Never give up! Hex, Havannah

52 replies. Last post: 2018-08-22

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Never give up!
  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-21

    You should never give up on your games and I’m happy to share a reason for that :)

    Hugely exciting game for me. A lot of mess and tactical complexities so I’m proud for the result.

    Thank you Daniel for top class competition and I’m sorry if you possibly missed a late win, but I’m not sure. Above link shows the position where I think black should be winning.

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-21

    I’ve never give up which doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes. Maybe I should try something else at move 35 and 37, but I think that earlier (27.c8) can be mistake for black. Anyway, I don’t spend a lot of time for analysis, obviously I’m disappointed in failure.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-21

    I admit I analyzed quite a lot, but everywhere I found black wins after #33. Anyway I’ve not reached a definite conlusion because it was still too complex so I tried desperate moves k3 and i7.

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-21

    I found a black winns too, maybe that’s why I moved so quickly what caused the failure.

  • Maciej Celuch at 2018-01-22

    Probably black should just simply defend his group by playing 37.i6. But anyway gg ;-)

  • Ray Garrison at 2018-01-22

    Yes, never give up!  If you are losing, try to complicate the game and give the opponent the chance to make a mistake.   This is true of all strategy games!

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-23

    @Maciej, maybe, but not obvious, example line

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-23

    Arek, maybe i8 instead k6, which is fault I think?

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-23

    Ah, and solution i8: this

  • Galdian at 2018-01-24

    Hey guys, is there any online (or offline?) Polish community of Hex? It’s hard to google it, as there is popular “Neuroshima HEX!” game ;)

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-24

  • Galdian at 2018-01-24

    I know playok / kurnik as a game platform, but I’m rather interested in a community of people, who play and discuss games, organize real live tournaments etc. I’ve seen that there was one tournament in Wrocław (my city) in 2005, but that’s the only event I’ve found.

  • Force majeure at 2018-01-27

    Being probably a decent Hex player, this game looks totally random most of the time – which proves how huge gap there is between being top ~30 and top 3. Is there any possibility to comment shortly on the game, to give us any hope of understanding the game (espiecially regarding the fuseki phase)? :D

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-27

    I can comment on my behalf:

    At the time when game started I was a bit confused on how to play vs c2. Also I was experimenting with 6th rank moves on short diagonal (as opposed to usual 5th rank) in a couple of earlier games on I don’t recommend it but I opted for f8 to avoid direct threats on the left side and to push Daniel a little bit out of his usual preparation. 

    Obviously black played j9 and I decided to attack that corner immediately before anybody’s advantage is visible (f8 is very specific so I really had to play to my strengths therefore I had to recognise my strengths early on). H12, being a very doubtful move, was again an attempt to immediately solve the bottom-right corner, preferably like:

    But Daniel apparently didn’t like my plan.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-27

    He played tenuki and picked b10 which confused me a lot because it was not any direct threat, but gave me a lot of questions. How do I use f8? Where do I attack the left side – top or bottom? Not knowing the answers I tried to play a double threat of 1) connecting to left on b12 and 2) undermining Daniel’s j9 group.

    Daniel denied my b12 dreams so I reckoned to separate both his groups significantly. Also d11 maintains some potential (Aji) in the bottom-left corner – white b13 might be playable at some point!
    After 11.c6 it’s pretty clear that the only accessible connection to left for white is on the middle of the edge. Probably white cannot do it without any help on top though...
    Looks doubtful.

    Therefore I played for the only possibe enforcement on top:
    Now looks much better, doesn’t it? But again Daniel didn’t like my plan!

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-27

    After another tenuki by Daniel I saw a clear opportunity to capitalise on my bottom-right threats by gaining a semi-escape for the 3rd rank on right:

    But he denied it with 17.j6. Or did he? I don’t know what would happen if I played simply 18.k4, but surely I had a wide choice of other moves so I decided to tenuki. 18.e6 seems to be very threatening on the left if black answers locally:

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-27

    The forum destroyed my posts so I pause here :D

  • HappyHippo at 2018-01-27

    And just as it was getting interesting!

  • HappyHippo at 2018-01-27

    I hope you finish, this is very informative

  • Force majeure at 2018-01-28

    Thank you for the hard work of explaining what is going on, now it is much easier to understand :D

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    It seems the posts' order is back to normal so I will try to rescue the commentary.
    So I could maybe have played 18.k4, but having a wide choice I opted to keep it for later. With 18.e6 I threatened:
    or The most difficult move in my opinion of the whole game was at #22. At the time I knew the game was very close and I worried it could have been lost. There were many things to consider, let me show you some subtleties.

    1) I needed i7 badly, but feared to play that nozoki too early. Daniel could decline defending his group on i6, which would potentially give me even more worries. Saving my i7 option for later required avoiding to play in this area at all.

    2) I also needed to not waste the potential of b13. I thought that playing 22.b13 would be too big a commitment to bottom side so I wanted to just threaten it.
    3) There was a constant big threat of a direct connection to top on the left. A trade off to make by black. At any time he can play b7 in exchange for white having free f3.
    I’m not sure how well 22.d9 deals with all the above, but it was a kind of compromise.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    Later on Daniel forced two simplifications on bottom-right and bottom-left. Next, #26, was the second most difficult move of the game for me.

    After the bottom corners became solved I wanted the game to be as unclear as possible at least on top.

    The i7 dilemma and b7 exchange option stood on. Suddenly I was very weak at the right side and unsure how to make anything of my i5 stone anymore.

    I calculated that an obvious response, black k4, was not an obvious solution so with my move I was forcing more complications. Seems that Daniel thought the same because he didn’t choose k4.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    Daniel simplified again so the whole left side was fixed. To some extent my d9 did it’s job because I gained secure b9 and made Daniel commit a whole move for d12.

    Even though 3 corners were already fixed the game was still a mess! At this point I really analysed a huge number of endgames, but haven’t found a clear result. The most hopeful positions I saw after this weird k3. 

    Daniel responded in a way which I did not consider in my earlier analysis and it gave me hope. As Daniel put one more stone into his top-right group it finally became possible to risk on i7. I expected he would defend on i6 like Maciej Celuch suggested in the discussion above. 

    In that position I could be optimistic about acquiring this shape in center:

    It’s really hard to say if it’s possible, but I repeat my example

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    The rest probably isn’t worth any comments because I admit it’s just analysis and no deeper thought. Maybe even there are blunders, I have literally no idea.

  • Maciej Celuch at 2018-01-28


    @Arek – About 37.i6 I think that black should defend his group and increase it’s size – cutting white as much as possible like this.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    @Maciej, I still can’t see solution to this though, but possibly I’m confused

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-28

    maybe this?

  • Daniel Sepczuk at 2018-01-28


  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    show me deeper, I’m spoiled and only see my wins

  • Maciej Celuch at 2018-01-28

    this ;-)

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    true, then maybe this :D

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-28

    hehe, no, it doesn’t work, but is mighty close :>

  • Force majeure at 2018-01-29

    Thank you so much again Arek! A lot of work put into the analysis, much appreciated! I already feel stronger by 5 ranking points ;) And out of curiosity – what is the average time you put into the game with an opponent of Daniel’s class?

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-29

    It depends a lot on a position.

    Obviously there are moves which I do in seconds - example

    Then there are positions which I “understand” instantly, where vs lower rated players I would make a move in seconds, but vs top opponent I usually do a short analysis (maximum couple of minutes) - example1,  example2

    Another category are positions which I do not understand instantly. I usually look at them for a couple of minutes, but sometimes I don’t make a decision and leave it for later. I repeat this until I feel right about my idea. - example

    The last one is in endgame when I think I can almost solve the position. For these moves I take as much time as it takes to recognise the move most likely to win, but it highly depends on my mood and patience. I can’t give a number but I surely often exceed 15 minutes. - example

  • HappyHippo at 2018-01-29

    Thanks for the write-up, very informative

  • Bill LeBoeuf ★ at 2018-01-31

    Arek, Thank you from me too. You have given a great analysis of this terrific game which I was following closely too. When I have more time to spend on studying your thoughts I think my rating may come up at least 50 points!  You should charge us for it !  In waiting for you to make key moves, it looked like you were spending at least several days on some moves, is that possible?

    Bill LeBoeuf

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-01-31

    Well, it takes several days until I’m in a mood to play Hex :D I often come to see my games but realise I don’t feel like making a move so I close it and wait for another day. Usually I’m finally forced to play by the timer and then I give it an analysis like I explained above.

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    Arek, I’m impressed you managed to win after E12 and H12. Actually you copied these two bad moves from so it’s not even your fault in a sense. You wanted to experiment with something crazy and you did it successfully. In this game frankly it’s all craziness of my games with all craziness of yours combined into one! Ahah :)

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    It seems that Daniel was trying to simplify, but at some point he also tried to make it more complex. I think he should have simplified to the max or made it complex to the max, alternating the two styles is not good, hehehe. The simple moves like to go with simple moves, and the crazy like to go with crazy!

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    Basically “crazy” is codeword for “hopefully it's useful later” and “simple” is codeword for “it's useful now”. One has to decide if he wants to win quickly or if he wants to fill the board with confusing stuff. It’s not possible to do both. Arek had clearly opted for filling board and Daniel should have tried to prevent that in my view.

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    This is already apparent at the start, black starts with C2, white with F8, intuitively if black doesn’t manage to win directly, then F8 will come into play and will kill black position. White is basically one stone up but this stone is there in the middle doing nothing tangible at the start. But add with a few more white stones around it and then it’s winning.

  • David J Bush ★ at 2018-08-20

    Sorry if this line has already been discussed. In the variation 37.i6, after 38,H9 instead of 39.G11 what about 39.K6? Here are two lines.

  • David J Bush ★ at 2018-08-20

    Oops here is that first line

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    Arek, seems to work, hehe, it’s really crazy combination at the end.

  • David J Bush ★ at 2018-08-20

    40.E9 does not work, black still wins after 41.G11

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    David, this maybe?

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-20

    Hmm no, indeed it seems black win. Sorry, I’m not really working hard on this.

  • Arek Kulczycki at 2018-08-21

    indeed black win

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-22

    David, from one of your games, what about this ? You also need to learn the principle: NEVER resign!

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-22

    Ehehe unfortunately it’s just a trick, it doesn’t work vs correct play.

  • lazyplayer at 2018-08-22

    I would try ththisis but it’s not easy to analyze.

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