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Secrets of Professional Reading Revealed


By Takemiya Masaki 6 dan

From Kido February 1972

Positions I Agonized Over in this Game


Game Progress Figure 1 (1-30)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

The overly large knight’s move fencing-in move of Black 11 is a ploy I used to initiate immediate sharp fighting. Kato Masao 7 dan engaged in the fighting with the jumping attachment of White 12.

This game [played December 15~16, 1971] is from the 27th Annual Honinbo League. In this board position, the hane of Black 13 is questionable, because the result of the play through White 22 is that White builds a thick and strong position. So even this early in the game Black has to deal with difficult conditions on the board in which to play.

Taking advantage of a favorable ladder, with Black 13…


Diagram 1

…Black should have haned between White’s stones with 1. White has no choice but to block on the outside with 2, so with Black 3 through 7, White’s stones are ripped through. This is the best way for Black to fight.

Instead of developing to Black 23, it is appropriate for Black to play at A.

The idea behind the one point jump of Black 29 is to deal quickly and lightly with the situation [sabaki]. Conforming to the usual model with the connection of Black B, followed by White C and Black D, would be a heavy style that is not inviting.

White 30 is an essential point that is connected with the base of both sides. This made Black think for a long time.

Board Position Diagram


Black to Play

The Board Position Diagram is recreation of the play. White’s outward influence in the lower right area projects its power across the entire board. As stated before, this is a difficult position for Black to play.

The first impression is that here the move that Black wants to make is the large knight’s move at A or the invasion of Black B, but that ignores what will happen to the four Black stones in the upper left that are still not completely settled.

If there were no worries about the prospects of these four Black stones, invading with Black B would be the most severe way to play. But the continuation of White C, Black D and White E can be imagined, bringing into sharp focus the precarious condition of Black’s stones.

The big move of Black A is one that Black wants to play more than anything. But with the White outward influence in the lower right as a back-up, White will invade at F, and since the four Black stones in the upper left are weak, an unpleasant mood would be felt all over the board.

To deal with all of that, Black seeks a singularly effective move that puts a defect into White’s territorial framework on the left side while defending against the invasion of White F. The strategy is to carry out a plan to do that and end with sente to turn to take the big point of Black A. This is a considerably greedy agenda, and to that extent it required painstaking effort to find the best point to play.


Game Progress Figure 2 (1-5)

The conclusion was that the shoulder hit of Black 1 fulfills the three items on the above agenda. But it is predictable that White will put up resistance with 2 and 4 to this forceful strategy, so it is necessary to read out the possible continuations carefully to back it up.

The problem in regards to the current position is whether following Black 5 the cut of White A is dangerous.


Diagram 2

The large knight’s move of Black 1 defends against the invasion of White A, but although that is a safe way to play, White 2 surrounds the territory to the greatest extent possible. This is unsatisfactory.


Game Progress Figure 3 (1-8)

White turns at 1, but in the case where White cuts at A, the following are the lines [suji] that must be read out.


Diagram 3

If White cuts at 1, playing atari with Black 2 and pressing at 4 is a commonly used tesuji. In order to avoid the ladder, if White turns at 5, White blocks at 6, and the sequence through the move to put the shape in order of Black 12 is unavoidable. Then, when White plays 13 in the corner to live, Black extends at 14 and is not badly off. Instead of securing life with White 13…


Diagram 4

…should White play atari at 1, the jumping attachment of Black 2 brings about a race to capture that is favorable for Black. What would be frightening is a ko from White 3 through Black 6, but concerning this ko, it would be all right to give way a step and connect at Black A. After being cut by White B, the ko starts, but Black moves out at C, and following that Black would have an abundance of ko threats in the immediate area. If Black can play two moves in a row here, even though White lives in the corner, I believed that Black would have the advantage.

Returning to the figure, when White turns at 1, Black jumps to 2 in good form. This is a vital point of White’s shape.

For Black 6, making the hanging connection of Black B could also be considered, but after White C, Black D and White 7, having the thinness around the point of E for White to aim at would be unsatisfactory for Black.

Simply defending with White 7 is bad move uncharacteristic of Kato 7 dan. Being gifted the chance to play at the good point of Black 8, as stated above, all three of Black’s ambitions were realized. With that result, inwardly I was satisfied.

Instead of the defensive move of White 7….


Diagram 5

…fighting spirit demands that White cut at 1. Next, the atari of Black 2 is answered by White extending at 3. This allows White to omit defending at A, so White would be satisfied with the shape. Consequently…


Diagram 6

…in response to the cut of White 1, Black plays atari at 2 out of fighting spirit. The result of that is the sequence through the atari of Black 16. In the end, White gets sente to make the attack on the corner at F. We did not examine this possibility after the game. [Meaning that both players missed it, and Takemiya only thought of it (or later had it pointed out to him) sometime afterward.]


Game Progress Figure 4 (1-78)

From the previous figure to the end of the game, the moves are considered simply for the reader’s reference.

When Black peeps at 6, the fact that White has no alternative but to connect indicates that White has a lost game. This was pointed out by Otake 9 dan. Should White use the move of 7 to jump to the point of 8, Black cuts at 7 and White is badly off.

For the hane of White 9, simply playing the hane of White 17 is best.

Instead of White 29, if White connects at A, Black 35, White B, Black C, White D, Black E, White F and Black 29 follows.

Should White use 41 to slide at 47, with the sequence Black 51, White G, Black 67, White H, Black I, White 49, Black J and White 42, it is possible to live in the corner, but Black hanes at K and Black’s wins is unshakeable.

121 moves. Black wins by resignation.

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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