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ASR lecture – “Urgent moves in the fuseki” with Juri Kuronen (6D)

Teacher: Juri Kuronen (6 dan)

Topic: Urgent moves in the fuseki

Date: April 23rd, 2014

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Go is fundamentally a surrounding game, to eat or to be eaten that is the question. Chinese rules highlight this very well: every alive stone on the board worth one point. It follows that the stability (strengths and weaknesses of groups) plays a big role in Go strategy. Fuseki is not just about big points  that you simply play out one by one with your opponent. To get strong at Go, you have to understand which points are more urgent than others and why! Urgent moves are almost always the best spots on the board. Next, Juri Kuronen will show you three textbook examples of urgent moves. For dan audience, they may be a bit simple, but you too walked those steps in the past…

Introductory examples

These first examples are only intended to give a glimpse of what urgent means. Here is the first position. It is an open board with many big areas and several conflicts taking place. First of all, which areas seem interesting to you ? Black’s turn to play


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  Another example; Again many big areas, White’s right side is looking big, Black has a moyo coming up on the left side. On the upper side, Black has two stones and White has a dual intention move A to take territory while attacking them. White to play.


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Ok, this will be the 3rd introductory example, it’s black to play. I’ll name the theme of this one “Sometimes a move’s value is not clear until you think of the consequences of omitting that move.” Again black has multiple choices such as growing the upper side moyo or attacking white’s upper left side group with something like A.


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life and death

We’ve taken a look at some typical urgent moves and also glimpsed on the reason why it is so unfavorable to lose the ‘stability’ of our groups. I’m sure in this demo, there isn’t a go player who loves to be attacked? 😛 When your opponent attacks you skillfully, he will make you run on dame points seeking stability for your group, while his attacking moves are naturally building his own areas. That is one possible consequence of missing urgent moves. And the 3 earlier examples, I wanted to specifically show more defensive moves, which strong players play very often, but whose meaning may not be entirely clear They want stability for their groups, so they may plan their future plans If you have weak, unstable groups all around the board, you can’t do anything! Actually, Benjamin Teuber (Ahamay on KGS) wrote a very good “guide to become strong” on Senseis’ Library. I want to put another quote here, to again highlight this point:

“I think you are beginning to get the point. Be honest: How many of your last ten games were decided by just building territory, and how many of them by either killing stones or, if you are already a dan-player, by the implications of misjudging the strength of a group, for example being heavily attacked and therefore losing too many points by its implication?”

So life & death skill, to have a sense of strength & weakness of groups, is not only about tsumego problems, but you need a good L&D ability to make sound judgments on the board. Go is a game about life & death of groups, all other concepts of go arise from this ‘root’. That’s the sub-theme of today’s lecture 😀 We’ll take a look at a good example now. Ok, this kind of a board, it’s white to play. Again an open board with several big points, some of them quite urgent. Where would you play, if you are white? 🙂


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Ok, so the last one showed how preventing a severe attack like that is urgent. Again had to do with stability of your groups Ok, this is an important time on this board. It’s black to play first Again, many big points and all groups are relatively secure. However, which move is urgent? Keep in mind the influence structure white is building from the left side towards the lower side.


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Ok, next I want to show you a practical one. We looked at too many defensive urgent moves. Again I’ll show you an annoying board position. Many big moves, all with their own logical well-thought reasons. Black to play. What would be your first picks?


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Advanced examples

So I understand the examples are a bit simplistic but I mainly want to convey the meaning behind all those examples. All urgents moves we looked at so far had something to do with the condition of the groups on the board. You can think it logically like: If you put moves on the board, you want to achieve 100% efficiency for your moves. If you neglect to take care of your groups, and later your opponent attacks you severely… I recall 1 example from a student’s game …


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For last position, let’s take a look at this one. It’s black to play.


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All right. Seems I was a bit fast this time 🙂 Do you want to take a look at another one ? (Of course, the audience ask for another one) Ok, another board position with several important places:

  • What to make of the 3 black stones on the upper side?
  • What to make of the 1 black stone on the lower side?
  • Evaluation of black’s upper right shimari?

So many things to consider white to play 🙂


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I have on purpose not gone too much into the details during this lecture If you developed a better understanding about what kind of moves on the go board are urgent, and more urgent than others, then I deem myself successful already ^^ Thanks everyone for attending! Please don’t neglect life & death study, and in your future games, think more about the condition of your groups. If you neglect to take care of your groups, did you account for a possible severe attack you may suffer? You may afterwards review the examples in this lecture, and check the Senseis’ about urgent. The 5th lecture will be held by Antti Törmänen (currently Insei in Japan) next month. We will make announcements then, like RBerenguel said ^^ See you all next time! (The audience thanks and congratulate Namii for this lecture)]

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