Level up


The insei leagues of May concluded last weekend. Before the weekend I was comfortably on the first place in the C class with 13 wins and 5 losses, but as the end of the month drew near, pressure crept in. On Saturday I got two losses, which dropped me to shared second place, but on Sunday I was able to score full three wins, which got me back to the first place. As such, I will now for the first time get to play in the B class next weekend!

The insei play in two different rooms at the Nihon Ki-in, on the seventh floor. Classes from E to C play in a larger room, and classes B and A (each with 10 insei) are separated to a different, smaller room. The large training room tends to get noisy; not only because of the larger number of children, but also because of differing schedules between the classes. E class insei play six games a day, D class insei five games a day and C class insei three games a day, and whenever there’s a break between games, it’s not uncommon for the insei to move slightly away from the playing tables and then start discussing their games. Because of the different schedules between the classes, this means that most of the the day there is some background noise.

B and A class insei both play two games a day, save for the first and third Saturdays, when they play three games. The three-game days seem to be fashioned so that exactly 18 games get played each month, which translates to two games against each opponent. When playing three games a day, the time settings are same as in the C class (40 minutes main time and 40 seconds byo-yomi), and on days with two games, the settings are 1 hour of main time and 1 minute byo-yomi. All in all, next weekend I can expect significantly more thinking time, a more quiet playing room and more serious opponents, all of which sound great!

Lately I have been going to the Ichikawa dojo once a week. Last time, while reviewing some insei games from last weekend with Mimura-sensei, we came up with a few interesting tesuji for sabaki, which I would like to share this time in problem format. If the reader is not familiar with sabaki, I might first recommend them to see the lecture I held on sabaki for the Advanced Study Room on KGS not too long ago, accessible on their webpage.

fig1

The initial position was as above, with white just having played the circle-marked move. To amateur players, pushing towards the centre at the right of white’s circle-marked stone might come as an immediate reaction, but there is another move to consider as well…

noname_var1

…that is, black’s direct attachment at 1. If white responded with 7 to black 1, then black 2 would quickly produce resilient shape for black.

In this case, however, white might poke at black’s shape with 2, after which the sequence up to white 10 follows: black’s stones in the upper right corner area remain floating and a little bit weak.

Problem 1: When black plays the hane of 11, how does white make sabaki?

fig2

In the game, black didn’t attach on the white stone towards the right, but instead pushed up towards the centre. Some moves later, the board looked like above.

var2

For black, the kosumi attachment of 1 would be a simple and efficient way of play. White would have to keep himself connected with 2, after which black could force 3-7 in sente and then return to connect at 9, creating a promising moyo position on the lower side.

noname_var2

In the actual game, however, black attached at 1 here, mistakenly thinking that white would have to respond by cutting at j14. White’s counter-hane of 2 instead made it hard for black to figure out how to make sabaki.

Problem 2: It turns out, however, that after white 2, black has a great tesuji for sabaki available—but where?

Answers to these problems will follow later!

Results and more on insei customs

Now, after the third October insei week is done with, I’m already able to claim the first place of class E. My result last weekend was another 11 wins, 0 losses, giving me a total result so far of 31 wins and 2 losses. The number two in class E has so far 13 losses, so even in the worst-case scenario, were I not to attend next week, it would be a tie for the first place. Needless to say, I won’t even think about not attending next weekend — after all, this training is what I came to Japan for. There’s one more weekend of October left, after which the top four insei (based on results) of each class go up a class, and the bottom four go down one. Class E has 60 minutes of time reserved for one game, resulting in a fast 30 minutes sudden death (with no byo yomi) time setting, but class D already has 90 or 120 minutes of time per round, depending on whether it’s a three or four-game day. Class D’s time settings are 40 minutes of main time with a 40 seconds per move Japanese byo yomi on three-game days, and 30 minutes of main time with a 30 seconds per move Japanese byo-yomi on four-game days.

I thought the readers might find the insei results sheet system interesting, so I went and took a photo. The system is, in fact, same as the one we’ve seen in Hikaru no Go! So far, I haven’t stamped my own palm in order to “grab the win”.

Red circles indicate wins, while black circles indicate losses. 中 inside a red circle means that the game was won by resignation, 5半 means a win by 5.5 points, and 不 means a default win. テアキ means a free round, due to the odd number of insei in class E. This sheet is for weeks 3 and 4; the results of the first two weeks are written in the lower part of the sheet.

Continue reading “Results and more on insei customs”