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Ōhira’s First Title Defense, Part II

From Kidō, March 1967

Kidō Magazine Special Game Selections

Classic Kidō Games, Part II

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


Ōhira faces Rin Kaihō, Meijin in the 14th Annual Nihon Ki-in Championship.


Game Record up to this point

Figure 4


Figure 4 (42-61)

For White 42…


Diagram 10

…if it was possible to slice through the knight’s move with White 1 in Diagram 10 it would be fine, but Black can just manage to capture the stone with 2 and 4. Even though White can seal Black in with 5 and 7, through Black 10 it is a simple matter to make eyes for the group.

Instead of White 9 here…


Diagram 11

…should White play 1 and 3 in Diagram 11 to defend against Black’s cutting through at 7, thereby permitting White to play atari at 5 in order to take away Black’s eyes, Black instead pushes through and cuts starting with 6, and White is lost.

White connected underneath on the left side with a low posture by playing 42 and 44, but Black made the fencing-in move of 45, immobilizing White’s two stones in the center. White might have tried to move out by making a one point jump, attaching below Black 45, but that would incur Black’s pressing at the point to the right of that. Please confirm for yourself that nothing good would come of that for White.

The reason that White haned out with 46 was so that if Black cut at 48, White could go back and reinforce the group with a move at “a,” eliminating any problems here. On the contrary, the White stone of 46 would be left as the source of potential [aji] for White to exploit. Therefore, Black offered no resistance and just extended at 47.

I do not think that the exchange of White 48 for Black 49 was good. White should have kept this exchange in reserve, leaving the potential [aji] of playing between Black’s stones two points above 46. After Black 49, if White immediately played at “b,” Black would leave things at that and make a corner enclosure in the upper right at the point of 50.

The exchange of White 52 for Black 53 was also questionable. This completely eliminated the possibility of White’s moving out at “b.” In other words, if White “b,” Black “c,” White “d,” Black “e,” White “f,” Black “g,” White “h” and Black “i,” the Black stone at 53 lying in wait at precisely the right place. On the other hand, after this Black’s playing at “b” ended up clearly being a forcing move that had to be answered. (Reference the next figure.)

White 54 through Black 57 were moves par for this kind of position, but for White 58, the one space pincer at “j” was also possible.

Figure 5


Figure 5 (62-79)

The cross-cut of Black 59 and 61 in the previous figure was a tesuji. For White 62 in this figure…


Diagram 12

…should White capture with 1 in Diagram 12, Black makes forcing moves on both sides with 2 and 4. To avoid this, before making the move at 1, White might play “a,” Black “b” and White 1, but in that case Black can easily deal with the situation in fine form: after sliding to Black 6, the move cutting with Black 4 is left.

Instead of White 62…


Diagram 13

…it seems that extending into the corner with White 1 in Diagram 13 leads to the most difficult variation. The moves starting with Black 2 are related to the stones above and below. If White uses 11 to push through at 12, Black hanes on the point above that, and White falls into a trap. However, patiently cutting with White 11 on the contrary causes Black painful difficulties. After White 19, Black A is answered precisely with White B. However, should Black play 18 at B, incurring the White cut at the point to the right of 18 would leave Black badly off.


Diagram 14

Black 6 and 8 in Diagram 14 would make the tesuji of the cut with the marked Black stone meaningless. But the result in the figure was comfortable for Black.

Figure 6


Figure 6 (80-103)

The hane between Black’s stones with White 80 was an alert and shrewd move. Should Black use 83 to connect at “a,” it would incur White’s extending straight out at 84, and Black would be hard-pressed to come up with a follow-up move. Black is not inclined to make a connection at the cutting point of 86 either, and playing something in the vicinity of Black “b” would also be a half-measure that leave potential for problems [bad aji]. When Black played 83 in the figure, White might have cut at “a” seeing that the ladder is favorable for White, but I intended to then block strongly at 84 and considered that playable.

White cut at 86 and captured Black’s stone, playing all out to take territory. Before connecting at Black 89, I also considered using the move to jump out at 90, but as long as the connection of 89 was not in place, Black could not fight with full force. White had secured territory on the right side, but I thought that as long as Black made the center thick and strong in return, the outlook was not bad.

White 90, sealing Black in, was a big move since White could next play 96 through 100 in sente as forcing moves. On the right side, Black could have taken advantage of White’s thinness by attaching at “c,” but once White 100 was in place, Black “c” would have been met by White 100, and that would have repercussions against Black’s upper right corner. So on the contrary, that would have been dangerous for Black.

It could be argued that the hane of Black 91 and connection of 93 were not urgent here, but putting those moves in place negates the possibility of White descending at 91, and I ended up making these concretely motivated moves.

Black 95 was the sealed move that ended the first day’s play. Here, the hane of Black “d” would force White to defend at “e” without fail, and I thought that I might as well play that way. Next, Black could secure the territory on the left side by blocking it off with a move at “f.” That way the game would turn into a battle of competing territory, completely different from the course of the game in the figure. However, Black “f” was such an obvious move to seal that I did not feeling like playing it, and gave up on the idea. Besides that, before playing at 95 it seems that there was an opportunity to make the single attachment of Black “g.” Should Black be fortunate enough to have White reply at “c” and Black turn to 95, the point is that this move order avoids White’s gouging out Black’s corner with 96. However, my feeling while I was playing the game was that I was afraid that Black might incur a do-or-die move in the form of the attachment of White “h,” followed by Black “i,” White “j,” Black “k” and White “l,” and the fighting would likely cascade into the center. To counter that, White 96 and the following moves were invited, so that when Black hanes at 101 and connects at 103, the cutting point at “m” is produced. This mitigates the severity of the threat of White “h.” ──That is the kind of thing that I was thinking about.

Figure 7


Figure 7 (104-138)

So White was allowed to make the big reverse endgame play of 4. This alters the situation on the left side as well, but the move is worth 11 or 12 points.

If White responds to Black 5 by simply connecting at 8, Black presses along White’s stones with a move at 6.

Black 11 reduced White’s territory while at the same time occupying the vital point of the shape. In response to this, White 12 was good, but next White 14 was the losing move. Instead of acting hastily…


Diagram 15

…had White played the endgame as in Diagram 15, although Black is a little better off, the road to the win would have stretched far into the future.

Black 19 was played at an opportune time to make this forcing move, and then after pushing out at Black 21, White is at a loss for an answer. The move at 24 was played as a strategy to wrap Black up and squeeze, but that is all that it accomplished, while White’s stones on the upper side were completely captured. Except that before Black played at 33, the exchange of Black “a” for White “b” should have been made.

Black 37 was reckless. Just surrounding the center with Black “c” would have ended the game at that.

Figure 8


Figure 8 (139-205) White 74 takes kō; Black 77 same; White 80 same; Black 83 same; White 86 same

Having White play the tenacious move of 38 in the previous figure forced me to get back to work and cudgel my brains. For Black 39…


Diagram 16

…if fixes the shape in a severe way as in Diagram 16, should White cut at A, an all-or-nothing kō would result, so that no kō threat of White’s would be answered. Black would just capture with B and C. All of White’s stones would be dead, leaving Black well off. However…


Diagram 17

…White would jump into the middle of Black’s position with 2 in Diagram 17, and whether the big group of stones could be captured or not is impossible to say. Failing to use Black 33 in the previous figure to turn at the point of 10 was a blunder that caused me to spend time berating myself with regret as I pondered the situation. And then I made another dangerous move with Black 39. Here, defending with the restrained move of 47 was safe and sound, and the balance of territory was also sufficient with that as pointed out by Yamabe 9 dan after the game. Starting with 40, White probed one source of potential problems [bad aji] again and again, and in time trouble, I suffered tremendously. Somehow I managed to get by without making any mistakes, and the margin of territorial superiority grew to a considerable extent. In the end, the descent of Black 105 occupied an essential point.

205 moves. Black wins by resignation.

[Game Record]

Game 3 of the match will be presented here next week.

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