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November 2002's Go Answer of the Month

Dia 1 - A game from Zagreb.

Dia 1

This is a game I played at Zagreb. Black is ahead by around 10 according to Many Faces of Go, even allowing for 8 komi and assuming the top black group is dead and the middle lower white group alive.

If you think the lower white group dies, which Many Faces does, it is a win by around 60.

In a typical fashion, I managed to lose this game against Thomas Scholz, 1k, Hannover .

What is going on and what should I have done?

Define the groups

In discussing this situation, I'll refer to the various groups and chains on the board using compass settings. So there are white groups in the NW, N, upper W, lower W, centre (C) to S, SW and W. There are black groups in the left N, right N which may join a group spawling to the E, also a C group which may join the SE and S sets of stones and lastly a group to the SW but cut of from the corner itself.

I suppose this month's question is really "how on earth did Black manage to lose this game"? MFGO believes black to be ahead by 60 points and reckons that white's C-S and lower E groups and black's left N group are all dead. Everything else is alive.

You can dispute NFGO's scoring - the likelihood of the C-S white group dying is small. Black may manage to live in the left N. Letting the white C-S group live changes the score to a black win by 17. Killing the black SW group really makes a difference - a white win by 54!

Review each group.

The biggest undefined area is the C-upper W part. If this becomes neutral territory then black should maintain a lead. If the entire NW quarter of the board becomes white then it may be different.

So what went wrong?

Black makes an abortive attempt to live the left N group. In doing so he connects the right N to the C-S white groups, a strong combination. He aslo adds prisoners in white's teritory which grows whilst black's territory remains static.

Four moves after Dia 1, MFGO has white winning by 10.

Some clever footwork by white keeps black's left N dead and separated and still black tries to live. White makes territory galore on the W. Dia 2 shows the end of the recorded game with white in the lead.

Dia 2 - How not to do it!

Dia 2

White wins by around 23.

(There was no problem in December 2002)

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