Sub-page of TheArtOf9x9Go

Miyamoto Naoki 8p vs
Go Seigen 9p
1968, Japan

9x9 Board  

It was in 1968, when the two Go master played a two-games match to decide a proper komi for 9x9 Go. This is the first game of the match and the first Sino-Japanese 9x9 Go match in history. This is also the first year in the timeline of Computer Go. The first ever program which played complete Go games was written in 1968. Now, in 2021, with the AlphaZero modifying technology, we have the strongest superhuman Go program to analyze the game record. We are going back to 1968, peering this game, to see the strength and weakness of both players more clearly, and then correct their moves for better results (higher wining rate and higher score for each move).

Let's see the logic behind this game, which has been unnoticed since 1968.


Miyamoto has black stones. He played B1 at D5, or Takamoku, a popular opening in 9x9 Go. B1 implies Miyamoto is a territorial player. He expected White to reply at a, which will create a balance influence by equally dividing the board into two sections: the left and the right sides.

Takamoku is a careful opening, often used when Black thinks the opponent is probably stronger. Yoki Satoshi 9p also opened the game with Takamoku when his opponent is former world champion Cho Hunhyun 9p (Jan. 6, 2002).

Double Takamoku  

Go Seigen, White, played Takamoku too, which creates the balance as said. This is the best move for White. Cho Hunhyun 9p also played W2 just like this. Why did they play so? See the following consequences if White plays W2 differently.



If White plays W2 at Hoshi, to approach B1 with the knight move, Black can attack W2 in many ways and will win, with the confidence of 98-99%.

One global strategy is to push White towards the smaller top right corner so that Black can occupy the larger free land, from the left top, the left bottom, and the right bottom corners. The moves from B3 to B53 shows the implementation of this pushing strategy.


First, Black can play the contact move B3, to weaken W2, with the support of B1. Then, White helps W2 with W4, and then Black continues the attack with B5; White saves W4 with W6 and Black secures the group with B7.

The war continues until move 53. Black always leads White.


Local tactics are employed from B11 to B19.

Black helps black+triangle with B11, which simultaneously attacks white+triangle.

Helping white+triangle is not urgent, White plays a bigger move, W12, to protect the large free space on the top.

B13 claims the large empty space and shows the intention to invade the top left area, to destroy White's space.

B14 tries to block Black from invasion.

B15 strengthens B13, to develop a firm basis for more powerful attack and defend of this camp.

W16 expands White's base and protects the top right corner.

B17 tries to resist; W18 secures the group; B19 starts the invasion plan.

White wants to kill more Black's space in the right bottom zone. One strategy is to let white+triangle die with more friends, by adding more white stones to die, such as W20 so that White can push black stones from the external more forcefully, deeper into the bottom corner along the right edge.


Eventually, Black wins by 4 points.

So, Go Seigen is right. Don't play W2 at Hoshi when B1 is Takmoku. Takamuku beats Hoshi.

Hint: Play the copy move for W2 if B1 is Takamoku. This art of 9x9 Go has been confirmed by the games of Go Seigen 9p in 1986, Cho Hunhyun 9p in 2002, and the superhuman master, Kata Go 40bs604 in 2021.


Back to the game

Miyamoto wants to attack W2.

The approaching moves, from a to f, are optional, but he wants to break the balance between B1 and W2 so that Go Seigen will not copy his move again.


So, Miyamoto headbutts with B3, the first bad move in this game.

Note: Moves in 9x9 Go can be classified into four groups: very bad, bad, good, and best moves.

  • Very bad moves are the moves that cause the winning rate drops too much, unmarked by Kata Go.
  • Bad moves are the moves that cause the winning rate drops much, marked as brown stones by Kata Go.
  • Good moves are the moves that cause a high winning rate, marked as green stones by Kata Go.
  • Best moves are the moves that cause the highest winning rate, marked as blue stones by Kata Go.

These concepts are true for some GUIs, such as Lizzi.


Black wants to attack W2 further by pressing at either a or b. White needs to help W2 before it is too late, by extending to either a or b, which is the key point for both players. This operation illustrates the proverb The enemy's key point is your own key point.

square is too aggressive, as W2 is still weak, so is square. triangle, on the other hand, is too passive, still allowing Black to hane at a.


Go Seigen played W4, aiming at claiming the lower right corner. He expected Black to reply somewhere on the top. If so, he will play a jumping move toward the lower zone, such as at b to map a territory before invading the large free land on the left, such as at a. This is his unseen strategy.

TheArtOf9x9Go/LM1 last edited by 2001:0fb1:0091:1da1 on February 17, 2021 - 15:23
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