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Ōhira’s First Title Defense, Part I

From Kidō, March 1967

Kidō Magazine Special Game Selections

Classic Kidō Games, Part I

Games 2 & 3 from the 14th Annual Nihon Ki-in Championship

Game 2

Ōhira’s First Title Defense

14th Annual Nihon Ki-in Championship

White: Rin Kaihō, Meijin

Black: Ōhira Shuzō 9 dan

Black gives a 4 1/2 point komi

Analysis by Ōhira Shuzō 9 dan

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Ōhira Defends Championship states the title written on this photograph. The thirty-six year old player who had been born in Gifu Prefecture had become a professional twenty years previously. He was challenged by 25 year old Rin Kaihō, a powerful opponent who had just defended his own Meijin title against the legendary Sakata Eio. It was a clash of the younger generation that signaled a changing of the guard in the go world.

Figure 1: The Nihon Ki-in Championship

Nihon Ki-in Championship titleholder Ōhira 9 dan faced Rin Kaihō, Meijin in the best of five match that was contested during the period from the end of last year into this year. With each player winning with Black in the first four games, before the final game they chose randomly for Black in the final game. It was assumed that whoever won the right to play Black would have the advantage. However, Rin Meijin played a slack move in the fuseki, allowing Ōhira 9 dan to take the initiative in the fighting with a single stroke, and with that he ran away with the win.

Ōhira 9 dan’s thoughts: “When I drew White for Game 5 I felt unsettled, but Rin san played the fuseki poorly and in response I could play comparatively calmly and with composure, which was good. Regardless of that, my feeling is that throughout the five games it was a difficult struggle.”

Rin Meijin’s thoughts: “It was a rout. I was lucky to become the challenger, but my own strength was no match for the strength of my opponent.”

One thing to be noted here is that due to publication commitments with the sponsoring newspapers, Games 2 & 3 will be given this month and the rest in next month’s issue of this magazine.

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Figure 1 (1-15)

White’s fuseki strategy in this game developed with 8 and 10, in response to which Black patiently played 11, adopting a low posture.

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Diagram 1

Should Black answer with 1 in Diagram 1, it would fall in line with White’s plan in adopting the Taisha fencing-in move of 10 in the figure. White’s marked stone is lying in wait for Black’s stones that are moving out. Since this variation is dangerous…

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Diagram 2 Black 11 takes kō at 1; Black 13 connects at 6

… Black might cut with 7 in Diagram 2, although in the local context this is judged as being disadvantageous for Black. Using Black 11 in the figure to make a diagonal attachment at 12 is another jōseki that the reader surely knows about, but with that variation Black has to press with one extra move in that low posture, which was unappealing to me.

Figure 2

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Figure 2 (16-31)

Putting the stone in the lower left corner into motion with White 16 was part of the plan, and then blocking off the corner with Black 17 was a natural move. Connecting at 19 and ceding the 3-3 point of 17 to White would have been slack.

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Diagram 3

This diagram shows another method for playing White 16. I think that this variation was also feasible.

Instead of pushing with White 22…

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Diagram 4

…White might cut with 1 in Diagram 4, but Black blocks at 2 and in the end captures the stone with a fencing-in move, so it does not go well.

Instead of jumping with White 24…

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Diagram 5

…it seems that it was better to slide to White 1 in Diagram 5. Black fixes the shape with 2, then likewise as in the figure takes the decisive measure of invading the left side with 4. The fact is that building even greater influence with the moves through Black 29 made the invasion of 31 all the more severe. When one considers that Black can play “a,” with the resulting shape of White “b,” Black “c” and White “d,” Black “e” forces White “f” in sente, meaning the thickness in the lower region is doubled in comparison with Diagram 5. There is also another method Black could use, with Black playing “a,” White “b,” Black “d,” White “c” and Black “f.”

Figure 3

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Figure 3 (32-41)

Playing White 32 one row lower as a one point jump would be met by Black also making a one point jump, but both sides moving out with jumps would not be satisfactory for White. Therefore, White played the fencing-in move of 32. However, Black’s slicing through with 33 was severe. Using White 36 to play atari at 37 would have been answered by Black connecting underneath with a move at 36, which would have been big territorially.

In response to White 36 and 38, Black 39 was a sharp blow that forced White to back down with 40.

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Diagram 6

Had White instead pushed up at 1 in Diagram 6 and cut at 3, a swap would have resulted through Black 8. Black is good here, while White must add the move at 7.

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Diagram 7

If White instead tries to play at 1 in Diagram 7, Black has the moves of 2 and 4 available, followed by squeezing with 8 and White’s destruction.

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Diagram 8

Should White resist with 5 and 7 in Diagram 8, Black answers as shown, and then White A, Black B, White C, Black D, White E, Black F, White G, Black B (a throw-in), White D and Black H is atari. That leads to…

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Diagram 9

…this shape, whereupon Black escapes into the center.

[Game Record]

To be continued next week.

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