As I dive further into handicap games, I’m beginning to gain an appreciation for them. Instead of being something I used to detest and feel powerless to play against, I see each game (regardless of whether I’m Black or White) as an opportunity to prove that I can elevate my game another notch.
When playing as Black, my goal is to maintain a proactive role while keeping an eye on the connections between my groups while ensuring that my attacks are generating profit at the same time. I do not let overplays scare me into spreading myself out to thin which only serves to White’s advantage. In addition, I always try to remember that I don’t need to kill White in order to win. I am already ahead, as long as the territory I gain is more than White is getting, my victory will be assured.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I’m white, my goal is is to aim for any weaknesses in my opponent’s strategy and position and exploit them while trying to catch up one point at a time. Contrary to my prior approach to playing white in handicap games, the goal is not to make numerous overplays in hopes of the opponents making some tragic mistake.
In addition, one of the hardest things I have found about playing White in handicap games is that the feeling of being behind can become very difficult to handle at certain points in the game. In fact, I feel like for most of the first half of the game, it’s pretty much an uphill battle the entire time. The crucial point in victory often comes when there are more stones on the board and you can utilize your reading and planning abilities to finally turn the tide.
Anyhow, those are my findings for now. Looking forward to see what else awaits me in the depths of handicap go!