The Opening Dilemma

by Janice Kim on February 6, 2012

To 3-4, or to starpoint – that is the question:

Whether ‘tis better in the endgame to suffer

through gote and komi an outrageous half-point loss

Or to take on a big dragon with only one eye

And by opposing need to resign. To invade, to die–

No more—and by invade to say we end

The need to count, and the thousand variations

That Go will lead us to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wished. To invade, to die–

To die—perchance to win anyway, there’s the rub,

For in that invasion what other gains may come

When we have sacrificed a few light stones

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of living with just two eyes.

For who would bear the hours in overtime

Th’ opponent’s cuts, the kibitzer’s comments

The pangs of lost opportunity, the TD’s delay,

The pressure of rank, and the spurns

that a good move with a bad follow-up takes,

When you yourself might quiet it

With a timely resignation? Who would this bear

To grunt and sweat under a weary endgame,

But that dread of having only one eye,

Th’ board an undiscovered country, from which

no player returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear bad shape

Than fly to moves we know not of.

Thus Go does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And sequences of great pitch and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action. – Soft you now,

for all the games before!  In thy orisons

Be all my mistakes remembered.


To understand the difference between the starpoint and the 3-4 point, you can memorize the main idea that stems from each. These are the two openings I studied as an insei. If you can understand the reasoning behind each move and where there are different possibilities, you will have a firm grasp of the opening.

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