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Specially Selected Game

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不老長春

満年可契 “Ageless, Long Spring, 10,000 Year, Good Pledge”

Cover of Kido, November 1978 Artist: Shinrinjin

Over the years I spent a lot of time with the late Abe Yoshiteru, both in the United States and in Japan. I probably played twenty or so games against him with a three stone handicap and only won once. He was famous in the go world for his encyclopedic knowledge of joseki.

I took Abe out fishing one day in Los Angeles. Not that I fished with him. I just accompanied him on a tourist fishing boat that launched out of San Pedro. That evening Abe took on all comers at the go club in the New Gardena Hotel.

I never met Kada Katsuji. He was already close to retirement when I learned how to play go. Kada was renowned as a composer of life and death problems. He was also well known for spending a lot of time in his games thinking. In one of his books, Kobayashi Koichi, former Kisei and Meijin, remarks that in a game in the Kisei tournament, Kada spent 3 hours and 54 minutes on White 22. That is a lot of time to use in the opening of a game. Kobayashi adds that he kept Kada company for a couple of hours, but finally got bored and walked around the Nihon Ki-in to observe other games.

These are the players of the game featured here.

An Overwhelming Win for Abe 8 Dan

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Abe Yoshiteru 8 dan in an ad for Suntory

From Kido, October 1975

31st Annual Honinbo Tournament, 3rd Preliminary Round

White: Kada Katsuji 9 dan

Black: Abe Yoshiteru 8 dan

Played on August 14, 1975 at the Nihon Ki-in [Japanese Go Association], Ichigaya, Tokyo.

Analysis by Ishida Yoshio, Meijin-Honinbo

Year after year, the playing days of games in the Honinbo and Meijin tournaments slip past each other. The Honinbo tournament season is in the spring, going into summer, while the Meijin tournament games are played in the summer, extending into fall.

This summer, from the preliminary rounds to determine participants in the Honinbo league, an important game filled with interesting variations and played between Kada and Abe has been selected for analysis.

An Essential Point for Controlling the Board

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Figure 1 (1-18)
Those interested in replaying the game move by move can click here to do so.

Kada 9 dan is an older brother in art of mine in the Kitani dojo. He is all too famous for thinking for a long time in the opening, but he possesses real strength, demonstrated by his participation in both the Honinbo and Meijin leagues. Abe 8 dan has a thick and strong go style which is steadily becoming more refined.

In this game, the large knight’s corner enclosure of Black 11 is a ploy that the reader is asked to allow us to examine a bit.

There are various ways of playing on the left side, the orthodox one being for Black to make the extension to . Besides that, the opening with the corner enclosure of Black 11 has been played, but the small knight’s move corner enclosure of Black is far away from the upper left, and for that reason it is not often seen.

When White occupies the big point on the lower side with 14, it is natural for Black to make the checking extension of 15. Instead of White 14…

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Diagram 1

…If White makes the extension to 1, Black would sketch out a large scale development plan with a move around the point of 2.

White 16 is an essential point in terms of control of the board. Should it be omitted…

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Diagram 2

…Black would be allowed to expand the right side with 1.

The capping move of White 16, however, is thin. Commonsense would dictate that…

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Diagram 3

…White jump to 1, but it may be imagines that the attachment of Black 2 was distasteful. Instead of drawing back to White 3…

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Diagram 4

…The hane of White 1 is also possible, but in the sequence from Black 2 through 8 the right side is likewise expanded. Should White 3 be played at 5, Black draws back to 6, and the corner is thin.

In response to White 16, Black defends at 17 in conformance to the go proverb, “Answer a capping move with a knight’s move.” While cautiously defending, it also aims at Black . If Black neglects playing at 17…

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Diagram 5

…The invasion of White 1 is incurred, and Black 2 is answered by White 3, or else . This is painful and difficult for Black.

A Surprising Attachment

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Figure 2 (19-23)

Developing with Black 19 can be construed as a half-measure [which leaves weaknesses both on the left side and in the corner], and as such it is not attractive. That is because although it seems to surround the left side, there are various moves left, so the situation is not clear. If I were playing…

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Diagram 6

…I would solidify the lower left corner with Black 1, and wait for a White invasion. At that point, supposing that White invades at 2, Black 3 would be standard, and it is no big deal. From White 2, the checking extension of is too narrow, and so it is no good. Therefore, the invasion of White 2 could also be considered nothing to be proud of.

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Diagram 7

But in the case of the small knight’s move corner enclosure with the marked Black stone it is a different story. White 1 is a full-fledged checking extension, so in contract with the figure, attacking and defending on the left side becomes an urgent situation. Butting into Black with White 20, whether it is slow- or fast-paced, it is a reinforcement of the outward influence, and cannot be omitted. However, with the same intention…

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Diagram 8

…By striking through the knight’s move with White 1, White can solidify the corner with 3 and 5, and then take sente, although having White 1 turned into a bad move is bothersome.

In the figure, butting against White with Black 21 is an expedient measure, making White end in gote, but later White can look forward to making a hane over Black’s stone at . In response to White , Black would have to bear down and patiently defend from below at . Observers expected Black to take the precious sente and use it to make the shoulder hit at . It surprised them to see the fierce attachment of Black 23. In this kind of position, the prevailing method of play is for…

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Diagram 9

…Black to make the shoulder hit of 1, but (as for Black 23) whether White pushes up at 2, or plays White , Black and White , these usual patterns must have been distasteful.

It may be imagined that the attachment of Black 23 was played to emphasize putting the left side in order, but…

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Diagram 10 White 9 connects

…Should White hane with 1, Black hanes in return with 2, and play proceeds to the ladder of Black 10.

At a Single Stroke a Sudden Battle

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Figure 3 (24-33)

In response to the attachment of Black in the previous figure, the reason why there was nothing to do but to draw back with White 24 is made clear in the following two diagrams.

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Diagram 11

If White hanes at 1, Black captures a stone in a ladder with 2 through 6.

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Diagram 12

Extending with White 1 is met by the jump of Black 2, and then incurring Black’s block at 4 means that White has fallen in line with Black’s desires. In order to prevent that outward influence of Black’s, (with White 3) White might push up at 4, but Black could then hane at the head of the stones with , or more severely separate White’s stones with a block at 3, and fight, a resolute playing method.

After drawing back with Black 25, moving out with Black 27 is a natural flow of moves. White advances at 26, and with that influence as a back-up, the invasion of White 28 is also a natural development… is what one wants to say, but by incurring the block of Black 33, at a single stroke the condition of the game becomes critical. Instead of rushing to play White 28…

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Diagram 13

…Scooping out Black’s base with White 1 would be calm and collected. Black 2 is also big, White can look forward to attacking Black’s three stones to the right, and that is bigger.

Black Assumes the Advantage

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Figure 4 (34-83)

From the block of White 34 through the capping move of Black 37, this may be seen as an unavoidable flow of moves driven by the momentum of the position. The point is that with the block of Black 33 in the previous figure…

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Diagram 14

… After exchanging Black 1 for White 2, the block of Black 3 lets White to jump out to 4. With this order of moves, Black is not rewarded with the capping move of 37.

On the left side, White has the moves at and available as equivalent options to make life. With that, the painstaking nature of Black’s play may be seen. However, after incurring the capping move of Black 37, the White sequence of moves from 38 through 46 leave a cutting point at , and to the extent that is so, it not an easy matter to capture White on the lower side. From that standpoint, it should be recognized that White’s play is also painstaking.

Black 47 is played to give cover to the cutting point at , but White 48 and the following sequence of moves solidify the right side so they cannot be endorsed. Although it is painful, White should patiently play at . The probe of White 62 is also questionable. Incurring the counterattack of Black 63 makes things hectic. For White 62…

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Diagram 15

…Without moving on other fronts, White should simply live with 1 in this position. The moves through White 5 look standard. The 30 point loss in the figure obviously stings.

White Misses a Do-Or-Die Move

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Figure 5 (84-103)

The jumping attachment of White 84 is a thick and strong move, but surrounding territory on a large scale with Black 85 adds a further 35 solid points to Black’s score. After this, no matter how tenaciously White plays, the difference will not be reduced to under 20 points.

In regards to White’s group in the center area, extending at White is a forcing move, so the stones will not be subject to a sudden attack. Therefore, this was White’s last chance to use the move of 84 to burst into Black’s territory on the right side. As for the invasion point, either White , or White would be good. Anyway, it may be considered that under these conditions there is nothing to do other than to stake the outcome of the game on this kind of do-or-die fight.

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Diagram 16

The moves starting with White 1 are an example of one variation, and it cannot be said that this is absolutely the order of moves to follow. But if White had lived with the sequence to 13, it would have been possible to fight on.

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Figure 6 (104-155)

This was a rare example of a poorly played recent game of Kada 9 dan’s.

155 moves. Black 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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