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White 5 after 3 at the 3-3 point in the corner is a fundamental idea of light play. Since Black 6 at 7 is a bad idea, the continuation shown is nearly inevitable. White has lived neatly, and can later jump out at A. This isn't however considered to be a mainline variation. It would be very handy for White to play out the corner in this way, at some point in the middlegame. Do it too early, though, and Black's overall position can start to look very solid. That is the same strategic tension as limits use of a 3 -3 invasion behind a 4-4 point.

Why is Black 11 not played at A, to enclose the corner? Because White could then play at 11, leaving Black concentrated on one side of the board (and without a significant store of completely secure territory). Another kind of balance that ought to be borne in mind relates to spreading out over the whole available area on the 19x19 board. Putting it another way, with Black A already in place, Black at 5 is one of a number of big points you could choose, b ut not obviously the biggest. Therefore you can say that Black is committed to a play like 11 from the outset, leaving White free to come into the corner at A.

Therefore Black will spend time pondering B and C, sharper options discarded these days in the Sword. White is pleased, in fact, with this trend; the marked white stone is for sacrifice here, and Black is stretching to find a good way to play. Black 4 is perhaps questionable. Black chooses 4 instead, to make more of the position. This lets us out of the Magic Sword rut. It is one thing to realise that context changes everything in Go, something else again to implement that flexibility. This variation gets into the new edition of the Ishida Joseki Dictionary (sorry, Japanese only for the foreseeable future).

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Charles Matthews Article Series On Your Side by Charles Matthews

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