“Escape is easy; capturing is hard.” (Oh, I wish it actually felt this way during my games!)
For the record, the move in Diagram 3 (the game between Go Seigen and Kitani) is exactly the kind of professional move that it so far off the radar, I’d only ever end up playing it if I hiccuped and dropped my stone at random when it was my turn to move. I guess the moral of this game is that one need not be in a hurry to attack when one is in a good position. Still. Woosh.
But, wait – woo! I ended up guessing Sakata’s move correctly in Diagram 6 (the Sakata versus Takagawa game)! Maybe there is hope for me after all! And Ishida versus Rin Kaiho? Well, I thought of two moves. One was the actual move played, but I talked myself out of it. (The move I went for in the end was actually as ridiculous as I’d decided the ‘correct’ move was. Ho hum. There’s a reason I’m not a pro. But hey, at least the there was a blip on the radar, even if I didn’t believe in it! Of course, I read the book before, so it’s possible that the answer was lurking there in my subconscious even though I didn’t remember the board position. Oh, great Go muse, when are you going to descend from the heavens and bless me with your magical game-winning intuition?)
Uh, yes. So Attack and Defense. Interestingly, this chapter is talking a lot about balance of power, and seems to be using much the same language as The Direction of Play. The moral of the first part of the chapter is that defending weak groups builds power that one can activate later on by attacking the opponent from a solid base.
Normal defensive moves, according to I&D are one-point jumps, hanes, extensions; nice, normal things. However, the chapter also discusses defensive tesuji that can come in useful in emergencies. I&D gave several examples of contact plays or near-contact plays that can be wheeled out when one is defending in a tight spot. There are several examples of contact plays underneath or on top of enemy stones (relative to the edge of the board), and then some examples of near-contact shoulder hits.
To me, all this seemed more difficult than the chapters on attacking, perhaps because the defensive moves were less easy to categorise. Compared to the attacking moves in the last chapter, they seem more position-dependent. I think one could go a long way with the attack moves when just thinking about shape.
What can I extract from this chapter, then? Hmm. It seemed that in each example, the defender was trying to place stones that were flexible and had various possible follow-ups, depending on how the opponent responded. A key feature in many of them seems to be playing stones that are easy to give up in order to gain headway with other stones. When struggling for life or to avoid being enclosed, contact plays and shoulder hits often allowed the defending group some wriggle room.
I hesitate to list or label the contact and shoulder tesujis discussed as I can’t confidently isolate the important stones in the positions; a knight’s move is a knight’s move, an angle point is an angle point, but there are 18 stones in the standard contact tesuji shown in Diagram 23 in the ‘Defend with Contact Plays’ section’. I could take a guess at which stones make the tesuji and which can vary depending on circumstances, but it would only be a guess.
I feel like this chapter is going to take a bit more work to come to grips with, and there are still some loose ends from this reading. In particular, I need to think more about Diagram 10 (page 95), Diagram 26 (page 99) and Diagram 5 (page 102). Methinks a board is here required….