Baduk TV English: Kong Jie vs Park Younghun – Searching for Exquisite Games: Episode 32

Searching for Exquisite Games is a Baduk TV series that reviews some of the best games of Go from the last few decades. The commentators are Yoon Seonghyun 9p and Shim Wooseop 7d.

Episode 32 looks at a semifinal game from the 14th LG Cup, played on November 11, 2009. Kong Jie plays black and Park Younghun plays white.

Kong Jie vs Park Younghun

Video: Kong Jie vs Park Younghun

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Transcript of the video

Translated by Oh Chimin 7d for

Edited by David Ormerod 5d

Searching for Exquisite Games: Episode 32.

Natural Enemy - If you can't avoid it, face it.

Hello! This is our first episode for the theme 'natural enemies'.

This game is from the semifinal of the 14th LG Cup, between Park Younghun 9p and Kong Jie 9p.

In fact, we selected this game ourselves and there are some reasons for that.

Both Park and Kong have been ranked in similar positions, within their countries, over the last few years.

So I think their performance is comparable.

But, before this match, their head to head record was 5-0 in Kong's favor.

It's surprising that such a record is possible between these two players.

Because styles of play are very similar.

If their styles or strength were different, the result would make more sense.

Kong was asked about this in an interview.

He said that he didn't know why they had a 5-0 record.

And that he had no specific strategy for playing against Park.

Park said Kong's reading skills have improved a lot.

In Go, psychology plays an important role.

If one loses against someone three times in a row, then we can start to think about the psychological aspects too.

However, once the winning streak is broken, the pace will be change.

Let's have a look at the game!

Kong Jie plays black, Park Younghun plays white.

Generally speaking, these two players' moves are based on theory.

So you'll learn a lot from this game.

Their styles are stable, and they make fewer mistakes than other pros.

Their strength is proven in both Korea and China.

Kong started by securing his top right corner.

The fuseki looks very calm.

It's a basic formation.

Park chose to split here.

They both prefer to play a leisurely game, until the middle game.

So it will be good to focus on their fuseki.

In response to this approach, Park jumped.

No, it was a knight's move.

After making an exchange on the right, Kong extended here.

Sometimes black plays a large knight's move instead.

There's a difference between the two moves.

In this case, white can invade here.

But in this case, white should attach here instead.

This sequence is often played.

In this formation, white shouldn't choose this variation though, since black's position becomes ideal.

In short, when the space is wide, invade here.

Otherwise, you need to attach.

If you keep that in mind, it will be ok.

I think this move will apply more pressure to white's two stones.

It also looks vulnerable to white's invasion though.

The main intention behind this approach is to follow up with this shoulder hit.

This combination is good.

Yes, it looks plausible.

Because of the placement of the stones, Kong chose this move.

So black's moyo is bigger than it looks.

Park invaded here immediately.

Aren't there any other places to invade?

This invasion is possible, but complicated. This 3-3 invasion is common.

Black has to block on the wider side.

When white pushes here, black should answer like this.

After that, black blocks here.

To prevent the shoulder hit, white jumps here.

Up to here, it's a joseki.

Of course, it's even.

However, capturing this stone in sente is a bit painful for white.

Previously, white would answer like this.

But pros have thoroughly investigated this fuseki recently.

They've found that this move is better, even though it loses points in the corner.

What's the meaning of this move?

If white moves the cutting stone out later, it will affect the safety of black's group.

Because of the potential of this placement, black isn't alive locally.

But if black plays here, white has to hane.

In terms of points, it's a little unprofitable.

But because of this aim, the extension is preferred these days.

This move strengthens the aji indeed.

This is an old joseki though.

Instead of the 3-3 invasion, players tend to invade on the side now.

So Park's move was the latest variation.

Yes, it's been studied in detail recently.

There's no problem with the 3-3 invasion though.

It's just that pros like to experiment with new moves.

In the actual game, Kong just answered here.

Why didn't he attach like this? It looks more normal to me.

This attachment was usually played to begin with.

Then the wedge works, because both ladders favor white [if black ataris/cuts from below].

This variation used to be popular.

Up to here, many players played like this.

White needs to defend his weak group.

But white successfully invaded and took the corner.

However, there's nasty aji later.

This counter-atari is a tesuji.

After that, white has to defend here.

White's group suddenly became thin.

Black can peep and attack white's group.

Because of this aji, this variation hasn't been played recently.

This wedge was played when white's invasion was first discovered.

But now most players invade at 3-3 instead.

If black blocks here, white connects.

Black also needs to connect, then white defends here.

Compared to the previous variation, it's better for white.

Yes, it's a big difference.

If black blocks this way, white jumps out.

In response to black's approach, white connects here.

This has also been played many times.

Later on, this exchange is white's privilege.

White's two stones are stable, since there's some aji on the right side.

So the result is satisfactory for white.

Compared to the original formation, black's moyo isn't that good.

Yes, the corner is erased in this case.

If black pushes like this, white can capture on whichever side black cuts on.

White won't have any problems managing his group.

That's why this attachment hasn't been played recently.

So Kong chose this jump.

As study groups became popular both in Korea and China,

Fuseki was re-examined by professional players.

This jump was the result of one group's investigation.

Park invaded at 3-3. We can compare it with the previous variations.

Kong's response to the invasion was normal.

In fact, this jump didn't receive good feedback to begin with.

At the time, players used to follow up with this jump.

Then black can enclose this area. I think it looks ok.

But white will cut and capture this stone.

In response to black's capping play, white can simply jump out.

Black's aims are vague.

In contrast, white got eight points in the corner and he can attach here later.

So, when the jump was first played, it wasn't evaluated very highly by other players.

But it wasn't because that move was bad.

It was because this jump was too soft.

So you can see the final conclusion in the actual game.

Pros realized that the jump wasn't an appropriate move in this case.

Later on, they started playing here instead.

It's not just a big move, it also aims to attack white's group.

The white group isn't alive yet.

It looks like an endgame play.

But it's really more of an attacking move.

People say that recently players are more sensitive towards territory.

In addition, they've become more aggressive.

To avoid being enclosed, white extended here.

But why didn't he jump out like this?

In that case, there's always a weak point around here.

That'll be white's burden.

Park removed the aji with a single move.

As a result, white separated black.

I think it was because of this connection.

Yes, but thanks to that move black could still aim to attack white's group.

Yes, this group wasn't completely alive yet.

Park played an interesting move here.

He attached here. I was surprised by this move.

This jump is a normal and essential move.

After that Black can kosumi here at best.

He can also extend here, but it isn't sente right now.

Park wanted to resolve things in this area.

However, he couldn't connect his groups.

When black has a stone here, white can't cut and connect.

In the actual game, Kong haned.

After these exchanges, Park blocked here.

Originally, there were many possible variations on the right side.

Black could've haned on the other side, for example

Can't white separate black?

Then black captures this stone.

White splits black.

Black mustn't push here.

He'll get himself into trouble, because of this move.

If black blocks, white ataris.

So he needs to capture this stone.

Black shouldn't cut white.

He can't capture white's group.

Black will take gote.

So black should live in sente instead.

This move is correct.

We were thinking about this cut next.

But, compared to this, black's position isn't good.

Alternatively, black can jump here, forcing white to connect.

White won't feel like playing here now.

It's gote, and this jump is good.

So why didn't Kong hane on this side ?

The observers thought it was a mistake at the time.

But Park didn't agree with them.

What had he envisaged?

He expected this move.

And we'd thought white would cut here.

But he said he wasn't thinking about that move.

Instead, he'd extend.

White's exchanges seem to be bad, since they weaken this stone.

On the other hand, this group is alive.

How can white manage his top right group?

Jumping out is good enough.

This group can't be attacked very severely.

By blocking here or attaching here, white can strengthen his group.

Once this group is alive, black's connection here will lose its value.

It's merely an endgame play now.

This was Park's intention.

So this attachment was meaningful.

Surprisingly, Kong anticipated Park's aim.

So he haned here.

However, this hane was surprising too.

Did he still want to attack white's groups?

Playing on the first line is usually considered considered to be a bad choice.

Some pros would jump here and let white connect under.

Then black could take sente and expand his moyo at the top.

This was the actual progression from the game.

After white's jump, black completed his bottom side naturally.

This was Kong's intention.

The flow seems to be good for black.

Yes, this white group wasn't alive yet.

Park played here without hesitation, but he regretted this move after the game.

It looks quite natural to me. How should he have played?

He said this kosumi was better.

Isn't this enclosure painful though?

Yes, but white can still live on the inside.

Because this atari is sente, black can't attack this group properly.

After the kosumi, this invasion becomes powerful.

Yes, it's a heavy burden for black.

So he needs to defend at some point.

Then white can jump, and erase black's influence.

In addition, if white gets stronger, there's no need to play here in gote.

Instead of this jump, the kosumi was the pivotal point.

Even though it looks a bit slow, it's very good.

Frankly, this enclosure is quite a good move too.

But it's hard for black to complete the framework.

So, after white slides here, it will be difficult to manage the center.

Since Park's a territory oriented player, this variation seems more suitable for him.

But this sort of jump is instinctively considered to be important by professional players.

They've been taught about the importance of such moves from an early age.

That's why Park quickly played here.

But black's sequence was wonderful.

In addition, Park had to think about the safety of his group.

Anyway, he peeped here and played a knight's move.

Up to here, black successfully secured the lower side.

So the fuseki was successful for Kong.

Therefore, Park pressured black with this attachment.

If black had haned, white would have cut immediately.

After that, Park pushed.

When white pushed again, Kong resisted and the game became complicated.

Black haned and Park cut right away.

However, this cut isn't Park's style.

It's unusual to see him starting a fight.

He thought that the first contest was a failure for white, so he played aggressively, to catch up.

If he were playing against another player, it'd be a lot easier to catch up.

However, like Park, Kong is very good at yose (endgame).

Park would have felt some pressure due to an awareness of this fact, as well as his 0-5 record against Kong.

This wedge was a good response.

Couldn't white resist like this?

If black extends, these three stones will be threatened.

Park couldn't separate his groups, so he ataried here.

Nevertheless, Kong cut here.

This group was Park's burden.

I wonder what will happen if white exchanges these moves first.

Then black can't wedge anymore.

I thought that would be a good alternative.

But in this case, this attachment is powerful.

White has no choice but to cut.

Without that exchange, white can extend here.

But white has to connect here now.

As a result, black can get a better position.

White still has to live in the corner.

It's no good, but if white doesn't exchange the tiger's mouth, black will wedge.

Did white go wrong somewhere?

Park regretting pushing. He should have played an asking move here.

If black answers like this, the exchange is profitable for white.

In response to this hane, white can counter hane like this.

This exchange would help the right side group to settle down more easily.

After that group becomes safe, it's much easier to fight in the center.

So this attachment would be a good asking move.

However, Park rushed to make up for his loss at the bottom.

If we look at the consequences, it's easy to figure out what went wrong.

However, it requires some analysis.

This hane and wedge were a wonderful combination by Kong.

White's shape looked good.

But this cutting point was exposed.

White had time to atari here though.

Black played another severe move.

Park ataried, before living in the corner.

White can escape if he ataris this way.

But there's nothing to be gained from doing so.

Black will come out.

White doesn't have many points, and the left area is white's only big moyo.

In addition, he has to be aware of his cutting point.

Yes, white needs to defend there at some point.

Otherwise, black will cut here. Then white has to make a bad exchange here.

If he doesn't make that exchange, black can wedge here.

Well, white's stones are cut off!

They're critically important stones, but black can't rescue them.

So this exchange is necessary, but it's a bad move.

Moreover, white can't attack this black group severely.

Even though white can separate black, he'll have to defend his cutting point later.

So the attack won't work well.

Therefore, Park ataried here.

In the actual game, Kong extended.

After that, he reinforced his group.

Black could've played like this.

It's also conceivable, because black can aim at white's right side group.

So this could be another strategy.

I think Kong played there because he was aiming at this wedge.

Well, white can't connect his groups!

It's huge.

Kong's keen on territory, so he extended here.

Despite the weak point, white couldn't defend there.

Because the upper right group was under pressure.

In the actual game, Park separated black.

Was Kong still ahead?

Yes, he'd already secured 25 points at the bottom.

In total, he had 40 points, plus this aji.

Furthermore, this wedge is another aim.

On the other hand, this white area wasn't territory yet.

Therefore, black was still leading.

Let's look at the middle game after the break!

This is a game between two natural enemies.

Both players have played many interesting moves so far.

Korean Go fans wanted Park to break his losing streak against Kong.

However, the fuseki was unfavorable for Park.

There were some minor mistakes on Park's part.

As a result, he allowed Kong to accumulate many points at the bottom.

And that made Park become nervous.

Between top players, such a mental state can lead to a bad result.

Even though Park cut first, Kong countered with a wedge.

Overall, black was far ahead, in terms of territory.

Therefore, white needed to expand his moyo very effectively.

Separating black, Park aimed at this group.

When Kong pushed, Park played a severe move.

Normally, white answers here.

But Park chose this move, and it shows how desperate he was.

He was well aware of the adverse situation.

But the weak point was wide open.

Well, this extension would be normal indeed.

Park was searching for a variation.

Kong cut here. This move seems very powerful.

If white ataris, black will counter atari.

White can't capture this stone due to his weak group on the right.

So he needs to push here instead.

After that, white cuts.

Even though white has to sacrifice his stones, black's two cutting stones are pivotal.

It's not easy for black to save them.

He has to come back and defend here.

And then white can still cut.

So sacrificing is inevitable for black. But these two stones are very valuable.

The center is getting larger.

This was Park's plan.

However, Kong moved his stone out and attacked white.

At this point, this attachment was brilliant!

Because of the cutting point, black can't come out like this.

So he needs to cut here.

But if white cuts here too, many weak points are exposed.

Black must be careful. For instance, this jump doesn't work.

White will atari here.

It's a ladder.

Even if black captures this stone, he can't rescue the cutting stones [because white will squeeze and still capture].

There's no escape.

Because of this weakness, black can't resist.

So Kong just captured white by blocking here.

When Park connected, Kong had to answer again.

If Park had just pushed here, Kong would have extended.

Black can just extend again and again.

Black will get more points. It's a huge difference.

Furthermore, these black stones limit white's potential.

So this variation is unacceptable for white.

Park got out of trouble with this wonderful tesuji.

Kong's answers were inevitable.

Even though Park weathered the crisis, black was still ok.

He captured these three stones, and his two cutting stones weren't completely captured yet.

Black could aim to move them out later.

After that, Park began expanding his moyo.

At this point, the most important thing is positional judgment.

Black has to decide how deeply he needs to invade, or how else to reduce the moyo.

Black had 25 points at the bottom,

Five points in the center, and more than 20 points in the top right.

In total, black had secured more than 50 points.

In addition, black can capture some more white stones with these moves.

Therefore, black had at least 60 points.

White had five points in the bottom right.

The left side wasn't territory yet. The left side moyo was the only area that white could build.

So Park had to make at least 50 points there.

If he did so, he could continue to play.

I'm wondering how white can do that.

Well, there are still some weaknesses in this moyo.

If the game was even, black would invade like this.

I think this invasion should survive somehow, since the moyo is too wide.

However, Kong was far ahead on territory.

So, instead of an invasion, Kong chose a reduction, which was less risky.

He thought he was leading, so he played this shoulder hit based on his positional judgment.

In response, Park pushed here.

After that, black could have jumped.

This group wouldn't be captured easily.

But Kong found it unnecessary, so he cut here.

Park would have wanted to extend and fight.

But if black pushes here, white can't hane.

This peep is sente, and this cutting point will be exposed.

Or black can leave that area for now and jump here, aiming at other moves in the center.

So Park decided to sacrifice his stone.

This seems like a strong move, but it looks a bit peculiar.

Does it work or not?

If black connects, white will enclose this area. That's the intention.

So black shouldn't play like that. If he comes out, white will push through like this.

After that, white hanes.

However, the weakness here is troublesome.

I think white must cut.

Then this cut is sente.

If white connects here, this atari is another forcing move.

After this move, this atari is also sente.

If black pushes here, it's not easy for white to deal with it.

It seems like white's in trouble.

Indeed, capturing these three stones won't have any impact on the bottom side.

In contrast, white's moyo is insecure now.

However, Kong got a bit greedy here.

This move would be very powerful.

Kong wanted more, so he played here.

If white becomes more solid, he can play more aggressively at the top.

But, because of the weakness in the center, white couldn't do so at this point.

Kong's plan was to exchange these moves and then play as shown before.

But his reading here was too one sided.

Of course, Park resisted.

Did this change the flow the game?

Yes, this move was greedy.

Because of that, this area was blocked off.

Let's see what will happen to white's group.

Capturing this group isn't guaranteed.

In addition, there are some weaknesses in the center.

So white could escape later.

Black wasn't solid enough to capture this group.

Kong thought this move was sente, but it was a misjudgment.

In pushing through, white seized an opportunity.

This was Kong's first mistake in this game.

Since black couldn't attack that group directly, he approached here first.

Park secured the corner, despite having a weak group on the right.

Frankly, it'd be safer to attach and hane like this.

Isn't the corner weak instead now?

In that case, white can fall back.

This would be acceptable. Let's analyze each move around here.

Kong's original plan was to force this exchange and then push through in the bottom left.

Since Kong didn't play there, Park took that point instead.

And Kong approached here. These two moves are incomparable to one another.

White's move is much more valuable, and black's moyo wasn't complete.

So we can easily see that black was unsuccessful around here.

Park wanted to persevere, because he was behind.

But since he'd already succeeded here, he should have played more safely, like this.

In this case, this attachment is a good way to improvise.

In the actual game, Park wanted to complete the corner.

However, Kong realized how serious the situation was at this point.

As a result, he attached here, and it was quite severe.

It was a sort of reinforcement, which aimed at some aji at the same time.

This throw-in works.

Not only will white's shape be destroyed, but the weakness here will be exposed.

Therefore, this move was more powerful than the jump.

To repair the weakness, Park haned here.

However, this move received criticism.

Let me show you the actual progression first.

This exchange is necessary for the attack.

Furthermore, this throw-in was destructive!

What happens if white captures this stone?

Then black will sacrifice his stone again, like this.

After that, there are continuous ataris.

It's a catastrophe for white.

White's left side moyo will be destroyed in an instant.

This move was inevitable. But Kong played another wonderful move here.

If black plays like this, white will atari. It's no big deal.

But this was an excellent combination!

Isn't it suicidal? What if white ataris here?

Then black can move this stone out.

It's no use playing atari here.

It's not a ladder.

How about this white group? Is it safe?

Well, above all, black's stone is placed on the vital point.

It was a problem.

Kong's combination was excellent.

Park should have just connected here, then there wouldn't have been a problem.

Now black can't do anything in the center.

White can still capture black's three stones later.

This sequence, with the atari and squeeze, is quite tempting.

But it's a mere endgame play.

Now that these stones have nothing to do with white's moyo, they're small.

Park's previous all out moves were reasonable, since he was behind.

But, at this point, it was time to calm down and defend solidly.

However, he didn't do so.

There's a tendency to have different feelings about a game when when you meet your natural enemy.

This caused Park to make a mistake, and Kong discovered a brilliant combination.

It hints at how strong he is.

This combination was really nice!

In general, Kong's style is calm, but he's also strong at reading and fighting.

I thought this battle would've been very complicated.

But it ended up being simple.

Locally, white was strong enough to fight, but he had a weak group on the right.

Kong decided to sacrifice his group.

He was aiming at white's large group on the right.

After that exchange, Kong wedged here.

These moves were sente.

These exchanges strengthened black a lot.

Though not guaranteed, this move was almost sente too.

Finally, Kong tried to kill the whole group.

Instead of an endgame move, it was an attacking move.

It was not only big, but also powerful.

So, it was a matter of life and death.

But didn't white gain many points just now?

Yes, and here comes the highlight of the game.

Let's look at the actual game.

When white came out, black blocked here.

Then they exchanged these moves.

Because of white's weakness, he couldn't come out here.

If there was already a stone here, white would be able to attach like this.

But because of black's possible atari, it didn't work.

There was a mistake in white's move order.

They reviewed some other variations after the game.

Let's look at the actual progression first.

Because of white's weakness in the center, black could connect here.

Kong was determined to capture the entire group.

After looking at the actual progression, we'll look at some other variations.

Park's group was in danger. Let's continue.

Black's preparation for this attack was very good.

Park acquired many points before this, but they'd be useless if this group died.

A ko wasn't good enough for white.

Black would play somewhere big, twice, and white wouldn't be able to withstand it.

So Park had to live unconditionally.

Park attempted to make eye shape by sacrificing his stones.

Since black got to white's weak point first, it was impossible to make two eyes on the inside.

I think white could produce one eye at least.

So Park needed to look for another eye on the outside.

White couldn't escape.

But if he could make one eye in gote at the top, there'd be a chance to live.

Park was trying to create eye shape.

But black hit the vital point.

However, if white played there instead, black would jump into the eye space.

It's no use capturing black's two stones either.

White didn't even have one complete eye.

Park tried his best to rescue his group.

But white had a weakness in the center.

Park's resistance was rather desperate.

Kong tenukied and ataried there.

Did he intend to let the group live?

No, he was still aiming at the cutting point at the top.

In addition, black could now destroy the left side with a hane later.

149 moves, black (Kong Jie 9p) wins by resignation.

Kong dealt with Park's resistance skillfully.

Did Park make any mistakes while attempting to rescue his group?

At this point, this group was in grave danger. Let's go back a few more moves.

During the review, they spent most of their time around here.

Let me state the conclusion first.

Park haned here, but it was wrong.

Instead, he should have attached like this.

If black hanes, white can bump here, instead of playing here.

Black has to atari.

After connecting here, white can cut.

Then cutting again, like this, is very powerful.

Black is in trouble.

It's a big difference.

Black can't cut like this either.

In the actual game, Park haned first and came out.

But, in this case, white can bump here instead.

Black can't cut white, so I think he has to play here.

This move is better. It's sente.

In response, white double hanes.

Because of black's cutting point, black can't cut white.

If black connects, white can extend here.

If black tenukis, white will jump and separate him.

However, this atari is necessary, to rescue the center group.

But if white jumps here, it will be hard for black to manage his group.

White has many liberties.

This variation is better for white than the moves in the actual game.

If black separates white, like this, white will cut here.

After that, white will extend and black's in trouble.

Since black can't capture white's stones, the center group is in danger.

This hane lets white choose between two moves.

It turned out that this move was black's best choice.

After the bump, white has to push.

If black cuts, white will hane.

After this connection, black's group is in trouble.

Because this empty triangle is sente.

So cutting is a dangerous idea.

So black needs to capture these stones first.

Then, after this exchange, white connects his group.

Black can remove these stones in sente.

We assessed this position.

Even though Kong sacrificed several stones, he also captured white's stones.

In addition, black can take some more profit by harassing white's group.

Even though this group can't be captured, it's still weak.

Overall, black is still ahead.

However, if Park had chosen this variation, he'd still have had some chances to win the game.

Instead of the hane, he should have attached here.

This is an interesting variation.

Since this area was enclosed, white's group couldn't live on the inside.

Park made only half an eye on the right.

There were fascinating variations from the beginning of the game.

I noticed that the players were largely affected by psychological factors.

According to Choi Cheolhan 9p, no matter how different a player's style is,

A player can be affected by losing three games in a row.

And he said it's hard to get over it afterwards.

So breaking a losing streak means a lot.

This brings us to the end of today's episode.

Perhaps you have some other natural enemies in mind?

We're looking forward to your participation in this program!

Thank you!

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