Last night I won 4/5 games online. I’ve been giving 2 stones and receiving 6.5 komi. In July we played 42 games and I had a 62% win rate.
Vox has consistently been a territorial player. That is, he tries to take early cash and then reduce my potential later in the game. He hasn’t changed this approach even though I’ve forced him to accept 2 stones and have continued to do well. That may be fine in that I’ve won quite a few games as a result of Vox making a critical error or in some cases a blunder. And, there is no doubt that I started winning more after doing a lot of tsumego (life and death) problems and improving my reading skills. It’s reasonable to think that if he can clean up his errors, he’ll have an advantage. At the same time, it may be that by keeping his stones under pressure, and in some cases complicating the game, I increase the chance of forcing an error on his part.
While Vox likes to play to grab cash early, he also does not like me to develop big moyos and if I attempt to build one, he will almost always dive in to stop it quickly, rather than make a big development move himself. I try to restrict his base in this kind of situation and make some profit by attacking. He might consider allowing me to make a moyo and take a bigger one for himself, since he has the handicap helper stones – and then later invade or reduce me. I think this is one way he can start to call the shots and force me to make riskier plays. Another way to look at this is to ask the question, when is the right time to invade or reduce?
Another thing I notice about Vox’s approach is that he will always kick against a kakari. It used to be high-level players preferred to pincer rather than kick, unless there is a friendly stone on the other side of the kicked stone. More recently the robots like to kick in most circumstances and do it with success. However, those are even games, those are super-strong bots. If I were playing the black stones with a 2 stone handicap, I would try tight pincers when my opponent makes a low kakari against a 3/4, trying to keep sente and keep him under pressure.
Let’s see what August holds.