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White: Florian Jamain    Black: Yibyab (LG) | This game (LG) | Download JTwixt file
On 2012-10-10 at 15:48, yibyab (info) said:
I felt I lost this game with my response to 7.i18. I don't yet have the vision to see the board strategically, and I usually wind up scrambling in local battles, playing for an opponent mistake.

I'd be interested to know how the more experienced players would have responded to 7.i18.

Or, if my choice of 8.i13 could have been salvaged.

On 2012-10-10 at 23:29, Alan Hensel (info) said:
I think the point of |7.i18 was to establish a double threat: either a path up the left side, or a backstream peg to the 0-2 ladder chase on the right: |10.q15 11.s15 12.r17 13.t17 14.s21 15.r18 16.q20 17.p17 18.n18 19.m18 20.m20 21.n16 22.k19 23.k17 24.h20 25.h21 26.i22 27.g19 28.g21 29.f21 ...

Your reply should challenge both threats. For example, if |8.l16 then
9.r13 10.q15 11.s15 12.r17 13.t17 14.s21 15.r18 16.q20 17.p17 18.o19 works nicely on the right;
9.f15 10.f13 could go many different ways, but probably works.

You could also try the far solution, such as |8.i9, which strengthens your position over the top, while shutting down the 9.f15 threat. It would be a bold move, and expand the possibilities considerably, but sometimes it's the strongest move to make, and you shouldn't be afraid of blowing things wide open if it looks like the strongest move on the board, or things aren't going your way otherwise.

Could |8.i13 be salvaged? Maybe. |10.p7 looks pretty good. 11.t8 12.s4 or 11.t7 12.t5 13.r6 14.o5 15.s4 16.s10 (Medcalf Defense) 17.p9 18.q9 19.n8 20.l7 21.k7 22.k5 23.l9 24.j7, or 11.p9 12.o5, 11.o9 12.m8, etc. Clearly Florian was worried about it, because when you played the pointless |14.u15 move, he jumped on the opportunity to fix his weak spot with |15.q7.

I think it was actually your |10.t13 that did you in. Florian's 11.t14 fixed the Medcalf situation for him (|12.p7 13.t7 14.t5 15.r6 16.o5 17.s4 18.s10 19.s9 20.r8 21.t11), so your path across the top was broken at that point. Your |14.u15 fixed it for you, which forced Florian to respond on the top, but fortunately for Florian, that move did nothing to break his path to the bottom.

So: |10.p7 instead of |10.t13.

On 2012-10-11 at 02:42, dushoff (info) said:
Unlike Alan, I never would have figured out the "backstream peg" motivation for |7.i18. But even without that, 8.i13 looks unbalanced. You don't need so much "weight" on the left side.

The moves that occur to me (also inspired by Alan, and his writing about Y threats) would be somewhere above n11, like |8.m9, or |8.m8 or |8.n7.

On 2012-10-11 at 02:43, yibyab (info) said:
Thanks for the feedback, Alan.

Re. alternatives to my 8.i13. I hadn't anticipated Florian's 7.i18, but I recognized its strength right away. I had opted to defend against the north-south threat on the left side because I felt pretty good about being able to counter the other side because I thought I had a solid defense at the top.

I still felt pretty good even after the 9.r13 response and, like you pointed out, I was prepped to play 10.p7, but I discovered a good counter Florian could play...

10.p7 11.p9 12.o9 13.t7 which I couldn't work out a bulletproof defense. I played 10.t13 to try to force a white move to the south, and felt that peg would help me secure a 10.p7 strategy. Florian made a good counter, though, with 11.t14 which still gave him an out in countering the battle for the upper right quadrant, for instance...

12.p7 13.p9 14.o9 15.t7 16.r8 17.t9

...and that appendage at t14 made it impossible (at least as far as I could find) to beat him there. You called 14.u15 pointless, but I played that hoping to force Florian into a decision to either secure the path to the top or defend against what I thought was a strong path for me along the bottom.

I was wrong, though, because when Florian chose to secure the upper route, I belatedly discovered that my path along the bottom was not only not strong but as I worked out the options, discovered that I was actually in dire need of a mistake from Florian to make it work.

All of this, now that I write it out, sounds like I'm saying nearly the same thing you did.

I had planned to get to a point to play 18.020, believing I could pinch off any attempt to sneak through to the lower right while also being in a good position to prevent White's descent throught the lower center/left. But, I discovered too late that it was impossible for me to block Florian on the left with that move and I just couldn't find anything that would work against both possible attacks.

I almost resigned at that point, but played 18.09 to stall, hoping that maybe I'd find something while Florian would have to secure that upper connection. But that was short-sighted since he didn't even need to respond to it since it offered no threat at all.

I really think that my play of 8.i13 doomed me. My opening game is typically weak and though I'm usually adept at getting out of the early jams I get myself into, that won't work against stiffer competition. I still haven't figured out how to see the board when the game is early and the board is still wide open. Pretty amazing to me that the game can be lost so early.

On 2012-10-11 at 02:49, yibyab (info) said:
Wish I could edit my post. I must've made some error somehow in how I annotated hypothetical move sequences. It's not repeating back correctly for me.

On 2012-10-11 at 13:20, dushoff (info) said:
It usually works if you copy the | at the beginning each time you copy a move sequence from the top.

On 2012-10-12 at 11:55, Alan Hensel (info) said:
Dushoff is right about |8.i13 being unbalanced. Even |8.k13 would have been sufficient to shut down the left side completely; no need to shut it down more strongly than that, but that still looks unbalanced. That said, I still think Yibyab had the upper hand at that point, and it was |10.t13 that doomed him.

After |10.p7 11.p9, the next move should not be 12.o9; it should be 12.o5, which makes 13.t7 not work: 14.t5 15.s5 16.r4 17.o3 18.p3 19.n8 20.l7, etc. So I still assert that p7 was, in fact, a winning move for Black, if he had thought of the o5 follow-up.

The | forces the move sequence to be a branch of the main sequence. Not having the | makes it look for the previous moves earlier in the post. You usually want to start by talking about a branch of the main sequence, and discuss variations afterward without the |. Also, always "Preview" your posts and test all the move sequences.

On 2012-10-12 at 17:08, yibyab (info) said:
Yep, I see it now. I thought my strength with 10.p7 had been compromised by Florian's play at 9.r13 and that I had to neutralize that, which is why I played t13 and then later even u15 to try to secure that path to the upper right. I don't know if I ever considered |10.p7 11.p9 12.o5 which I now see is secure. Had I realized that, that's the tact I would have taken.

I would have still had to play probably error-free to gain the connection to my western boundary, because I've followed Florian's game play enough to know better not to relax and get cocky. Even though I lost, it's fun to learn. (I'm still not sure what it means to be "unbalanced," but that can wait for another lesson. I appreciate the insight and analysis. Thanks.)

On 2012-10-14 at 16:05, dushoff (info) said:
Check Alan's article at,+balance,+and+potential+paths.

On 2012-10-17 at 18:33, yibyab (info) said:
Appreciate the link. I'm still not sure I get how to assess "balance" at the particular point in the game we're talking about, say 6-9 moves in. (I'm at a point in another game right now where I feel like I'm in a good position but my next move -- game move #8 -- is pivotal, and I'm just not able to see the board's potential like I feel I should.)

Anyway, thanks for the analysis and that link. Can't wait to peruse all the articles and advice there. Never saw that resource before.

On 2012-11-26 at 21:42, Florian Jamain (info) said:
Alan is absolutely rigtht, he explained everything.
I remember that I was really worried about 10.p7 and after 11.t14 I knew that I won the game.

On 2012-11-27 at 16:37, Florian Jamain (info) said:
Alan just made a small mistake in his analysis of the Medcalf Defense, I think it is interesting.

After |10.p7 on 11.o9 12.m8 is not a good answer as mentioned. Since now, if we play the Medcalf variation 13.t7 14.t5 15.r6 16.o5 17.s4 18.s10 19.q8 black is loosing. And this is an important point of the Medcalf, we will play o9 and not p9 !
Again the Medcalf : |10.p7 11.t7 12.t5 13.r6 14.o5 15.s4 16.s10 17.o9 and now for instance something like : 18.q9 19.s11 20.u11 21.k10 is not "that" clear.

So, in the Medcalf, o9 will often be prefered to p9.

On 2012-11-28 at 21:45, Thierry Pertuy (info) said:
I don't know if o9 is a really better answer but in this game, if |10.p7 11.o9 I would have been tempted to answer 12.q9 ...

On 2014-12-13 at 01:39, Florian Jamain (info) said:
I up this for you David J Bush !

I could remember that we talked about the Medcalf in this game.

And in my last post, I mentioned one of your variations against the Medcalf.
Tell me if I am right.
I was not that good in TwixT in 2012 so there are probably some new things to tell about this game.

On 2015-01-12 at 23:27, twixter (info) said:
Florian, in your line |10.p7 11.o9 12.m8 13.t7 how about 14.s10 right away, and never mind the Medcalf. For example 15.p8 16.q9 17.o6 18.o10 or 15.q10 16.q5 17.l8 18.l6 19.m10 20.j7 21.r8 22.s4 23.w4 24.u4 black is winning. If white plays t7 first, for example 11.t7 12.t5 13.o9 14.q9 looks good for black again

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