picture

Go Wizardry

All About the Many Aspects of Go
We have millions of friends around the world... and they all play go!

A Potpourri of Go Positions

clip_image002

花咲翁 「棋道」の表紙 横尾森林人 = Kido no Hyoshi = Kido Cover = "Hanasaki Okina" = "Blooming Flower Old Man"

The late Abe Yoshiteru 9 dan (September 28, 1941~July 3, 2000) was renowned as a studious player who tried to be present in as many venues as serious games of go were played, either by professionals or amateurs. His love of the game was obvious to everyone.

He shared his love of go with as many people as he could. For Kido magazine, over decades he wrote columns that covered the latest games played. This focused on new and innovative plays, unusual moves and decisive maneuvers. The following translation will give the reader a taste of what Abe tried to convey, and why his work was so popular with the public.

Key Game Point Collection

By Abe Yoshiteru 7 dan

From Kido, April 1972

1) New Model

20th Annual Nihon Ki-in Championship Tournament, Preliminary Round

White: Ishida Akira 5 dan

Black: Takagi Shoichi 7 dan

Played on February 8~9, 1972 at the Nihon Ki-in.

Komi = 4 1/2 points

Black wins by 2 1/2 points.

clip_image004

Basic Figure Order of Moves (1-12)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

Takagi Shoichi 7 dan versus Ishida Akira 5 dan, a clash of two young lions that produced a new model is presented here.

clip_image006

Basic Figure (1-8)

The fencing-in move of Black is a new move. Up to now, it has never been played before. Starting with the attachment of White 2, through the block of Black 7, a division of profit for White and influence for Black is the result. Since the large knight’s move of White 8 is an ideal move, this may be considered as a fully playable exchange for White.

Surrounding Conditions

Let’s examine the surrounding conditions to see what motivated Takagi 7 dan to ambitiously play this new model.

clip_image008

Diagram 1

The aim behind the fencing-in move of Black 1 is that if White answers by pressing at 2, Black counters by attaching at 3 and extending at 5. Should this happen, White ends up cut to ribbons.

Returning to the Basic Figure, for Black 5…

clip_image010

Diagram 2

…it was better for Black to play atari from direction of 1, reflected Takagi 7 dan after the game. In that case, extending outward with White 2 makes shape, and then the sequence from the attachment of Black 3 through the jump of 7 is the standard way of playing. This leaves White stones floating in the center, so it is not promising for White.

Well then, in response to the fencing-in move of the new model, White’s reply was questionable, but a definitive version of this model has not emerged yet. Until it does, let’s look at one strong way of playing.

clip_image012

Diagram 3

The knight’s move of White 1 is it. At the same time as striking at the thinness of Black’s two point jump of the marked stones, this may be thought to give White flexibility in order to tenaciously meet Black’s attack.

For example, in general the attachment of Black 2 is tesuji, but under these circumstances a good result cannot be hoped for. When Black butts against White’s stone with 4, White draws back at 5. Following that, after the sequence through the jump of White 11, Black’s thinness in the center is conspicuous.

clip_image014

Progress of Play Figure (1-15)

The extension of Black 1 allows White to take the ideal point of 2, so it cannot be considered a promising move. If I were playing, I suppose that I would make the attack on the corner with Black 9.

From the attachment of Black 3 through the jump of 11, Black plays all-out to make the center thick and strong.

2) The One that Got Away

12th Annual Meijin Tournament, 2nd Preliminary Round

White: Kodama Kunio 5 dan

Black: Tozawa Akinobu 6 dan

Played in February 1972 at the Nihon Ki-in.

Komi = 5 1/2 points

White wins by resignation.

clip_image016

Basic Figure Order of Moves (1-154)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

Amateurs hurry to play, professionals are reluctant to play. This is the prevailing view, and a singularly clever way of highlighting the difference in thinking about go. However, occasionally an unwillingness to make a move becomes the cause of defeat. This is truly ironic.

Up to the Basic Figure, 154 moves were played, and that progress of the game showed Black proceeding in a safe and solid manner. On the board, Black has a secure 9 point lead and has the goal within sight.

clip_image018

Basic Figure (1-6)

The atari of Black 1 is a fateful deviation from the proper path. Before that, Black should have made the exchange of A for White B. With the hane of White 2 through the diagonal move of 6, an upset in the outcome of the game has been achieved.

Tomorrow is Too Late

In the Basic Figure, the exchange of Black A for White B can be made at any time. Amateurs end up playing at this kind of point at an early time. It is practically never a bad way of playing, but it is a forcing move, so by playing it early it can end up becoming a bad move. Therefore, professional players often leave it to play at the end. And then, there are also thoughts of using it as a ko threat.

However, occasionally, depending on the development of the board position, a point that can be used for a forcing move at any time ends up losing that function as a forcing move, so it is important to pay attention so as not to miss the timing of that fixing of the position. In other words, tomorrow would be too late. That is not exactly right, but…

Due to Black’s shortage of liberties on the right side…

clip_image020

Diagram 1

…the insertion move of Black 1 is not a forcing move. The connection of White 2 has become possible. Should Black cut at 3, White throws in the cut at 4, then plays atari at White 6 and draws back at 8. This makes the connection of Black 9 unavoidable, so White ends up living with the move at 10. In other words, White has managed to find a way to play too late, and yet survive tomorrow. It is like an old employee has worked diligently for many years, and just on the verge of retiring with a valuable pension, the company goes bankrupt. The chagrin felt just has to be borne silently.

clip_image022

Progress of Play Figure (1-18)

Having to give ground with Black 1 is painful. Pushing in with White 2 and 4 are forcing moves played in sente, and then the sequence through the diagonal attachment of White 18 make it clear that the outlook in the game has ended up tilting towards White. Because of backing down with the move at 1, Black ended up losing 6 or 7 points of territory. This ends up making the game close on the board, so the weight of the komi could not be avoided.

After this, Black played on for a few more moves and then resigned.

3) An Overwhelming Win for Sakata

27th Annual Honinbo League

White: Shimamura Toshihiro 9 dan

Black: Sakata Eio 9 dan

Played on December 1~2, 1971 at the Nihon Ki-in.

Komi = 4 1/2 points

Black wins by resignation.

clip_image024

Basic Figure Order of Moves (1-72)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

A game between Sakata and Shimamura, two players who are both in fine form. A sharp fight was expected, but Shimamura played poorly, something that is rare recently. The game ended in an overwhelming win for Sakata. The spotlight here is on the brilliant points that secured the devastating win.

The progression of moves to the Basic Figure are shown up to the attachment of White 72 which was played to engineer survival [shinogi] of White’s stones here.

clip_image026

Basic Figure (1-15)

First, Black cuts off the last breath of life for White’s three stones with the move at 1. The jump of White 2 is unavoidable, and then Black hanes at 3. White 4 is answered mildly by Black extending at 5. If Black uses this move to hane at 6, White blocks at the point to the left of that in order to set up a ko, and this would be to source of complications.

Black gets to occupy the ideal point at 15, and is playing in good form.

Flawless Play

Let’s look at the sure and steady steps Sakata took after that to head toward the win he secured with flawless play.

clip_image028

Progress of Play Figure 1 (1-14)

In reply to the diagonal move of White 1, Black plays 2 as a sacrifice stone, seeking momentum to extend straight out into the center with Black 4 and 6. When White attaches with 7, a chaotic fighting strategy, Black daringly chooses to use the crude technique [zoku-suji] with 8 and 10 to drive towards the cut of Black 14. The judgment was that being saddled with a weak group of stones would make things painful and difficult for White, and this judgment was not mistaken.

This way of using solid and steady steps to advance towards the win in the shortest distance possible is something that is quite difficult to carry out.

clip_image030

Progress of Play Figure 2 (1-16)

The turning move of White 1 is unavoidable. When Black extends at 2, White’s fencing-in move of 3 is met by Black pressing at 4, and then when White plays the move-in-a-row of 5, Black pushes in once at 6 as a forcing move, followed by extending at 8, aiming at White’s large group of stones. There is no chink shown where even the feather of a bird could slip through. The reinforcement of the large group of stones, beginning with the jump of White 9 through 15 is unavoidable. If White 9 is omitted, Black hanes at 13, and then White A is met by the standard knight’s move of Black B, taking control of the life and death fate of White’s large group of stones.

At that point, Black turned to cut at 16, the point that settled the win. In short, leaving aside Black’s territorial framework [moyo] on the upper side, the balance of territory across the board is equal, so there is nothing to be done.

It really seems that Sakata has regained the playing form of his best days. [Sakata won the Kido Prize for the Player of the Year the next month.]

4) Yamabe’s Artistry at Survival [Shinogi]

27th Annual Honinbo League

White: Magari Reiki 8 dan

Black: Yamabe Toshiro 9 dan

Played on January 5~6, 1972 at the Nihon Ki-in.

Komi = 4 1/2 points

Black wins by resignation.

clip_image032

Basic Figure Order of Moves (1-22)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

The nickname of "Survival [Shinogi no] Sakata" is famous, but Yamabe 9 dan has established the reputation of brilliantly engineering survival of his stones. It is typical for players who are strong at go in general are also skillful at surviving.

In response to the checking extension of White 22, how Black should play to ensure the survival of this stone is the focus here.

clip_image034

Basic Figure (1-8)

Playing the forcing moves of Black 1 and 3, followed by the jump of 5 is the so-called Yamabe Style. Usually, Black simply jumps to 5 here. The evaluation was probably that it was profitable to make the forcing moves of Black 1 and 3, but this kind of perception is perhaps unique to Yamabe 9 dan.

When Black makes the pincer at 6, Black 7 puts the shape of the stones in order, but the attachment of White 8 cuts the stones apart. Well then, it is now a problem of survival.

Survival Completely Achieved to End the Game in 79 Moves

clip_image036

Progress of Play Figure 1 (1-16)

The diagonal move of Black 1, allowing White to make the hanging connection of 2 and 4, is a powerful way of playing. Unless one has a considerable degree of confidence in one’s survival skills, one would too fearful to play like this.

The move-in-a-row of White 6 is a strong move typical of Magari 8 dan, who has confidence in his playing strength. It is a move that stakes the game on the question of the survival of Black’s stones.

When White pushes at 8, Black takes profit to the utmost on the lower side with 9, so that the position on the board is such that unless White captures Black’s stones in the center, the game will be lost.

By playing at 12, White allows Black to make the knight’s move at 15, and with that the game holds little promise for White, is that not so? Playing White 12 as the move-in-a-row of A would have been a strong way, I thought, but… In that case, I had a bit of a hard time envisioning how Black would work out survival for the group. Here is a point where one would like to hear Yamabe 9 dan’s thoughts.

clip_image038

Progress of Play Figure 2 (1-33)

Pushing through with Black 1 seems to be the vital point for ensuring survival. Black then ignores White’s pressing at 2 to play at 3. No matter what White does, the shape of the White stones crumbles.

The fact that White cannot omit playing at 22 is painful. When Black turns to make the hanging connection of 23, survival [shinogi] shape is achieved successfully.

In answer to the fencing-in move of White 24, the moves from the hane of Black 25 through the connection of Black 33 are a display of the masterful Yamabe Style survival. Please take a moment to appreciate it.

After this, since following White A, Black B, White C, Black D, Black E forces White F, the survival of Black’s stones is accomplished. Unavoidably, the game ended quickly after 79 moves, unusually quickly these days.

5) Takemiya Style Opening

12th Annual Meijin Tournament, Preliminary Round

White: Sakai Josho 6 dan

Black: Takemiya Masaki 6 dan

Played in February 1972 at the Nihon Ki-in.

Komi = 5 points

White wins by jigo draw.

clip_image040

Basic Figure Order of Moves (1-16)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

In this game, Takemiya 6 dan lost by jigo draw, but the Takemiya Style opening that appeared in the beginning was interesting, so we will focus on that.

When Black plays the fencing-in move of 9, White counters by pushing with the moves through 14, which develops into a game to Takemiya 6 dan’s liking, where Black has a thick and strong position in the center.

clip_image042

Basic Figure (1-7)

For Black 1, making a checking extension with a large knight’s move at A would also be a good point, but under these circumstances, with Black having thickness in the upper side area, in order to make effect use of that, the extension to the star with Black 1 occupies an ideal point. The attack on the corner with White 2 is also a good point, but ignoring that, Black puts pressure on White in the corner with 3, Takemiya Style. The sequence through Black 7 gives the impression of a large scale opening.

A Regrettable Endgame Loss

Instead of the extension of Black 1 in the Basic Figure…

clip_image044

Diagram 1

…the checking extension of Black 1 is also a good point, but in playing this way, White can take the point of 2 first. After doing so, the opening becomes one in which Black attacks the corner with 3, then makes the extension at Black 5. This ends up becoming a completely different game. However, in allowing White to play at 2 and 4, in no time at all the Black thickness on the upper side is neutralized, and this is unsatisfactory for Black.

In the Basic Figure, Black 7 is a good move in relationship with the Black thickness in the upper area.

clip_image046

Diagram 2

This is not the place to block with Black 1 here. Should Black block at 1, the White knight’s move of 2 takes a good point. After that, if White attacks the corner with a move at A, Black’s marked stone on the star point ends up becoming thin and weak, which is not promising for Black.

With the development of Black 1 to 7 in the Basic Figure, Takemiya 6 dan’s individual character is shown well, which is fascinating. White’s profit and Black territorial framework [moyo] are the nature of their games displayed, and they each balance out the other.

clip_image048

Progress of Play Figure (1-10)

Let’s follow the course of this game a little further after that. White plays a double attack on the corner with 1, and when Black attaches at 2, White pushes in at 3. This is a somewhat unusual way of playing, but had White used 3 to hane at 5, Black might block at 3, and incurring that was distasteful.

When play reaches the block of Black 10, this may be considered an opening in which Black has no cause for dissatisfaction. However, later in the endgame Takemiya made some mistakes that caused the game to end in a regrettable jigo loss for him.

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

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Books

book cover

Go on the Go Collection: Volume I

Three booklets have been assembled into the collection here.

Buy this Book at Amazon

Go For Everyone

Go For Everyone

A New Method for Learning to Play the Game of Go

Buy this book

Book Cover

Journey to the West

This is a semi-autobiographical novel that depicts a unique American success story; a rags to riches tale of a man escaping his humble origins to make millions of dollars, but then he throws it all away due to the ancient character flaw of hubris.

Buy this Book at Amazon