go on go - the analyzed games of go seigen

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  • Go on Go:The Analyzed Games of Go Seigen

    Go SeigenTranslation and Additional Material by Jim Z. Yu

  • ii

  • Contents

    Preface v

    1 A Fans Introduction to Go Seigen 1

    2 Go Seigen-Kitani Minoru 5

    3 Go Seigen-Fujisawa 694 Go Seigen-Sakata Eio 1 133

    5 Go Seigen-Honinbo Shukaku (Takagawa) 1 189

    6 Go Seigen-Honinbo Shukaku (Takagawa) 2 249

    7 Go Seigen-Hashimoto 305

    8 Go Seigen-Sakata Eio 2 375

    9 Go Seigen-Shimamura 443

    A A Short Biography of Wu Qing Yuan (Go Seigen) 497

    B Japans Strongest Deciding Matches 505

    C Honinbo Shusai Retirement Match 507

    D Greedy Sakata 513

    E Sakatas Myoshu 517

    F Razor Sakata 521

    G Sakata-Shuko 527

    H Possible Continuation of Ko Rule Dispute 529



  • Preface

    This book is a collection of stories and commented games published by Jim Z. Yu onthe rec.games.go newsgroup in late 1993. Mr. Yu translated the games from Chi-nese from the book Detailed Analysis of Wus Famous Games. (Wu is Go SeigensChinese name.) Because I enjoyed the information so much, I wanted to put them in aformat that would be easy to use along with a real board to replay the games, and easyto give to friends. The original games were distributed as MGT computer files, and theoriginal stories as text files.

    Virtually all of the remaninder of the text is Wus or Yus, with a few exceptions.With the exception of the biographical appendix, all introductory material is by M-r. Yu. The biographical appendix is mainly by Wus brother. The game commentariesare generally by Wu. However, they contain notes made by the original Japanese editor,Mr. Katsumoto Tesshuu. Mr. Katsumoto often introduces some background informa-tion at the beginning of a game, and some commentary on the moves towards the end,when Go Seigen 9 dan tends to comment less. His comments during the games are giv-en in italics. Some additional notes for the sake of clarrification and made by Mr. Yuand are enclosed in square brackets, [ and ].

    I have used both Jan van der Steens sgf2misc utility and Daniel Bumps s-gf2tex to typeset the games, and I typeset the stories by hand using LATEX. Theoriginal source for the games and stories can be found on the Internet Go Archives,which are currently found at ftp.joyjoy.net/Go. The complete URL for theoriginal source code is:

    ftp://ftp.joyjoy.net/Go/games/goseigen.sh.ZLinks to the LATEXsource code for this book, as well premade postscript and PDF ver-sion are available at:


    One note regarding copyright: All of the text here included here was pulled offof the Internet Go Archive, and translated from uncopyrighted Chinese books by JimZ. Yu. Mr. Yu holds copyright on the translations and stories in this book, and hasgranted the right to reproduce his material for personal (non-commercial) reference.Typesetting and editing was done by me, Patrick Bridges. My changes are availableunder the GNU Documentation License, v 1.0 or later, when that becomes available.Until then, I assert copyright over my changes, but grant permission for reproductionor editing for personal, non-commercial use.


  • vi PREFACE

    Patrick Bridges, Fall 1999bridges@cs.arizona.edubridges 8k* on NNGS

  • Chapter 1

    A Fans Introduction to GoSeigen

    He played like the birds fly: swift and light. Suddenly the position couldget frozen though, and then one would get a glimpse of the universe ofvariations hidden below the sky that Wu had spanned in the earlier stages. A friend (Jan van der Steen) on Go Seigens (Wu) game

    Go Seigen is my idol. For two simple reasons:

    1. He won games

    2. He won games in his unique manner. Always.

    Maybe a few other professional players can qualify the above criteria. Ancientslike Kitani Minoru and Sakata Eio, and the super players of the 80s: Rin Kaiho,Otake Hideo, Kato Masao, Takemiya Masaki, Cho Chikun, and Kobayashi Koichi.And dont forget the big man in China: Nie Weiping.

    These are all big winners. But none of them is as big a winner as Go Seigen. GoSeigen once ruled Japanese Go profession for one third of a century! And that was a1/3 of century when Japan was the only land where Go was blooming. I (Jim Yu) thinkits fair to say that a new generation of professionals come out about every ten years.Then, Go Seigen would have to hold off the challenges from three generations of bestGo players in Go history. And that he did: First there was Kitani Minoru, who, perhaps,would have been rated as great as Go Seigen had he not faded after World War II. Thenthere was Fujisawa Kuranosuke (who later changed his name to Fujisawa Hosai), thefirst ever professional 9 dan (Go Seigen was the second) after the death of the lastMeijin, Shusai. Finally, in the 50s, Sakata Eio and Takagawa Shukaku emerged as thetop challengers to Go Seigen. But none of them was able to take away the No.1 seatthat belonged to Go Seigen.

    And we cant say these challengers were weak. In fact, any of them was a definitionof the opposite of weak. Kitani, along with Go Seigen, discovered the revolutionaryNew Openings. He might have been more famous of his magnificent disciples (5 of



    the 6 super players of the 80s mentioned above, except Rin, were his pupils), but asa player, according to Go Seigen, he was first of [Go Seigens] toughest opponents.They two together wrote the historical period called Go-Kitani Era, a span of abouta decade before WWII.

    Fujisawa probably spent his entire playing career in Go Seigens prime, and thatproduced another memorable rivalry. There was only one player who was strong e-nough and being strong *long* enough to play three 10-game series with Go Seigen,and his name was Fujisawa Kuranosuke (later Hosai). And let us not forget: Go Seigenlost only one 10-game series in his life, and that was to Fujisawa (it happened duringWWII; Go Seigen was unbeatable in 10-game series thereafter).

    Sakata Eio. We know his stories the man has won more major championshipsthan any other Japanese players in modern Go history. I dont remember the exactnumber, but its close to 70 titles when he was 70 years old. How could he win somany?! One has to wonder.

    Takagawa Shukaku, whose first name originally was Kaku, without Shu. InJapan, only Honinbo title holders would add a Shu in their names, and Takagawacertainly deserved this honorable character he once won 9 straight Honinbo titles.And that was the time he started to challenge Go Seigen. There were total of seven3-game series, or 21 games, between the two. Takagawa lost the first 11, and what hedid? He won 7 out of the next 10. That spelled tough.

    So here we have the picture: Kitani, Fujisawa, Sakata, and Takagawa any ofthem was a great player who was talented enough to dominate his era. Yet it did nothappen. It did not happen because of one man: Go Seigen. Go Seigen was the winnerof winners; Go Seigen was the genius of geniuses.

    Watching Go Seigens game always brings me pleasure. Its not that I fully under-stood his moves and was thus appreciated (that, in fact, is still a long way to go); rather,the shape of his stones and the tempo of his moves seem to always lighten me up.

    Go Seigen seemed to have an extraordinary ability to simplify local (on the board)conflicts. Especially in openings. Often he would play tenuki moves moves thatlocally ignore opponents previous move although that would lead to some local loss,globally speaking, he would gain. Because he preferred to play fewer moves at theopening corners, his games were usually on a fast pace. Quickly, middle-game fightsstarted. Thats the kind of game I would enjoy to watch (and play, of course, if I *can*).

    Going to middle game, Go Seigen was again showing extraordinary power. Hesettled his weak groups quickly; he started to attack his opponent quickly. By quicklyI dont mean he played twice or thrice as fast as his opponent (although he indeed oftendid), but I mean he could use only a few simple moves to start or end, again, a localconflict. Gradually, since his opponent was unable to catch up with his high efficiency,Go Seigen started to lead a lead that he, in his prime time, would never surrender.

    Thus Go Seigens endgame very often became exceptionally simple. Well, endgameseems to be a phase that one cannot really simplify. If there are, say, such many unset-tled boundaries, both players have to finish them off, unless unless its like in manyof Go Seigens games, the game was over before the endgame started.

    Thats all I can see from Go Seigens game. I am unable to visualize his local orglobal feelings, and I am unable to carry out his deep calculations. All I can see isa surface of his game yet, its a surface thats clear enough to reflect his manners.

  • 3Go is a game full of conflicts, and if a man could handle all these conflicts in a simplemanner *and* win I would say, he is a genius. This genius was Go Seigen.

    This reminds me of a biography of Albert Einstein. The author convinced me that todescribe Einstein, simplicity was the word. Einstein was a man who handled thingsin simple ways. I dont know if this book on Einstein had unconsciously helped me tounderstand Go Seigen, but as of today, I am convinced that, if these two geniuses ofthe 20th century had nothing else in common, they shared one word: simplicity.

    I suddenly feel sorry for being born 50 years too late. I want to play games with GoSeigen. I might lose every game to him, but I wouldnt care. When one gets a chanceto play with a genius, its not just a honor. It could well change his life: somethingdeep inside his mind could suddenly light up... Yes, thats why I want to play with GoSeigen; the


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