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Go with Vox

I played 8 online games of Go with Vox last evening, and continued my winning ways, victorious in 6 of them. A win is a win, regardless of by how much, but I should say that 2 of my wins were by slim margins, just 2.5 points. In both those games I played the white stones and took 6.5 points komi. Had Vox managed to squeak out just a few little points more in those 2 games and we would have split the evening at 4 games apiece. One of those close games was somewhat wacky. I gained an early advantage pressing him along a side, then made a dumb blunder and that advantage was suddenly wiped out. Still, he had a weakness for me to exploit and I was able to stay in a game I almost threw away.

My other 4 wins were by comfortable margins of over 20 points and Vox won both his games by resignation.

Vox employed a very territorial strategy all evening. As black he started games with the san-san (3-3) points, dove in under my 4-4 points several times, and took lots of cash territory along the 3rd line. I’m pretty happy playing against this strategy. Sure, he gets real territory early but committing yourself to 3rd line territory early has a big downside. It isn’t hugely ambitious, and as well it fails to put a lot of pressure on my stones. It is difficult to be patient when your opponent is playing for cash and you know it will take time before your own position converts to territory, but still I’m comfortable playing against this approach, and I know if Vox is going to beat me with any regularity again, he’ll have to make me uncomfortable.

I think one of the things Vox was trying to do was simplify the game, because I’ve been fighting well and in recent sessions I’ve found weaknesses in his positions and killed a number of groups. Still in a couple of the games last night I was able to attack really effectively.

In game 4, I played black and opened with 5-4 points on the top side, something I rarely do, but tried a couple times last evening. I thought, if Vox wants to take territory early, I’ll give him exactly what he wants, then try to aggressively hem him in and create huge outside strength. In this game Vox got in trouble early on.

move 102, black to play

When I played the 5-4 in the top right, he took the corner, but when I played the 5-4 at D-15, he must have been worried I was going to take too much strength along the top side and he let me take the top left corner. Maybe Vox would have been OK with this approach had his stones on the top side survived but I was able to limit him to one eye and stop his stones from running out, leaving me with massive top-side territory. After that, the margin was too great for Vox to recover from.

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