Baduk TV English: Won Seongjin vs Mok Jinseok – Searching for Exquisite Games: Episode 37

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 37 looks at a game from the Korean Baduk League, played on October 23, 2009. Won Seongjin plays black and Mok Jinseok plays white.

Won Seongjin vs Mok Jinseok

Video: Won Seongjin vs Mok Jinseok

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Transcript of the video

Translated by Oh Chimin 7d for

Edited by David Ormerod 5d

Searching for Exquisite Games

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

Hello! Today we're going to review a game between Mok Jinseok 9p and Won Seongjin 9p.

They both play a fighting style, so the game will be interesting.

Both players have quite similar styles, but Won's rating is slightly higher.

Won became a world champion in 2011, defeating Gu Li 9p in the Samsung Cup.

Surprisingly, both players' records are 9-3 against Mok Jinseok 9p.

That means Mok wins 3 out of 4 games!

It's not easy to find such one sided results amongst top players.

Even so, Won's winning rate against other players is higher than Mok's.

Anyway, we'll get to see a typical power oriented game. Let's have a look.

Black: Won Seongjin 9p

White: Mok Jinseok 9p

Because they both like fighting, this game will be decided in battle.

Mok has a good sense of reading and fighting.

Won's nickname, 'One Punch', is already well known.

They've both chosen the 3-4 points.

Aggressive players like the 3-4 point.

And they prefer approaching the corner to enclosing it, as in the actual game.

White peeps here, this seems quite common in recent years.

Black doesn't connect, but pushes here.

In the game, black plays here, but black often blocked like this before.

Blocking here was considered to be a normal move before,

but these days pros think it's a bad move.

How come?

Isn't it joseki?

These two forcing moves are painful for black.

Furthermore, white's territory on the left is very big.

White's two stones may become troublesome for black later.

The conclusion is that it's good for white, and many pros haven't blocked there for a while.

Ah, that's why I haven't seen this move for a long time...

Many josekis have been re-evaluated in recent times.

Black used to answer like this.

Because the exchange itself, while unpleasant for black, will alleviate some aji below.

But pros these days think black can easily handle the weakness with this sequence.

Black also has some endgame aji in the corner.

Because of all that, black pushes here.

It seems like black has no points, while white takes the corner.

If you like territory, you would take white, because there are 15 points in the corner.

Nevertheless, this sequence produces an even result,

because black has thickness and white's played one more stone in the lower left corner.

Black is playing a cosmic style opening.

After black's enclosure, white splits the right side.

Black has to maximize the efficiency of his earlier moves.

Therefore, a knight's move enclosure isn't appropriate in this case.

The purpose of black's move here is to apply pressure to white's stone.

A third line extension looks normal. But Mok plays on the 4th line.

What made him play there?

At that time, the shoulder hit was very popular in this sort of situation.

Is it that painful?

This is the expected sequence.

This idea was first developed in China, and later in Korea.

Many players think this sort of variation is better for black.

That's why white chose to play on the 4th line, but in my opinion,

this is still possible, because white's group in the lower left reduces black's moyo.

It depends on one's style.

This choice is more about resisting the opponent's intentions.

Black broadens his moyo, threatening white's group.

Even though white prevents the shoulder hit, it's not easy to defend now.

This move isn't good because the side is open.

White finds it difficult to answer locally, so Mok invades the corner.

Amazing! It's not easy for white to control the upper group.

If black attaches like this, white will connect.

The result is acceptable for black though.

Black begins attacking.

This move prevents white's potential connection.

Black's moyo looks good.

Locally, this attachment is bad, but

The intention is to take sente and play in the lower right corner.

White can't let black approach here.

This is an improvised exchange to get sente.

After getting a base, white takes an urgent point.

In the actual game, white played the counter hane, which is unusual.

Normally white makes a tiger's mouth, but not in this case.

After this sequence, black will attack white severely.

Black's surrounding stones are a great threat to white.

This is a typical tesuji in this kind of situation.

The purpose is to stabilize the group quickly.

It's a good choice to make life when the opponent is strong locally.

Up to here, white has gained a lot of points.

During that time, black built huge influence over the center.

The center is vast. Won keeps expanding his framework.

Will this moyo become territory?

Probably not. I was surprised by this move because the center is still very open.

And his style is more fighting based, not cosmic at all.

I guess it's because Mok 9p doesn't let him play with his own style.

It is hard to plan your game from the beginning when you meet your natural enemy.

The two space jump caused controversy at the time when this game was played.

Because this point is very good.

Since black doesn't play there, white cuts immediately.

I would play there if I were black.

Let's compare the variation to the actual game.

Once white cuts here, black has to defend.

This attachment is vital.

Black has to fall back again.

If black plays the hane, black's shape is broken when white plays here.

If black's moyo is erased, black will be short on territory.

Black's stones in the center look inefficient now.

Yes, so black should have prevented white from cutting.

This time, Mok 9p is greedy.

White should jump here, reducing black's potential and defending himself.

But he advances to the side, leaving his group unstable.

Isn't he afraid of being attacked?

He seems to be confident, I think that's because he has good results against Won 9p.

His moves seem to be excessive.

Nevertheless, black doesn't attack white directly.

Isn't it too much? The moyo looks too wide.

Attaching here would be common sense, aiming at the center group.

I anticipated that white would jump here.

With no doubt, it's an excellent point.

Well, it's too wide to complete this shape.

Even if white tenukis again, there's still aji left inside.

Black's investment on the left side will be useless if white invades and lives there.

Professionals never worry about invading in such cases.

It's rather easy because there are a lot of places to lean against black's stones.

Because of that, I thought white wouldn't miss this great point.

This also supports the weak group at the bottom.

Does Mok put too much emphasis on fighting spirit here?

Another invasion here.

He's already got a weak group, and he's creating another weak group.

Black blocks white's exit, double attacking the baseless groups.

Generally speaking, it's good when you can attack like this, as it is in this case.

This is not only applying pressure to the single stone, but also attacking the center.

The move played on the upper side is conceivable, but

the one that has just been played is hard to understand.

White plays a common tesuji here.

Black doesn't give way to white, but attacks as fiercely as possible.

This is the most crucial stage of the game.

Black's next move causes complicated variations.

Black captures one stone, this is the sequence from the actual game.

This choice was severely criticized by other pros.

How should black have played then?

Won said he thought about this.

That's the variation. And this was his initial thought.

This is quite nice because white doesn't gain many points compared to the original shape.

Less than 10 points. On the other hand, black becomes solid.

It will help in the attack on the center.

This is the way to punish white's deep invasion.

Won 9p was aiming for a knockout blow here. That's how mistakes arise.

Let's have a look at what Won overlooked.

His punch struck at the wrong point.

That's what he read.

It looks like tesuji.

Indeed. But not in this case.

White has to come out, capturing one stone is too submissive.

His initial plan was to connect and attack white.

How about pushing through like this?

White will capture black's stone, leaving the left side open and playing a forcing move here.

White fights back with strong moves.

This is the same sequence that Won read.

But the problem is, Won missed a move.

It's a critical mistake to make in such important circumstances.

In the game, black suddenly stopped attacking and played the hane.

The move Won had been imagining was this.

How should white respond after that?

White can't play here, because of his lack of liberties.

After the atari here, black could even save this stone.

Is that possible?

Yes, that's what Won 9p originally planned.

But he discovered white's tesuji later.

Instead of the atari, white has a good move...

What is it? It's hard for me to figure it out.

The solution is this - empty triangle.

Ah, does that really work?

If black surrounds white, white will cut and it's difficult for black.

With this ponuki in the center, white is good, of course.

The ponuki is so good now. It's unacceptable for black.

Therefore, black has to extend here, but white will cut and capture the 5 stones.

The atari increases white's liberties!

When black plays atari here, white captures black.

If black captures the stone and gets sente, what will happen in the center?

Won didn't play this way because he realized that he'd hallucinated,

but this variation is still rather good.

Black has to maximize his moyo, to make up for the loss on the left.

This isn't sufficient though, because white will sacrifice the center.

Now white will take a risk, and the result becomes unpredictable.

This game depends on the life and death of the center group.

It's not easy to read everything here in such a quick game.

Won would have been shocked by the fact he missed the empty triangle move.

Let's compare the difference between the two variations.

Won 9p changed his plan with this hane.

What's the intention of this move?

If white replies here, black can now block here.

The empty triangle tesuji doesn't work now, because

black can block and the ladder doesn't work.

If this happened, it would be a huge problem for white.

That's why white played the hane.

Even though black captures the two stones, white takes sente and reinforces the center.

White's shape looks good.

Let's compare this to the previous variation.

The difference on the left side is about 25 points.

But black's lower group becomes weak.

Furthermore, there's a cutting point in black's position.

This group is in danger.

Black concentrated on the center from the beginning.

This isn't consistent with black's initial strategy. So it's a failure for black.

Even though black gained some points on the left side, white's still ahead on territory.

A single misread reversed the flow of the game.

After the negotiations in the center, white takes the lead.

It seems like black overplayed here. The battle in the center will continue...

Natural enemy - If you can't avoid it, face it

Won Seongjin 9p vs Mok Jinseok 9p

There have been lots of interesting and furious battles since the beginning.

There seems to be certain flow when Won 9p meets tiresome opponents.

There are cases where he loses to certain opponents.

If losses accumulate, players can easily overplay or underplay.

Won could have taken the lead with simple play, but he sought better, stronger moves.

Eventually, that led to his misjudgment.

On the other hand, Mok 9p took advantage of Won's misread effectively.

White’s development in the center is great.

In spite of the bad result on the left side, Won 9p starts a belated attack.

Komi is quite a burden these days, so black has to do something in the center.

Another move here, interesting.

In theory, Mok would have already prepared a defense for this weakness.

Regardless of that, black plays as strongly as possible.

Neither side has any option but to play on with fighting spirit.

Black's moves seem to be unusual. It shows his mental state.

It's a one way sequence.

In spite of black's bad shape, he successfully separates white.

Black gets a few points here, while white captures black's stone there,

building a solid wall around the outside.

This will be a threat to the lower group.

Black's attempts in the center are not successful.

There must be some future aim for black.

Would black be attracted to this move?

The problem is, locally it's a good move.

But after white advances to the lower side,

the safety of black's group has steadily worsened.

Black has no way to capture white's 5 stones, he can only make a ko.

Even so, black can't look after his weak group now.

After white defended here, there was nowhere to reverse the situation.

That's the flow of play.

After white's diagonal move here, black can't live unconditionally.

The ko is the only way to live here.

White can simply connect here, there's no need to make a threat first,

This is white's hanami ko.

White has almost nothing to lose by fighting this ko.

But for black, losing the ko would cause enormous damage.

Because of the importance of the ko fight, black tries to create ko threats over here.

But white doesn't give it a second thought and just ends the ko.

Finally, the big group is dead.

There's no way to rescue it.

Even if white continues the ko fight, the two stones on the right side are enough.

White's 6 stones aren't important.

Black's only hope now is to kill white's group here.

Black can't win the game without capturing this group.

These four stones aren't enough, of course.

White doesn't give up and the group and moves out.

White's already secured one eye.

To play for the kill, black has to attach here, but the upper side is quite open.

This seems to be preparing for a powerful attack on the right side group.

In fact, this move doesn't have a precise purpose.

Black's unlikely to capture white with simple moves.

Black intends to leave some aji, hoping it will help when attacking the right side.

Now, white plays a bad move.

Since white gained a lot on the left, he doesn't have to play tightly.

Even if black cut off the upper left, the corner can still live independently.

This is not only a tesuji, it also helps to complicate the game.

The game is getting more interesting again.

There's no need to complicate a game like this when you're winning.

Mok 9p doesn't play like someone who has the lead.

To save the group, white has to play this hane.

White fills black's liberties.

White's responding with strong moves.

It seems to be an efficient defense.

But there's a vital point here. White's group in the center is in danger.

White has only one eye. That's a problem.

This group's shape has been destroyed.

This attachment looks interesting.

This is a fast game, so no one has time to read out all the variations.

At last, white has to come back here.

Black's focus isn't on the right side group.

If white answers, black will try to kill the group on the left.

White would feel threatened at this stage.

Yes, I think so. When he saved the 4 stones, he wouldn't have imagined such variations.

On the left side, Won's greed brought him failure.

Later, Mok's desire for a one sided win jeopardized his group.

Anyway, Mok has to manage his weak group with great care.

This will be the final, crucial stage of this game. Let's have a look.

Both sides must find the best moves now.

White has to save both groups.

Mok must have felt threatened.

White destroys black's eye shape here. Does it affect black's safety?

No, black's alive. But he has to get sente so that he can try to attack white.

Does white think he can save his groups by blocking there?

This applies pressure to black.

Both players are in byo-yomi now.

White has to live without taking any damage.

Otherwise, black will gain a lot elsewhere in exchange for letting white live.

This is time-suji (a forcing move played to avoid running out of time).

How should white rescue the group?

Normally when living, you have to widen your eye shape or make tiger's mouth.

So black plays for shape.

Does white have to take care of the right side now?

Does white have any forcing moves at the top?

White's group in the center can be captured if he leaves it in an insecure state.

Yes. White must save both of the groups though.

Is it sente?

If so, it will help a lot.

It seems the other group isn't completely alive.

Finally, black plays to kill the group.

As soon as black plays that move, white can't make two eyes locally.

There's the question of the top though. Can white get another eye there?

Can white's two moves on the second line help to make life at all?

Black's still aiming at both white groups.

These moves are all sente.

But, they won't help white to make 2 eyes.

This is a predictable sequence.

What about black's group on the upper side?

Yes, it's part of the life and death problem. Otherwise, white would have no chance here.

Black threatens the other group.

That's the right timing.

Black has to get compensation for the loss in the lower left from this double attack.

Black has to capture one these groups unconditionally.

But it won't be easy.

After this hane, black can't kill the group.

What black wants to get is this point, in sente.

This will to prevent white's threats against black's top group.

In my opinion, if black's completely alive now, white's in danger.

This is like declaring that white's group is captured.

Black's two stones can connect along the upper side after this move.

That will be a threat to white.

White has to answer correctly.

This is an asking move.

It looks like tesuji.

Ah, black answers there? Then the meaning of the descent to the first line is lost.

Black's connection is gone.

That looks strange to me.

Black's moves were meaningless. White's right side group is alive now.

Black must capture white's top left group, or he'll lose the game.

Won 9p wanted to gain profit by descending here, but

Mok's attachment inside black's group is wonderful.

This game was complicated right until the end.

178 Moves, Mok Jinseok 9p (white), wins by resignation.

Even though black struggled on after the bad result in the lower left,

he couldn't catch up.

Right until the last moment the game was in chaos.

There seem to be a lot of hidden moves here. What choice would be best for black?

Black has a good move.

This move is would stabilize his group.

In the game, black tried to live in sente, but white's tesuji messed up black's plans.

To maintain the attack on the left, shouldn't black play here?

Yes, if black intends to make an eye here, the descent to the first line has no meaning.

Because white can block here in sente.

To remove that aji, black has to connect here.

But if black plays to capture this group,

White will be able to live, because this move is sente.

If black doesn't answer this, white will kill black.

And if black answers, white can live with this jump.

That's why black struggled on, on the upper side.

Because of that, black answered here.

Let me explain why black has to resign at this point.

This move is sente, because white can capture the 2 stones afterwards.

This is no use.

White has miai to live.

Black can bump like this if he connects here.

White isn't alive then.

This was black's initial plan.

In the end, the attachment was the winning move, found during byo-yomi!

Isn't there any other move?

Black should have played here instead.

Is that alive too?

Yes, if white blocks here, black can descend like in the actual game.

Now this tesuji doesn't work anymore.

This move isn't sente either.

Black's completely alive.

Isn't that a problem for white?

This move, played during byo-yomi, was the losing move of the game.

The proper move is this. Because of the sequences I just showed.

The outcome would be different then.

What about the life of this group?

There are lots of variations in the corner.

Is there something in the corner?

White can't live locally.

Black's position here is suspicious. There should be something in the corner.

If you're a dan player, you'll sense it.

This move works now.

The counter atari is a practical tesuji.

It's a ko.

White has a local ko threat.

When white captures black's stone, the group will be in danger.

That means black has no ko threats for this fight.

This is the only choice for black.

After these exchanges, white can live with this sacrifice and it won't affect his lead.

The loss of a few stones is trivial.

So black can't let white make that ko. Black has a good move here.

As the proverb says, "the enemy's vital point is your own". Black has a wonderful move on the 2-1 point.

What happens next?

Now black can connect.

It's going to be complicated again.

Here's a capturing race.

Let's have a look at the result of the capturing race.

Black seems to have more liberties.

It's a one way street.

Black has to play from the outside.

Black has to take the three stones now.

If black fills this liberty, it's a seki.

Seki is unacceptable for black.

Black has to play here to avoid the seki.

But black can't stand this ko either.

Even though it's quite complicated, white's group is supposed to live.

But this was the conclusion reached by pros afterwards. No one knows how the game would go.

I felt Mok 9p's superb reading and fighting spirit throughout this game.

Won 9p has shown better performance than others recently.

Therefore, they'll be good rivals.

These players' head to head record is now 10-3 in Mok 9p's favor. It's Won's task overcome it.

Commentator: Yoon Seonghyun 9p

Assistant Commentator: Sim Wooseop 7d

Thank you!

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