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Nie Weiping's book The Art of Positional Judgment begins with a chapter on fuseki. He gives this position, which did not actually occur in the game, but might have, as one that would favor black.

He says that his opponent did not play at hoshi on the left hand side, because the position favors black. But he doesn't elaborate. He simply moves to the next diagram.

But given that it's white's move, the position seems pretty balanced to me. How does it favor black?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It seems that the move to play for White is an extension on the upper side or in the lower side. Clearly, the lower side is more interesting for the following two main reasons.

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  • Black's shimari in the upper right is low. Black is thus not interested in playing in this area now.

  • Black has a perfect extension at 2. His moyo is developing perfectly.

Consequently, White wants to play as in the following diagram.

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However, Black has now a very good erasing move at 2. White's moyo is therefore not as good as Black's position.

In conclusion, even if White plays its best move, Black keeps the upper hand which means that the fuseki favors Black by a bit.

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My feeling is that it's because 3-3 is a poor basis to extend from. Once the 3-3 stone is there, the corner is solidly yours; but in exchange, you have less to build upon because the position is so low.

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The san-ren-sei point in the middle of the lower part of the board, and a point around white's 3-3 point stone in the lower left hand corner are "miai." That is if White takes one, black will take the other.

Let's say white closes his corner in the lower left by taking the 5-4 point, as he did in the upper left. Black then takes the san-ren-sei point in the lower middle side, which is a perfect extension from his shimari in the lower right.

If White takes the san-ren-sei point, Black has a perfect invasion point of White's moyo at the 4-4 point in the lower left, as shown in the diagram above.

Either way, Black gets the LAST "big point," thereby retaining the advantage of the first move (even after komi is factored in).

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The thought process on that looks to be around the general strength of playing at the hoshi. If white were to play there, black would have an opening to take a third corner, but by playing on the third line, white made it harder for black to take the corner from white.

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in the actual game, white did not play the left hand side hoshi, as shown in the diagram above. instead, he attacked black's 4-3 4-5 enclosure immediately. –  magnetar Nov 18 '11 at 12:07

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