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10 Dan Tournament, Round 1


“The Sea of Iki no Shima Island”
Cover of Kido, August 1980

Artist: Mikami Masatoshi

From ancient times, culture has been transmitted through Iki no Shima Island, which is part of the Tsushima Island chain… Summer in the Sea of Japan. The sky is beautiful.

Kido used to highlight memorable moves or sequences in professional games in the introductory section of the magazine. Here is one that focused readers’ attention on a striking endgame maneuver. First, the original Japanese blurb is shown, followed by the translation. Then, the complete article about the game is given, to show how professional go players analyze the whole situation.



An Exquisite Move that had Tongues Wagging

It was thought that Takagi, playing Black, had the advantage in this position. However, here Ishida Meijin let loose with an exquisite move that no one anticipated.

That is the placement of White 3. If Black responds with 4 at 5, White draws back at and it is difficult for Black to come up with a move to deal with the situation. Had White used 3 to simply draw back at , it would have incurred Black’s playing elsewhere, and even if White later played at 3, Black would answer at 4. In the end, Black replied at 4, so White profited by connecting at 5. This was an exquisite move that ushered in a half point win.

Read on for a complete analysis of the position.

Takagi 7 Dan Cries Over a Half Point Loss

Perhaps not many visitors to GoWizardry know the name of Ezaki Masanori. However, he made great contributions to the go world through his written work. In my library there are two of his works.

From Kido, June 1975

14th Annual 10 Dan Tournament, Round 1

White: Ishida Yoshio, Honinbo-Meijin

Black: Takagi Shoichi 7 dan

Played on April 17, 1975 at the Nihon Ki-in, Ichigaya, Tokyo.

Analysis by Ishida Yoshio, Honinbo-Meijin

“The flowing of the moving river never stops, and what is more, the same water never reappears.”This is the plaintive cry of someone from olden times, but it speaks to the transitory nature of the world. However, we who live in the go world are also in a turbulent place, with the celebratory award ceremony conferring the 10 Dan title to Rin Kaiho…


Rin Kaiho is awarded the 10 Dan Title at a ceremony in 1975

…followed immediately afterward by the next 10 Dan Tournament underway. In this first round game, Takagi 7 dan, who is renowned as the “10 Dan Tournament Man” [due to his challenge of Sakata 10 Dan in the title match of the previous cycle―which he lost] I was matched up as the opponent.

It had been a while since I had played Takagi san. His game is based on an orthodox style, and especially when he holds Black, he is solidly respected by his contemporaries. And the painful and difficult situation that I found myself in this game brought that home intensely.

The Start to the 14th Annual 10 Dan Tournament


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

White 2 and 4 are opposing 3-3 points. [This was Ishida’s forte, although not the only one.] I played this as a ploy [趣 = shuko] in recognition of Takagi 7 dan’s strength, that is, when playing Black. Regardless of that, this is a game where I underwent torture from Black all the way through.

Concerning the checking extension of Black 13, in many situations I would just accept it as is and play elsewhere, but here I jumped to White 14. In many similar positions I do the same thing defensively.

For White 14…


Diagram 1

…Supposing that White peeps at 1 as a forcing move, then heads for the big point of White 3. This is a possible opening of course. However, Black can play the typical invasion of 4, gouging out the right side with the moves through 14, and this was distasteful to me.

Instead of the knight’s move below of Black 6…


Diagram 2

…The shoulder hit of Black 1 is also possible. For this method, the prevailing model ends with Black butting against White’s stone with the move at 11. In this way, the upper right is reinforced, and this was also unappealing to me.

The shoulder hit of Black 15 was a little unexpected. According to commonsense…


Diagram 3

…Black should slip into the right side. If Black plays that move at 1, White makes the checking extension from the wide scale side with 2 [“wide” here means that the Black position in the upper right corner is one line further away from White than the Black position in the lower right corner], then the sequence proceeds with Black 3 and White 4. (Should Black play 3 at , White will still answer at 4.) [That is also due to the Black position in the lower right corner, i.e., the Black stones of 3 and 11 in the figure.] ―Black 15 in the figure may be understood as being played out of distaste for having White make the move at 2 in this diagram.

In response to Black 15, pushing at White 16 is unquestionably the only move. In the opposite way…


Diagram 4

…Pressing with White 1 leads to Black blocking at 4, then extending to 6. This makes fine balance on the upper side area. It also turns the jump of Black into an ideal move.

Black Plays Unwaveringly


Figure 2 (19-45)

The block of Black 19 was surely part of the plan when Black played the shoulder hit against White’s corner. Here…


Diagram 5

…If Black jumps to 1, White 2 and Black 3 follow, and this is satisfactory to White. [That is because the upper side is open to invasion, while White has a stable base in the upper left corner from which to attack Black’s stones in the center, which have weak points that can be exploited.]

The four point extension of Black 21 violates the standard rule of extending three points from a two stone position. But is Black had made the three point extension to , White would obviously have responded with the checking extension at . Seeing that was the reason that Black made the wide extension at 21.

For Black 23, defending with Black 25 would be usual, but Takagi was probably dissatisfied with this commonplace way of playing. Black 23 puts pressure on White, spurring White to jump to 24, and then using that as the impetus to play all-out and get the most from the position with 25. In reply to Black 23…


Diagram 6

…I also thought about counterattacking with White 1 through 5, but it is hard to predict what will happen.

The two point pincer of White 26 is a half measure, and one reason why White ends up in a painful and difficult position. That is clear from the course of play in the figure, and a different strategy for White will be presented later on.

The attachment of White 30 is a standard technique [suji] for dealing with a difficult situation [sabaki], but Black’s simply extending at 31 is a calm and collected move in answer. With the moves through Black 37, a thick and strong position is created by Black, while on White’s part the shape is bad. For Black 31…


Diagram 7

…White would welcome Black’s hane at 1 since with the hane in return of White 2, and the moves through the hanging connection of 6, gives White the impetus to deal with the situation [sabaki].

All this reverts back to the two point pincer of White 26. Instead of that move…


Diagram 8

…It was better to make the fierce one point pincer of White 1. The same way as in the figure, Black would make the capping move at 4, but then White would attach at 5, and with the moves through White 9, full-fledged shape is achieved by White in swaggering style.

I would like the reader to understand the distressing situation White was faced with when Black played at 41. That is because that it is probably incomprehensible for some to understand the reason for White to buckle down and play 42 and 44 at this juncture. I, too, would have liked to expand White’s power in the center with a move at , but at that point…


Diagram 9

…Black descends at 1. Incurring this move results in paralyzing shape. White could not possibly defend with 2, but if White therefore plays elsewhere…


Diagram 10

…Black could separate White’s groups with the moves through 9.

In response to the hane of White 42 and the connection of 44, should Black jump to , White would defend at , and this was distasteful to Black. But incurring the invasion of Black 45 could not be accepted by White with equanimity.

Unavoidable Attack and Defense


Figure 3 (46-63)

The capping move of White 46 provokes Black to move out with the diagonal move at 47. White is seeking impetus to start a fight with 48.

It is natural for Black to move out with 49 and the following moves, but this cannot avoid fighting. Backtracking…


Diagram 11

…Instead of challenging Black to a fight with White 46, that could have been avoided by White’s defending with the knight’s move at 1 here. Then, Black would attach at 2. At that point, should White hane over Black’s stone at , it would end up with Black making power and influence on the outside. That would not turn out well. Consequently, White would play the standard move at 3 in order to avoid a Black checking extension at . However, letting Black consolidate the position with 4 would be too peacefully accommodating, and would leave little scope for initiating complications later.

White pushes at 50 and the sequence through Black’s extending at 55 follows unavoidably.

For White 56…


Diagram 12

…More than anything I wanted to defend by blocking with White 1, but Black would block at 2, and in this position it would be unreasonable for White to try to escape with the two stones.

In response to the press of White 58, Black patiently played the move at 59, and in this case, that is a good move. Instead of Black 59…


Diagram 13

…Cutting and capturing with Black 1 and 3 would lead to White slicing through the knight’s move with 4, which, after play proceeds to the peep of White 10, whereupon White is connected to the upper left corner. Black has the disadvantage here.

Well then, for the next move…

A Desperate Do-or-Die Move: White 102


Figure 4 (64-105)

…I played White 64 and 66, but…


Diagram 14

…For White 64, the jump of 1 is urgently needed at this stage of the game. In answer, even if Black hanes out with 2, White counters with 3 and 5, and there is no particular reason to be concerned.

The block of Black 67, more than anything that can be said about it, is thick and strong, which made things difficult and painful for me right through the endgame.

Starting with the diagonal move of White 68, the hane of White 74 and connection of 76 secure the foundation of White’s group here. Without doing this, there is no chance to embroil Black in complications later.

Combined with this, the hane and connection with White 74, etc., as may be seen, leads to the position where the do-or-die pincer-attachment of White 102 is possible.

The jump of Black 77 contains the implication of a hane out at , while expanding the lower side, and at the same time giving aid from afar to the Black group on the upper side. So the move kills two birds with one stone.

Once Black makes the wall on the left thick and strong, White cannot omit playing 80 and 82 in order to take essential control points on the board.

In regards to the pincer-attachment of White 102, now is the chance to play this. For this move…


Diagram 15

…If White were to play something like 1 to expand the territorial framework [moyo] on the right side, there could be no objection, but Black would immediately make the attachment of 2 and draw back to 4. After that, if White attaches at , Black will answer at , leaving White without a follow-up.

A Placement that is My Pride and Joy


Figure 5 (106-159)

The attachment of White 6 forestalls the attachment of Black , while reviving the aim of White 9. Under the present conditions, Black has no choice but to draw back to 7. However, concerning the attachment of White 6…


Diagram 16

…Isn’t the method of White 1 and 3, directly putting things in motion, possible? It is likely that the reader wonders about this. In the local context, the method of White 1 and 3 is possible, and following White 3, if Black plays at to go to capture White, then White could cut at 4 to bring about a race to capture. In that case, White would have winning chances. However, should Black mildly play at 4, letting White live with 5, after turning to attach at 6 and draw back at 8, the stones are not unconditionally alive.


Diagram 17

In the corner, the ko with Black 1 and 3 is left. Consequently, playing directly as in the previous diagram offers no winning opportunity.

The placement of White 8 is my pride and joy. After Black 9, White profits by playing 10. For Black 9…


Diagram 18 Black plays 3 elsewhere

…Should Black play at 1 to block White off, it is good for White to draw back at 2. If Black then plays elsewhere, White 4 and 6 make connecting underneath at and living with equivalent options.

The turning move of Black 13 is thick and strong, but rather than this, jumping to Black to restrain White’s territorial framework [moyo] would probably have been better.

After incurring the block of Black 17, this corner of White’s cannot be settled just as it is.

When White blocks at 18, if Black neglects making the turning move of 19, White kills the group instantly.

Should White use 24 to intercept at 25, Black can hane into White’s position at .

For Black 27, turning at Black would be a thick and strong move, but following White 28, the jump of Black 29 is a move that Black had been aiming at. In this corner, if White were to play first, it would turn into seki in gote. In addition, for this shape in general…


Diagram 19

…The model that is usually followed has Black attacking with the attachment of 1 in order to bring about a ten thousand year ko, but in cases where White can hane at 2 and connect at 4 in sente, this method fails. White will be delighted to play at 6. This is a word to the wise to be cognizant of this.

In regards to the pincer-attachment of Black 47, during the sequence that follows, if Black did not have to add the move of 53, this line [suji] of attack would be a deadly one. However, the fact is that when White plays the calm and collected move of 54 to make life by way of seki, contrary to Black’s interests, White is made to be safe and secure.

The move of Black 47 should have been held in reserve, with Black playing 55 to work out the way to make life. This method would also have a connection with the number of ko threats available, and it would be nerve-racking for White.

In case of Black 53…


Diagram 20 Black 5 connects

…There is a question of whether Black could give White a single five point over-sized eye with 1 here. However, if play proceeds with White 2 through 12, in this race to capture, Black falls short by a large margin.

With Black 59, the large group of stones here are alive, and the outlook is for a close game. Please confirm that if White plays at , Black makes the move ineffective. [Black threatens to connect to the Black position on the left, and White’s stones are filled with defects and cutting points.]

Takagi 7 Dan Loses the First Game in the Tournament


Figure 6 (160-200) Black 83 takes ko, White 86 same, Black 89 same, White 92 same, Black 95 same, Black 97 connects three stones, White 98 takes ko

[Note: The 10 Dan Tournament has a unique structure: players who lose their first game are not eliminated. Instead, they are sent to a “Losers Tournament,” where they get a second chance to fight their way back. The final to determine the challenger for the title is played between winners of the “Winners Tournament” and the “Losers Tournament.” Thus, the meaning behind the title of this figure.]

White 60 and 62 are reverse endgame moves worth 7 points, but had I lost this game, these would have been the losing moves. For White 60…


Diagram 21

…Adding the moves of White 1 and 3 make this corner seki. Even though Black can take the sente endgame moves starting with 60, the game would be promising for White.

Incurring the liberty-filling moves of Black 63 and 65 in this shape means that White is unable to do anything to resolve the situation. Therefore, it is the same as being issued a death notice by Black. However, under the present circumstances, the fact is that White has an abundance of ko threats, and that saved the day.

White 66 and the following moves were all played to eliminate Black’s ko threats. However, it was Black’s hurrying to win the move at 79 that was questionable, and that turned out to be the losing move.

Had Black played at , eliminating a ko threat for White, and then just wait for White’s play to sputter out, is the playing method that would leave White in a quandary.


Figure 7 (201-259) Black 7 takes ko, White 10 same, Black 13 same

Instead of Black 11, this was the last chance to use the ko threats of Black , and to fight the two-step ko. The capture of Black 15 is worth 22 points. The ko swap with White 14 and 18 is worth 10½ points, ensuring a razor-thin victory.

259 moves. White wins by ½ point.

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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