Revisiting pae fights and maek

Remember the game with the pae [패; ko] fight, and – what I thought at the time to be – a great maek [맥; tesuji]? Here is the gibo [기보; kifu] again to refresh your memory:

game end
Basically I lost… but not even by as much as I should have…
ko threat
This is like punching yourself in the face during a fight

If you want my initial comments, here is the blogpost where I review my own game. But I am really sad… because in reviewing this at the club evening yesterday, I was unequivocally told that my great play at B1 was basically kicking a dead corpse after I killed it; apart from being just very very disrespectful, it lost me the pae fight… 149 was an exchange instead of a threat, and any air of greatness I felt after playing it – and the supposed B1 follow-up – evaporated into thin air. What is also interesting is that, according to The Kibitzer, it was only after I responded with 147 to 146 in the first round of threats, that the pae fight became really valuable; I guess it has something to do with the fact that otherwise White can still run.

ko theats creation
In wingchun, this is called a “chain punch”

Another lesson they instilled on me in the review was the fact that I had more threats on the board, so the exchange with Black 149 is not a good one; it gets me 30 points tops, but winning the pae fight would have gotten me more as well as seonsu [선수; sente] if White wanted to save the corner. Either way, the outcome would have been better for Black if I had not played 149, but saved that for last if White had more threats than I did (which she didn’t, apparently). The reason I had more threats is the following sequence, or at least it is a sequence of threats that would set up a new one for Black every time, and if played out will can give at least six from what was initially just one. Basically, after I played A as a threat, white answered with B; my next threat should be at C, which White needs to respond with D; next threat at E, with white playing at C to connect; then the next threat is at F, with white having to dansu [단수; atari] by playing G; then the next threat is to descend with H, and White needs to respond at I; then a threat at J, and white has to capture; then a throw in at F, which is the last clear threat there, and white responds by playing H. Including the threat that I had played in the game (A), the area can provide seven threats for Black, which is an edge in a pae fight. It is sequences like that that I have a hard time spotting.

So lessons learned:

  1. Read out what happens when you don’t play a maek, perhaps it is already dead
  2. Pae threats are only threats if the opponent has to respond, killing something is not a threat (it, in fact, is murder)
  3. Think through pae threats; and don’t approach them on a one-by-one basis, but try to find a way to play it so you can force your opponent to respond where you want them to respond.
  4. How does the board look after your opponents response? is it beneficial? are there follow-up threats? or follow-ups even after the fight is over…
  5. Calculate the value of the pae fight, and see if an exchange is better or not; also make sure that your threats are big enough in terms of potential point value
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