Cosmic Style

This category contains 8 posts

Cosmic style, big frame work, Japanese opening… Are u a San-Ren-Sei player?

Within the Go community are going steady and lifely discussions about one (as amateur) can progress, or even should progress.

Over centuries the Go game we all lover so much, was affected by trends and fashion, as every other parts of societies… Game rules changed, different styles had been progressed within the different houses / clans: Honinbo, Hayashi, Inoue and Yasui (about the 4 major schools of GO from beginning of 17th century on some details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_go_houses ).

Beginners mostly are teached to avoid playing in “big moyos” (claimed regions by stones within the fuseki) as – by statistics – its not realistic to keep huge territories alive and save.

Personally I see it more that San-Ren-Sei in tendency has a negative stigma to be weak by its 4-4 opening (known as Japanese Opening) and playing in a big framework. Nowadays we see often the Chinese opening (4-3). Instead the facts say something differently: Statistically seen the Japanese opening is same successfully by winning as the (small) Chinese opening, round about 47-48% of all games in the SGF databases.

One of the well known players of our times is Masaki Takemiya, a Go professional from Japane (details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masaki_Takemiya ), who established the San-Ren-Sei style (3- Star-point opening) in the 80th, later known as the “Cosmic Style“, playing in ‘big moyo’.

Playing San-Ren-Sei requires different skills compared with other styles, by its nature. No doubt: San-Ren-Sei is not a style for every kind of player.

How to proof if you can become a successfully San-Ren-Sei player ? – Tks to Masaki Takemiya who is offering a cost free online test you can proof if you have the strength to play San-Ren-Sei. Its quick done within some minutes (and its cost free).

Just click following link on his website for the SRS test : http://sanrensei.info/test.php

(!!! Short notice !!! The website sanrensei.info owned by Russian Go professional Alexandre Dinerchtein has no access for now, the whole site is down 😦 . I have written on 14th Oct a direct mail to Alexandre. Hope we can get this test back and the site sanrensei.info is up soon.)

Pls leave here your result after making the test (clicking the reply button), so San-Ren-Sei players can get in contact with each other and learn from each other to play successfully and progress in this style. (Rec.: On my own I got 225 points of 300. So in tendency I have the character to play San-Ren-Sei successfully.)

Have fun with… Enjoy playing GO !


Video lecture (BadukMovies): A Chinese Tesuji against Moyo (03/26/2012)

We SanRenSei players are aware about the risks, chances and fun playing for influence and starting a game with a 3-star point opening (San-RenSei fuseki). To be successfully we need to be aware of the strength and weaknesses such centre oriented / big moyo style has. 

Therefore its a good advice to take a closer look at how opponents like to prepare themselfs to fight against San-RenSei. – With following video lecture we get a good source to understand this thinking and how the middle stone (Q10) can come into troubles. Blacks original plan of creating a moyo can be destroyed completly if not being protected by time.


Tks to BadukMovies in the Netherlands for this video lecture. 

topic: A Chinese tesuji against moyo (Episode #2)
level: 5k to 6d
authors: Peter Brouwer (6D) and Kim Ouweeln (4D)
length: 10:40 min. (29.7 MB)

badukmovies_logo-7e9f8156704598d5ce82312c4b42b532(03-26-2012/BadukMovies.com) In this screencast, BadukMovies (which started in March 2012) shows an interesting “trick”-move that Kim O. learned when he was studying Go in China. It is suitable for combatting moyo positions like the San-RenSei, e.g. in moyo games when the opponent has two high stones, one positioned on a hoshi starpoint (4-4 corner stone on Q16) and the other on a centre starpoint nearby (B on Q10). A perfect example is the san-ren-sei fuseki formation which you will see in the video lecture.

There are some minor drawbacks to the trick play Peter and Kim show you in this episode. However, when used at the right moment and under the right circumstances, this move can be powerful and a refreshing addition to your joseki knowledge (as territory oriented player).

As we cannot embedd this video into our MySRS blog system, pls visit BadukMovie’s archive directly. If the player should not start (which happens different times) download from there the clip to watch it offline. [Rec.: The mp4 formatted file can be watched with freeware video players (e.g. VLC)].


For your individual Go training pick up the SGF here:  Eidogo | OGS

Seeking Balance in Harmony – Gu Li on the Three Star Opening (Sanrensei)

Gu-Li-fights-back-3rd-BC-Card-Cup-final-match-4There are many popular openings in today’s go world. Living Go legend Gu Li (9P) likes to use openings that have been popular in the past that aren’t used that often today. After some examination, he selected the three star opening, which matches his style in the 1st decade of 21st century.

A Modern Three Star Opening

Gu Li’s version of the three star opening is different from that of the famous Japanese player Takemiya’s “Cosmic Style”. Takemiya uses the three stars to create a moyo-type opening, whereas Gu Li’s style pays attention to both thickness and territory, creating a balance in harmony.

Gu Li’s SanRenSei (left) vs. Classical SanRenSei (right)

Gu-Li-Modern-SanRenSei-Fuseki-2005  Classical-Fuseki-Move1-Move25-1

The analysis of Jiang Zhujiu (9P) contains five different games…

  • 1st May 2005: Gu Li (as black) using 3-Star formation against Yoda Norimoto (9P, Japan) in first round of the 4th CSK Cup
  • 3rd May 2005: Gu Li (as black) with 3-Star opening against Lee Sedol (9P, Korea) in third round of the 4th CSK Cup
  • 18th April 2004: Gu Li (as white) playing the 4-Star-Opening against Lee Changho (9P)  in the 17th Fujitsu Cup
  • 4th June 2005: Gu Li (as black) with ‘Cosmic Style’ against Song Taekon (7P, Korea)
  • not dated: Gu Li (as black) against Zhou Junxun (9P, Taiwan) in semi finals of a special Internet tournament

For your individual review / Go training pick up all variations as SGF here:
– demo board… Eidogo | OGS
– game… Eidogo | OGS

origin: Weiqi World, December 15, 2005
author: Jiang Zhujiu (Jujo) 9P
translation: Dave Wong

(PDF created by Bill Cobb, SGF transcriptions with SmartGo)

Takemiya Masaki (9P) and his early Go carreer in the 70th… 12 games (1969-1981)

To get a better understanding about San-RenSei and Cosmic Style lets have a more detailled look at Takemiya Masaki and his early Go carreer in the 70th.

This is Go the Natural Way

I’d like to reference to This is Go the Natural Way, an interesting recompilation of articles (commented games) which had been published originally in the Kido Magazine. (Rec.: Kido was for many years since Oct. 1924 the dan-level go magazine of Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Institute). The publishing was released in 1999/2000.).

Further This is Go the Natural Way contains an appreciation of Takemiya’s style by Ishida Yoshio who was his opponent different times with drawing on a different sample of games, records of which are included in a supplement, and some minor extras.


author: Takemiya Masaki
publisher: Hinoki Press
1st print: 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0-9788874-9-0
176 pp.

[Rec.: Available in different online shops within a prize range from 20-53 US dollars / 23-54 Euros (plus fees (shipping costs, vat…)), e.g. on Amazon, Alibris, Abebooks.]

Twelve games in total are coveringe the time period from 1969 to 1981. Following list gives the white player first (source: [Sensei’s Library][5]):

1. Takemiya Masaki – Hashimoto Utaro, 1972-08-08, All Japan No. 1
2. Tournament Kato Masao – Takemiya Masaki, 1974-05-18/19, Honinbo
3. League Takemiya Masaki – Rin Kaiho, 1974-03-28, Pro Best Ten Final
4. Takemiya Masaki – Abe Yoshiteru, 1977-10-06, Oteai
5. Ishida Yoshio – Takemiya Masaki, 1970-12-20/21, Nihon Ki-in Championship
6. Hashimoto Shoji – Takemiya Masaki, 1969-05-22, Pro Best Ten
7. Ishida Yoshio – Takemiya Masaki, 1974-03-03, Nihon Ki-in Championship
8. Yamabe Toshiro – Takemiya Masaki, 1970-06-04, Nihon Ki-in Championship
9. Ishida Yoshio – Takemiya Masaki, 1974-03-30/31, Honinbo Title Match, Game Two
10. Takemiya Masaki – Rin Kaiho, 1974-01-23/24, Honinbo
11. Takemiya Masaki – Honda Kunahisa, 1974-01-14, Meijin League
12. Takemiya Masaki – Cho Chikun, 1981-05-26, Honinbo Title Match, Game 1

To give you a first idea you can go through three of these twelve games against some legendary Go players Takemiya Masaki had played in 1970, 1974 and 1981. All games he won as white and black are available for your individual review on OGS, too (see links under the SGF Screenshot/viewer).

18639b56bd1543f8c3d0a3ba7d13fce8039be84d8782 186432995ff8c304d9d605fd54c42d5ab9235a70885f 18667b87b69f3ea7fa439fe5d57eaa5bc74ebb248ec9  18571514e7a79988c15bc9e71195f60ad57490a1b775
[f.l.t.r.: Yamabe Toshiro (1926-2000) / Cho Chikun (born 1956) / Rin Kaiho (born 1942) Takemiya Masaki (born 1951)]

(A) Nihon Ki-in Championship (1970-06-04): Yamabe Toshiro [6] (white) – Takemiya Masaki (black)

With this game we can see that the 20 year young Takemiya M. (born 01/01/1951) who became a 1 Dan Professional in 1965 already played the classical San-RenSei opening with 3 star points.
1970-06-04-eidogo.sgf (1.4 KB)

For your individual review / Go training you can pick up the SGF here:  Eidogo | OGS

(B) Honinbo (1974-01-23/24): Takemiya Masaki (white) – Rin Kaiho [7] (black)

In this game Takemiya played from left side first with two 4-4 corner stones and then attacking black’s bottom right corner. Lately with move 28 he settled a stronger basis on left side to expand a first wing on bottom inside for a bigger moyo.
1974-01-23-eidogo.sgf (1.4 KB)

For your individual review / Go training you can pick up the SGF here:  Eidogo | OGS

(C) Honinbo Title Match (game 1 / 1981-05-26): Takemiya Masaki (white) – Cho Chikun [8] (black)

This game in the beginning of the 80th shows a very different Takemiya, with white as a territory player.
1981-05-26-eidogo.sgf (1.0 KB)

For your individual review / Go training you can pick up the SGF here:  Eidogo | OGS

Have fun with GO !  

[1]: http://senseis.xmp.net/?TakemiyaMasaki
[2]: http://gowizardry.com/?page_id=8
[3]: http://senseis.xmp.net/?NihonKiIn
[4]: http://www.isbns.la/isbn/9780978887490
[5]: http://senseis.xmp.net/?ThisIsGoTheNaturalWay
[6]: http://senseis.xmp.net/?YamabeToshiro
[7]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rin_Kaiho
[8]: http://senseis.xmp.net/?ChoChikun

Go Book: “Master Play… The Style of Takemiya” (2008)

Tks to wow (OGS) for the tip… here another book about SanRenSei/Cosmic Style:

Master Play: The Style of Takemiya

Publisher: Slate and Shell, 2008
ISBN: 10 1-932001-44-1
72 pp.

The book is available on Slate and Shell (1425 Westshire Lane, Richmond, VA 23238) at a prize of 15.50 US$, in Europe it is sold by Hebsacker Publisher (Germany) for 14.50 Euros (plus shipping).

Master Play Takemiya Cover

The third book in Yuan Zhou‘s series (Aga, 7Dan) on the playing styles of top pros explains the intricacies of Takemiya Masaki‘s famous cosmic style that aims at building a moyo. While Takemiya is one of the most popular pros among amateurs, most fans do not realize how challenging it is to play moyo-style.

Table of Contents

1. A brief biography of Takemiya Masaki
2. Takemiya wins the first world championship
3. Playing moyo style with white
4. Appendix : More examples of Takemiya’s moyo style

Y. Zhou makes it all clear, as usual, and in the process helps readers to gain a much better understanding of how to handle games where one player is aiming at a moyo.

PDF sample…

View this document on Scribd

In chapter 2 “Takemiya wins the first world championship” is analysed in details the final of 1st Fujitsu Cup, being played on 3rd Sept 1988 by Takemiya Masaki 9p (as black) against Rin Kaiho 9p (white). Takemia won the game B+R
( Image source: SGF viewer | Go4Go.net )

27645-1988-09-2014.sgf (1.1 KB | Source: FlashGoe.ru )

For your individual review / Go training you can pick up the SGF here:  Eidogo | OGS

This game which made Takeiya famous as centre oriented player had been analysed different times, e.g. on Baduk TV, see video here.

Go legends: Kobiayashi (Fuseki) vs. San-RenSei / Cosmic Style

Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with pathogenix (6K), a GO player on OGS about two 9P Dan pros, about Kobiayashi Koishi (born 1952) and Takemiya Masaki (born 1951). These two extra ordinary players battled against each other over more than 30 years on the Go board. – Let’s meet today the Kobayashi Fuseki and San-Ren-Sei Fuseki / Cosmic style of Takemiya. (Rec.: pathogenix himself loves to play Kobayashi Fuseki.)

The Kobayashi Fuseki (Kobayashi Formation) is the pattern for Black shown below. It is named after Kobayashi Koichi who used it steadily at one point in his career. This fuseki has been actively played for some 20 years now. It is similar to the *Small Chinese fuseki* in that Black sets up a specific formation between the white corner in the lower left and Black’s own open komoku stone in the lower right as part of a strategy for playing against a later white approach move there. It is an aggressive, fighting strategy. (Source: Sensei’s Library – http://senseis.xmp.net/?KobayashiFuseki ).

9e99036444dd6e067e62d35474bb479c.sgf (397 Bytes)

You can do an individual review or SGF download here: Eidogo

Battousai did a webcast lecture about Kobayashi Fuseki

An interesting title match between Kobayashi (black)and Takemia (white) on 20th Sept 1995 (20th Japanese Meijin) – result: W+0.5

Here Takemia opens with D4 – D16 – R10 (see alternatives in “From Ni-RenSei (two star points) to San-RenSei“)
(Source: Go4Go.Net SGF Database)

P.S. pathogenix currently is in preperations of a bigger data collection and documentation about Kobayashi Fuseki. As soon the datas are available and being posted, I will let you know asap.

Influence (and centre) oriented Pro Games… safety first ?

Tks to Mark5000 (1Dan/OGS) and Sefo (8K) for the lively discussion…

Sefo (citiation):

I’ve found some recent pro games that were largely influence oriented. Top pros play the Chinese variants and orthodox for safety, because that’s how they make a living. Playing center oriented is risky, they won’t bet their salary on it.

I came across an interview where a pro player was discussing non-territorial openings. He clearly stated that center oriented (tengen for example) are not bad. They just open too many possibilities that it’s very hard to review and make a viable opening that will have a safe win/loss ratio.

Only amateurs, who noticed these openings weren’t played that often, flagged them as bad openings.
But they are indeed a perfect way to learn direction, invasions, attack and they are an immense source of fun.

When money or fame is not a consideration pros jump on the occasion and play very unorthodox openings. High level games on Tygem are a proof of that.

As for Takemiya have you seen his games? He plays nirensei every single time and attacks.
As soon as the occasion presents itself, he puts the stone on the middle hoshi. (unless his opponent afraid of his style plays there first)

So I don’t know where you got that information from…

So yeah, sanrensei is definitely a viable option even at top pro level. Don’t spread wrong information please.

Mark5000 (citiation):

Sefo must be talking about Seo Bongsoo (see page 17 of “British Go Journal”, Edition: Autumn 1994, No. 96)…

british-go-journal-no-96-autumn-1994These days [1994] the emphasis is changing from corner, side, then centre to just side then centre, since it is difficult to develop the corner. We can thank Takemiya for this change. Korean players have always had to play to win in order to earn money, so they have concentrated on the corners and were afraid of the centre because of its vagueness, and they did not research it. However, Takemiya was brought up by a rich family, and the Japanese don’t allow their players to think about money, so he researched into this unknown area. Having been beaten several times by Cho Chi-hoon, who found his weak points, he perfected his centre strategy as a way of playing against Cho. He has done the most research and has shown us how fantastic, magnificent, and deep the centre is, like the Universe. Before him, Korean amateurs and professionals used to avoid the 4-4 point; now this is the most popular opening.

The origin page (scan) British Go Journal you can read here [Rec.: All issues of the British Go Journal (Archive c/o British Go Asociation) are available online – http://www.britgo.org ]

What is your style in GO playing? Free test

just click here and you can test your style in a moment 。。。


Rec.: The test was compiled by Alexander Dinerchtein, 1-dan professional (“breakfast” on KGS)

about my own  s  t  y  l  e  test result: 

> Your Go style is **flexible**: you can play for territory as well as for influence.
> Usually you make such decisions according to the whole-board situation or the playing style of your opponent.
> You may force him to choose the strategy he hates. For example, if he likes moyos, you can play for influence yourself, just for making him angry.
> Your Go style is actually the best one.
> You may improve your Go by studying different things, but I suggest paying attention on yose and positional judgment.

I like the result, I have thought about myself, that I play more cchaotic… so nice to notice, that it is seen by a high dan as something positivley… less it encourages me to keep going in my Go studies. – LinuxGooo

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