Archive for February, 2007

Updated the “Professional Go tournaments” page

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
I finished updating the “Professional Go tournaments” page – added a bit a background about the pro titles in Japan, and also a link to the upcoming Judan title page. In the Judan page I wrote a story I had almost forgotten: how Cho Chikun became self-appointed insei teacher.


Since I added the possibility to add a comment (besides the rating) at the end of most of the pages, a few people started to use it. I got mostly encouraging words – thanks everybody for your feedback! – but also the first actual suggestion: “Please post more lectures on fuseki, things like direction of play, thickness vs weakness, urgent points vs. big points”. I’ll try to do that as I’ll follow the Judan title next – and when I’m writing the next article/lesson. I am thinking to add some sort of page to allow users to vote on different topics they are more interested in – but until then please feel free to use either the feedback system on the website, or just comments to this blog and let me know if you have other suggestions.

Top rated content – and new entry page

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Top rated content

I added a new page that lists the top pages on, based on users ratings. It’s not listing the comments, but only the average rating for each page that is “rating-able” and has more than one rating. So far most of the ratings are positive, but there are only a few comments (all positive) – please don’t be shy to criticize if there is a page you don’t like, and more importantly comment on what you think can be improved.

New entry page – in test

I consider changing the entry page for from what it currently is (the “What is Go?” page) to some sort of short abstract about what the website is about. Here is the link to a possible entry page – it is just “in beta”, not used yet, or linked from anywhere on the page – please have a look and comment on whether you think it’s a good idea or not. Thanks!!

Yamashita defends Kisei title

Friday, February 23rd, 2007
Yamashita Keigo Kisei defended his title with 4 straight wins against Kobayashi Satoru. It was a young vs. senior match, and the young one won – which seems to be the rule in professional Go today, rather than the exception. See my coverage of this year’s Kisei title.

New article

I wrote a brief article on my rule of thumb when it comes to approach a “Kobayashi fuseki” formation.

“Search this site”

I added a “Search this page” control in the upper-right of each page on the site, to make easier to find things around. This is powered by Google. Also, if you haven’t noticed that already, there is a “customized Go search” page, which only searches internet pages related to Go. Let me know what your favorite Go pages are and I’ll add them to the search list.

Kobayashi plays “Kobayashi Fuseki” in Kisei game 4

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007
Game 4 of Kisei started on February 22nd (and will be continued on February 23rd) I was surprised to see the fuseki: it’s the “old” Kobayashi-fuseki (no relation to Kobayashi Satoru though – it is named after Kobayashi Koichi, who dominated Japanese Go in the 80’s). I checked in my games database, and indeed, the last time it was played in a professional tournament (at least based on the games I have) was in 2005: I don’t know of any Kobayashi-fuseki professional game from 2006!. See the diagram for what this fuseki is about: the interesting part is the lower side for Black. The most popular choices for White next are, in order: A (242 games in my collection), B (41 matches) and C (18 matches). White (Yamashita) chose C in the 4th Kisei game. When this fuseki was still new, white used to play closer approaches in the lower-right: keima-kakari and ikken-kakari appeared briefly in the 80’s and early 90’s. Note how nowadays white keeps distance – black is very strong on the lower side, after all.

Close to the end of day one, the position is very complicated: white just did a cross-cut in the center, putting pressure on the black group in the middle. Black took profit in the lower-right quarter of the board, while white took profit in the lower-left.

The most interesting part is still to follow tomorrow, on the second day of this game. I’m covering the Kisei 2007 event on

First Steps, Focus, Feedback

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Hm, 3 out of 4 words in the title of this blog entry start with the letter “F” – I’m wondering if I’ve got a fixation or something on that letter…

First Steps

I wrote a new article called “First Steps” intended to be a guide for people who just learned the rules. It used to be the end of the “What is Go?” – which is currently the entry point to my site – but I moved it to a separate page and rewrote it a bit.


Writing the “first steps” page brought again to my mind the question: “what is the focus of“? For now it’s a pretty general Go site, mostly around how to study Go, and my experience as a Go insei in Japan – I am still working on defining what the focus is :-) I do plan to add some interactive features – hope to find the time and inspiration for those.


Something that can help me finding the focus for my Go website is user feedback: besides the rating feature which I added a while ago, I also added over the weekend a comments area at the end of most of the pages: please use it in case you have suggestions/comments – it’s anonymous, so don’t be shy – thanks a lot in advance!

From Novice to Expert

Friday, February 16th, 2007
Novice: Hey dude, so what’s better here, A or B? Expert: Hm,…, er,… C. Novice: What? Why??? Expert: Trust me. Novice: Year, right… What is this all about? It is about the Dreyfus Model, which lists stages in skills acquisition that apply to most domains – including Go, I believe. It explains, among other things, why professionals don’t seem able to explain to us the reason behind their moves, and why we shouldn’t be frustrated with this. I wrote an article on this.

Awesome tesuji in Judan Challenger Final

Thursday, February 15th, 2007
Yoda Norimoto 9d and Yamashita Keigo Kisei (who is also defending the Kisei title against Kobayashi Satoru) are fighting today to decide who will challenge the current Judan title holder, Cho Chikun. The game is still undecided as I write this, but I was delighted by a tesuji that white (Yoda) played earlier in the game. White to play in dia 1 – where would you play? Hint: the lower-right corner is hot: black looks vulnerable in the corner, but what is the best way to attack him? White is also weak, he doesn’t really have many choices.

Dia 1

White 1 in dia 2 is a very nice tesuji – it takes advantage of black’s lack of liberties. If white 3 was in place to start with, white 1 would be easy to find, but in the game white 1 is surprising at first. Black is isolated in the corner after white 5 – black cannot push through on the left because white will block with atari.

Dia 2

So here is the second problem for today, easier than the first one: black to play and live in the lower-right corner in dia 3.

Dia 3

Just simply playing atari and pushing doesn’t lead anywhere: black is left with one eye. Some special measures are in order for black to live.

Dia 4

Sacrifice is the magic word: dia 5 is the best black can do, which is to fight a ko for his life (if white plays 4 at 5, for instance), but that’s of course much better than dia 4.

Dia 5

“If you want to get stronger, read this book”

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I finished reading (actually re-re-re-…-reading) one of my favorite Go books: “Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go” by Toshiro Kageyama. The title of this blog entry is the first sentence from the book. It was delightful, as it was every times I read it in the past, even if it got me a little depressed when I missed quite a few of the reading problems – so it is time for me to go back to the tsume-go books. I wrote a review. Just one little quote from the book here:
“Black 1 and 3 are wrong. Do they look natural to you? Then you will have to reverse your thought process one hundred eighty degrees if you ever want to play correctly.”

Becoming a Professional Player in Korea

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I just found this nice article: Becoming a Professional Player in Korea

The title is self-explanatory. I was impressed with the number of Korean insei at any given time: 168! That is more than 3 times the number of insei in Japan, at least at the time when I was insei.

By the way, the article is part of a nice series of Korean lessons.

In the “Proverbs Part (2)” one, I found a quite funny comment in the “If You Have Lost All Four Corners, Resign” section:

“However, after many brilliant professionals in Korea discovered the value of the sides and the center, the modern version of this proverb goes like this: “If you have secured the four corners, resign.”

The funny thing is that I have known the updated proverb from Japanese sources for a very long time now, so the brilliant professionals in Japan must have discovered that before the brilliant professionals in Korea :-)

North American Fujitsu Qualifier results

Monday, February 12th, 2007
Today was the final in the North American Fujitsu Qualifier – the tournament to decide who’s representing North America at the Fujitsu international Go championship. Jie Li, who is an amateur, defeated Mingjiu Jiang who is 7 dan pro. Jie Li has won many games against professionals – most recently a best-of-3 match against Feng Yun 9p – including victories in the past against Mingjiu, and against Jiang “Jujo” Zhujiu 9p (Mingjiu’s brother). In today’s final game, Jie Lie started by playing a calm, solid game, and strangely it was Mingjiu who seemed to try to push and complicate things, and got himself into trouble. Maybe the psychological pressure influenced Mingjiu’s game in a negative way – having lost to Jie Li before, and given that Jie Li has an amateur status, and that a pro isn’t supposed to lose against an amateur… The game was very exciting, a lot of fighting: a big group of Mingjiu’s died pretty early on, and he tried next to catch up by attacking several groups of Jie Li’s, but that didn’t work out well. First and second rounds of the Fujitsu Cup will be played at the Nihon Ki-in, on April 14th and 16th – looking forward for some exciting games. Go, Jie Li!