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近況 “Recent Conditions” Cover of Kido, May 1974
Artist: Shinrinjin

Regular visitors to GoWizardry are aware of the fact that artwork posted here often features a poem or haiku or other words written in Japanese. Efforts are taken to give a translation in English of the words. However, this time something unique happened, and it makes for an interesting story.

Take a look at the artwork above. There is quite a bit of writing there. Most of it is incomprehensible to me. (The only thing that I can read is the signature of the artist on the far left.) Usually, the artist typed out the words clearly and they were printed in the back of the magazine. But when I looked there for the explanation, all that I found were the words, “Recent Conditions.” There are far more than two words on that cover.

So I contacted the Nihon Ki-in and asked for a clarification. It should be understood that the Ki-in is located in Ichigaya, close to the most important government buildings in Tokyo and even the Imperial Palace. Therefore, many well-educated professional people work in that area every day. The Ki-in probably has around a hundred staff members who work there, plus there are always visiting writers and scholars who may be encountered on the premises. Surely there would be someone who would be able to decipher the words.

No such luck. The Ki-in did respond, saying that there was no one who had any idea what the words meant. They said that they would contact Tokyo University and see if anyone there could read the words. That was a month ago, and I despair of getting any answer. Sorry. (I take consolation from the thought that this shows that my reading of Japanese is equivalent to very well-educated Japanese professionals.)

From Kido, February 1974

12th Annual 10 Dan Title Match

Hashimoto

White: Hashimoto Shoji 9 dan

Black: Sakata Eio 10 Dan

Komi: 5½ points

Played on March 28, 1974 at the Toyo Hotel, Osaka.

blog20171229-Sakata-Hashimoto-1

Analysis by Hashimoto Shoji and Sakata Eio

Kajiwara Style

Figure1

Figure 1 (1-23)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

Sakata 10 Dan: For Black 7, besides this move, there was the one point high attack on the corner at 14 or the knight’s move attack on the corner at 16, three ways available.

Instead of Black 9, I considered making the attachment at 11, but I couldn’t figure out how it would turn out.

Diagram1

Diagram 1

For Black 17, it was also possible to make the diagonal move of Black 1, and after White 2, take control of the White stone with Black 3. This is Kajiwara Style. [Meaning that Kajiwara Takeo 9 dan invented this variation.]

The fencing-in move of White 18 was a good move.

Black 21 could also be played as the cut at 22, but there’s no telling what that would lead to.

Hashimoto 9 dan: For White 6, making the corner enclosure at 16 would probably be followed by the fuseki of Black 6, White, Black , White, Black and White. White 6 could also have been played one point above as a curveball.

In answer to Black 7, making the diagonal move of White 10 did not appeal to me.

The fencing-in move of White 18 is Kajiwara Style.

Diagram2

Diagram 2

For Black 21, it may be predicted that the cut of Black 1 would be followed by the variation of White 2 through 12. However, Black must have felt that it was distasteful to precipitate a fight here.

The connection of White 22 was played out of fighting spirit.

Quickly Neutralizing

Figure2

Figure 2 (23-46)

Sakata 10 Dan: Instead of the attack on the corner with Black 23…

Diagram3

Diagram 3

…It also seems feasible to make the checking extension on the left side with Black 1 here, immediately attacking with 3 and 5.

I played Black 25 because I thought that a probe of White’s intentions [yosu-miru] was called for.

Black invaded the corner at the 3-3 point with 27. In this position, the feeling is that White should make the fencing-in move of 36. If Black does not make the single push of 37…

Diagram4

Diagram 4

…White can push in at 1 and cut at 3 as forcing moves. The possibility of Black pushing through at is eliminated.

The connection of White 44 defends against the diagonal move of Black .

White 46 was a good move.

Hashimoto 9 dan: In response to the attachment of Black 25, drawing back in the opposite direction with White 26 was probably standard in this situation. In regards to that…

Diagram5

Diagram 5

…Black would likely hane at 3 leading to the jump of White 6. White 26 was a little bit of a false technique [suji; esoteric reference: Hashimoto uses the term “isuji” here. Rare.].

For White 28…

Diagram6

Diagram 6

…It seems that blocking on the other side with White 1 was also possible here. Black would reply with 2 and the moves through 6 on the lower side. Then, the attack on the corner with White 7 would be standard. However, this would be a one-large-territory strategy [ippo-go] and difficult to pull off.

The Black 25, White 26 exchange is a considerable forcing move sequence [favorable to Black].

Instead of White 36, I think that the knight’s move at was better. There doesn’t seem to be any need to play all-out with the fencing-in move of White 36. White 36 and 38 leave a hole at .

Besides that, trying to develop with White 36 or 38 at に  or else at would also be strange.

Black 39 was a good guess. [Meaning: Black played this move intuitively, being unable to read out the best continuation, or even what would probably happen. The move gave the best chances for a win, Sakata guessed, and that was proven by the subsequent play.]

For White 40, the capping move of White could also be considered, but in that case…

Diagram7

Diagram 7

…Black would probably respond ferociously to turn the tables with 2. White plays the move-in-a-row with 3, then what happens after Black 4 and White 5 is impossible to predict. White 40 is played because connecting at 44 becomes a forcing move, which gives support to White. This is the long and drawn out game type.

There are dangerous aspects to the capping move of White .

For White 42…

Diagram8

Diagram 8

…Maybe the move-in-a-row of White 1 would have been best. It would be painful to have Black push at 2, but hunkering down with the hane of Black 3 and extending with 5 would have been good.

A difficult position was reached when I had to play White 44. this move is played as a forcing move that Black has to respond at 45 with, but in consideration of Black’s options…

Diagram9

Diagram 9

…The playing method of Black 1 and the following moves is available. After Black 9, should White connect at , Black moves out with , White and Black , which is no good for White. Turning at White 46 prevents this playing method.

A Brilliant Line of Play [Suji]

Figure3

Figure 3 (46-71)

Sakata 10 Dan: For Black 47, I wondered if jumping to wasn’t the move to play here. The first impression is to play . Playing the hane of 47 made things difficult.

I knew that White would come at me with 48. However, Black fixes the shape with 51 and 53 which conforms to my go style, so there was nothing to be done about it.

When play reached Black 59, I thought that White play had been unreasonable [meaning: overplaying], but Black’s stones are stuck on the inside, so nothing can be said about it.

If Black does not play 61 as a forcing move now, it will let White answer with 62 below at 63.

I thought that pushing through with Black 65, cutting at 67 and then playing at the corner with 71 was good.

Hashimoto 9 dan: Once White 46 is in place, the playing method in Diagram 9 is not possible. After Black has taken White’s stone…

Diagram10

Diagram 10

…The hane of White 1 prevents any counter play. Even if Black cuts at 2, White descends at 3, so that Black 4 is met by White and Black dies. And even if Black plays 4 at , the press of White is a forcing move [that Black has to answer, so White can go back to capture Black’s stone at 2, killing the five Black stones above].

On the other hand, if the hane of Black 47 is answered by White , that settles things, and the moves of White 1 and 3 in Diagram 10 do not go well.

Diagram11

Diagram 11

In response to Black 47, if White hanes at 1 and Black extends at 2, White 3 is a forcing move that lets White to turn to make the checking extension at on the right side. This would turn the game into a leisurely paced one. [A leisurely paced game is to White’s advantage due to the komi. A fast-paced game usually involves fighting, which is to Black’s advantage.] However, in response to White 1, Black will not defend at 2, but rather exchange Black for White , then push through with Black and cut. This was distasteful to me. The connection of the marked White stone becomes a bad move.

Instead of extending with White 56, should White play atari to the left of 53, it lets Black make a ponnuki capture at 56, while White has potential problems in this area [bad aji].

White 60 was probably a slack move.

Diagram12

Diagram 12

Pressing with White 1 would have been a strong move, but having Black extend at 2 would make White want to cry. It is difficult for White to find a way to connect. Perhaps White 3 would be the standard move. Black 4, White 5 and Black 6 would follow, and then White turns to make the checking extension on the right side at . This is the kind of game that would probably develop. White does not have very good shape, but, well, this would be a long, drawn-out game.

I was horrified to see Black cut at 61. If White defends from below with 62 at 63, Black makes the turning move at 62, and then White has to make either the move-in-a-row at or the play against Black’s stones at .

Diagram13

Diagram 13

If White 3, Black makes the hane over White’s stone with 4, leading to a ko. As ko material for White, there is the attachment at in the upper right corner. In terms of the flow of the stones, this way is probably correct.

Diagram14

Diagram 14

Should White play against Black’s stones at 3, momentum leads Black to initiate a race to capture with 4. Black has the potential moves [aji] of , the cut of and block of , so White has few prospects of success.

Unavoidably, White has to patiently play at 62.

With Black 65 and the following moves, the key position of the game is reached.

Instead of White 66, pressing at would be answered by Black extending at , and then the line [suji] of White 66 and Black would be played. If White makes the hanging connection at the point above 69, Black plays atari at 70, then descends at . I overlooked the line [suji] with Black 67. [Note: Is this the “Brilliant Line” referred to in the title to this figure? No way of knowing.]

Optimistic Mood

Figure4

Figure 4 (71-100)

Sakata 10 Dan: When I played Black 77, I thought that the game had become an easy one to play, but…

If Black uses 79 to jump to , it seems that White would extend one point further to the right of 80.

Play through the move of 81 was unavoidable.

Fighting spirit led me to connect with Black 83, but it seems that the real move [honte] was .

Black 85 was a mistake.

Diagram15

Diagram 15

Black 1, then the throw-in of 3 and 5 was the correct order of moves. Whether Black has the stone in place at 1 or not makes a big difference to the attack on the lower side. It is certainly true that little things make a big difference, in this case determining the outcome of the game.

When I played Black 91 I thought that it was a good move, but when I reconsidered afterward…

Diagram16

Diagram 16

…The checking extension of Black 1 was best. Play proceeds with White 2 and Black 3, then White pushing in at 4 is answered by the block of Black 5, and it is no big deal. White 6 and Black 7 is about what to expect, and I believe that Black is better off. Black in the upper left and Black on the upper side are equivalent options.

Black 91 ended up making things difficult.

For Black 93, making the more restrained two point extension at was better. With 93, the invasion of White was left, and this is extremely severe.

By incurring the slide of White 94, conditions in the game turned funny. Around this stage of the game, although things had turned bad, I was still in an optimistic mood.

For Black 95 as well, making the extension on the upper side of was called for.

The capping move of Black 97 was slack. Again, the extension on the upper side of was the move to play. That would have given Black the advantage in the game.

Before White made the move at 98, Black should have pushed down at the point below 87. When White blocks, Black makes the placement at as a probe [yosu-miru], whereupon the empty triangle of the White move at the point below 80 becomes a good move. Then, Black makes the move-in-a-row at , and if White connects below 88, it is not clear how the situation is resolved. The cause of this is missing the order of moves in Diagram 15.

Hashimoto 9 dan: White 86 was played out of feeling [intuitively]. I was confused as to whether to play this at the point to the left as a diagonal move, but 86 moves out more quickly.

White 90 was played out of distaste over having Black make a diagonal move at the same point, but it was a false move [uso-te, literally “lie move”].

Diagram17

Diagram 17

This is usually where White should make the attachment at 1, but it seems that Black would capture the stone with 4 and 6, then set up a ko with 8. For ko material, Black can play the block at and the wedging insertion at , so the feeling is that White cannot win this ko. Instead of the capture of Black 6, should Black obligingly connect at 7, White blocks at , and if Black then captures at 6, White makes the hanging connection at and gets full-fledged shape.

For Black 91, it was also possible to make the checking extension at , in which case White would extend to the limit with a move at , leading to a different game. Since the outlook in the game is bad for White, I intended to play all-out.

Instead of Black 93, I think that the two point extension of would have been calm and collected. Next, the diagonal move at and the capture in the upper left would be equivalent options. 93 leaves White with the aim of invading at .

Using Black 95 to respond in the lower right corner with a defensive move at the 3-3 point would be painful and difficult. 95 restrains White from making the invasion at

White 96 is a big move. Should White have played to capture with a move at

Diagram18

Diagram 18

…Black could also consider playing at 1, and if White blocks at 2, Black could connect at 4, making a profit of 2 points after White hanes at 3. However, if Black replies with the move at 3, following White 4 and Black 5, Black cuts at 7 producing a ko. In light of the fact that White and Black produces a double ko, this must be taken into consideration, but the potential problems [bad aji] for White means that this could not be played out successfully.

Had Black played 97 on the upper side at , I intended to make the capping move at in the upper right corner. How would this work out? 97 is a move that aims at a placement at the point of on the right side.

White Comes into Fine Playing Form

Figure5

Figure 5 (101-156)

Sakata 10 Dan: Black 1 at Tengen [the center star point] was a terrible move. This should have been played as the immediate attachment at the point of 7.

When White cut at 10, the atari from below with Black 11 was slack.

Diagram19

Diagram 19

Black had to tenaciously connect at 2. When White plays at 5, pushing through with Black 6 and cutting at 8 are forcing moves that have to be answered, so Black can capture White’s three stones on the lower side with the move at 10.

The move-in-a-row of Black 17 was also awful. Playing right against White’s stone with was the only move. By exchanging Black 17 for White 18, the possibility of playing Black and White here and then making the placement of Black as a do-or-die move was eliminated.

Around this point when the few moves were played here, the outlook became unclear, and it was not easy.

It appears that for Black 19, invading at , and when White jumps to 35, Black tenaciously playing the move at 38 was best.

Black 31 was slack, too. Black should make the knight’s move at , then White and the one point jump of Black .

Black 41 was likewise bad.

Diagram20

Diagram 20

Had Black jumped to 1, if White responded at 2, Black could meet this with 3 through 7, and Black could not necessarily be said to have the worse game. The wedging-in move of White would be answered by Black , White and Black pushing through at . Should White then defend at , following Black , Black can set up a ko later with and pincer-attachment of .

White completely took control of the flow of play with the moves from 42 through 48. It was especially galling to have to play Black 43 to make sure of eyes.

Had Black 49 not been played, White could have thrust into the point at and cut at 49.

Immediately defending with Black 53 would have been bad, because White would have pushed through and cut with 54 and 56 and it would have been no good. Before playing at 53, Black should have probed White’s response with a single diagonal attachment at . If White answers at . the cut of Black 53 is left.

Hashimoto 9 dan: When I cut with White 10, I overestimated the value of the connection of Black 11. By making Black strong here, White position on the lower side came under danger.

White 18 was perhaps slack, but the sense is that the game is close.

For White 20, attaching at 22 would have been met with Black 26, White 20, Black pushing out to the right of 20, then White 35, Black 36, and when White plays 33, Black would have been distasteful.

Instead of White 54 and 56, the move-in-a-row at would have been standard, but since the game was close, I thought it best to wrap things up right away.

Brought Up Close

Figure6

Figure 6 (154-282) Black 105 connects; Black 133 captures; Black 167 connects

Sakata 10 Dan: When Black played at 63, White moved out at 64. Had Black played 63 as the diagonal attachment at , it would have been difficult for White to play 64.

The wedging-in move of White 66 was precisely played. After that, there are only empty points [dame] on the board to play. I played a terrible game. I got caught up by missteps in the middlegame.

blog20171229-Sakata-Hashimoto-2

282 moves. White wins by 5½ points.

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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