Thursday, August 21, 2008

Knowing A Position Can Pay Off

My teacher, Mr. Yilun Yang, has always recommended studying life and death.  It undoubtedly develops one's reading "muscle", but I think that when one knows the status of certain positions for certain, it also gives one the confidence and patience needed to find the solution in one's own games.

An example of this type came up in my game yesterday.

I had just played c14 to complete the corner.  It was my assumption that the corner could no longer be invaded.  I think I had read about it in a book at one time.  My opponent and I were chatting during our friendly game, and he said that he was thinking of where to invade in the upper left.  I told him that it was my understanding that theoretically an invasion in that corner should fail, although I admitted that I could not claim to know exactly how to refute it if he tried.   Thus the gauntlet had be tossed...  The starting position appears below...

Before we get to the actual sequence of play, which dragged on for a nerve shattering 20 moves, I want to show the position which I felt I knew.  It helped boost my confidence in the middle of the sequence, and helped me to avoid a bad move, which I might have played if I had not known the position.  Most of us know that "six die and eight live".  I even own the tshirt from Samarkand.  This life and death proverb refers to stones in a row along the second line.  The position below is taken from this game, in which six in a row appear.  Because I could recognize that this would be the position  a few moves before it actually occurred, I was able to resist the urge to make a premature hane at b12, which would have increased my cutting points, and would probably have resulted in disaster.

Here is the "six die" position...

And here is the actual sequence of play...

It was great to be able to see the "six die" position coming, and to know how to deal with it all the way through the nobi at 12, the hane at 16, the throwin at 18, and the nobi at 20.

Now I really have to pay some attention to the the following shapes:  the L, the L+1, and the L+2.  Getting the status of those positions down cold ought to be worth something.  I want to not only know what is alive, but how it is likely to be attacked, and how to refute those attacks.

Strong players can not only read, they also know stuff.  I know stuff about the opening, but I don't yet know much stuff about standard corner positions.   It's on list of things to do to acquire such knowledge.


Bob Solovay said...

Do you mean the hane at 14 and the throwin at 16?

Terri said...

14 is also a hane, but I wasn't referring to that one in my comments, since it wasn't difficult to see. 16 isn't a throw in at all. It's a hane, so I stand by that. It might look like a throw in in the diagram because it gets taken later, but it was there before the stones on either side of it along the edge of the board. It might be more accurate to refer to 18 as a "placement" than a throw in because there is an empty point on either side of the stone and one doesn't expect it to be captured as one expects a throw in to be captured.



Bob Solovay said...

Of course, you're right. Sorry for my confusion.