13. Reading Twenty Moves Deep
A Rather Difficult Problem

by Richard Bozulich

In the opening stages of the game, there is virtually no reading. The players are more concerned with establishing their formations by staking out the corners, making corner enclosures, playing approach moves, etc. But once opposing stones come into contact, as in a joseki, reading a number of moves ahead becomes necessary.

'Reading' means exploring all the variations that arise within the limits of your search tree. There will be tesujis found in one node of the tree but are not found in others. But even though they may not be played, they must be taken into account.

Top-level pros read incredibly deeply and accurately. For example, in the seventh game of the 2nd Meijin title match between Sakata Eio and Fujisawa Shuko (see The Dawn of Tournament Go), Sakata played a brilliant tesuji that won the game and the Meijin title. Both players accurately read out the position to a depth of more than 20 moves.

The solution to the problem below is not as difficult as the one that arose in the Sakata–Fujisawa game, but you will have to be able to read ahead at least 20 moves in one of the variations. You will also need to know four or five various tesujis, all of which have appeared in previous instalments of Go World Online, and work out the order in which they are played.

White to play
Problem. White to play
White's marked stones seem to be trapped. Black has strong positions on the left and the right and his stones above are out in the open. However, there are some chinks in Black's position. If you have read the second instalment of Go World Online, you will probably spot one of those chinks, and you need to play a tesuji there immediately. If Black plays the strongest resistance, White will need to find three other tesujis to trap Black's stones and rescue his own at the bottom.