Go Wizardry

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

Takemiya Style Large Territorial Framework (Moyo) Strategy


Sanja Matsuri from May 17 to 19, 2019

The Sanja Festival is held annually in the Asakusa district. It is held in celebration of the three founders of the Sensoji Temple, who are enshrined in Asakusa Shrine next door to the temple. Nearly two million people visit Asakusa over the three days of the festival, making it one of Tokyo’s most popular festivals.


Takemiya Masaki (born January 1, 1951) is famous as the originator of "Cosmic Go" [= 宇宙流 = Uchu-Ryu]. That is, playing in such a way as to create a large expanse of territory in the center of the go board. The game below is a famous example of that.

It is interesting to read Takemiya’s own account of the circumstances in which this game was played and his analysis of the strategy and tactics used. Of course, the commentary of a great master of the game is always fascinating, but Takemiya’s viewpoint differs from just about every other player, even the strongest. I hope that my translation conveys that well.

GoWizardry offers a link to scans of the original pages of the article in Kido magazine for those who are interested, especially students of the Japanese language. Consequently, some technical terms and idioms have been chosen for special attention. They are specialized words that average Japanese readers would not comprehend. For instance, moyo above would be taken to mean pattern, and nothing more.

Regardless of that, there are insights and nuances about go as well as Japanese culture that offer great enjoyment.

At first glance, stones are scattered carelessly, but in concert with the opponent’s moves, a perfect, large territorial framework [moyo = 模様] is on the way to being created. With a unique perception of balance, at the time that he joined the front rank of professional go players his style of go was called the "Ultra New Fuseki."

Perception of Balance

By Takemiya Masaki 7 dan

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

Kido, March 1975

Model Figure 1


(1-15) Takemiya — Hashimoto Shoji (White) Black wins by resignation.

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

I was ranked at 5 dan when I played this game against Hashimoto Shoji 9 dan of the Kansai Ki-in in the Pro Best Ten tournament. Hashimoto san came out with an amashi [= neutralizing the opponent’s thickness to win on territory] strategy, principally focusing on taking profit, and partly due to that, Black was able to build an ideal large territorial framework [moyo]. This is a game of mine that I am particularly proud of.

Please pay close attention to the placement of Black 13 and 15.

Editorial Notes

This game was played to determine 5th and 6th places in the 6th Pro Best Ten Tournament [1969]. At the time, Takemiya 5 dan was 18 years old. In the Pro Best Ten Tournament, the goal is to establish the order of ranking of the players, so compared to other tournaments, the title match usually holds somewhat less interest. The game below displayed a wonderful blossoming of the Takemiya style large territorial framework [moyo] strategy. It became the topic of conversation in many quarters. Rather than the result, the contents became the focus of attention, and from that perspective, it is no doubt a unique example in the go world.

The positioning of Black 13 is a bit strange. There are probably those who feel that it is a move that is somehow poorly focused [= 中途半端 = chuto hanpa]. I believe that it is the only move to play in this board position. But it links Black 3 on the 5-3 point in the corner and the build up of influence in the lower left corner with Black 5 and the following moves as the central point in the territorial framework.


Diagram 1

Let’s take a look at a simple example.

As everyone knows, this is the Chinese Style Opening. To the extent that Black occupies both corners with 1 and 3, this cannot be called a territorial framework, but when the stone of Black 5 comes to be played on the central point, the area on the lower side becomes Black’s sphere of influence. In the three star point in a row opening, naturally Black 5 is placed on the central star point, but with Black 3 placed on the 3-4 point, the central point is shifted to the left. That is the reason for the choice of the placement of Black 5. However, saying that the lower side is Black’s sphere of influence does not mean that it will completely become Black’s territory. For the reader, I would imagine that this is just common sense.


Diagram 2

For instance, following Diagram 1, the attack on the corner with White 1 destroys Black’s territorial framework easily. When the progress of play reaches the knight’s move of Black 6, even though the left side of Black’s territorial framework has been destroyed. The possibility of the right part becoming Black territory has arisen. In short, one move can prevent territory being consolidated, but either the left or the right being converted into territory become equivalent options. Occupying the central point of a territorial framework creates that kind of condition. That being the case, Black 13 in the Model Figure is the move to think about for that kind of balance.


Diagram 3

The commonsense extension of Black 1 will inevitably float to mind. However, this incurs White entering the area with 2, and Black does not have an effective attack to use against White 2. In other words, Black 1 is a little slack. To the extent that the spacing of Black’s territorial framework to the left is wide, it is difficult for White to enter the area at 2.


Diagram 4

Instead of Black 13, should Black make the corner enclosure with 1, White will naturally slip into the lower side with 2.


Diagram 5

White first destroys the territory on the left with 1 and 3, next destroys the right with 5 — that kind of way of playing is not impossible, but in response to that move of White 5, Black jumps to A, putting White’s stones to the left and right under a two-pronged attack. This will be a melee, but the fighting will take place in Black’s stronghold, so White also has to be fearful here.

The Second Central Point

Black 15 is the second central point of the territorial framework. This is not played on the star point, but shifted to one point above that. The reason is the same as that given for the placement of Black 13. It maintains balance among the stones played.

In addition, instead of White 14, slipping into the right side was also considered. Had White done that, Black would naturally attack the upper left corner. Well then, the game proceeded differently, and maybe playing this way gave White a wide open game.


Diagram 6

Supposing that Black 15 in the Model Figure is played one point closer to the lower right corner on the star point. That makes it easy for White to invade the corner at 2. The reason is that the spacing of Black’s territorial framework on the right side is narrow.

In the Model Figure, it is difficult for White to invade either the side or the corner. Well then, whatever is to be done, it has to be done quickly, but when and where to set about doing it is difficult.


Diagram 7

For Black 15, developing with Black 1 takes a good point as well, but slipping into the side with White 2 is an ideal move.

The Essential Point for Fighting

Model Figure 2



In regards to Black’s territorial framework in the lower right area, at first sight the distribution of Black’s stones seems to have been made in a scattershot manner, and it looks like a move to neutralize the territory can be made anywhere. But when it comes to setting about to play, it is difficult for White to find the exact point. From the opposite perspective, to the extent that is true, it shows that Black’s position is deep, and the set-up of the stones work well in concert.

It may be thought that the attack on the corner with White 16 is a change in direction due to an inability to decide on how to target the right side: on the side or in the corner. Next, if Black defends the corner with A, White will develop with a move at 21. With that, White’s territorial framework on the upper side gets good shape. This would give White formidable chances in the game.

Therefore, Black ignores the upper right to concentrate on the strategy of perfecting the territorial framework. Black 17 is played on a point that is on the border of White’s adjoining territorial framework, an essential fighting point for both sides that cannot be missed. (If White were to play first, Diagram 8 shows how that would go.)

Here, the one point jump of Black 19 is a move that is my pride and joy. Black’s territorial framework has practically ideal shape. After this, making the jump of 20 and playing the neutralizing move of 21 are equivalent options.


Diagram 8

Instead of attacking the corner with White 16, the jump of White 1 could be considered. (Both ways occupy essential fighting points.) For Black, occupying the star point on the upper side would probably be played. This would be a feasible game.

Returning to Model Figure 2, White 20 is played at the same territorial framework boundary point as Black 17. It expands one’s own territorial framework while restraining the opponent’s territorial framework.

Black 21 and White 20 are equivalent options for big points. It would be no good to relinquish both 20 and 21 to the opponent. Regardless of that, when Black turns to make the jump of 19, the feeling is that establishing this sturdy supporting pillar of Black’s battle formation is a notch in Black’s belt. Black’s large territorial framework is thereby perfected and can weather a little wind and rain without flinching.

Model Figure 3



White 22 is the kind of tight territorial move that Shoji 9 dan likes. The exchange of 22 for 23 is that of substance for facade [= 虚実 = kyojitsu = emptiness-substance, in a metaphoric sense; a related term is 虚虚実実 = kyo-kyo jitsu-jitsu = feint and jabbing skirmishing] that would be judged as effective play by White, but to the extent that this is a game of competing territorial frameworks [moyo], it seems to be a little questionable.

Following White’s making the double attack on the corner with 24 and the invasion of the corner with 26, a basic joseki is played, but even though in the local context there is no reason to criticize this, how is it to be judged in this game? Black 29 establishes a connection between Black’s stones to the left and right, while setting up a big territorial framework in the center. I think that Black has gotten and easily played position.

Therefore, with White 24…


Diagram 9

…I think that making the checking extension of White 1 against Black’s marked stones simultaneously attacks those stones while playing to neutralize Black’s territorial framework.

In addition, at the point that play reaches Black 29, it has become obvious that the exchange of White 22 for Black 23 was a bad one. Had that exchange not been made, a White move around the point of B could have been made to neutralize Black’s territorial framework.

White 30 is the losing move. White 30 is the vital point here, and if exchange for it Black connects at A, it becomes a forcing move. In professional games, this is a bit severe. The descending move of Black 31 is an exquisite move [= 妙手 = myoshu]. The move discards the three stones including Black 27 in order to wrap White up on the outside.

Model Figure 4



It is essential for White to cut at 32. Black fixes the shape with the atari of 33 through White 42, then stops White dead with Black 43. Black’s territorial framework that extends from the lower side to surround the center is magnificently immense.

Returning to Model Figure 3, instead of wedging between Black’s stones with White 30, it would seem to have been better for White to immediately jump to C. In that case, the game would still have been long and drawn out. When Black stops White’s progress with 43, the game is over.

White 44 is played to give White a footing in order to initiate activity, and through White 70 creates a living group on the right side.

However, in the center Black’s territory amounts to more than 100 points. Just a glance indicates that Black seems to be ahead by 20 points on the board.

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.

Tagged as: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply


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