The Importance of Yose

2017-07-26 at 18:55 Leave a comment

As part of the Baduk Death Pact, I have been working my way through a book that has been on my shelf, unopened, for a few years: 200 Endgame Problems: Winning Tactics by Shirae Haruhiko 7P*. As early as the preface, I am finding a wiser perspective that already has improved my play, I think.

Shirae sensei says, The average game of go takes about 230 moves to complete.

Figure 30 moves max for the opening, and 100-odd max for mid-game, and you realize that, in a game not decided by resignation, about half of the moves are played in the endgame.

If each move is an opportunity to improve your score, then half of those opportunities involve yose. No wonder strong players emphasize the importance of the endgame.

Black and White Go stones in the corner of the board.Shirae sensei points out the similarities and differences between endgame and life-and-death in a way I find accessible. The eyeshapes are related, and play can change an endgame situation into a life-and-death situation; but usually, you are trying to get the biggest possible reduction, not kill. The first problem in the book, shown here, is one such example. Black can’t quite capture White; but with correct play, White gets only 2 points. If Black makes the obvious and common moves, which happen to be suboptimal, then White gets 6 points. (If White makes a mistake, Black can get a potentially lethal ko.)

200 Endgame Problems repeats the same shapes in slightly different contexts, to aid us in learning them I suppose. I think it’s effective.

I’m about a fourth of the way through the book, and so far, I’m enjoying it a lot. –MMlvx


* 200 Endgame Problems: Winning Tactics by Shirae Haruhiko 7P
translated by Steve Bretherick
ISBN 1-932001-05-0
originally published 1995 in Japan as part of the Nihon Kiin Pocket Series;
published 2003 by Slate & Shell, Richmond VA USA.

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Entry filed under: Books, Game of Go, review. Tags: , , , , , .

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