BGJ13: Professional Game

British Go Journal No. 13. April 1971. Page 6.

Shusai v. Karigane, 1926

This game was played in 1926 between two of the leading players of the time, and has been admired ever since as an example of how Go should be played. Shusai, the last of the traditionally-elected Honinbo and Meijin, dominated the Go scene in the first years of the century. Karigane, though not so well known, was the leading player of the Kiseisha Academy.

The game was played as the first of a series of matches between Kiseisha and Nihon Ki-in, and as such was of great importance to the academies as well as to the players. They had met twice before in important games, winning once each.

The quality and excitement of the play, as you will soon appreciate as you go through the game, were more than worthy of the importance of the occasion. After a calm beginning the two masters embark on a seemingly decisive hand-to-hand fight like beginners. Black loses a large group of stones, but the result is still in doubt; the life of nearly every stone on the board is called in question. This is a very exciting as well as a very instructive game.

Black: Karigane, 7p
White: Shusai, Honinbo, Meijin, 9p
No Komi
Time: 16 hours each then byoyomi.

The game-file in SGF format.

Figure 1 (1-24)

  • White 2: One of Shusai's favourite moves. Rather unusual.
  • Black 7-11: This joseki is rather out-of-keeping with his influence-seeking move 5. However, Karigane must have intended to follow this line when he played 5.
  • White 12. High play because of his low position in the lower left. He should not play in the upper left because of the black attacks at A and B. Points 12 and 13 are miai (when one player takes one, the other player plays the other, of equal value), so that white gets the excellent point 14.
  • White 16: Separating the black stones in preparation for the invasion 22.
  • White 20: Necessary to complete his security in the corner.
  • White 22: Prevents black extension from either side.
Figure 2 (24-78)

  • Black 25: Cannot play hane, because then white would draw back at B and then play either the cut at 25 or cap at 30.
  • White 26: A light play.
  • White 28: He follows the proverb by striking at the waist of the knights move, and by sacrificing one stone builds a huge moyo (area of influence) in the centre of the board. Shusai also contrives sente by the threat on the life of the isolated black group, which must connect with 35.
  • White 36 starts to build the other side of his moyo.
  • Black 39 allows him to connect at 41 with sente.
  • Black 43: The white moyo is too big for Black to be content with a small reduction from the outside; he must invade deeply into it.
  • White 46: If he plays at 60, black can live easily with the threat at 53.
  • Black 47: He could play at 48 for a small life after white 60, black 58.
  • Black 53: At this point the game was adjourned at the end of the first days play. The next three moves took two hours - even after the nights analysis.
  • Black 61 ignores the chance of playing ko at 69.
  • White 66: Black now has no life.
  • Black 67: Karigane spent three hours on this move, deciding how best to attack the encircling white stones.
  • Black 71: The attack begins. Every move up to 100 is forced.
  • White 74: The only answer to the dual threat of C and D.
Figure 3 (79-112)

84 at 79.
  • Black 101 Leads to the ko. The game enters the most difficult and decisive stage.
  • White 112:
    Diagram 1

    A daring and tough play. He could follow Diagram 1 to kill the Black group by double ko, but then there would be no weakness In the outer wall.
Figure 4 (112-211)
[ Add 100 to each number displayed in the diagram. ]

116 ko at triangle, 119 ko at 113, 122 ko, 124 connects at 113, 135 at 120.
  • White 120: A good move. Black (Karigane) thought after the game that he should have played here with 115.
  • White 136: The result he hoped for at 112, and made possible by 120, has come about. Black can no longer attack at 164, and will have problems with his central stones.
  • White 152: White builds moyo again, while attacking the central black stones.
  • White 158 extracts the last ounce of profit from his sacrifices at 128 and 140.

By this stage Karigane was seriously short of time, and made several mistakes through the pressure on him. He eventually had to give up when his 16 hours were finished. Commentators felt, however, that the game was already won for Shusai at this stage, and that the margin would have been around 5 points.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 13
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.