Been away from posting for a while, not so much because I haven’t had anything to say but because I’m been working hard at thinking through openings. I’ve decided to try posting more “incomplete” posts, first because it’s often simply too timeconsuming to work a line out to its end, & secondly because I’m not so much interested in “solving” a line as in guaranteeing that it remains open (i.e. that orange isn’t in such a helpless situation that there’s no point in working it out further). I also was hoping that occasional readers of this blog will suggest moves I haven’t considered, so we can collectively crack some of these lines.
As my first installment in this series, here’s my current thoughts on XN Gerenuk, one of those looks-bad-but-actually-is-kinda-good openings that is a frequent headache. Currently Rubik87 seems to like this one a lot, but you’ll see it frequently employed by many other players. It requires some special handling if orange tries to mirror it — unlike the XF Lerpy, where the mirror option is a clear disaster (I’ll write about this in a later post), the mirror option isn’t too bad a choice for orange here, & much harder for violet to crack.
Anyway, my current thinking is that orange needs to avoid the temptation of cutting off the corners of the N. I think W on move 2 is very promising, as follows:
The moves are fairly obvious: 1. X – X / 2. N – W / 3. Y – Y / 4. L5 – P. I believe that violet Y is a forced move, though there’s one other option I’ve explored below. Orange P could also be T4 if one believes that the extra cell in orange’s bottom right might be crucial for endgame packing — I dunno. — From this position I think violet is forced to play through the bottom leak, probably W (G5drdr: that’s “cell G5, down, right, down, right” if you haven’t encountered this notation before). Then probably orange L5 (K4dddl), and the game gets messy. Messy is generally a desirable situation for orange, but obviously from this point the game has too many lines to follow in this preliminary post.
Here’s another possible line: I’m not sure who devised the tricky orange F move but it’s a smart one.
Violet has no good block now that I can see, & not even anything that leaves a nice block for later on. Another messy game. I think it’s crucial violet maintain a threat against both the bottom right & top right, so when I’ve encountered this situation in the past I’ve played F (J8urr), since it’s vitally important that orange be distracted on this turn from closing up the bottom leak off violet Y. This is a really tricky position, & I don’t think it favours either player.
The only other option I see for violet other than the Y through the middle is this W. It looks bad to me, as basically violet has no good 4th move… violet needs to do too many things here: attack on the right side (& close off that leak); attack through the middle (& close off that leak). I think the only option for violet is L5 (J10rrrd), which leaves orange with the option of Z4 through the centre or L5 on the right side…. tricky situation, & I’d have to analyse it further to see who’s on top.
So, food for thought. The other line I’ve been exploring as a response here is a defensive move (again, not my move, but I’m not sure who devised it). I’ll just post this one here for now & maybe follow it up later (or in the comments). The key is that there’s no nice block for violet at this point, but I don’t think violet can just ignore the orange F & play a “wait and see” defensive move on top as orange has some nasty things he can do below (possibly Z5 [D2ruur]?).