A couple of new opening moves

With the hectic pace of modern go, especially with the style of play in Korea and China that values opening traps, it has become a little tiresome for mere amateurs to try to keep up with the barrage of opening novelties.

However, a couple caught our eye this month (July 2009) and, for different reasons, they seemed to have a little extra twist that justifed a place in New In Go.

The first is this opening:

The reason we latched on to this is that we have a strong impression from our own games that, when White approaches at the triangled point and Black makes the tight pincer, White's reaction is "Boring, boring" as he decides for the umpteenth time whether to play now at A or B. Some adventurous souls might try, C, especially in a handicap game, but A and B are essentially the missionary positions of amateur go.

White 1 now been sanctioned in recent professional play, and the latest issue of the Chinese magazine Weiqi Tiandi has also picked upon it. Even better, they have given some as yet unplayed variations. As is often the case with innocuous looking openings there can be some vicious variations. These are potentially the cannibal positions of amateur go and so White 1 can be put in the arsenal along with all the other blunt instruments.

Before we look at some, here is the chronology. According to the GoGoD database, the opening appeared first in 2000, then disappeared until 2006. The latest couple of examples appeared in June this year. But even so, we have only 13 examples, and some of those may not really qualify in that they were played late in enough in the game to count as tactical rather than strategic choices. Omitting those, the first entirely strategic instance might be the following, from June 2008.

Shao Weigang (W) vs. Lan Tian

In this case Black responded to the boredom factor by playing 7 elsewhere entirely in answer to the pincer 6. White decided to try to bore him to death by pincering again, at 8, but then Black hit him with the new(ish) move 9.

Very soon after, incidentally, Black eventually had to play the boring, boring B in response to (we thought) a new move by White - would you believe A? To our surprise this had been played in 1982 by Ishigure Ikuro against Ishida Yoshio.

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