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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fuseki Study

One thing that many beginning players say is that the opening is truly bewildering and they often feel like they end the beginning of the game at a disadvantage. So here we'll be looking at the fuseki (opening) of a pro game. This is Park Jieun as black and Suzuki Ayumi as white and the komi is 6.5. This particular game comes from Round 3 of the 8th Female Cup International and was played in China.

The first interesting exchange here is the 7-8 exchange. These moves are because of white 6, the famous Shusaku diagonal. This move is not terribly common anymore and is considered to be just a little slow for white.  This may be why black chose to tenuki and enclose the corner at 7. While white plays at 8 and makes the sole black stone in the upper left feels a little uncomfortable there are still many ways to handle this stone. Black could move out diagonally towards 8 on the fourth line to separate 8 from 2 and 6 if the outside became important or he could dive into the corner to establish a base. Meanwhile by playing at 1 and 7 black has laid strong claim to the corner territory and projects influence down the right side. It might help to think of 5 as, in a broad sense, a reducing move. Compare black's stones at 1, 7, and 5 with white's stones at 2, 6 and 8 and see how black's corner is much more solid. This is not to say that white's position is bad, it has more possibilities and projects power on two sides so she is not necessarily dissatisfied. I'm just trying to show the logic of this exchange.

Being satisfied with the aji of the stone at 5 black now turns to consolidate the lower left corner. The move at 9 makes a 3-3 invasion uncomfortable for white and the low position, on the third line, makes the left side uninteresting to play on. This is due to the low position of white 8 as well. If white 9 were one line higher then it would be an invitation for white to approach two points above nine and threaten to slide underneath black's stones.

Because the left is not as interesting anymore white turns to the right and plays 10. Why play here instead of below the star point on the bottom? It has to do with the amount of influence projected by the two different black enclosures. The enclosure on the bottom left has a lot of influence over the corner but because these stones still lack a base and the open nature of the 4-4 point these stones do not project their influence as directly as the enclosure in the upper right.

After black approaches at 11 white jumps to 12 which coordinates well with his previous extension up the side. We've all seen black 13, jumping into the corner but now white pulls out a move that isn't too common though it is the favorite of a few pros (Rin Kaiho comes to mind). Next post we'll cover the continuation of white's attachment in detail and continue watching the opening unfold.

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