Fuseki On Your Side

Charles Matthews 3-dan takes a sideways look at the Go openings

Anti-Kobayashi: Double Approach

It is quite common for White to react with an immediate approach, to prevent Black laying out the Kobayashi formation.

Diagram 1

White 2 is the expected approach - White at A instead was tried often enough in the past decade, particularly in Korea, without becoming established.

Diagram 2

The idea at which we shall look is the natural one of Black 3 played as a double approach in the left corner. An advantage of White's fourth line approach in the right-hand corner is that White may have a chance to play later at A. This is a key position for influence, and if White takes possession of it, Black cannot pursue a framework strategy on the lower side.

Diagram 3

Therefore it is also a possible strategy for Black to play the calm knight's move on the right first, as in this game Zhou Heyang-Shao Weigang from last year's Qisheng in China. White plays out the corner to avoid severe attack, and then Black turns to the double approach. The virtue of this plan is going to be seen a little later as Black chooses a variation on the left, a decision we now discuss.

Diagram 4

There are around ten variations that have been seen in pro play after the double approach 1; but only three that are well-attested, at least in the presence of a white 4-4 stone in the upper left. White has the choice of side on which to play contact with 2. Black 5 is one way in which Black settles the position.

Diagram 5

This was the continuation in game 1 of the 1983 Kisei match (Fujisawa Shuko-Cho Chikun), in which this opening was played almost out of the blue (in fact it was known earlier in China). The strategic point is that Black opts to become settled in the left-hand corner, rather than to try for development on both sides.

Diagram 6

The other popular line for Black, when White plays contact on the left-side stone, is this one. With 5 Black ensures a very sound shape, and effectively prevents White from taking corner territory. This position has occurred numerous times in Chinese and Korean games, and we take a look at how White addresses the problem of dealing with the lower side.

Diagram 7

There have been games in which White has played the straightforward pincer 1, and Black has reacted by making the solid extension at 2. White hasn't yet taken territory, because Black still has the chance to cut to the left of the isolated stone, or to run it out to the centre.

Diagram 8

In a game Seo Pong-su - Yi Ch'ang-ho from 1989, White struck first at the key point with 1, and Black reacted to settle the stone on the side. White's plan unfolded as the construction of a large-scale framework, next by extending on the right side, leading to a game of raging fights.

Diagram 9

White's other main option is to play contact on the lower side with 1. The diagonal play at A, which has a reputation as locally somewhat slack, has been seen in recent games.

Diagram 10

Again it is a clear-cut strategy for Black to invade the corner with 4. White 7 creates an influential position, so that Black 8 to stabilise and take the other corner is natural. At this point White at A may seem to be dancing too much to Black's tune, so that White instead may launch into the avalanche opening with B.

Diagram 11

Returning to the Zhou-Shao game discussed above, in which Black played out the right corner first, what happened shows a different type of development. With the strong position to the right, Black used 6 and 8 to reinforce on both sides. Overall judgement of the result must of course also take into account White's possible gains based on becoming firmly established on the right side.

[01] [02] [03] [04] [05] [06] [07] [08] [09] [10] [11] [12] [13]
[14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

First published 22 February 2001 as On Your Side on MindZine, Go Learning
© Charles Matthews 2000.