Is the opening really that important?
"Lee Sedol's [opening] is somewhat the weakest of all the top players." - MyungWan Kim 9p
Hmm....🤔 Myungwan said that last night about Lee Sedol during his game with Tang Weixing at the Samsung Cup. I play a lot of Chess and that reminds me a lot of what people say about Magnus Carlsen. If you're not a Chess player, Carlsen is the top player on scene at the moment, and has held many records not the least of which is having achieved the highest FIDE rating in history. I can't really think of a good Go equivalent but it just shows that he one of if not the strongest players in history.
Even then, people continue to say that he doesn't seem to care much about the opening and seeks to just outplay his opponents in the middle and end game. While Chess is absolutely a completely different game with ideas and rules a lot different from Go, I believe that there is a lesson to be learned here. Lee Sedol and Magnus Carlsen are both very unconventional players. They have been the best in the world many times and continue to surprise everyone with genius moves and brilliant sequences all the time.
What I take from this is pretty basic: the game doesn't end after the first 20 moves. There is a lot that happens in the game and a lot can change really quickly. As a kyu-level player, I feel like I get hung up on things going my way in the opening way too often. I've also noticed that in my head, I lose the game right away. I am unable to get my composure and focus back like I would need to. I get so hung up on joseki and things that I should be familiar with that my game actually suffers.
What do y'all think? Is focusing on things like the openings so much a good thing or a bad thing? Other opinions? Feel free to share below or on Twitter! :)