Go Wizardry

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

Fighting Techniques for Making Strong Players Cry Out in Agony

From Kidō, September 1964


By Segoe Kensaku, Honorary 9 dan

Segoe Kensaku was one of the major figures in the go world at the beginning of the twentieth century. He worked tirelessly to promote the game and to create a stable atmosphere for it to prosper. He was also a prolific writer and produced classic works, like Go Proverbs Illustrated, published by the Nihon Ki-in which he helped to found, that captured the imagination of fans everywhere. This article gives a glimpse of the kind of instruction that he provided for amateur go players.


Diagram 1

In response to White 1, Black 2 is a currently popular move in the fuseki.

When White plays 3, defending with either Black 5, 9 or “a” would be usual, but here the pincer of 4 is a move full of strategic and tactical possibilities. In addition, the stone at 4 is also played with the idea of maintaining balance with Black 2 to the right.

White is countered by Black 6, and this, in conjunction with 4, is a fighting technique designed to make strong players cry out in agony.

White immediately fences Black in with 7, but this is what Black was waiting for. Following Black 8 and White 9, Black slices through White’s knight’s move with 10, and when momentum spurs White to play 11, Black cuts with 12. It may be said that already Black’s fighting technique has been successful in the way anticipated.

White 13, Black 14, White 15, Black 16 and White 17 follow the course of a common tesuji, and then Black can capture White’s three stones above by playing 18 and 20.

White 21 and 23 are the last writhing moves available, but after Black 24 and 26, Black wins the race to capture in the corner.

With the sequence through Black 32, the race to capture is won by one move.

Black’s strategy with 4 and 6 has succeeded marvelously.


Diagram 2

Here is a variation starting from the point of White 15 in the previous diagram.

White draws back at 1, and this way leads to a number of variations, so it is difficult.

For 3, White could wedge between Black’s stones at 4, and this will be shown later.

White 5 cannot be omitted. But when Black blocks at 6, White simply loses the race to capture.

When play reaches Black 16, Black has 5 liberties and White has 4 liberties, so Black wins by one move.

Even if White uses 15 to cut at 16, replying with Black “a,” White “b,” Black “c,” White “d” and Black “e” snuffs out all prospects for White.


Diagram 3

When Black plays at 1, should White hane once at 2 and then play 4, Black cuts at 5 and after White 6 captures with Black 7. Then White has to make an eye with 8. If White plays 8 at 9, Black “a,” White “b” and Black 13 leads to the same result as in the previous diagram.

Black 11 is a good move. This move ensures life in the corner.

Using White 12 to play at 13 would be answered by Black 12, White “c,” Black “d,” White “e” and Black “f,” making life.

After play reaches Black 13, the move at “a” is left whereby a kō for the life of White’s group remains, and even supposing that White avoids kō by making the group alive, Black is not badly off.


Diagram 4

When Black blocks at 2, what happens if White connects at 3?

Black blocks at 2 and White makes the hanging connection at 5.

Descending with Black 6 is a good move to kill White while making life for the group in the corner.

White 7 is answered satisfactorily with Black 8, White 9 and Black 10.

Following White 11, Black 12 and White 13, Black makes life with 14 and White’s group is dead just as it is. For a variation, when Black plays 4, should White connect with “a,” it is important that Black hane at “b.” If White 11, Black plays 12, and then White 13 is answered with the hane of Black “c,” and Black wins the race to capture. The play in this diagram is also a success for Black.


Diagram 5

Instead of extending with White 3 in Diagram 2, there is a more difficult playing method available to White.

What happens when White wedges in at 1?

Black cuts at 2, then after White 3, Black 4 and White 5, Black cuts at 6 and White 7, Black 8 and White 9 is countered by Black’s descending at 10. Black’s four stones cannot be captured in a ladder, so the three White stones above are captured.

White has to try a different tack instead of 7.


Diagram 6

Here is a variation that deviates from White 7 in the previous diagram.

When Black cuts at 1, what if White plays atari above at 2?

Black 3, White 4, Black 5 and White 6 results in White making life on the upper side.

Black extends out at 7 and White 8 through Black 1 produces a race to capture with Black in the corner. In regards to this race to capture, as shown in the diagram, the sequence proceeds from White 12 through Black 23, whereupon Black wins by one move. During this move order, Black 15 is important. Should Black use 15 to make the diagonal move at 21, the placement of White 19 causes problems.

Of course, when Black plays at 15, it is possible for White to use 16 to attach at “a.”


Diagram 7 White 27 takes kō; White 29 connects

After Black 15 in the previous diagram, let’s analyze a different method for White.

When White plays at 1, Black replies at 2, and then after the continuation with White 3 through 7, living with Black 8 means that Black can feel secure in playing.

White cuts at 9, Black draws back at 10, and proceeding with the moves following White 11 and Black 12, play reaches Black 26.

White takes the kō with 27 and connects at 29. With this, these stones manage to survive, but Black turns to attack on one side with 30 and 32, then on the other with 34 and 36, and when the play reaches Black 40, White has no way to survive in the center.


Diagram 8

As the above shows, when White has to meet the moves of Black 1 and 3, cutting with White “a” incurs the cut of Black 11 and things do not go well for White. Therefore, White might dodge with 4. In that case, Black extends at 5 and plays the moves through 9.

When play develops this way, the fencing-in move of White’s marked stone turns out to be meaningless, and White ends up thin and weak to the left and right.

When White extends to 10, Black 11 is the most solid move.

White 12 is met with Black defending at 13. The result here is that White’s fencing-in with the marked stone turns out to be a failure, and it may be said that the outlook in the game is favorable for Black.


Diagram 9

When incurring Black’s slicing through the knight’s move with 1, dodging lightly away from Black’s challenge with e attachment of White 2 may be thought of as a playing method to survive.

Then the connection of Black 3 is fine. White 4 is answered by Black 5, an unrivalled good point that puts White’s three stones above under attack.

When White puts Black’s stone in atari with 6, unconcerned, Black jumps to 7. This is good here. Should White now capture the stone with “a,” Black defends the upper right corner with “b.” It will be hard for White to use the power of the one stone capture to its greatest extent, so it may be said that the outlook in the game is advantageous for Black.

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