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High Mountain Traveling Minstrel

In upper right: 行吟山高 [This is the traditional right to left reading of 高山吟行 = High Mountain Singing Traveling]; below: 深林人 = Shinrinjin = Deep Forest Man, artist’s signature]

The game and analysis which follows comes from Kido, August 1977, with added comments to help weaker players understand how to study in order to improve. Kobayashi Koichi is the annotator, and it has been mentioned often in the past that his style of play and explanations are particularly suitable for weaker players. Study of his games is recommended for that purpose.

Note: Japanese kana is used for indicating points on the board, in keeping with tradition.

On May 13, 1977, Kobayashi Koichi had compiled enough points in the Nihon Ki-in (Japanese Go Association) Oteai (ranking tournament) to be promoted to 8 dan. Up to that point, he had scored 15 wins, 3 losses and I jigo [draw] = 77.25%. He wrote the following article in commemoration of that event.

A Lucky Promotion

White: Kobayashi Koichi 7 dan

Black: Miwa Toshiro 7 dan

Played on May 12, 1977 at the Nihon Ki-in, Ichigaya, Tokyo.

No komi

166 moves. White wins by resignation.

Commentary by Kobayashi Koichi

Figure 1

Wedging-in Move and Shoulder Hit

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Figure 1 (1-19)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

For Black 11, the one space high attack on the corner at is usual. I was grateful for the opportunity to make the wedging-in move of White 12.

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Diagram 1

Black 13, initiating the Taisha joseki [known as a very complex joseki with “thousands” of variation; quite aggressive], in the local context, would be answered with the attachment of White 1, but in this case the knight’s move of Black 12 is absolutely perfect, and that was disagreeable to me. Through Black 18, all of Black’s stones are vibrantly active.

Then, the shoulder hit of Black 19 is a painstakingly played good move. Something like Black , White and Black would be terribly restricted and not at all attractive.

Figure 2

A Slack Move by Black

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Figure 2 (20-50)

In regards to placing importance on simply extending out with White 24, then making eye shape with White 26, had 24 been played as the hanging connection at , the attachment of Black 26 becomes a severe move.

In response, pressing upward with Black 25 is natural.

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Diagram 2

Cutting with Black 1 leads to the sequence from White 2 through the atari of 10, producing a ladder. In addition, Black 1 at would likewise be answered by the hane of White 4, aiming at the same ladder. [This is the kind of simple analysis that Kobayashi is so good at: a complex sequence is explained so that anyone can understand it. Weaker players are encouraged to study this order of moves until they are thoroughly understood.]

White 28 is a blunt force move, but it is a move of expedience played in order to take sente. Just jumping to 30 would be met by Black 28, and White would have to play at in gote.

For Black 35,

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Diagram 3

…if the two-step hane of Black 1 was possible, that would be ideal, but in this case it would incur the counterattack of White 2 through 12.

Anyway, after White jumps out with 38, a lull in the action is reached, but the connection of Black 39 is slack. [Again: Kobayashi focuses on a simple move which seems to be entirely reasonable. The lesson to learn is to always seek for the best move in any position.] White plays 40 through 48, unexpectedly getting to make these effective moves in sente.

For Black 39…

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Diagram 4

…it would surely have been better to hane at Black 1 here. In so doing, even though White can respond with 2 and 4, the jump of Black 7 is a good move, so that through Black 15 the block of Black is a forcing move that can be played in sente [because Black can play atari at the point below 8 then extend one point to the left, killing White’s group], making this variation a promising division [of profit and influence = represented by White 2 and 4] for Black. Furthermore, playing White 8 as the jump at would be met by the cut of Black , so that would be unreasonable.

Figure 3

Control of the Game Shifts

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Figure 3 (51-100)

Playing White 52 as the solid two space extension at 59 would result in a feasible game, but that is not in keeping with my playing style. I made the three point extension braced for the invasion of Black 53.

For White 54…

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Diagram 5

…there is the shape with the one point jump of White 1, and if this leads to Black 2 and White 3, that would be satisfactory, but if Black 2 were played as the one point jump to , the White marked stone would be swallowed up, and I worried about this.

Following the hane of Black 55, the sequence from White 56 through 66 [a standard variation following the three point extension and invasion at the midpoint] is one straight path of move for move. After this, Black 67 appears to be natural [and is in keeping with the standard variation], but it is a slack move.

That is, instead of Black 67…

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Diagram 6

…Black should have cut at 1 here, according to Miwa Sensei’s analysis, which I agree with. What will happen is that White 2 through Black 7 is unavoidable, but in the upper area the two moves of Black 3 and 5 work more effectively compared to what was played in the game.

Besides that, for White 4…

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Diagram 7

…playing White 1 here in order to set up a race to capture would be unreasonable. Black 2 through 10 results in a situation where Black has an eye and White does not [me-ari-me-nashi].

White 72 leaves the potential for problems [bad aji]. 99 should have been played to properly make shape for White’s group.

In response to White 88, Black 89 is unavoidable. If Black plays elsewhere [tenuki]…

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Diagram 8

…the invasion of White 1 is severe. Following White 5, the vital point of remains.

After that, White 90 is also questionable. Incurring Black 93 and 95, moves that put pressure on White’s group on the right side, left me feeling sick.

For White 90…

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Diagram 9

…the sequence here is standard. [Once more, a simple way of playing that is worthy of close study.]

However, Black 99 is a slack move that is too narrow-minded in its aim. In a general sense, White 100 engineers a swap [furi-kawari], and I felt like I had escaped the pinch that I was in. Instead of Black 99…

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Diagram 10

…had Black played 1 and 3 here, White would probably have been in terrible shape. Of course, if White plays , Black replies at .

Figure 4

An Oversight Settles the Issue

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Figure 4 (101-166)

Cutting with Black 5, 7 and 9 was surely a small thing to play for. Playing Black 5 at 6, and should White answer at 5, cutting on a large scale with Black would have been more unpleasant for me.

In response to White 36, Black 37 and 39 are good moves. Now, if White unthinkingly tries to…

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Diagram 11

…attack Black’s eye shape with 1 and 3, Black can survive [shinogi] with the hane of Black 6 and connection of 8. In other words, even if White cuts at 9, Black can connect underneath with 10 and 12.

For White 54…

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Diagram 12

…it would have been best to play 1 and 3 here. Around this point, Miwa Sensei had no time left on the clock, and that terribly messed up his usual careful reading. Then, a final oversight by Sensei settled the issue.

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Diagram 13

That is, if White plays at 1 to take away Black’s eyes, he had read out that Black could make eyes by extending at 2. However, he overlooked White’s first playing at 64. In addition, should White play 3 at , Black lives with 5. [In this diagram, the move of Black 63 in the game is already in place, making the analysis confusing. The reason is that due to space limitations, the text had to be severely cut. What was not written was that Miwa mistakenly assumed that White had to play the move at 1 in order to go for the kill.]

166 moves. White wins by resignation.

Those who wish to comment on the opinions expressed here may send their thoughts to info@GoWizardry.com. The most interesting responses will be addressed in future postings.

Robert J. Terry

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