Attachment to opponent status

When we play a weaker player, we expect to win, even if the handicap is right. This can give us confidence, but we can play with unrealistic risks, relying on the weaker player missing them. If we do this enough, we cannot progress up the ranks as our foundation is not honest. It is best to develop a habit of expecting the opponent - regardless if rank - to play precisely the move we fear most in response. And if that move is really too hard to countenance, then we rethink the move we are evaluating.

When we play a stronger player, we can play with fear, adopting a defensive, overly cautious approach that then gives that stronger player greater latitude to spread across the board. If the handicap is high, rather than 'secure' the territory the handicap stones are seen to give, see them instead as stones of influence and use them to squeeze White into as many small positions as you can. Let White live - just - and that is often enough as their heavy groups will be inefficient. Be patient with territory acquisition - let it follow the attacks on White.