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One Hundred People, One Hundred Ways


“In Everything, Excellent Luck”
Cover of Kido, December 1977

Artist: Shinrinjin

The artist’s name, 深林人, means “Deep Forest Person,” which emphasizes the isolation that often comes with creativity. It is ironic that go is a game that embraces all. The artist’s work is always welcome, and all can appreciate it in their own way.

How Do You Play Here?


From Kido, August 1980

That board position, this game turning point, professional players crying out as they seek the ultimate in play. The spotlight is focused on turning points in the opening where opinions divide. We listen to the answers to the question of what is the only move to play next?

Writer: Akiyama Kenji

Professional go players often say things like, “This is absolutely an essential move,” or “an unbranched path,” and we writers end up using these words without the slightest skepticism. However, saying “an essential move” overlooks that individual people have individual ways, so that ways of seeing things can differ greatly. Those who have seen this column before know that this is exactly what we concentrate on. Fujisawa Shuko Kisei characterized the move under discussion here as “the only move,” which is the theme. In the end, will Kato Masao Honinbo, Ishida Yoshio 9 dan and Takemiya Masaki 9 dan support that evaluation or not?

The Board Position Under Discussion


Black to Play

Revealing private matters about this, the board position presented above is one that Fujisawa Shuko Kisei offered.

This came up when a game record of Fujisawa Shuko Kisei’s was being researched. Analysis of a variation produced this diagram. At this point, the question is how Fujisawa’s opponent in the game, Abe Yoshiteru 8 dan should play. Abe 8 dan himself replied, “Wouldn’t Black be standard?”

“Baka-mon,” [“Stupid thing”] was Fujisawa’s comment. “In this kind of position it is a settled matter. If you think this is a lie, ask strong go players that you know.”

Abe 8 dan was not sure of the essential nature of the next move. That is exactly what is under discussion in this article.

In this board position, White has just slid with the marked stone. Well then, what would the reader choose as the only next move? There are probably few readers who would immediately come up with the move that Fujisawa Kisei pointed to as “the only move”…

First, Defending


Diagram 1

The move that Fujisawa Kisei presented was the most unexpected of the unexpected (although I wonder if some of the readers might have thought of it), the play at the corner of the White stone with Black 1.

First of all, this defends the upper side, with the idea of playing all-out in the action to follow. Of course, there are still not a few big points to be taken on the board. This is a move that shows the territorially tight aspect of the Kisei’s playing style. From the opposite perspective, pressing in with White would expose an unexpectedly lack of eye shape on Black’s part, and that would place a restraint on the moves that Black could play in other parts of the board.

But getting back to the situation at hand, Kato, Takemiya and Ishida did not endorse Fujisawa’s judgment.

The Lower Right Area is the Biggest Point

Kato Honinbo

“Huh?! Are you kidding?! However great Shuko Sensei is, I cannot endorse Black 1 (in Diagram 1), you know.”

A blunt assessment from Kato Honinbo. This is based on the conjecture that the Black 1 is a small move, that the lower right is the big area, and that this where play should be focused on. According to Kato’s analysis…


Diagram 2

…The leisurely jump of Black 1 reinforces the thin and weak position here while expanding the territorial framework [moyo]. That is the aim.

“I think that Black 1 makes it a simple and easy game. As Shuko Sensei said, the safety and stability of the upper side is a big matter, so in that case White will probably come with the move at 2. However, that can be dealt with by the standard moves of Black 3 and 5. With that, the stones here are not ones that will easily come under attack. When White plays at 6, or else , Black will build up the position with 7, and as expected the territorial framework [moyo] will become big. Black is unquestionably good, I think.”

The upper side is handled quickly, with the point being to rapidly develop over the board. Should White play 2 at , Black defends at , and since Black would end up taking sente here, it would not be too late to play at [in the upper left] according to Kato’s analysis. [Note: A different kana should have been used for this last notation on the board, but press deadlines often cause these kinds of mistakes.]

Putting the Importance on Balance

Takemiya 9 dan

“Regarding Fujisawa’s analysis (Black 1 in Diagram 1), you know. Certainly that move is a thick and strong one in keeping with Shuko Sensei’s style of play, you know. But I wonder about that, really. I could not play that myself, you know. But when it comes to where to play here, I don’t know for sure.”

This according to Takemiya 9 dan. He stared at the position under discussion for a long time, and then finally gave an assessment.


Diagram 3

That concerned the developing move of Black 1. This is the kind of thick and strong move that Takemiya likes to play.

“Considering the flow of play on the board, Black has profited on the upper side [making a ponnuki one stone capture there ― which according to the go proverb is worth 30 points], so in exchange White has become thick and strong. At the present time, White has slid with the marked stone, therefore, in order to maintain the balance, building up with Black 1 would be standard. Of course, the judgment is that this would be sufficient.”

Since White has become thick and strong, Black defends at 1. Thinking this over, it is a natural plan. The implication is that if Black neglects to play at 1, a White invasion at 1 will be severe. White 1, Black and Whitewould create a position that Black would indeed find unpleasant.

“In response to Black 1, should White play at 2, Black 3 and 5 fend off an attack adequately, I would think. White 6 is met by Black 7, and developing in this way makes a board position that is simple and easy to play.”

“This is similar to Kato’s analysis. However, this is weak in regards to Kato’s play at is it not? So I cannot endorse it.”

Play a “Look and See” Move

Ishida Yoshio 9 dan


Diagram 4

Ishida 9 dan suggested the peep of Black 1. What an unexpected response this was! If a hundred professional go players were assembled and this board position presented, there would surely not be a single one who would make this response. We asked for a complete explanation.

“There is nothing especially unique about this. Here, a ‘look and see’ move is played to probe White’s response. It is a question of how to determine the way to play. Should White connect at 2, jumping down to Black 3 is a forcing move, and it blocks off the edge of the board, so that Black can be satisfied and turn to make the move at 5.”

In this case, exchanging Black 1 for White 2 is somewhat of a bad move, but Black 3 is absolutely a forcing move, so this is unavoidable. Black turns a blind eye to a small loss here to take the bigger profit with the move at Black 5.


Diagram 5

The question is when Black plays at 1 what if White blocks at 2? Then Black jumps to 3, which is a forcing move. It would be standard for White to defend at 4, so Black would likewise turn to play at 5, and the maneuver on the left was designed to make this possible. The fact that Black is a forcing move is another positive for Black.

It might be superfluous to add that if White greedily uses 4 to play at , Black’s descending at would put White on the spot.

Supposing as a continuation to Diagram 5…


Diagram 6

…What would happen if White plays at 1?

“I suppose that Black answers at 2 and then makes the knight’s move at 4. It would be standard for White to extend at 5, so at that point Black makes the Kato-style thick and strong defensive move at 6. Black 6 also works to ensure survival [shinogi] for the Black group on the upper side.”

The above is the analysis of Ishida 9 dan. The evaluation of the outlook in the game is of course that Black is well off. In regards to Black 1 in Diagrams 4 and 5…

“Neither of these moves is surprising. If I was playing, this is what I would do, but…”

Again, this time in “One Hundred People, One Hundred Ways,” all of the responses were different. Abe 8 dan states…

“Shuko Sensei says that for strong players there is no doubt about the move to play, but as might be expected, it is otherwise, you know. I’m relieved.”

Well then, how would Shuko Sensei take this? It is interesting that all of the three, the Kato analysis, the Takemiya analysis, and the Ishida analysis, would surely be declared as correct and better than the others by the players who came up with them…

Those who wish to comment on the opinions expressed here may send their thoughts to info@GoWizardry.com. The most interesting responses will be addressed in future postings.

Robert J. Terry

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