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China’s Hope Challenges Sakata 10 Dan, Part I

From Kidō, October 1973

◊ China’s Hope Challenges Sakata 10 Dan

Classic Kidō Games, Part III

Young Lion Champion Huang Just Falls Short


The Nihon Ki-in was instrumental in reviving interest in go in China, sending one delegation after another over the years to play friendship matches with the best players there. At first, these events were informal, with players such as Yasunaga Hajime and Fujisawa Shūkō visiting in a private capacity, but in 1973 the 1st Japan Go China Delegation was sent. Sponsored by the Yomiuri Newspaper (the largest newspaper in Japan) and the Japan-China Friendship Association, Sakata Eio, 10 Dan headed the delegation that included Honda Kunihisa 9 dan (of the Kansai Ki-in), Ishii Kunio 8 dan (of the Kansai Branch of the Nihon Ki-in), Katō Masao 7 dan, Ōta Kōzō 6 dan (of the Kansai Ki-in), Ogawa Tomoko 2 dan and Kikuchi Yasurō amateur 7 dan. Here Sakata poses [fourth from the left; caption in the lower right reads: At Beijing with the Great Wall in the background] with the Chinese players. The Japanese players are not part of this commemorative photograph, probably because that would have entailed too many people in the frame. However, Ogawa can be seen [fourth to the left of Sakata] standing with the Chinese women players.

Japan-China Friendship Game

White: Sakata Eio, 10 Dan

Black: Huang Dexun (giving a 5 point komi)

Analysis by Sakata Eio, 10 Dan

Figure 1: The Young Lion, Champion Huang Dexun


Figure 1 (1-20)

This game is from the fifth round, played on August 2 in Chenzhou.

Chenzhou is not visited very often by Japanese tourists, but because of the connection to the representative players on the Chinese side as their native city, it was selected as one of the playing sites.

My opponent was the Champion Huang Dexun.

Huang’s name is still unfamiliar to Japanese fans, but he is a young lion who, during these Japanese-Chinese matches, compiled a score that was second only to Champion Chen Zude [who is legendary as a pioneer of modern Chinese go and well-respected by the Japanese].

He held the strong amateur Kikuchi to a jigo draw, but defeating Honda 9 dan deserves special recognition as a shining example of his play.

This is my personal opinion, but the Chinese put into service those members who are playing in good form, and relegate to the bench those who are not, a severe system.

I did not ask his age, but it seems like he is in his early twenties. That is what it seemed to me.

Unfortunately, in this game Champion Huang played in an unexpectedly poor way, but he was chosen as a player upon whom the hopes of the Chinese go world rest. This was an even game with a komi of 5 points.

The time limit was four hours apiece.

Up to Black 5, it is a very common fuseki.

White 6 develops in the so-called “Chinese Style Opening.” I did not play it with any special purpose in mind, I just tried various things.

Black 7 is an immediate shoulder hit. Instead of this move…


Diagram 1

Developing at Black 1 in Diagram 1 is usual. However, this has nothing to do with the merits of the moves, it is just a question of taste.

White 12 is a natural move to slip into the side. The move approaches the lower right corner one point closer in view of the structure of the board position. It crossed my mind briefly that there might be danger of the lower side turning into a territorial framework, and thus it was better to move in more closely.

Using Black 13 to make a more restrained extension one point to the left would have been safe and secure, while just attacking the corner with a move at Black 19 was also possible.

In other words, once Black 13 is played one point more widely than usual, the sequence from the invasion of White 14 to White 18 is the norm. If one envisions the moves of Black 19 and White 20 to come, in effect Black 13 becomes an invasion here. There is something unappealing in seeking to bring complications upon oneself.

Figure 2: Thinking Too Much


Figure 2 (21-38)

Black moves out with 23 and the jump to 23, but in response to White 24, how is one to judge the connection of Black 25?


Diagram 2

One wants to play Black 1 in Diagram 2 here. White plays 2 and 4, then the sequence through 10 to separate Black’s groups, but Black 7 threatens the upper side, so one feels that this is sufficiently playable.

Regardless, ceding the good point of 26 to White is painful to one’s sensibilities, isn’t it?

Black extends to 29, but using the attachment technique [suji] of Black “a” is also conceivable. Should White then draw back at “b,” Black has the impetus to hane at 31.

The diagonal move of Black 33 is also questionable.. Gently extending at Black “c” is good, and I think that incurring that way of playing would have made things more difficult.

Since Black made the diagonal move of 33, I was grateful to attach with White 34 and extend at 36.

In short, it must not be overlooked that due to White’s getting a stone on the point of 36, Black’s position on the lower side is damaged.

Black 37 is funny as well. The cutting point [above 35] is a worry, but incurring the pincer of White 38 is painful. Black should have defended with a move at “d.”

It is not as if I had come up with any painstaking moves. It may be construed as Champion Huang’s thinking too much.

Figure 3: Black Off Form


Figure 3 (39-60)

Attaching with Black 39 and drawing back with 41 is unavoidable here, but when White extends out at 42…


Diagram 3

Cutting with Black 1 in Diagram 3 shows fighting spirit. It is hard for White to descend and fight, so discarding the stone with White 2 and 4 is standard, but Black settles the group with the diagonal move at 7, and has nothing in particular to be worried about.

Black 43 is an off-form move.

Here, Black has already played the marked stone, judging that the cutting point is to be viewed lightly, so pressing in a heavy way with Black 43 is a contradiction to this conception.

White immediately cuts at 44, putting Black into a quandary.


Diagram 4

Perhaps the atari of Black 1 in Diagram 4, with the implication of the technique [suji] of the peep of Black 3 (if White 5, Black A) was thought to not to go well after White resists with 8 and 10.

Under these conditions, Black played for the variation with 45, but after incurring White’s extending at 46, Black is forced to make life with the move at 51 and the following. During this sequence, the attachment of Black 49 is a tesuji to put the potential [aji] for activity into the position. However, when White hangs tough with 50, it is obvious that there is not move here. The hane of White 58 is a cautionary move to avoid any such potential trouble.

[Game Record]

To be continued next week.

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