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Sannō 7 dan’s Beautiful Romp Around the Board, Part I

From Kidō, January 1974

Classic Kidō Games, Part I

Sannō 7 dan’s Beautiful Romp Around the Board

A Game to Enjoy

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Sannō Hirotaka 7 dan’s photograph from the 1972 Kidō Yearbook

Go Style

Go style, or perhaps as it may also be said game style, when it comes to oneself, is absolutely impossible to understand.

For example, although one might consider that one’s go style is grounded in theory, onlookers might say that it is power go. If a group of those people are assembled, when they agree that “so it is, so it is,” the player might be chagrined, but will have to acknowledge the power go style.

No matter what people say, truth is unchanging, and every ten people have ten natures. The standpoints for each of them also differ, so there doesn’t seem to be anything to be bothered about.

For myself as well, when I was a student at the Nihon Ki-in [insei], it was said that I had a rigid go style, but today that has changed a lot.

In this game, White’s play was a “beautiful romp around the board” according to the title written by the editor, but I do not think that one can go so far as to say that.

The only thing that I ask is that it be thought of in the way of a reference.

The Highlight of the Game

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In this board position, the high move of White 1 (White 18 in the game) felt like the right move. Commonsense would dictate the checking extension of White A, but the invasion points of B and C are left, so that move does not meet all the need of the position. Anyway, White’s two marked stones are weak, so it is desirable to play the move high.

Please focus on the following moves:

Figure 1: White 22

Figure 2: White 46

Figure 3: White 56

Figure 4: White 80

13th Annual Ten Dan Tournament, Preliminary Round 2

White: Sannō Hirotaka 7 dan

Black: Sugiuchi Masao 9 dan (giving 5½ points komi)

Analysis by Sannō Hirotaka

Figure 1: Psychological Strategy

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Figure 1: (1-22)

The fuseki with White 2 and 4 is one that I use often. With Black, I also play this way.

These are moves that are positioned low, so seeing this, opponents can become careless. It is this psychological effect that is the aim.

Instead of the pincer of Black 7, it is also possible to develop in a leisurely way with Black “a,” but strong opponents invariably make this pincer. Or perhaps this way of playing is best.

With 10 and 12, White makes territory immediately, but then Black 13 was unexpected. I thought that Black would develop with a move at 14, so then it seemed to me that slipping into the side with White 14 would lead to a leisurely game [which is theoretically good for White].

In regards to White 18, this has already been explained.

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Diagram 1

White 1 and 3 in Diagram 1 are commonsense moves, but moving out is on the contrary, a heavy way of playing.

One wants to force the opponent’s hand and then respond. That attitude is essential when dealing with a situation by means of sabaki.

I think that Black 19 is played in the opposite direction to what the position demands. By attacking from below, Black could gain impetus to make the fencing-in move of Black “b,” and that should be the aim in accordance with the direction of the play of the stones.

The two space jump of White 22 is a little dangerous, but if White plays at “c,” Black “d” works precisely well as a response.

This is one more hidden psychological fighting strategy.

Figure 2: A Questionable Move

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Figure 2 (23-48)

Black 23 and 25 were also unexpected.

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Diagram 2

I thought that Black would play the severe move of 1 in Diagram 2. White has no choice but to wedge between Black’s stones with 2, embarking on an unavoidable sequence through Black 17. White now has to make life for the group. However, could it have been that Black was worried about potential problems [bad aji] after this variation?

Of course, Black’s intention was to attack White on a large scale with the position that developed. Perhaps this is a question of one’s style of play.

In response to Black 27, White plays at 28 and 30 to harass Black’s group, but they were uncalled for moves. The commonplace diagonal move of Black 31 is a good move that makes White’s 30 into a lost stone, and thereby a bad move.

White has no option but to run away with 32, but had Black then played 33 at 37, it would have been more disagreeable for me.

Getting to play the shot of White 36 as a forcing move may be called an unanticipated bonus, but in the process Black’s position becomes thick and strong, so I thought that the game was not promising for White.

Regardless of that, White has no territory, and so there is no choice but to invade at the 3-3 point with White 38 to take profit.

Although Black 45 conforms to the jōseki model, one feels that it is a slack move. The checking extension of Black “a” would put White under attack, and that would have been disagreeable to me. Black 45 is a safe and sound way of playing.

I was puzzled about how to play, so I made the move of White 46 as a probe to see Black’s response. In answer, the diagonal move of Black 47 is a questionable move. It incurs White invading at the 3-3 point with 48, so that Black’s play is rendered completely slack. This is a conclusion drawn after the game, but…

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Diagram 3

…Black replies with 1 in Diagram 3, forcing White to get settled with 2, and if Black then invades at 3, Black’s advantage continues to be as commanding as it has been to this point.

Figure 3: Successive Questionable Moves

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Figure 3 (49-79)

When White plays at 50, Black answers with 51. Making a hane and connection at a place where there is no territory is painful, but cannot be avoided.

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Diagram 4

Should Black block with 1 in Diagram 4, the wedging-in move of White 2 leaves Black in a quandary.

In reply to the invasion of Black 55, the move-in-a-row of White 56 is obstinately played, but it is the standard technique [suji] in this situation.

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Diagram 5

Playing something like White 1, 3 and 5 in Diagram 5 would incur Black’s pressing at 6, so that White’s stones just become heavy. With the shape created by 3 and 5, White 1 would be better positioned at A, conforming to theory.

White 56 is the move that I spent the most time thinking about the whole game. It is a painstaking move.

Settling the shape with Black 57 and 59 are also questionable moves. White has a low stance with the moves through 60, but the feeling is that White has profited territorially.

The move-in-a-row of Black 61 is a strong move, and then when White plays 62, it turns out to have been played in accordance with the line [suji] that Black has read out, with the swap starting with 63. For White 64…

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Diagram 6

…Separating Black with White 1 in Diagram 6 would be met by Black connecting at 2, becoming a bad move. Should White then play at 3, getting fenced in with Black 4 would be dangerous.

For that reason, White went along with the swap by playing 64 and 66, and with this Black’s moves of 57 and 59 become minuses.

In response to White 68, Black 69 followed by the two-step hane of 71 and 73 are questionable moves as well. Just playing Black “a” would mean being forced by White, but it would not give White the impetus to play in good form.

Or else, Black could leave the situation as it is and take the opportunity to attack with the move of Black “b.” In the same way, instead of slicing through the knight’s move with Black 79, shouldn’t Black play at “b”? “Don’t make attachments against stones to be attacked,” states a go proverb. During this stage of the game, Black made successive questionable moves.

[Game Record]

To be continued next week.

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