A Master Game

British Go Journal No. 1. Summer 1967. Page 13c.

Yamabe v. Ohira

Black gives 4½ points komi. In a professional tournament to avoid ties 4½ or 5½ points are given for komi.

This game was played in the tournament to decide the challenger for the Honinbo title. This is the premier title for professionals and is held by Sakata (9p) who is generally acknowledged to be the best player at the present time. the tournament was won by Rin (8p and Meijin) with a score of 6 wins and 1 loss. Rin is from Formosa and is only 24 years old.

The time allowed for each player in the tournament is 9 hours, and after this time is used up 1 minute per play is allowed. For amateur games the time limits are usually 2 hours, and then 30 seconds per play.

Black: Yamabe, 9p
White: Ohira, 9p
Time: 9 hours
Komi: 4½

The game-file in SGF format.

Figure 1 (1-50)

  • Black 7: A very popular move these days, settling this area quickly.
  • White 8 - 14: All these plays are standard.
  • Black 15: Aiming to take a large position by playing A next.
  • Black 17: If 17' was played at B, white 17 would utilise 12 to the maximum in building up territory.
  • Black 19 - 22: Standard sequence for this corner position.
  • Black 23: Attacking 12, so white retaliates with a strong counter attack on 11 & 13.
  • Black 25: The normal practice, strengthening his stones and reducing the corner.
  • White 28:
    Diagram 1

    5 at square.
    If White plays 28' at 1 in Dia 1, Black plays as shown and isolates white triangle on the south side.
  • Black 31 protects the corner and attacks 16 strongly.
  • White 34: The usual reply to 33 is 38, but in this case there is a white stone at 32 and white can afford to attack the black stones more strongly.
  • Black 41: This is better than 42, which forces white along the fourth line and lets white gain an easy life, even though the cut at 42 can be taken.
  • White 48 ensures a connection to the lower white group, and takes away the base of the black stones forcing them to run into the centre. It also forces 49.
Figure 2 (51-101)

55 at 52.
  • White 52 reduces the liberties of the black group by one with sente.
  • Black 61: If Black plays elsewhere, white can cut here and separate all the black armies.
  • White 62 threatens to cut at A. For then:
    Diagram 2

    Dia 2 isolates the central black men.
  • Black 63: Black again counter attacks instead of protecting the cutting point directly.
  • White 66 - 86: White continues to isolate the central black men and to profit by attacking their possible connections, but gives up two stones in the process.
  • Black 87 - 94: Black connects his two weak groups and is forced to make eyes by 94.
  • White 100 forces 101 and threatens to cut at B after he has prevented a possible black play at C, connecting to the lower black group [99].
Figure 3 (102-150)

134 ko at 110, 137 ko at 131, 148 at 110, 150 at 131.
  • White 104 safeguards his central group which has been without proper eyes all this time as black has never had an opportunity to attack them! It also threatens disconnection at A (see 62).
  • White 108 secures some territory and forces 109, otherwise black will lose these men.
  • White 114:
    Diagram 3

    White 1 in Dia 3 would lose three stones as shown.
  • White 120 gains 126 with sente.
  • White 128:
    Diagram 4

    15 at 4.
    If white 128' at 1 in Dia 4, then black captures all the white stones.
  • Black 129' at 130 would lose all the black stones.
  • Black 133 gains the ko but he hasn't enough ko threats to win it.
  • White 138 threatens to disconnect the black men again.
  • Black 149 captures the five white stones but the ko is larger.
Figure 4 (151-172)

  • White 152 destroys all the black territory in this sector.
  • White 164: After this black cannot kill the white men for Dia 5 lives.
    Diagram 5

  • Black 167 attempts to kill the corner.
    Diagram 6

    If Black plays 167' at 1 in Dia 6 white lives easily.
  • White 172: After this the corner lives.
    Diagram 7

    Diagram 8

    15 at triangle, 17 at square.
    Diagram 9

    Dias 7-9 are the best black can do. After Dia 9, white either connects with A or kills three men with B-F.

As Black is about 10 points down and has little time left he resigns.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 1
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

Last updated Thu May 04 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.