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The Only Move

From Kidō, October 1973

The Perception of Professionals

The Only Move

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Kudō Norio 8 dan

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The key Japanese word in the graphic above reads 感覚 = Kankaku = Perception. This is an important word in go. It relates to how one “feels” about a position. Many strong players recommend playing over professional games on a board, because that way one develops a feeling for the rhythm of the stones. In this article, Kudō explains how this works when one is searching for the only move to play in a position.

In regards to one’s first impression, there is a tremendous difference whether a crude move comes to mind or the flash of a tesuji lights up. Let’s pursue the inner state of professional players who seek to use stones to their maximum effectiveness, and savor the perception of professionals.

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In response to the marked Black stone, if White answers at A, it will clearly mean being forced. Takagi 7 dan made the fencing in move of White 1, which is the feeling one has in this position. For Black, too, directly moving out with the marked stone would be heavy, so instead switched the fighting to Black 2.

From the All Japan Number One Position Tournament Preliminaries

White: Ōkubo Ichigen 9 dan

Black: Kajiwara Takeo 9 dan wins by resignation

Komi = 4½ points

□The Life of Stones□

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Problem A Black to Play

The life of stones is the life of professional players. Using stones in the most effective way that is practical is what professional players strive to do with might and main. However, what is to happen with the life of Black’s four stones left on the right side?

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Hint 1

If Black extends at 1, White attaches at 2 and draws back at 4, capturing Black’s stones on a large scale. This way of playing ignores the life of the stones, and it is painful for the four Black stones to die a dog’s death.

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Hint 2

Attaching with Black 1 and drawing back with 3 is movement of stones where no lifeblood flows, so White can ignore the situation to hane at 4, and Black’s four stones are captured just like that.

Answer

A Sharp Conception

Correct Solution (An Exquisite Placement)

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Correct Solution Diagram

No matter how much one proclaims the importance of the life of the stones, simply moving out with something like Black A would be suicide without a strategy that White would just be delighted with.

The placement of Black 1 eyes that moving out of Black A, an idea that has blood flowing through it, and the feeling is that it scoops out the vital point of White’s shape.

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Diagram 1 (Black is Satisfied)

In response to Black’s strike at the vital point, killing the stones cold with White 1 is safe, and although that way is indeed safe, by connecting underneath with Black 2, White’s territorial framework has been seriously encroached upon, and that result gives true meaning to the death of Black’s four stones.

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Diagram 2 (The Progress of the Actual Game)

Finding the complete effectiveness of Black’s stones in the previous diagram disagreeable, it was natural for White to be propelled by momentum to play 1 through 5, but Black managed to make life for all the stones after the move of 6, so that the effectiveness of Black’s marked stone is clear, and its success is unquestionable.

Furthermore, in regards to the knight’s move of White 7…

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Diagram 3

…even if White seals Black in with 1 through 5, Black’s group does not have dead shape, and what is more, White’s group comes under attack with Black 6, and has insufficient liberties in the coming race to capture.

From the 13th Annual Meijin Tournament Preliminaries

White: Kudō Norio 8 dan

Black: Hashimoto Utarō 9 dan wins by 2½ points

Komi = 5 points

□Utarō’s Resourceful Strategic Style□

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Problem B Black to Play

The checking extension of Black “a” is a big move that immediately strikes the eye, but the hane of Black “b,” White “c” and extending at Black “d” are also thick and strong moves that put the shape in order. Yet despite that, the strategic resourcefulness of the Hashimoto style shines even brighter.

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Hint 1

The checking extension of Black 1 leaves the invasion of White 2, so cannot be viewed with admiration.

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Hint 2

The two space extension of Black 1 does not provide a follow-up move to aim at, so Black is dissatisfied with this unimaginative move.

Answer

The Stones Work Effectively

Correct Solution (A Ploy to Make the Opponent’s Stones Over-concentrated)

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Correct Solution Diagram

For professional players, the ever-present cherished ideal is to make one’s stones work at their greatest effectiveness. For that reason, Black 1 strikes directly against White’s stronghold so as to lean on White to solidify the Black territory in the upper left, a ploy that one feels is filled with the brilliance of Hashimoto 9 dan’s first rate style. Furthermore, White’s territory in the lower left area is solid, so there is also the aim to make White’s shape there over-concentrated. Realizing both of these aims, in response to the attachment of Black 1…

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Diagram 1 (Black is Thick and Strong)

…the hane from below with White 1 followed by Black 2 and the moves through 6 enable Black to make thick and strong outward influence and is therefore not promising.

Within this sequence, instead of White’s drawing back at 5…

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Diagram 2 (Likewise Dissatisfying)

…butting against Black’s stone with White 1 lets Black cut at 2, then play the moves through the connection of Black 8, a solidification that is just as dissatisfying. Another move for White…

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Diagram 3 (Disadvantageous for White)

…is the hane upward of 1, but this is also resistance without a plan. It is shattered by Black 2 and 4, with a worthless result. Consequently…

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Diagram 4 (The Continuation in the Actual Game)

…White played the hane above with 2, but Black ended by turning at 7, gaining the objective of making thickness.

From the 11th Annual Pro Best Ten Tournament Preliminaries

White: Magari Reiki 8 dan

Black: Kobayashi Kōichi 6 dan wins by resignation

Komi = 5½ points

□Number One is the Attack□

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Problem C Black to Play

In this game, White has a territorial framework on the upper side region, while Black has a territorial framework on the left side, and these contesting shapes immediately strike the eye. However, surrounding territory with something like Black “a” is out of the question. At this point one wants to adopt a policy to aggressively grab hold of the initiative in a fighting game.

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Hint

The diagonal move of Black 1 prevents White from making a fencing-in move at this point, and so is an an essential point from the standpoint of the whole board, but it incurs White’s putting the shape in order with 2, so that any attack here must be abandoned, and this leads to a situation on the board where one has no idea what the outcome might be.

Answer

An Attack That Makes Effective Use of Walls

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Diagram 1 (An Insufficient Continuation)

One’s first impression is to strike at the vital point of Black 1, but White presses against Black with 2, and there is no sufficient continuation. Should Black defend the territorial framework on the left side with 3, White makes the hanging connection with 4. Next, if Black extends at 5, incurring the knight’s move of White 6 means that there is no way to press the attack.

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Diagram 2 (Hard to Attack)

Instead of surrounding territory with Black 3 in the previous diagram, Black might cut at 1, but after incurring the hane of White 2, not only would there be no hope of turning the left side into a Black territorial framework, but the shape would be such that it would be difficult to mount an attack against White.

Correct Solution (A Crude Move That is a Strong Move)

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Correct Solution Diagram

In this board position, Black relies on the solid wall in the upper left area to initiate an attack on White’s five stones in order to engineer a favorable turn of events, and this is the greatest priority. Therefore, Black exchanges 1 for White 2, then strikes at the vital point with Black 3, a good order of moves. Due to this double insurance with the good order of moves, at a single stroke the outlook in the game turns favorable, which is made clear from the progression of moves in the next diagram. Black 1 is usually a move that is hard to play because it is considered a crude move that “pushes into a knight’s move” [i.e., eliminating the possibility of slicing through the knight’s move, normally good form], but it works out well, as shown clearly in the following diagram. There Black 3 vividly occupies the vital point of the “center of three stones,” which in these circumstances is an essential move. Continuing…

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Diagram 3

…connecting with White 1 is unavoidable, in which case the attack through Black 10 is unavoidable, and the result is that the wall in the upper left works effectively with Black playing in good form.

From the 29th Annual Honinbō Tournament Preliminaries

White: Kajiwara Takeo 9 dan wins by resignation

Black: Sugiuchi Masako 7 dan

Komi = 4½ points

□Crystal Clear Local Perception □

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Problem D White to Play

Starting with the attachment of White 1, the progression of moves through Black 8 is unavoidable. Then, if White extends at 9, momentum leads Black to cut at 10, and now the brilliance of tesuji Kajiwara style lights the stage.

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Hint 1

Extending at White 9 was a new move played out of distaste for the mediocre exchange of White 1 for Black 2.

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Hint 2

Following Black 10, if White turns at 1, Black captures at 2, and the impression cannot be avoided that the play is out of steam. —White is dissatisfied.

Answer

Fine Art to Escape Shackles With Finesse

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Diagram 1 (White is Dissatisfied)

White forces with the atari of 1, then defiantly plays 3, expecting to continue after Black 4 with the turning move of White 5. This, in general, captures Black’s two stones, but it leaves the potential [aji] of Black’s cutting with A, White B and Black C, and so it is not to be applauded.

Correct Solution (A Sharp Attachment Technique [Suji])

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Correct Solution Diagram

The lightning strike of White 1 is a jumping attachment, Kajiwara style, that is a fine tesuji that leaves Black without recourse.

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Diagram 2 (Black Falls Into the Trap)

In response to the attachment of White 1, if Black pushes through at 2, it falls into White’s trap, and following White’s forcing technique [suji] of 3 and 5, the block of White 7 leaves Black at a disadvantage.

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Diagram 3 (White Plays Efficiently)

Should Black turn at 1 and capture with 3, it would be safe, but regardless of this safety, White would not only be able to make the strong connection of 2 as a forcing move, but White 4 and 6 solidify the left side, leaving Black’s three stones as a burden there as the result.

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Diagram 4 (The Actual Progress of the Game)

Starting with the press of Black 1, the sequence through the diagonal move of Black 17 was Sugiuchi’s painstaking survival expedient, and through the jump of White 18 fighting on equal terms proceeded as expected.

From the 21st Annual Ōza Tournament Preliminaries

White: Ōhira Shūzō 9 dan wins by 9½ points

Black: Go Seigen 9 dan

Komi = 5½ points

□A Memorable Ending □

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Problem E White to Play

After a fighting game that exceeded 300 moves, in this [simplified] position Black connected at 1 so that if White pushes at “a,” a seki is the result. However, should Black make the turning move at “a,” White is dead. However, despite of that conventional view of the matter, Ōhira 9 dan came up with an exquisite tesuji.

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Hint 1

Should White attach with 1, Black plays 2. Or if White A, Black plays at 1 and there is no follow-up move.

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Hint 2

White cuts at 1 and extends at 3, then cuts at 5, but even so after Black 10 it is impossible for White to connect.

Answer

A Shortage of Liberties is Horrible

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Correct Solution (An Exquisite Tesuji)

White 1 is an exquisite tesuji that is played at the moment that Black has connected with the marked stone to instantly deliver a fatal blow with a placement on the first line.

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Diagram 1 (Beyond Consideration)

In regards to the connection of Black 1, White 2 and 4 leave Black hopeless. The result is that White can omit playing at A, so there is no need for further discussion.

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Diagram 2 (Success for White)

Should Black push at 1, White hanes at 2 and Black does not have a move.

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Diagram 3 (Missing a Move)

The jump of Black 1 is a complicated move easily missed, and if White plays the diagonal attachment of 2 in response, Black 3 leaves White without an effective reply.

However…

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Diagram 4 (The Sequence in the Game)

…White’s cutting at 3 and then squeezing with 5 and 7 is a good order of moves, and the result here is an approximately 18 point gain that establishes a winning advantage with a single stroke.

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Diagram 5 (The Difference of the Move Order)

Starting with the cut of White 1 and extending with 3, then making the placement of 5 is met by the jump of Black 6, which leaves White without a move.

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