We often hear (or see in case it is a discussion on the Internet) the following: "Oh, that was a really big move!" or "That was not the biggest move..."
The players who have not been playing long can be a bit confused by the "bigness" of a move - all the stones are usually approximately the same size, and the intersections (except for hoshi - stars) do not seem to be different or bigger at all.
Soon, a beginning player finds out what is a big move. He can well recognise it, but he has still troubles seeing the big move himself when playing. Not speaking about the biggest move, even!
We shall try to find out how to recognize a big move now. It could help stronger players, too, I am convinced.
Imagine the following board:
This is a position from the game Jan Hora, 6dan EGF (White) vs. Csaba Mero, 6dan EGF (Black). In his book "Top European Players Training", Catalin Taranu, 5dan pro comments on the move 17 like this:
"Black 17 - looks small, now lower side is the largest, so a pincer at 19 or an extension at A is natural."
(Edited for the needs of the article)
We should ask: "Why is the lower side the largest right now? What makes it large?"
The answer is common sense: it looks like that. Moreover, if you play somewhere in the bottom now, even if your opponent responds directly, it is easy to live there, and it can thus be populated easily. Compared to Black 17 as it was played, playing at the lower side has more prospects. Black 17 in the diagram is a move that is not needed for settling a group, nor it threatens White directly. Why did a great player like Csaba Mero decide to play 17 at the upper side? Try to think about it a little.
He simply did not see playing at the bottom side as good enough. He considered the move he had played as big because now or later, White will have to respond to it. But imagine White playing his 18th move at A instead - I hope you can see the difference.
The resumé is: to decide the biggest move, you should always consider which move has the best prospects for you. Also remember, that you should play the big moves after the urgent ones! We will discuss this topic another time.