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Large Territorial Framework [Moyo] Strategy


Photograph of the author taken for a profile of him in the same issue of Kido

Takemiya Masaki 7 dan

From Kido February 1975

Takemiya Style

For amateur players, large territorial frameworks [moyo] are one of the things in go that are hard to master. Even when they embark on setting them up, their structure is full of holes and ends up falling apart. That is because the effort is not accompanied by full board vision and accurate reading.

A Dazzling Way of Dodging

If one unreasonably tries to force a large territorial framework [moyo] into existence, it will not turn out well. This has been the guiding principle from the start to strongly convey to the readers of this column. From the reverse perspective, without any consciousness of a territorial framework in mind, playing a completely ordinary opening from the beginning of the game, and during the midst of play to get swept along, as if by an avalanche, into a large territorial framework game can happen. This is what occurs in the game examined here.

This is a game from last year’s Oteai Ranking Tournament, where my opponent was Hane Yasumasa 8 dan.

This was an Oteai Ranking Tournament game, so I was playing Black without giving a komi. First, let’s look at the moves in the beginning of the game.


Diagram 1 (1-12)

Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

I tried the opening with Black stones in diametrically opposite corners [tasuki] at 1 and 3. In general, with the diametrically opposite corner opening it is harder to set up a territorial framework game than in an opening with the stones all on one side of the board. In short, at the start of this game I had no sense of playing a territorial framework game.

The diagonal attachment of White 12 — since there is a wide distance between White 6 and 10, the intent is to compensate for the thinness of the position by attacking Black’s two stones.


Diagram 2 (13-22)

The diagonal move of Black 13 is a playing method employed to deal with the situation [sabaki] lightly, i.e. quickly and with minimal damage, flitting away from danger as rapidly as possible. Playing Black 13 by extending up at 17 would give the feeling of heaviness.

White 16 and 18 are played to exploit the defects in Black’s position, doing the utmost to make Black’s stones heavy (and difficult to lightly discard), the idea being to put Black under attack. This is also in keeping with Hane san’s style of play.

The invasion of Black 21 — White playing defensively at the same point would be good was what I was what I thought: the only move. Had White jumped to A with 22, I planned to jump to 22 at that point. For that reason, White is inclined to play at the point of 22 to deprive the opponent of that point. Next, Black is invited to play at B, giving White the impetus to play at A.

The moves of Black 23 and the following are the point of this game. They decide the flow of this game and the first full-out confrontation of the game.


Diagram 3

(The heaviness alluded to in the previous comment illustrated in Diagram 3.)

If Black extends up with 1, the sequence through White 4 is the typical continuation. This is surely a heavy shape for Black.


Diagram 4

When Black hanes at 3, should White block at 4, I intended to play Black 5.


Diagram 5

Following the play in the diagram, the Black knight’s move at A would be severe since it aims at Black B. In other words, Black 3 is practically sente. Therefore, it is difficult for White to jump at 2. Please compare the position here with the sequence in the previous diagram.


Main Figure 1 (1-13)

Black 1 is a forcing move. Then, Black 3 freezes White on the spot. This one move stakes out the extent to which the Black territorial framework can be developed. Through Black 11, the marked Black stone is used as a sacrifice to build thickness and strength in the center. Black then takes sente to play the fencing-in move of 13 — a wonderfully good point.


Diagram 6

In Main Figure 1, should White use the move at 4 to make the diagonal move out at 1, Black makes the move at 2 to lean on White’s position. Black plays in good form here.


Diagram 7

Should White instead make the diagonal move at 1 here, the attachment of Black 2 deal with the situation [makes sabaki].


Diagram 8

The capping move of Black 1 is a good move that stops White dead. What anyone would wonder is what happens when White jumps out at 2. In response, Black strikes at the vital point with 3. The sequence leading to the atari with Black 9 may be envisioned. In this scenario as well, Black’s situation seems viable.

This, likewise, would be a game with the action concentrated on center game play.


Diagram 9

Instead of connecting underneath with White 12 in Diagram 1, pushing through with White 1 captures Black’s stone. However, the potential [aji] of Black pushing through with 2 and descending at 4 remains, so it is not very profitable. It is likely that White will incur the forcing move of Black A. Simply connecting underneath at 4 is the real move [honte].


Diagram 10

No doubt there are those who worry that White will cut at 1, but Black lives by playing at 2.

In order to take Black’s eyes away, the only move White can play is at A, but as would be expected, White A would be unreasonable.

For those reasons, the sequence through Black 13 in Main Figure 1 seems to be unavoidable. It goes without saying that the development with Black 1 and the following was played with the fencing-in move of Black 13 in mind.


Main Figure 2 (14-44)

Black ends up pressing vigorously with 15 and 17. Here, the move on the upper side at 42 or in the direction of 44 may be seen to be at places that are already empty of points. [This means that since White has been pressed to occupy points on the second line on the right side, there is no development potential for White there. So the value of Black playing in the upper right corner has been downgraded.]

Black occupies the big point at 25, creating a wonderful territorial framework [moyo] in the lower side area.

Black 27 is a thick and strong move. Even leaving the situation as it was, White had no way to move out in this area (since if White played at A, slicing through the knight’s move with Black 27 would stop White completely), but there are various potential problems [aji], so playing here has the full value of a well-placed move.

It would be no good for White to let Black consolidate this territory just like that. Therefore, White attaches with 28 and 30. Following Black 39, if White cuts at B a ko would result. However, if a ko was started immediately, White does not have any ko threats.

Consequently, White turns to play at 42, adopting a policy of leaving the ko as a possibility for later. Black now plays the additional move of 43 in order to capture White. That is because bearing the burden of the debt owed here would hinder Black from acting freely elsewhere. Besides that, I believed that this gave me a decisive advantage. [Do not forget that Black did not give a komi in this game.]

White 44 is the standard move to play here, but all Black has to do is survive in a reasonable way, so this is not a stone that requires taking pains over.


Diagram 11

This goes back to Black 13 in Main Figure 1.

Instead of the fencing-in move of Black 13, making the ordinary pincer of Black 1 would be making a mistake in the direction of the flow of moves. The commonplace diagonal move of White 2 would naturally end up neutralizing Black’s territorial framework.

From one perspective, Black 13 and the following moves in the Main Figures pursue a single objective with blinders on, but it is based on the judgment that in this board position the outcome depends on the lower side.


Diagram 12

This shows the progress of the game after Main Figure 2.

Black 11 puts the shape of the stones in order, taking the steam out of White’s attack.

White 12 is a big point.

Slicing through White’s knight’s move with Black 15 block’s White advance into the center. (If White A, Black B.)

White 16 is a good guess [as to where to place the stone to neutralize Black’s territory].

When White plays at 18, it forces Black’s group on the left side to play the diagonal move of 19 to run out, but at the same time it allows Black to aim at playing the knight’s move at C to expand the center territory greatly. Except, White will be desperate to destroy Black’s territorial framework and run amok, which can be dangerous, so Black has reason to be fearful, too.

When White cuts at 24, it appears that White’s territory on the upper side is increased greatly, but Black’s next move is a skillful one. Please study this position and try to find the next move for Black before reading on.


Diagram 13

The peep of Black 25 is a move I am proud of. Should White use the move of 26 to connect at 27, Black will naturally play atari at A.


Diagram 14

In addition, if White slides against Black’s stone with 1, Black cuts at 2. (The atari of Black A next is deadly.) The result is the same as in Diagram 13.

White 26 is unavoidable. Then, Black 27 through 31 capture two stones, which ends the game. Black has a huge advantage. When White plays at 32, Black replies at 33, and when White plays 34, Black responds at 35, defending without a qualm, knowing that Black’s win cannot be overturned.

The highlight of this game is Black’s capping move on the left side. [Black 3 in Main Figure 1.]

And then, in the lower right corner, there was Black 13. The key was to use whole board perception to put into effect a large scale strategy.

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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