Kadoban is a Japanese word adopted by the English speaking go community.
- Players who often meet generally agree that after *x* games (often), the winner advances by one handicap grade. Kadoban refers to both the system being used ("Joe and I play three-game kadoban") and the condition of being at such risk ("You have won two games, so this is kadoban for me.")
- In a title match series, the game that could lose the series for one player. Or, in an old-fashioned 10-game series (jubango) the game which if lost will require taking a greater handicap.
- back against the wall (or back to the wall)
- up against the wall
- on the ropes
It is common for kadoban to be applied only to the person who is at risk to lose (the so-called unilateral meaning of kadoban). However, it can also be used to generically describe the game where the title is at stake (the bilateral usage). A dictionary definition supports this usage:
- in a series of go or shogi games, the one that will decide the match. In a best-of-seven, the game after three losses.
Sample: 'X became Meijin after a tense kadoban'.
- Surviving kadoban: kadoban dasshutsu, kadoban wo shinogu, survive a kadoban
- Falling into kadoban: kadoban ni oikomareru, kadoban ni tatasareru, kadoban ni naru, face kadoban (when the next game will be kadoban)
The other known use of kadoban is in sumo. If someone at the ozeki rank loses two tournaments in a row, he is demoted. So if he loses one tournament, the next tournament is kadoban for him -- the one that if he loses he will be demoted. This usage is reported to have been borrowed from go and shogi. English usages include a kadoban tournament for the ozeki, Musoyama finds himself kadoban, Kaio is kadoban, the kadoban ozeki, under kadoban, in a kadoban situation, etc.