World

Game

Of

Sprouts

Association

### Secret Agent Man

I recently had a bit of a dispute with a local disc jockey who repeatedly called me dumb, ignorant and stupid. Well, that part he got right. Yesterday morning, driving along the I-26 from Columbia to Charleston with my beautiful, artistic wife – a reputedly monotonous drive, but with yesterday’s gorgeous sun flashing across such fascinating patterns of vegetation – I discovered again how dumb. Not thinking about anything in particular, the surprising thought came to me, * the configuration of nasty double switches that caused me to abandon my old approach to 8+ is the exact same configuration I am having trouble with in my new approach!* How embarrassing. It took me several weeks to see that.

Right is supposed to win 8+, but I have been having trouble working it out after **8+ 1(9)2**. Right needs six survivors, so Right needs an antipharisaic move. My old approach was ** 1(10)1[3,4] ** but I became afraid of “nasty double switches” (as I believe I described it in another article) after **3(11)10**. I therefore began exploring a different first move for Right, **1(10)1[2,3]**. I thought Right’s chances looked promising, even after **4(11)10**, which I suspected was Left’s strongest reply. But this position is exactly the same as the “nasty double switches” position above, of course. Why could I not see that?

I have resolved to get to the bottom of this position, because I think this may be the key position in the entire opening. Despite my Polar Bear fiasco, I will now give this opening a name, dubbing it the “Secret Agent”. (I intend this name to subsume the
“nasty double switches” position and all variations deriving from it.)

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