Keywords: Go term

Chinese: 天王山 (tian1 wang2 shan1)
Japanese: 天王山 (tennōzan)
Korean: -

Table of contents Table of diagrams

One space jump
On the frontier of opposing moyous
One space jump
One space jump
Tengen as tennozan
16th GS Caltex Cup Moves 22 - 25


Literal meaning

天 = heaven
王 = king
山 = mountain

Historical meaning

A small (270m) strategically-located mountain on the Kyoto/Osaka border, over which a decisive battle was fought in 1582 between Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who won) and Akechi Mitsuhide (the battle of Yamazaki). Thus, commanding position or strategic point. By extension, a battle over such a position or competition to occupy it first.

The is an oblique connection with go: the victor in that battle chased after his vanquished opponent when the latter killed Oda Nobunaga? on the night of the alleged triple ko game with Honinbo Sansa known as the Assassination at Honnoji Temple.

Meanings in Go

  1. A high, commanding point critical to both sides, with the potential to decide the direction of the game. Often, a board-dominating point at the boundary of opposing moyos, or boshi-like move. Often occurs near the end of the fuseki or the beginning of the middle game. Merely being big or strategic does not suffice to make a move or point tennozan.
  2. Decisive game. In a seven-game series tied 2-2, the fifth game is crucial. It will place one player just one win away from victory; the other player just one loss away from defeat (kadoban). The winning player will have a "commanding position" in the series. Thus, such a game is also called tennozan.

Other meanings

In Shogi there is a proverb that the centre square is the Tennozan; in sport in general it refers to a decisive match.


tennōzan wo nogasu na, literally keep your eye out for the pivotal situation in the game, or don't miss the chance to take the point which expands your moyo while reducing your opponent's.


Example 1 Boshi at tengen

[ext] This commentary at asahi.com says "Black 49 is tennouzan." It's a boshi, attacking the white group and enlarging upper-right moyo.


Example 2 One space jump

One space jump  

From [ext] http://www.sankei.co.jp/edit/igo/html/juudan/02judan/2_04.html, which says, "Black should have decisively taken the tennouzan point."

Example 3 Keima

[ext] Example 3. Says "For 25 the tennouzan was 27." The move indicated is a knight's move at the boundary of two moyos.

Example 4 In a book by Haruyama Isamu

On www.pietsch-companion.com (now apparently defunct[1]) there was a discussion of a book (by Haruyama Isamu 9-dan) with a chapter called Moyo no tennouzan, focusing on tennouzan as points where moyos come into conflict.

Example 5 51st Oza title match

On the frontier of opposing moyous  

From the [ext] 51st Oza title match, game 5. According to the commentary, the large knight's move of W16 is the tennozan related to the expansion or reduction of both players' moyos, and must not be overlooked.

Example 6 Nakamura Doseki v. Yasui Santetsu

One space jump  

Yasui Santetsu was Black vs. Nakamura Doseki

From [ext] http://mignon.ddo.jp/assembly/mignon/go_kisi/doseki_santetu3.html

Example 7

One space jump  

From [ext] http://hobby.nikkei.co.jp/igo/oza/50_1_3/05.html. The comment is "Black grabs the chance to jump to the Tennozan point and take the lead."

PJT (2020-08-13) I suspect the above link of being defunct, but my Japanese is not up to confirming that and finding a valid version on an archive site. Can anyone help?

Example 8 Another tennozan at tengen

Tengen as tennozan  

Position from game between Go Seigen, taking three stones, and Honinbo Shusai, Jan. 1-19, 1930. In his commentary in Go Seigen's book Saishin Uchigo Kenkyuu, vol. II, p. 109, Go notes, "a (the move played in the game) should have been at B1, a point worthy of the name tennozan (tennouzan tomo iu beki tokoro)."

Concerning this game, Go relates: "This was a three-stone game played against Shusai Meijin under a 2-3-2 handicap. Mistakenly believing it was instead 2-2-3, I placed two stones on the board, only to be gruffly told by Shusai Meijin, 'mittsu (three)'. I recall how I instantly tensed up." Although not a particularly good game for Go, he did end up winning by 11 points.

Example 9 16th GS Caltex Cup

16th GS Caltex Cup Moves 22 - 25  

With move W22 white soberly protects the corner. Black's jump at B23, is played on the point that determines the growth of each player's influence and at the same time the reduction of other player's; this point is absolutely Tennozan. By contrast, Jin Zhixi turns a blind eye to this urgent point. It is truly difficult to understand why he would allow his opponent to play there.

白22继续守角,是在冷静。黑23跳,这里关系到双方的校长,绝对的天王山.金志锡对比要点居然视而不见,实在让人费解. -- Weiqi Tiandi 15 July 2011 issue, page 58.

White resigned after 119 moves. [ext] Full game record.

Authors: Bob Myers, John F, Bill Spight, others.

See also


[1] The site www.pietsch-companion.com is now apparently defunct. See the Wayback Machine at [ext] https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://pietsch-companion.com/web/20110315000000/http://pietsch-companion.com/ for what seems to be the most recently archived version of the site before it was lost. The following URLs appear to be no longer valid and not to have been archived there:

Old URL for discussion: [ext]
Old URL for book: [ext]

Tennozan last edited by hnishy on September 4, 2022 - 07:05
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Login / Prefs
Sensei's Library