excellent position) White can also try forcing at 1 and then playing at 3

But then Black gets a great position by extending to 4

Page 60

Basic Position 15



A Complicated Move Instead of White 1,

but Black must know how to reply to 1 as well

There are ladders that must be considered

Proper Black Attitude Responding with the most forceful move can gain Black a big profit

But there is also a safe alternative

Page 61

2 6 4 3

Diagram 1 (A safe approach) If Black wants to play it safe,

cutting underneath with 1 is fine

When White extends to 2,

Black connects with 3

What happens next depends on whether or not the ladder works after White 4

If it works …

Diagram 3 (If the ladder is bad for White) If the ladder is bad for White,

then pulling back with White 1 is the only move

Black 2 and 4 are nice moves and the result after 6

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