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Minor Dramatic Moments During Tournament Games


Artist: Shinrinjin

花 夜 処 春   Flowers Night Place Spring
落 来 処 眠   Fall Comes Place Sleep
和 風 聞 不   Harmony Wind Hear Not
多 雨 啼 覚   Many Rain Chirping Awaken
少 声 鳥 暁   Few Voice Birds Dawn

The poem is read from right to left, starting in the upper right corner straight down, then continuing to the line to the left, again down and then to the next line to the left. So a crude reading of this poem would be as follows: Spring sleeps without awakening as dawn breaks / Here and there the chirping of birds is heard / As night falls there is the sound of wind and rain / Falling flowers provide some measure of harmony

From Kido, February 1979

Professional Players Crying and Laughing

By Abe Yoshiteru 8 dan     Format: Mihori Sho

Mihori: "Abe Sensei, professional players do not get a season off, so during the end of the year and starting of the new year the Nihon Ki-in was lively with the contesting of any number of games, you know. At this point what were the games where problematical positions appeared?"

Diagram A


Do-or-Die Move? Misfires

Prime Minister’s Cup Tournament

Kobayashi Satoru 5 dan (Black)

Naganuma Makoto 5 dan

K 9 dan: "The outlook in the game is unfavorable for White, so it is understandable to feel like making the ladder breaker and then moving out, but…"

Abe: "Diagram A is interesting. White plays the ladder breaker of 1, then if this sets up the position where White can move out with 3 without worrying about the ladder, Black will have a hard time dealing with these key stones."

Mihori: "Well then, the sharp young Satoru chan [diminutive of "san"] played a skillful move here, you know. In the final analysis, where can Black play so as to be able to capture White’s two stones?"


Diagram 1

Abe: "The Correct Solution is Black 1 above."

Mihori: "Ah! The only move that White can play is to extend out."


Diagram 2

Abe: "In that case, play continues as shown here. Following White 1 and Black 2, the sequence continues through Black 12, and the White stones cannot be saved. Seeing Black 1 in Diagram 1, Naganuma 5 dan resigned. The game was over on move 69, even before noon in the day."

Diagram B


Wonderful Survival Maneuver

Kisei Tournament, 7 Dan Section

Umeda Haruhiko 7 dan (Black)

Kageyama Toshiro 7 dan

Kageyama: "The play here was exactly precise, I must say. Well now, this was a wonderful maneuver to ensure survival, you know."

Abe: "Diagram B shows a game that Kageyama 7 dan is proud of, one in which he demonstrated brilliant reading."

Mihori: "Finally, the Kisei Tournament has reached the Individual Dan Section stage of the tournament. [The Kisei Tournament, sponsored by the Yomiuri Newspaper, changed formats several times over the years. In the early 1970s there were section for each dan level. Jim Kerwin won the 1 Dan Section in the 1st Kisei Tournament held in 1977.] Winning the 7 Dan Section is worth ¥1,300,000 [approximately $6,500 at the time; if this sum seems small, remember that the players received game fees for every game, which were added along the way as they kept winning, and every player in every section received similar sums; all of these add up], so both players threw themselves into the fighting.

"Black 1 and 3 set White up to be captured handily within Black’s territorial framework [moyo]. The death or survival of this group will settle the outcome of the game, you know."

Abe: "At this point, Kage san was not flustered in the slightest…


Diagram 1

"…and played 1 and 3, then the attachment of 5, which is a wonderful technique [suji; this also means "line" here] that he read out. The reader surely understands the implications, you know."

Mihori: "Wait a moment, please. For me to understand this will take a little time. Following Diagram 1…


Diagram 2

"…would this be the follow-up, with Black 1 met by White 2, and then if Black A, White B and that is it? Uh huh, I guess that’s clear. The single shot of the attachment of the White marked stone turns the tables on Black, killing the stones."

Abe: "At that point in the actual game, Black thought for a very long time.


Diagram 3

"Then Black played at 1 and White captured two stones with 2. It seems that during this long time, Kage san expected that his opponent would resign, you know."

Mihori: "In the Kisei tournament, most of the games are played out to the end. As might be expected, there was a big difference at the end of this game. [White won by 23 1/2 points.]"

Diagram C


Descending Move Aiming at a Cut

Oza Tournament, 3rd Preliminary Round

Abe Yoshiteru 8 dan (Black)

Nishigami Yoshihiko 7 dan

Abe: "I absolutely understood that the diagonal move is standard here, but considering the relationship with the lower right…"

Mihori: "Abe chan played a strange descending move here, you know. That is, in Diagram C. There is no reason not to know that the famous diagonal move wins outright in this position.


Diagram 1

"In whatever book you look in, it will say that Black is well off here, I must say. Continuing…


Diagram 2

"…play proceeds as shown here."


Diagram 3

Abe: "Instead of Black 7 there, I think that if a race to capture occurs, the way with this Black 1 would be more effective, I must say. You know, if White 2, Black 5 stops White completely."

Mihori: "White loses here, you know. In that case, why didn’t you play this way in the actual game? Is it that, ‘Knowing joseki, an expert dispenses with joseki’? [This is not exactly a go proverb, but it is another way of saying that after mastering joseki, there is no reason to study the subject again. This is related to the real go proverb, ‘Learn joseki and get two stones weaker.’]"


Diagram 4

Abe: "Actually, I expected play to proceed as in this diagram. Considering the Black formation in the lower left, after the sequence here is played, the knight’s move of Black A is a fantastic move to aim at. Black’s moves in the upper left and White 3 and 5 afford great tenacity, so it is impossible to come to a conclusion."

Mihori: "Indeed, White 5 is a move that is hard to envision, you know."

Abe: "Takagi 8 dan pointed this out, you know, but in consideration of this, if Black cannot aim at the cut, just descending is dangerous. This is a difficult situation, so amateur players are advised that not imitating my play would be the safe way to go.


Diagram 5

"In the actual game, White dodged with 1, and play proceeded to Black 10. Black won by resignation."

* * * *


Diagram D


A New Ploy: A Turning Move

Kisei Challenger Match

Ishida Yoshio, Oza (Black)

Sakata Eio 9 dan

Sakata: "As a ploy, I played White 1, but as might have been expected, it did not work out well."

Mihori: "For the last position, we have the best of three match that decided the challenger for the Kisei title. In this big game between Sakata and Ishida, Sakata san turned with White 1 in Diagram D. There are examples of this being played earlier, but it is unusual, you know."

Abe: "It is no good to judge this solely in terms of the local context.


Diagram 1

"Sakata probably did not like having Black play 1 and 3 in sente, then attack the single White stone on the left side with a pincer, I must say. Not considering the options in regards to the entire left side would be no good.


Diagram 2

"In the local context, White 1 is an ideal move, with the next aim being A. If White 1 is answered by Black defending at B, White would get good impetus to follow up by playing at C.

"Besides that, in regards to Sakata san’s turning move…


Diagram 3

"… White 1 and 3 become the moves to aim at playing, I must say. The moves through White 7 can be played in sente. In this area, the subtle differences of advantages and disadvantages in the fuseki are haggled over."


Diagram 4

Mihori: "When I researched this, I found that 30 years ago Go Seigen san played White 1 and 3, then 7, I must say. His opponent was Hashimoto Utaro san. The usual moves of White A and Black B were probably unwelcome, you know. In terms of the entire board judgment, it is impossible to critique the pluses and minuses."

Abe: "A move that is played either works effectively or fails to do so depending on the way that the play goes later. It is at that stage that a leading professional player demonstrates playing skill."

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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