C class kicks off

Like I already mentioned both on Twitter and Facebook, I got a two-wins-one-loss result today, on my first C class day. The loss was against insei number 12, and the wins were against 8 and 9. Of these, only insei number 9 was in C class in the last month as well. Number 12, Fujiwara (actually a girl!), is turning into an antagonist at a fair pace.

As the more careful readers might have noticed, there’s something mysterious with the way the classes are organized this month: insei number 9 was in C class last month, and insei number 8 was in D class. I’m at place number seven. There seems to have been some reorganizing as this month, there is a female-only tournament named 女流特別合同予選. I’m sorry, I have no idea how that is supposed to be read, and even the meaning escapes me. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a female-only professional exam, or something similar. As female insei from several classes are taking the tournament, there has apparently been some rigorous reorganizing in the normal insei classes. A funny side effect is that this month, three insei from C class get promoted, while four get demoted. I don’t feel up to answer the myriad additional questions the new setup brings on, so here we have both the pairing table of C class, and the whole insei setup. Sorry for the poor quality!


For the numbers in these tables, the first one is the person's ranking inside their class, the second one is the person's ranking among all the insei, and the last one is the person's ranking among all the insei last month.


Today, I got one of my games reviewed by a guest high dan professional; each day, there is usually a non-insei teacher who takes care of the reviews, and sometimes the guest is even a celebrity. I was quite surprised when Kamimura-sensei asked me to go to the reviewing table to have my game reviewed, and the teacher waiting for me there was none other than Yoda Norimoto 9 dan, clad in a kimono. I received some good insights as to what to do differently in the opening and in the early middle game. I’ll put off writing a summary of the review for a few more days, however, as it’ll take me a few hours to do and I’ve limited time today. As the insei day was nearing its end, Yoda-sensei was asked to speak a bit about his own time as an insei, and about what’s important while studying. A big portion of the content I couldn’t understand, but he seemed to be making the point that one really has to put all their effort into studying; half-baked thinking like “it’d be nice if I could become strong, but…” won’t cut it.

On another note, I’m currently trying to formulate a kikashi-related go theory blog post in my head, as it seems to be a subject that many amateur players have a weird impression about. Several times here in Japan, I’ve myself got surprised about really uncommon kinds of kikashi. Even a basic corner approach can be one, given the right board situation! It’d be nice if there was a better English translation for the term, as “forcing move” really doesn’t cut it to me — a big part of the meaning is lost in that English translation. I’ll see what I can do about this subject in the (hopefully close) future, but don’t count on me to invent a new English term!

13 thoughts on “C class kicks off”

  1. Hello,

    I’ll play the role of the “careful reader” here, and there is some surprising reorganization going on here. The insei Iwata (岩田) and Ooshima (大島), who had the best result with you in class D (they were n°1 and 2, respectively), are nowhere to be found in class C. They do not appear on the sheet with the insei’s name and rank. Instead, insei n°3 and 4 got promoted (Fujiwara and a complicated name), even though they had a worse result, and it seems only the three of you went up to class C.

    Do you think the reorganization could have something to do with some insei exceeding the age limit and having to quit?

    1. Some precisions : Ooshima actually does appear in the Joryuu Yosen, so I guess she is a girl. Supposedly she got promoted with you and will join the C class next month. I couldn’t find Iwata and the number of promoted insei suggests he had to quit.

      As you can guess, I’m bugged when I can’t understand how a system works.

      1. Iwata is actually at number four in the female tournament — it’s very difficult to make out, though, as the photo quality is very bad. Female insei are marked with an asterisk in the right-most field in the table, I forgot to include that in the text earlier. The people 7-14 in the tournament are likely chosen from the outside with a prelimination tournament or similar.

  2. The understanding of “kikashi” we have been cultivating at Sensei’s Library is “a forcing sequence which fixes a local situation into a certain shape, the used stones being mostly having outward influence, but becoming disposable as soon as they have fulfilled their influential function”. At least that’s how I think about it, so it will indeed be very interesting to learn what your improved insights are like.

    The comment of Yoda is confronting. Most of us would like to become good at anything but rarely are prepared to make big sacrifices for it.

    1. It seems I’ve got to be careful though, as many of the ideas I seem to have are on the border between kikashi and probe. Sensei’s Library gives a pretty good distinction between the two, but in Japanese speech people often say “kore wa kiku”, =”this is forcing”, even if it’s practically about a probe. Maybe the key difference is that kikashi has an expected answer, while the opponent can answer in many different ways to a probe.

  3. I think one important aspect of “kikashi” is that it is a move that “works” or has a useful effect. There are plenty of forcing moves that are not useful, and those would not be kikashi. The dictionary definition of kiku (利 く) is to have an effect.

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