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Tesuji for a Million Players

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Some of the most popular features of Kido magazine were the problems offered every month. There were a wide variety of positions covered, from the opening to the endgame, and every stage in between. Besides that, the composers of these problems were high ranking professionals. They knew what they were doing, and they did their best to produce problems that they were proud of, problems that reflected well on their craft. Do not forget that most professional players have sponsors and students who provide financial support and commercial opportunities. The fees paid for the articles they wrote might have been comparatively small, but the problems were seen all across Japan. That gave the composers of the problems high visibility.

The articles below show six problems composed by Kojima Takaho (born January 26, 1942), and three problems of Miyashita Shuyo (December 20, 1913~August 8, 1976). Kojima was the nephew of Fujisawa Hosai 9 dan. Fujisawa was also Kojima’s teacher (sensei) and mentor. Kojima rose to the rank of 9 dan in 1979. Miyashita was known as the "Wild Bull of Fukushima" for his violent style of play. But he had a consummate mastery of tesuji. Even the strongest professional players were wary of his attacking prowess.

These problems demand the same kind of precise reading required to solve the life and death problems presented here on GoWizardry, but they have a more general application. It would not be unusual to find positions similar to those here in games played in go clubs everywhere. Study them closely and surprise opponents in your local club by pouncing in seemingly safe situations!

Tesuji for a Million Players

By Kojima Takaho 8 dan in Kido, February 1977

Those interested in viewing the original article in Japanese can click here to do so.

Problem 1

Problem 1

White to Play

At this point, White wants to deal with the position skillfully [making sabaki] using the five stones in the upper right corner. What should be focused on here?

Problem 1 Hint

Hint for Problem 1

Huh? Can’t White simply make life with the sequence from 1 through 7? Such is true, but it is disrespectful to the Tesuji for a Million Players title above.

Problem 2

Problem 2

White to Play

Attention must be paid to effective usage of White’s two stones in the corner, with an eye to the proper order of moves. The most important factor revolves around the fact that if White’s six stones on the left side can be rescued, White will achieve success. That is key in this problem.

Solutions

Dealing with the Position Successfully [Sabaki]

Problem 1

Problem 1 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (Pincer-Attachment)

Superficially examining the position might lead to the thought that White’s five stones have no chance of coordinated action, but on this occasion the pincer-attachment of White 1 is the technique [suji] to deal with the position successfully [sabaki].

Problem 1 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (No Fear)

If Black descends at 1 to cut White’s stone off, it is fine for White to cut at 2. Even though Black captures three White stones with 3 and 5, White can burst through with 6 and 8, capturing three Black stones. And from a whole board perspective, White has nothing to fear.

Problem 1 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Grateful)

Should Black find the result in the previous diagram distasteful, 1 could be played as the forcing move of the atari here, forcing White to connect at 2. Then, even if Black blocks at 3, likewise White cuts at 4, and it is clear that White gets an advantageous result after 6.

Problem 1 Diagram 4

Diagram 4 (Gouging Out the Corner on a Large Scale)

In response to the pincer-attachment of White 1, in the final analysis Black has no alternative but to make the reinforcement of 2. Therefore, White can connect underneath with 3, which shows the effectiveness of White 1 in taking profit.

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A Move to Rescue the Stones

Problem 2

Problem 2 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (Usual Play Fails)

As can be seen here, playing White 1 and 3 to attack does not work out well. If filling in liberties in the usual way is not successful, a different path to rescuing the stones must be found.

Problem 2 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Playing with Dead Stones)

If imagining how sacrificing stones will be effective is envisioned, White will deliberately play with dead stones by adding the move at 1. Following Black 2, White wedges in between Black’s stones with 3. The path to the rescue opens up.

Continuing after Black 4…

Problem 2 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Great Success)

…White throws in at 1, forcing Black to capture at 2. Then, by pushing in with White 3, the stones are rescued by capturing three Black stones since Black cannot connect at A.

Instead of capturing with Black 2…

Problem 2 Diagram 4

Diagram 4 (Shortage of Liberties)

…should Black capture with 1, White throws in at 2, and plays atari at 4. Here, too, connecting is impossible.

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Problem 3

Problem 3

White to Play

Black has just played atari with the marked stone. If possible, White would prefer not to discard the three stones above, but…

Problem 3 Hint

Hint for Problem 3

Please do not entertain the idea that capturing a stone in sente with White 1 is sufficient. Plunging through with Black 2 leaves White stymied. This completely fails to understand the import of the problem.

Problem 4

Problem 4

White to Play

It cannot be said that something like attempting to rescue White’s four stones is an unreasonable objective. If a move can be found to utilize the four White stones effectively, that will be sufficient.

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Solutions

The Technique [Suji] to Rescue the Stones

Problem 3

Problem 3 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (An Insufficient Continuation)

Since capturing a stone with White A can be visualized as unsuccessful, White might descend at 1, but simply descending this way again demonstrates insufficient preparation. Black hanes at 2 and pushes through at 4, and since Black can play atari at A, White’s connecting underneath at B is not feasible.

For White 3…

Problem 3 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Snap-Back)

…trying to connect underneath with White 1 is met by Black 2 and that is it.

Problem 3 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Combination Technique [Suji])

The atari of White 1 is a forcing move which must not be neglected in this position. It conforms with the proper order of moves. Black has to connect at 2, and then White descends at 3. This is a famous two move combination in go that answers White’s needs in this position.

Problem 3 Diagram 4

Diagram 4 (An Admirable Rescue)

Should Black play atari at 1, it is fine for White to atari in return with 2. Then, pushing through with Black 4 ends with White rescuing the stones with 4 and 6.

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Slicing Through the Knight’s Move Technique [Suji]

Problem 4

Problem 4 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (Unavoidable Order of Moves) Black 4 connects at 1

In order to use the four White stones effectively, the only way to play is to throw in a stone with White 1 and play atari at 3. Black has no choice but to connect at 4, and then in positions like this, slicing through the knight’s move with White 5 is a famous tesuji.

Problem 4 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Two-Step Hane)

Black can only hane at 1, but White increases the pressure inexorably stones effectively, the only way to play is to throw in a stone with the two-step hane of 2. This is key to making the previous move work optimally. Again, this is an important order of moves.

Problem 4 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Great Profit for White)

Continuing from the previous diagram, Black cannot cut White’s stones off with a move at 2, so there is no alternative but to connect with Black 1. White then connects at 2, followed by taking hold of a Black stone with 4 and 6. White takes enough territory in the corner to be satisfied.

Problem 4 Diagram 4

Diagram 4 (White Dissatisfied)

Should White substitute the two-step hane in Diagram 2 with the ballooning out move of White 2 in this diagram, Black would respond with the diagonal move of 3. Play would proceed through the block of White 6, resulting in a big difference from the previous diagram.

This is proof of the value of the tesuji of White 2 in Diagram 2.

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Problem 5

Problem 5

Black to Play

It is patently obvious that capturing White’s two stones will rescue Black’s four stones below, but in this problem the question is how to negate the working relationship White has with the White marked stone above.

Problem 5 Hint

Hint for Problem 5

Hastily blocking with Black 1 is suicidal after White answers with 2 and 4. The key to the problem is how to cut off the connection with White’s marked stone.

Problem 6

Problem 6

White to Play

This is a theme that recurs in many games. Please consider how White’s three stones closest to the corner can best be saved.

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Solutions

A Fantastically Exquisite Move

Problem 5

Problem 5 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (Failure for Black)

If pushing down with Black 1 worked, there would be no trouble solving this problem. However, White answers with the atari of 2, then connects underneath to the corner with 4. This is delightful for White.

Problem 5 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (One Point Jump)

This is probably a hard move to discover, but simply playing the one point jump of Black 1 is a promising technique [suji] to use to separate White’s stones. This is the only move to play in order to rescue the four Black stones below, which are 90% on the way to dying.

Problem 5 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Writhing is No Good)

Should White butt against Black’s stone with 1, it is fine for Black to connect at 2. White can push through with 3 and 5, but when Black extends at 6, blocking with Black A and playing atari with Black B are equivalent options that revive Black’s dead stones.

Problem 5 Diagram 4

Diagram 4 (Reference)

It goes without saying that the atari of White 1 is useless.

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Technique [Suji] to Connect

Problem 6

Problem 6 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (The Plague of Crude Moves)

It is obvious that connecting with White 2 would be met by the cut of Black 1, which would be terrible. But there are many players who even now would connect with White 1. This "poor but honest" connection of White 1 is answered by the cut of Black 2, leading to the sequence of White 3 through Black 6. It is too late to say, "Oh no, now I’ve done it!"

Problem 6 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Hane Between Stones)

The hane between stones with White 1 is a common technique [suji]. The fact that this one move saves White’s three stones is made clear by the following diagrams.

Problem 6 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Magnificent Escape)

Should Black cut off White’s stone with 1, the connection of White 2 initiates the proper order of moves. Black has no choice but to capture at 3, so White can calm and collectedly escape with all the stones by drawing back at 4. Playing Black 1 as the cut at 3 would be safely answered by the connection of White A. This shows the effectiveness of tesuji.

Instead of Black 1…

Problem 6 Diagram 4

Diagram 4 (Also Welcome) Black 5 connects

…cutting with Black 1 is met by the forcing moves of White 2 and 4, finishing things up with the connection of White 6.

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Tesuji for a Million Players

By Miyashita Shuyo 9 dan in Kido, December 1975

Problem 1

Problem 1

Black to Play

The block of Black A would not work out well after White replies by descending at B…

Problem 2

Problem 2

White to Play

The ladder is unfavorable for White, so please find the best way to for White to move out with the lower two stones.

Problem 3

Problem 3

White to Play

The reader is requested to find a way for White to rescues the ten stones on the right that do not have two eyes.

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Solutions

An Exquisite Move that Attacks on Two Fronts

Problem 1

Problem 1 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (Attachment Technique [Suji])

Simply attaching with Black 1 is a wonderful tesuji that simultaneously makes effective use of Black’s two stones in the corner and Black’s single marked stone.

Problem 1 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Extending Finishes Things Up)

Should White separate Black’s stones with 1, extending with Black 2 presents a difficult choice to the opponent.

Problem 1 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Living on a Large Scale)

If White blocks at 1, it is fine for Black to block at 2. Following White 3, Black lives on a large scale with 4.

Please confirm that if White plays 1 as the block at 4, the cut of Black 2 is good.

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Full Squeezing

Problem 2

Problem 2 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (If the Ladder is Favorable)

Starting with the cut of White 1, the sequence through White 7 would be used if the ladder was favorable.

Problem 2 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Insufficient for White)

Any player might cut with White 1 and then play atari with 3, moving out with 5 and 7, but…

Problem 2 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Diagonal Move Technique [Suji]) Black 8 connects

After the cut of White 1, the diagonal move of White 3 is a tesuji that is unrelenting in putting pressure on Black. Following the sequence through White 11, the difference with the previous diagram is obvious.

Besides this, playing Black 4 at 6 would be bad since White would cut at A.

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An Exquisite Order of Moves

Problem 3

Problem 3 Diagram 1

Diagram 1 (A Single Cut)

White plays atari at 1, then cuts at 3. This is a technique [suji] to take advantage of Black’s shortage of liberties.

Just to cover everything, after this, should Black cut at A, White would be fine by playing at B.

Problem 3 Diagram 2

Diagram 2 (Escaping Magnificently)

The connection of Black 1 is answered by White making the hane between Black’s stones with 2. "When cut, cut back." This is a cutthroat technique [suji] that is effective.

Problem 3 Diagram 3

Diagram 3 (Virtually the Same)

Even if Black plays atari at 1, it is fine for White to reply with 2.

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.

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