Go Legends

This category contains 12 posts

Takemiya Masaki (9Pro Dan): This is Go the Natural Way !

British Go Journal (Winter 1990)

British Go Journal (Winter 1990)

Long time ago, between 1983 and 1991 the Japanese Go Professional Takemiya Masaki (9p D) wrote for the British Go Journal (BGJ) about different topics, as the table shows (see bottom). The articles originally had been published in Kido Magazine which was for many years the Nihon Ki-in’s dan-level go magazine till 2000.

From 1988 on Takemiya presented in the BGJ different problems of Fuseki-s (openings) within the series “This is Go the Natural Way !” – naturally related to SanRenSei.

Three interesting problems Takemiya presented in part 7, being published in edition No. 81 of the British Go Journal (Winter 1990), as you can read in the PDF (free download here).

If you like to read the whole series, best you buy the book with same title which was published in 2008. “This is Go the Natural Way!“are the watchwords that the author takes as his philosophy of play in this unique volume, but the book could also be viewed as The Best Games of Takemiya Masaki.

yellow mountain imports sold this book originally published by Hinoki Press in the past at a reduced prize of 17.99 US dollars (original prize: 20.00 US$). There it is no more available. It might be a challenge to get one original print nowadays (ISBN 13 978-0-9788874-9-0).

yellow-mountain-importsWhen Takemiya published the material that has been translated by Bob Terry, he was Honinbo and at the top of his form. Few professional go players were serious rivals for him. And the ones who were are today considered as great players in the same way as he is, such as Cho Chikun, Kato Masao or Sakata Eio. All of these players and many more make appearances in this volume.

The twelve games covered (the list gives the White player first) are:

  1. Takemiya Masaki – Hashimoto Utaro, 1972-08-08, All Japan No. 1 Tournament
  2. Kato Masao – Takemiya Masaki, 1974-05-18/19, Honinbo League
  3. 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 2
  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

This is not merely a collection of brilliant games. Far from it. In fact, several of the games analyzed in this book ended in losses for the author. But that is not the key factor that Takemiya takes pains to explain. The laws were not in his strategy, but in the execution, and at critical points more experienced players edged him out for wins. Such as when Ishida Yoshio defeated Takemiya (4-3) in the 1974 Honinbo Title Match. One of Takemiya’s greatest games appeared in that match, but he ended up losing it and the match. He won the title two years later, but he would rather dwell on that earlier loss than recount the triumph that followed. The reader should examine that game published here.

   book author: Takemiya Masaki (9p Dan)
original publisher: Hinoki Press
year of publishing: 2008 (176 pages)
ISBN: 13 978-0-9788874-9-0
reseller: Yellow Mountain Imports
prize:  $17.99 ($20.00)

Takemiya’s article published in the BGJ (source: British Go Journal Archive)

Author Title in British Go Journal (BGJ) key subject year of publishing edition
Takemiya Masaki Josekis, Enclosure – Lit 1983 59 19
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 1 * Fus 1988 73 19-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 2 * Fus 1989 74 16-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 3 * Fus 1989 75 5-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 3 * Fus 1989 76 12-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 4 * Fus 1989 77 25-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 5 * Fus 1990 78 6-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 6 * Tec 1990 80 19
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 7 * Fus 1990 81 22-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 8 * Fus 1991 82 7-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 9 * Fus 1991 83 6-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 10 * Fus 1991 84 26-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Part 11 * Fus 1991 85 10-
Takemiya Masaki Natural Way, This is Go the -! Solutions * Tec 1990 81 28-

Famous Go games: 1582 – 1959 (overview)

Tks to toomtam (c/o Go Association of Thailand) for this list he sticked together on 21st April 2001. Probably its not complete, but for a beginner like I am it gives some orientation how Go developed over centuries. Interesting to see the over dominance of Go Seigen (1914-30th Nov 2014) in 20th century. – What game do you know ?

Honinbo_Dosaku   Honinbo_Jowa   shunsaku
[f.l.t.r.:  Honinbo Dosaku (1645-1702), Honinbo Jowa (1787-1847), Honinbo Shusaku (1829-1862) ]

A more detailled and complete overview you might find on SL :  http://senseis.xmp.net/?FamousGoGames (latest edit: 1st April 2014).

The Atom Bomb Game event at the Imperial War Museum in London, for the 60th Anniversary in 2005. Under the glass is the position of the board at the time the bomb was dropped. The 106 moves from the first two days had just been replayed on the board at the time. The board here belongs to T. Mark Hall. Just visible on the other side is Mark's diploma signed by Iwamoto Kaoru, a survivor of the Atom Bomb game.

The Atom Bomb Game event at the Imperial War Museum in London, for the 60th Anniversary in 2005. Under the glass is the position of the board at the time the bomb was dropped. The 106 moves from the first two days had just been replayed on the board at the time. The board here belongs to T. Mark Hall. Just visible on the other side is Mark’s diploma signed by Iwamoto Kaoru, a survivor of the Atom Bomb game. (Source: SL)


Overview of famous games: 1582 – 1959

Year: White x Black; 
     Result; Why is it well-known?

1582: Nikkai, Honinbo Sansa x Kashio Rigen
tripple ko; at night after the game the emperor Nobunaga was killed. Since then the tripple ko is a bad sign. In the kifu there is no tripple ko, it is incomplete.

1625: Nakamura Doseki x Yasui Santetsu
W+; first move was on the side

1682: Honinbo Dosaku (Meijin) x Peichin Hamahika (4handicap)
W+14; first official international match, Peichin visited Japan, but he was crushed by the go-saint in four handicap

1683: Honinbo Dosaku (Meijin) x Yasui Shunchi (or Sanchi) (2handicap)
B+1; Dosaku’s masterpiece – 2 handicap lost by one point. Today’s professionals say that the fuseki is aged, that today even amateurs would play it better, but in the middle game Shunchi played a sequence of excellent moves. How Dosaku was able to catch up to 1 point difference is nearly incomparable.

see “Review by 1PD Francis Meyer” of 17th century game (Edo period)
with Honinbo Dosaku and Yasui Chitetsu

1705: Yasui Senkaku x Honinbo Dochi
B+1; Dochi’s surprising endgame tesuji brought him 2 points and win

1792: Yasui Senchi Senkaku x Honinbo Retsugen
W+R; Senkaku’s style – influence, Senkaku turned the game around with the fight

1812: Honinbo Genjo x Nakano Chitoku (Yasui Senchi)
B+R; move 69 looks nearly like a pass

1815: Honinbo Jowa x Hattori Rittetsu (Gennan Inseki)
B+4; masterpiece of Gennan against his irreconcilable rival

1820: Yasui Senchi x Honinbo Jowa
B+2; marked as the best game of Edo period although black kept the advantage of the first move and won by two points, Senchi’s amashi strategy is praised a lot

1835: Honinbo Jowa (Meijin) x Akaboshi Intetsu
W+R; blood-vomiting game. Jowa, who as a Meijin couldn’t afford to lose, had to face new secret trick joseki (move 33), that gave Akaboshi advantage. But Jowa then played three brilliant tesuji (68, 70,
80) and turned the game around. After a week of playing Intetsu kolapsed, started to vomit blood, and died in a few days.

1842: Inoue Genan Inseki x Honinbo Shuwa
B+6; the match of two players, who had the strength of a Meijin, but didn’t become Meijin. Jowa commented that Gennan was strong enough to become a Meijin but he was unfortunately born in a wrong time. In endgame Gennan was losing by one point, so he tried to live in the corner, but didn’t manage to do it and the difference raised to 6 points.

1844: Honinbo Shuwa x Yasui Sanchi
B+1; move 63 is a very strange shape, it is nobi where you wouldn’t expect it

1846: Inoue Genan Inseki x Kuwahara Shusaku
B+3; ear-redding game, legendary move 127 just next to tengen, with which Shusaku surprised Gennan as well as onlookers and reversed unfavourable game

1851: Honinbo Shuwa x Honinbo Shusaku
B+4; well-known for fans of “Hikaru no Go“, the first game between Touya Akira and Shindo Hikaru (Sai)

1852: Honinbo Shusaku x Ito Showa
W+R; confrontation of two generations, Shusaku (22) with white defeated Showa (50)

1853: Honinbo Shusaku x Ota Yuzo
W+3; with this game Shusaku forced Yuzo to handicap and won the most famous match of Edo period. Slow, but thick move 88 says: “Just this is enough to win”.

1895: Honinbo Shuei x Tamamura Hoju (Honinbo Shusai)
W+2; the move 92 is well-known tesuji with escaping to geta, which saves white stones

1926: Honinbo Shusai (Meijin) x Karigane Junichi
W+T; Kiseisha vs Nihon Ki-in, one of the most difficult games in history, very fighting and effective game (70 move semeai, etc.), it was demonstrated on huge boardsin Tokyo gardens, and cotributed to popularization of go.

1929: Kitani Minoru x Go Seigen
W+3; Go Seigen plays mirror go to move 65, Kitani plays surprising tesuji 114

1933: Go Seigen x Kosugi Tei
W+R; famous “16 soldiers” in style of new fuseki, Go absolutely crashed his opponent using his influence and attacking all groups

a mathematical approach with video animation and kifu (SGF) here.

1934: Honinbo Shusai (Meijin) x Go Seigen
W+2; “the game of a century”, Go plays new fuseki; diagonal sansan, tengen, hoshi; Meijin turned the game around with tesuji 160

1938: Honinbo Shusai (Meijin) x Kitani Minoru
B+5; the last game of Shusai, interesting because Jasunari Kawabate wrote a novel “Meijin” full of excitement about passing away of an old master

1939: Go Seigen x Kitani Minoru
W+2; first game from the most famous match of a new era (Kamamura jubango) between authors of new fuseki; Kitani started bleeding at move 128

see video lecture by Michael Redmond (9Pdan) in Sept 2014
of 1st game from Kamakura Jubango (1939-1941)

1945: Hashimoto Utaro x Iwamoto Kaoru (known as the Atomic Bomb Game)
W+5; the game was played near Hiroshima, when the atom bomb exploded (it was between moves 126 and 127), the position was destroyed but players assembled it again and continued playing

1948: Go Seigen x Iwamoto Kaoru
W+1(2); after the game there was an argue whether black has to fill in a ko when he has more threats

Large avalanche

Large avalanche Joseki (Source: SL)

1951: Go Seigen x Fujisawa Hosai
W+R; first match of two 9 dans in history

1957: Go Seigen x Kitani Minoru
W+R; encounter of two eternal rivals after 13 years brought excellent fight, often quoted game

1957a: Takagawa Kaku x Go Seigen 1)
B+R; Go Seigen played the big avalanche (joseki)

1959: Go Seigen x Takagawa Kaku (Honinbo Shukaku)
B+0.5; a ko dispute, white had more threats but had to connect anyway

1) … next days I will post a Kifu of this game we will see that white (Takagawa) played SanRenSei as answer to Go Seigen’s “Big (large) Avalance” (joseki).

video lecture by Michael Redmond (9P Dan): Kitani Minoru vs. Go Seigen (Kamakura Jubango, 1939-1941)

The legendary player Go Seigen (born 12th July 1914) demised on 30th November 2014… best we can take from Seigen’s period of nearby hundred years to learn and study his games and keep the spirit of Go Seigen alive.

BadukMovies: Student of GO SEIGEN (Episode #164 – 22 Sept 2014)

Michael Redmond (9P Dan)

Michael Redmond (9P Dan)

Here a special lecture (level: 5k to 5d) at the Nihon Ki-in summer go camp with Michael Redmond about Go Seigen’s speed oriented opening with the chance to move quickly to the sides and
targeting at a well-balanced playing overall positions.

The annually event targets at to let Non-Japanese Go players (suitable for from 10 kyu up to high dan players) get stronger, feel and learn the Japanese culture of Go through fantastic programs provided by the Japan Go Association Nihon Ki-in (Tokyo). In autumn 2014 was commemorated the 90th anniversary of the foundation. It took place at The Nihon Ki-in from 26th August till September 4th 2014.

Michael Redmond (9P Dan, born: 1963) had begun with Go at the age of 11… and with 14 he became Insei at the Nihon Ki-in. As professional Dan he started at the age of 18 (1985: 5Dan… 2000: 9Dan).  He published in 2011 the Go book “Patterns of the SanRenSei“. (Source: Wikipedia / Sensei’s Library).

"Summer Go School 2014"... at the historical place of Kamakura Juban Go (1st game) Go Seigen vs Kitani Minoru (Source:  9th Sept 2014 / Facebook - The Nihon Ki-in Foundation)

“Summer Go School 2014″… at the historical place of Kamakura Juban Go (1st game) Go Seigen vs Kitani Minoru (Source: 9th Sept 2014 / Facebook – The Nihon Ki-in Foundation)

In the following lecture Michael Redmond goes over the first game of the Kamakura Jubango (ten-game match from 1939-1941 in Japan). The game was played on 28th Sept 1939 and took place in the Buddhist temple Kenchō-ji. (Source: Wikipedia / Sensei’s Library)

url  vs.  14cz8m9
Kitani Minoru (1909-1975)       Go Seigen (1914-2014)


Kitani Minoru (8P) plays with black against Go Seigen (7P) …. result: w+2


The video of BadukMovies’ Episode #164 (22 Sept 2014) cannot be integrated into the blog; best you download the mp4 file (315.8 MB) from here as the player isnt starting it on BadukMovie’s website.


You can review the game by your own as SGF Kifu here:
Eidogo: http://eidogo.com/#4zRKu1
OGS: http://www.online-go.com/game/1200804

(Original Source: Charles G. Robins Collection (2001-2010) – Kamakura Ten Game Match No. 1 @ Gokifu)


As Roy Laird reported on 28th August 2010 in the American Go E-Journal Kamakura is the book written by GoGoD co-author John Fairbairn covering Seigen’s first matchup during World War II. It was published in spring 2010 by Slate and Shell.
Fairbairn herewith draws on a host of sources, most not available in English, to both thoroughly analyze the games and also describe the historical and cultural dimensions of the event.
The games are presented using many diagrams, each with only a few new moves, so that the games can be followed and understood without setting up a board. This large format study provides an unusual depth of insight into some famous and important games. (free PDF samle here)

Tks to BadukMovies (Peter B. and Kim O.) and Michael Redmond  !


BadukMovies started out in March 2012. The episodes are created by Peter Brouwer 6D, Kim Ouweleen 4D, Cho Hye Yeon 9p, Kim Sung-rae 8p, Yoon Youngsun 8p, Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p, Baek Jihee 2p and Gansheng Shi 1p.

BadukMovies is heavily inspired by RailsCasts, a screencast show with weekly screencasts about web development with ruby and rails. Instead of web development BadukMovies covers a wide variety of topics on go. It aims at publishing at least one new episode each week and planting igo trees all over the world.

(Source: 09/2014 – Badukmovies.com)

Was Go Seigen (1914-2014) a player for territory or following the concept of influence ?

How to learn GO ? – Actually we beginners mainly are focussing on Go techniques, e.g. shapes, playing thickness, avoiding overconcentration, learning sequences of moves (tesujis, josekis, fusekis) to get sente and avoid gote etc. … For becoming a successfully player “reading” (Yomi) and “counting” (for estimating the score and calculating the local count) are essentially skills. – Most players of 21st century in tendency can be seen as followers of the concept of territory; very few prefer the complexe and risky style with playing for influence (e.g. using SanRenSei fuseki and Cosmic style).

Do territory players miss a specific skill to understand stonex by their power of influence ? Following visualisation (video) of Go Seigen’s game might be helpfully to get a different understanding about GO.

The famous Sixteen Soldiers Game: Go Seigen (1914-2014) vs. Kosugi Tei (1898-1976) 

This game was played on 1933-10-10 in the Oteai, between Kosugi Tei (4PD/black) and Go Seigen (5PD/white). White won by resignation (Source: Sensei’s Library).

ScreenshotGo-Seigen-Influence  Screenshot-influence-math-1

You can take an individual review (SGF kifu) here:
EidoGo… http://eidogo.com/#uASxf6cC
OGS… http://online-go.com/game/1184401

(original source @ GoKifu.com:  http://bit.ly/1q07FOT )

Following video (move 1-60) was published in 2009 on Youtube and is a demonstration of a piece of code that was written by TnfTheWise to visualize the concept of influence in the game of GO. It’s a simple linear driven metric exponential distribution influence function, so TnfTheWise himself.

Dwyrin.TV (3rd Dec 2014): Batt’s lecture and tribute to GO SEIGEN (1914-2014)

Batt’s lecture with two games of GO SEIGEN (1914-2014)

The Go community is mourning worldwide since last Sunday (30th Nov) as we lost one of the biggest legends of 20th century, Go Seigen (12th June 1914-30th Nov 2014).

What can we learn in 21st century for a modern Go play from his games (e.g. he played in Nov 1938 and 1953 in following)… and is Go Seigen’s understanding about GO helpfully for amateurs and beginners ?- Lets take a look at what we get from a Go professional who already retired in 1964 at the age of 50 from playing in Go tournaments. 

Battousai (aka Dwyrin / 5Dan AGA) did a live streaming on 3rd December 2014 with tribute to legend Go Seigen on his new webtv channel Dwyrin.TV… with a review of two games Go Seigen played as white and black in 1938 (as 6PD) aind in 1953 (as 9PD). – As Batt mentioned it’s the first seriously studies for himself of two GO Seigen games.

1.  19 Nov 1953: Go Seigen (9P / black) vs. Sakata Eio (8p / white)… b+res.*

gos vs. sakata
(image source: www.goeverywhere.asia)

Sakata Eio (1920-2010) was called by Go Seigen the Inventor of Myoshu and nicknamed as ‘razor-sharp Sakata’ due to his fierce and brilliant moves during complex fights. (Source: Sensei’s Library)

You can take an individual review (SGF kifu) here:
OGS… http://online-go.com/game/1181502
EidoGo… http://eidogo.com/#2Ns5BzkRF

(original source @ GoKifu.com:  http://bit.ly/1yj8QvJ )

2.  2nd Nov 1938: Onoda Chiyotaro (6P / black) vs. Go Seigen (6P / white)… w+res.**

Onoda Chiyotaro (1896-1944) was a Nihon Ki-in professional Go player who reached 7-dan in 1939. Earlier Onoda was with Hoensha, and also at Igo Doshikai. He joined Hiseikai and participated in the Chuo Ki-in. Onoda was with Kiseisha, but returned to the Nihon Ki-in in 1928. He played a jubango with Kogishi Soji (beaten down). He published Kiin Shinpo for a while. (Source: Sensei’s Library)

You can take an individual review (SGF kifu) here:
OGS… http://online-go.com/game/1181617
EidoGo… http://eidogo.com/#3qbUWabjr

(original source @ GoKifu.com: http://bit.ly/1rZFpHX  )

*) game 1 starts in the video at 03:20 min.
**) game 2 starts in the video at 50:10 min.

The fully video of Batt’s lecture “Go Seigen (1914-2014)”…

Many tks to Batt ! 🙂

Memories from 100 years with GO SEIGEN (✞ 30th Nov 2014)

… with courtesy by The Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association)

Go Seigen (呉清源 ) – Memories of Go Master!

(Source: 1st Dec 2014 – FB Photo album @ The Nihon Ki-in (Japan Go Association) | Go Seigen (呉清源 ) – Memories of Go Master!)

Related Articles…

R.I.P. and a deep bow for a real legend: 100 year old GO SEIGEN (12th Jun 1914 – 30th Nov 2014) is no more

In summer 2014 the Go community around the world celebrated GO Seigen’s 100th birthday. (Rec.: Already since the 99th birthday in 2013 the Go lovers around the globe promoted to present a specific Google Doodle on 12th June 2014 (see image).)


Sadly the Spanish version of Wikipedia just reported 1.5 hour ago that Go Seigen, the uniquely legend of GO is no more. Go Seigen died on early Sunday morning, 30th November 2014 in a hospital (in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture) at the age of 100, so noticed by The Japanese News on 1st December early morning (Japanese local time) .

A young Go Seigen (left) playing his teacher Segoe Kensaku

Go Seigen (left) at young age playing his teacher Segoe Kensaku (source: GoGameGuru 06/2013)

Wu Qingyuan (simplified Chinese: 吴清源; traditional Chinese: 吳清源; pinyin: Wú Qīngyuán; (June 12, 1914 – November 30th, 2014), generally known in the West by his Japanese name Go Seigen, is considered by many players to be the greatest player of the game of Go in the 20th century. He turned 100 in June 2014.


Born in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, southeast China, Go Seigen did not start learning the game of Go until he was nine, a relatively late age for a professional (Honinbo Dosaku first learned Go at seven and Honinbo Shusaku before he was six). His father, who had taken Go lessons from Honinbo Shuho while studying in Japan, was responsible for introducing him to the game. Go Seigen quickly excelled and soon became known as a Go prodigy. By the time he was 12, less than three years after first learning the game, he was already of professional strength, as evidenced by his games against the visiting Japanese player Iwamoto Kaoru, 6p in 1926. The next year, he was able to reach a draw in a two-game match against another Japanese professional, Inoue Kohei, 5p. In 1928, still only 14 years old, he twice defeated Hashimoto Utaro, 4p. Go Seigen’s reputation spread to Japan, then the leading Go powerhouse, and a movement was started there to bring him to Japan. He subsequently immigrated to Japan in 1928, at the invitation of Baron Kihachiro Okura and Inukai Tsuyoshi (later prime minister of Japan), and embarked on a professional career. He was tutored by Segoe Kensaku, the same teacher as Hashimoto Utaro and Cho Hunhyun.

Go Seigen Turns 100, Keeps On Playing (Source: 06/2014 - American Go E-Journal)

Go Seigen Turns 100, Keeps On Playing (Source: 06/2014 – American Go E-Journal)

Go Seigen began his rise to the top of professional Go world early. By the time he was 18 he was already a top-flight player belonging to a very small elite. In 1933, along with his great friend Kitani Minoru, Go Seigen developed and popularized the Shinfuseki that broke away from the traditional opening patterns. It is for this very important contribution that Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru are recognized as the fathers of modern Go.

Starting in 1939, Go Seigen began a spectacular series of Jubango matches against other top players of the day. It was through these matches that Go Seigen convincingly demonstrated an overwhelming dominance over his contemporaries. Go Seigen had only one formal disciple – Rin Kaiho, Honorary Tengen. Go Seigen’s star began to fade in the early 1960s due to health reasons and he had to virtually retire from playing professional Go by 1964. However, Go Seigen remained active in the Go community through teaching, writing, and promoting Go around the world.

Professional Record

Go Seigen is commonly considered to be among the best to have ever played the game and the best player of the 20th century. He dominated professional Go for more than a quarter of a century. He maintained a brilliant match record and successively defeated all the leading players of the day in a series of notable jubango (contest between two players consisting of ten games), even forcing them down to handicaps. Some of the defeated were Kitani Minoru, Karigane Junichi, Hashimoto Utaro,Iwamoto Kaoru, Fujisawa Hosai, Sakata Eio, and Takagawa Kaku. Go lost just one jubango, and that was against Fujisawa Hosai. However, the match was played with Fujisawa taking the josen handicap throughout, and Fujisawa only managed to win with a score of 6 to 4. Some ten years later, Go Seigen took revenge on Fujisawa by beating him in two consecutive jubango with lopsided scores of 7-2 and 5-1 respectively. One must note that these jubango matches were all played without komi, and indeed the same applied to the vast majority of games Go Seigen played during his career. Go Seigen won the Oteai six times, and won a special Nihon Ki-inchampionship tournament in 1933.

Go Seigen (吳清源)

Go Seigen (吳清源) Source: Sensei’s Library

You find a table of Go’s jubango records on Wikipedia.org (ENG).


Go Seigen was notable for his fast-paced development & playing, fighting style, positional judgment and accurate reading. He settled his groups quickly, got to the big points first, and regularly used much less time in a game than his opponents. He was exceptional at using thickness and making large exchanges. His reading was fast and accurate, and his intuition and positional judgment were often praised. It was also noted that he rarely lost a ko fight that he initiated. Like many players of his time he mastered the Shusaku Opening before switching to his later style.


In addition to being a peerless match player, Go Seigen has also made great contributions to Go theory, especially in the area of fuseki. He is well known, along withKitani Minoru, as one of the two leading exponents and innovators of the shinfuseki, a period of revolutionary experimentation in the opening of the game that broke away from traditional moves. Go attributed some of his ideas to Honinbo Shuei, for whom he had much respect. As a result of their substantial contributions to Go theory, Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru are regarded as the founders of modern Go. He was inventor of the notable and revolutionary uchimagari (inward bending)avalanche joseki variation. It was first played during a match against Takagawa Kaku in 1957.

Matches against the Honinbos

During the 1950s, apart from playing the jubango, Go Seigen participated in many three-game special matches against the Honinbo title holders and other notable players. His opponents in these matches included many illustrious names, such as Hashimoto Utaro, Sakata Eio, Takagawa Shukaku, and the ex-Honinbo Iwamoto Kaoru. Go Seigen was also matched against Kubouchi Shuchi, a player from the Kansai Ki-in who had a strong individual style. In these matches, Go Seigen demonstrated an equal dominance over his rivals. He had an excellent record against Takagawa, whose main achievement was winning the Honinbo title for nine consecutive years. In the period between 1951 and 1960, Go won 22 of their games, and Takagawa won 13. By 1960, Sakata had emerged as Go Seigen’s most serious rival, but the results of their games between 1950 and 1960 told the same kind of story. Go had 14 wins to Sakata’s 9 and one jigo, or draw. It’s very important to note that in the games they played then, there was no Komi (in modern era, Black’s initial advantage of moving first is offset by komi of 6.5-7.5 points). Because Go Seigen held white most of the time, his record is even more impressive than it appears.

Notable game against Honinbo Shusai

In 1933, Go Seigen won a special Nihon Ki-in tournament to have the opportunity to play a game against Honinbo Shusai Meijin. At that juncture, Honinbo Shusai embodied the highest Go authority and tradition in Japan. In addition to inheriting the hereditary title ofHoninbo, he was also the holder of the prestigious position of Meijin. The game between Go Seigen and Shusai was thus highly anticipated. The newspapers thought it would be a good business idea to publicize the game as a confrontation between Japan and China. As a consequence, Go Seigen became the unfortunate victim of rising Japanese nationalism. Before and during the game, he was often harassed and threatened by nationalists, and the windows of his house were smashed in.

The game itself began on October 16, 1933 with Go Seigen taking black and lasted for a period of almost three months. During the opening of the game, Go Seigen caused quite a sensation by playing his first three moves at 3-3 (San San), 4-4 (Hoshi) and center (Tengen) points. Such a fuseki had never before been witnessed in a professional game, and the newspapers covering the game recorded top sales all throughout the match. This marked one of the seminal events that pushed the “Shin Fuseki” movement into the mainstream.

The match ended with Honinbo Shusai winning by two points. However, his victory was surrounded by controversies. At the time of the match, the tradition dictated that the player holding white had the right to adjourn the game at anytime, and there was no sealing of moves before adjournment. This meant that Shusai, being the nominally stronger player and thus holding white, could adjourn the match whenever it was his turn to move and continue deliberating at home before the match resumed. Shusai shamelessly abused this privilege by adjourning the game more than a dozen times, all at his turn to play. For instance, on the eighth day of the match, Shusai played first, and Go Seigen replied within two minutes, Shusai then thought for three and a half hours, only to adjourn the game. It was no secret that Shusai, during adjournments, discussed and studied the game with his students to come up with the best moves. Go Seigen was therefore put into an especially adverse position for having to take on the entire Honinbo establishment.

Shusai had been trailing all throughout the match when, on the 13th day of the game, he made a brilliant move that in a single stroke brought him back into the game and guaranteed his victory. However, it was widely rumored that it was not Shusai but one of his students – Maeda Nobuaki – who authored this ingenious move. Even Maeda himself hinted that this move was indeed his idea. Years later, when presented with the opportunities to debunk this rumor, he neither confirmed nor denied it. The game became known as the game of the century.

Five years later in 1938, Go Seigen’s great friend Kitani Minoru also played a notable game against Honinbo Shusai (see The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata). Due in no small part to having witnessed the treatment Go Seigen received from Shusai in their previous match, Kitani Minoru demanded that the moves be sealed before each adjournment. Initially, Shusai’s camp opposed this, but Kitani vehemently insisted, and Shusai eventually gave in. Kitani won that game by a comfortable margin of five points.

Rank Promotion Record

Rank Year Notes
1 dan (Was given 3 dan when turning professional.)
2 dan (Was given 3 dan when turning professional.)
3 dan 1929 Ranking conferred after a series of evaluation games.
4 dan 1930
5 dan 1932
6 dan 1934
7 dan 1939
8 dan 1942
9 dan 1950 Via special recommendation by the Nihon Kiin.

Tournament Victories & Runners-up

Go was often not allowed or invited to participate in the Japanese tournaments of the day due to political reasons involving his racial background. Additionally, half of Go’s career was before the rise of title matches. As such, there are very few title or tournament victories by him. Nonetheless, his strength was most aptly demonstrated in his famed one-on-one matches with the peers of his day.

Title Won Runner-up
 6-dan Winners’ Oteai 1936
 All-Japan Go Championship 1935
 Japan Championship (Yomiuri Shinbunevent) 1933
 NHK Cup 1976
 Old Meijin 1962
 Oteai 1930 (Autumn), 1931 (Autumn), 1932 (Spring), 1933 (Autumn), 1935 (Spring), 1942 (Spring), 1932 (Autumn), 1933 (Spring), 1934 (Spring)
 Saikyo 1958, 1961 (tied with Sakata Eio)


Award Years Won
 Honorary Member of the Nihon Ki-in 1983?
 Okura Prize 1967

End of Carreer and Retirement

In the summer of 1961, Go Seigen was struck by a motorcycle and was hospitalized for two months and again for a longer period a year later. He suffered nerve damage, and his stamina and concentration greatly deteriorated as a result. The accident marked the beginning of the end for Go Seigen’s career, as he was unable to play effectively in grueling long matches due to nausea and dizziness. He gradually played less and less and went into virtual retirement in 1964, although he did not “officially” retire until 1983.

Since retirement, Go Seigen has remained active in the Go community by teaching, writing, and promoting the game around the world. He has authored a number of books on Go, some of which include A Way of Play for the 21st Century, Modern Joseki Application Dictionary, and Fuseki and Middle-game Attack and Defence. Go Seigen still holds study sessions with other professional players such as O Rissei, Michael Redmond, Rui Naiwei, and others.

In 1987, Go Seigen was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for his lifetime contributions to the game of Go.

In 1999 Mr. Teramoto, Go Seigen’s manager, told Go writer Pieter Mioch “He [Go Seigen] is one of three Go players who will still be notable several hundred years from now. The other two are Dosaku (1645 – 1702) and Shusaku (1829 – 1862).”

Chinese film director Tian Zhuangzhuang filmed a 2006 biopic on Go Seigen entitled The Go Master.

Go Seigen died on 30th November 2014 (Sunday morning), in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

(Source: 12/2014 – Wikipedia.org)

Related Articles…

Trailer “The Go Master” (2006)…

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)

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 ]

The Grandfather of GO: Yasu Senchi (1764-1837)

Yasui Senchi's book "KARAKU YO SU (KARAKU YOSU)", published 1822.

Yasui Senchi’s book “KARAKU YO SU (KARAKU YOSU)”, published 1822. (Source: Biblio.com)

I am inspired by the description about the “Grandfather of GO” (or the Father of Modern GO), so was called GO Pro Yasui Senchi ( 1764-1837).

Senchi’s style was notably different from the other players of his days, leading to one description of his play as “switching between the orthodox and unorthodox in fathomless ways“. His style was later revived and refined as shinfuseki in the 1930s

Senchi often began from the 4-5 and 3-5 points, played on the fourth and fifth lines, emphasized the center, and enjoyed building large center moyos.

Here a game from Sensei’s Libary Senchi played against Monetzu (7D) on 23rd December 1809 (Source: http://senseis.xmp.net/?YasuiSenchi )

d681eb11b05ad1d0e31e684559136a00.sgf (493 Bytes)

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

Another game of Senchi I found on Badukmovies (Source: http://goo.gl/E6hC0n)

Black: Yasui Senchi Senkaku 6p
White: Honinbo Retsugen 7p
Date: 26 June 1787
Result: B+12

Senchi-versus-Honinbo Retsugen -1787-1
Yasui_Senchi_Senkaku-Honinbo_Retsugen.sgf (1.8 KB)

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

Have fun with playing GO ! 

GO SEIGEN celebrates today his 100th birthday.. Congrats!

Happy 100th birthday to master Go Seigen / 吴清源 !


Congrats… and a deep bow. I still have 50 years and 4 days to celebrate such an impressive anniversary… plenty of time to reformat my brain into a Go grid…


Is it GO that GS became 100 ? Playing Go can help to reduce the risks for Alzheimer and Demencia, I suppose… 🙂

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