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Top Professional and Women’s Champion: How Many Points for the Komi? – Part II

From Kidō, October 1990

Kido Magazine Special Project

Classic Kidō Games, Part II

Top Professional and Women’s Champion: How Many Points for the Komi?

Summer Go Seminar

This photograph of Komatsu Hideki 7 dan was printed in the frontispiece of the October 1990 issue of Kidō magazine in honor of his earning a place in the Honinbō league. Playing this game during a Nihon Ki-in summer seminar, where Ishida Yoshio 9 dan was the commentator, was a further effort to promote his career.

Game Up to this Point

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(1-60) White 54 takes kō (above 51); White 58 connects (49); White 60 same (51)

White: Komatsu Hideki 7 dan (giving a 25½ point komi)

Black Satō Akiko, Amateur Women’s Champion

Figure 3: The Wrath of a Woman

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Figure 3 (61-84)

Black has no choice but to connect at 61, but when incurring the cut of White 62, it is as if Black has accomplished nothing.

Ishida 9 dan: “Black has suffered an incalculable loss here. I suppose that at this point the game is even. [Meaning that the 25½ point komi given to Black at the start has disappeared.]”

At this stage Black has ended up having to try to catch up, but no matter how much one may praise here as the Number One Woman Amateur player in Japan, being able to win does not stand to reason. The Satō fans, who made up the great majority of the audience, let out a deep sigh.

However, perhaps the greatest computer in the world [Ishida’s nickname was “The Computer” because of the unparalleled accuracy of his counting points on the board] had the calculations distorted by the huge 25½ point komi, or maybe Komatsu 7 dan felt too smug and started playing slackly, or possibly it was that Satō finally came into her stride, but there were many rocky moments in this game as it approached the climax.

First, Black 75. This is a move that is difficult to play, but it is a desperate do-or-die move. It cancels out the thinness of Black in the center with the weakness of the separated White group. For instance, should White use 78 to seal Black in at A, Black 79, White B and Black 78 would turn the tables.

In response to Black 79, White 80 widens the field of battle, perhaps indicating that Komatsu 7 dan perceived that the outlook was not for an easy game. However, Black launched the strongest possible counterattack starting with 81. ──Ishida 9 dan: “Young Komatsu has never felt the wrath of a woman.”

Figure 4: Turning from the Focal Point of the Battle

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Figure 4 (85-106)

Black 85 is not an ordinary move. This kind of move unexpectedly strikes at the blind spot of a professional. It invites White 86, and Black uses the momentum to move out at 87. For Black 89 as well, playing in the vicinity of A is usual, and that is what Komatsu 7 dan expected. Not for an instant did he think that Black would go after capturing White with the move at 89. When the move was played, he realized for the first time that he was in a painful and difficult position.

However, this is where the wiliness of a professional appears, and with an innocent look on his face, Komatsu 7 dan played White 92 and 94. Half in desperation, White puts moves into the corner to leave potential [aji] for last-ditch activity, then turns to play at the essential point of 100.

At this point, Satō san ran out of time on the clock. In the NHK format, both players started with thinking time of one minute per move for ten moves [i.e., play each move within one minute and the whole ten minutes is preserved; go over one minute and the time limit is reduced by a minute]. After that, every move must be played within 30 seconds.

Black 101 turns from the focal point of the battle.

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Diagram 5

Black should fight directly with 1 in Diagram 5. After Black 11 here, Black is absolutely better off according to Ishida 9 dan. However, is it really possible to completely read this out in 30 seconds?

Figure 5: A Regrettable Loss for Satō San

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Figure 5 (107-130)

The dangerous skirmish continues.

Black 7 is severe, and if White answers with a move at A, Black achieves the aim of connecting at 8. Therefore, White 8 is a desperate measure.

Should Black 9 be answered by White 12, Black plays 14. After that, White 10 is met by Black giving way with a move at B. For that reason, White made the hane into Black’s position. That makes Black 11 unavoidable.

At that point, Black 13 becomes the regrettable losing move. Correctly played──

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Diagram 6

Black captures one stone [ponnuki] with 1 in Diagram 6. When White plays 2, Black 3 works perfectly. With White 4 and Black 5, both sides live, but with a thick and strong position, the game would be promising for Black.

After escaping from a difficult situation, and with bright prospects, to have this suddenly happen was surely disheartening for Satō san. However, all of the participants present gazed intently at the demonstration board with disappointed expressions, as if it was their own game.

Finally, had Black used 21 to attach at C, it seems that the group could have lived, but Black’s winning chances were already gone.

[Game Record]

130 moves. White wins by resignation.

A new game starts next week here.

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