Dragon Killer Series: Separated and Dead



This is part of the Dragon Killer Series where I review my games that involved the death of a dragon. You can read Part 1 here.

For Part 2, I will try something new in reviewing my games. First, I will refer to the sides of the boards as North, South, East, and West. I learned this from Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun. Second, I will do counting at some points of the game. I only learned counting and its value lately. My counting style is still messy, but hopefully this helps my fellow beginners develop their own and adapt counting in their games.

Now, let us move to the game.


I play Black.

After a normal opening, White played a bad move with 5. White 7 is even worse. White’s extension from the two-stone wall is only two spaces. Black chooses between the approaches of A, B, and C.

DK2var1If Black played B, White will get a very nice framework together with White’s South group.


DK2var2If Black played C, White’s wall will work well with White’s South group. However, Black has sente, so maybe Black can do something first on the South and West to neutralize White’s wall.

DK2bTherefore, Black played the high approach with 8 and followed a joseki up to Black 14. White develops the South. However, White 19 was very slow. White 21 also looked submissive. Black 22 might have been better as an extension to the side. The double wing will be very good for Black. White 23 might have been a bad approach because Black almost secures all the territory on the North East. White 25 threatened nothing. It would have been better as an extension or base on the East. Black reinforces the South East group. After defending the corner with 28, it is a good time to count the territories. Black did not count during the game.


Counting all the triangle points for Black and square points for White, there are 28 pairs for Black (5.5 in the North East, 13.5 in the South East, and 9 in the West) and 15.5 pairs for White (11.5 in the North West and 4 in the South). However, Black’s territories are not yet secured while White’s profits already look solid. Say Black can only keep half of those 28 pairs, then White is ahead by 1.5 pairs plus komi. Black is a bit behind, but it is Black’s turn to play. White 29 was another slow move, and Black need not respond to it.


Black played 30 to reduce White’s prospect down South. Also, it looked good to prevent White from extending from 15 after pushing with 19. Black secured profit on the North East and South East with the help of White up from 32 to 41.The push of Black 44 does not look necessary although Black gets an ideal formation. White’s invasion with 53 was very good. Black thought White 55 was weird. Maybe a wedge between Black 4 and 54 would have been better. Black lost the profit on the South East, but Black was happy in making a wall. After Black 72, it is another good time to count.


Black lost the East territory. White gained a lot on the South (10) and the South East (2 and destroying Black’s profits). The West remains good for Black, and White keeps the North West. In total, Black has 11.5 pairs and White has 27.5 pairs plus komi. Black is way behind on the board. However, Black had a very nice wall for fighting and invading. Maybe Black 72 was the wrong move in this situation. Black is behind and must attack to make use of the influence. However, what will Black attack? Maybe securing the center would have been better in this situation.


Black played 78 to strengthen the weakening group in the center. Up to 94, Black was playing a very defensive game given that Black is behind. Black’s wall is slowly losing strength because of White’s painful tactics in the center. Black secures profit with 106, but Black should be more concerned in attacking White’s center group. Black 112 was unnecessary. Black gained hope when White made a mistake.


White made the mistake starting from White 115. Black did not read-out this capture sequence, but was confident in saving Black 42.

The winning move

Probably, Black 140 was the winning move. It killed White’s small dragon in the center by separating it from White’s live group.


The capture was about 24.5 pairs (11.5 pairs plus 13 captures. Black’s profit is around 41 pairs while White’s 27.5 pairs did not increase much. Black must be ahead by around 10 pairs.


White 165 was another big mistake. Black captured six stones with 166.


Black and White took small endgame moves from 169 onward. Black 216 was a mistake; White can ignore it. White 223 was another big mistake. Black wanted to capture the five stones with Black 184, but White 224 looks bigger. White gave the capture to Black anyway.

White resigned after move 231. The final count would have given Black a lead of 80.5 pts.

Apparently, Black won because White made a lot of slow and unnecessary moves in the opening. Black however lost the lead when White invaded the East. Black gained a lot of influence, but did not use this to attack immediately. White had good tactics in the center to punish Black’s passivity, but Black’s strength in the center proved lethal. White made about three mistakes that gave Black the insurmountable lead. The lesson for this game: Attack when behind especially when there is an influence to support the attack. Also, be very careful of mistakes as an easy win could quickly turn into a big loss.



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