Which move is the losing move: A, B or C?
Chapter Three of Takeo Kajiwara’s The Direction of Play is intriguingly entitled, “Move Two Lost The Game”, and discusses a game in which Move Two is one of the positions A, B or C in the above diagram.
In my games, things like endgame blunders, throwing away sente and misreading semeai are likely to have a much greater effect on the final score than the subtle differences between playing each of these three points in the opening. However, this chapter certainly sparked the imagination.
Here is Kajiwara’s answer:
Move B in the starting diagram is the offender. Kajiwara’s chapter goes into great detail about why this could be seen as a losing move, but the basic idea (at least, as I understood it) is that White 2 invites Black to approach the white stone at the 4,5 point (one space above White 2), and this stone works well with Black 1.
The black stone on the star point really wants to reach out and exerting itself over the top and right-hand side of the board. In giving it Black the chance to approach on this side, White isn’t paying attention to the direction Black’s star-point stone wants to develop.
Kajiwara’s argument is rather subtle, but he did a great job at explaining things so that I could at least follow the example game he was discussing. This chapter and others in the book provided some really nice examples of whole-board thinking.