I played this game on OGS, with 3 stones handicap; initially our ranks were 3 stones apart, but since I ranked up during the game it was – even if the ranks were accurate reflections of our strength – “rigged” in my favour. This is actually one of the things at OGS I have noticed, my ranking has gone up to 21k, but I’m still winning games; mostly that is because I play games where the handicap is automatically adjusted, and because I’m probably not at 21k strength, it ends up being skewed in my favour… this probably will stop once I reach the rank that is more accurate for me.
But back to the game… I won by a fair margin, though it was an interesting game… With only three stones handicap, my usual “run and stay connected” strategy didn’t apply, so I had to get into a few fights. We even started off with one in the upper left corner, as you can see… And had a few up and downs on the lower side. A wall emerged somewhat diagonally from just below the centre to the lower right corner (plays 97 to 115) and then I decided to jump with 116 at O8; I thought that we were fairly even: he has the two upper corners plus territory in the middle, and I have the lower corners and some territory on the upper side and around one of the corners.
Instead of playing out the corner area, and solidify the wall after White plays 116, I decided to make a jump and try to claim territory on the right side of the cheonwon [천원; tengen] point. This is kinda out of character for me, as it isn’t a safe move, but a big one… there are no supporting stones in the area, just two walls: white above, and black below; it could go either way, and I was expecting a fight. But no fight erupted… perhaps he played it safe because his wall had gaps in it that I would be able to exploit if a fight came about (and I was better at this game); either way, we build another wall right in the middle there. I almost misread after he played, 129, as the white stone (marked) was there from earlier in the game… if I played 130 one higher, the resulting dansu [단수; atari] would have me connect, and he’d reduce the territory I could make.
In the end we danced about in the endgame, exchanging small points here and there, but it was very much decided, and I don’t think he would be able to have caught up. But what was truly interesting is that for the first time I really made use of the conditional moves option; of course it helps you visualise when you try and read things out, but what was interesting is that I managed to accurately read where my opponent would play in sequences of up to 10 moves sometimes! There was a time when I couldn’t read ahead one move, let along any sequence of some sort… but the sequence 137 to 144, part of the sequence where we made that wall in the middle and the end game sequence near the upper left corner, all read out perfectly. Of course endgame sequences are easy, there is very little variation; but in sequences of three to five moves I managed to accurately read and set out some of the smaller fights during the middle game as well… This is what I like about OGS, it helps me learn reading through its conditional moves option… And I love it…