Subject:	THE BIG GAME 4 Answer
From:		John Fairbairn <>
Date:		Tue, 29 Apr 1997 20:07:22 +0100

Black played 29. g16

I detected for the first time a split between the stronger players and the kyus - if I'm right, it might be worth asking why.

However, I think many people fell into a trap here of thinking that this is a fight about local attack and counterattack. It's about big points - > shape -> sente -> the moyo on the right, in my view (having seen the game).

Some people, taking the shape hint, suggested a forcing move at o14. In fact this came later in the game, but what they seem to have missed is White's best reply (p13).

But first, what the pros said. Black 29 was good. Black h16 instead was described as bad because it made Black heavy (see diagram): White h17, Black g17, White g18, Black g16, White f18.

You will see a little more on this via the comments on White's reply in the "5 Question" instalment.

The pro view also was that the new move Black 15 was a success but there was plenty of scope for more research.

(My view) One reason local attack and defence are not the main issue is that Black is easily alive, though in gote - look at L17, M17 and N17 and look up your go proverbs (I won't say more because this theme comes up again later, and it's more valuable if you discover it yourself).

What I think you'll find is going on is that there are two ordinary big points left - on the left and at the bottom, with a third of sorts in the moyo on the right. Black can't risk taking one just yet because White would seal him in at the top, making too much thickness (and thus reducing the value of Black's big point anyway). But by keeping pressure on White he can, if he's lucky, achieve one of two things: (1) he can live in sente, then get first to the big points; (2) the running fight can spill over the left, thus trampling on the big point there, then Black can split the two big points left and stay ahead.

But the running fight has to be managed also in such a way that White's inevitable thickness is (from Black's point of view) steered away from the moyo on the right. Getting sente is a big issue in this fight (to get to the big points). Getting the best shape is a way of increasing your chances of getting/keeping sente.

There is a lot of thinness around here that needs urgent attention. As that well-known go player Jerry said to Tom: "When the curd's a whey, it's time to play."

-- John Fairbairn