TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY”

TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY” 1

This week I came across an astonishing article published by American Go Association on August 2008. Although the article is really old, that does not lower at all how valuable it is. I want to express my deepest appreciation towards this article, because it is just wonderful ! It made me think about so many things and I am sharing this with the idea that many other will read it and rethink about the way they play Go.

I remember the first joy of playing Go, that furious spirit to just play and play more, that unstoppable desire to explore the depth of the game. However, I also remember the moment when I realized that it is much deeper and the strategy is really complex, but the complexity is not really what makes it special to me. The thing what really makes Go special to me is that it really reflects our life on the board. Yes, these black and white stones, board with lines and simple rules, can mean much more than it looks like. The way I think, feel and act can be easily seen, reflected and understood on the board.

TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY” 

Takemiya Masaki 9P smiled broadly at the overflow audience in the U.S. Go Congress main playing room. “When you sit down to play a game is your aim to win the game or to become stronger? You probably think you can do both,” he continued, “but these are quite different projects.” A nervous chuckle ran through the audience. “The problem with trying to win – besides the fact that it makes it hard to enjoy the game – is that you don’t trust your feelings about where to play. When you look over the board there’ll be a place find you want to play, but if you’re concerned about winning, you’re not going to trust your feeling. You’ll think and analyze and nervously play somewhere else. This is a terrible way to play go. You should look at the board and play wherever you want to. This is the way to get stronger. I say this everywhere I go, around the world, but no one believes me. Nevertheless it’s true. Of course, when you do this, you’ll lose a lot of games. So you have to review the games. That way your feelings about the game will get better and you will not only get stronger, you’ll also find that playing go is a lot of fun. And you’ll win more often. This is go the natural way.” Another surprising suggestion from Takemiya is “Don’t worry about territory. People say that the player with the most territory wins but this is not true. It’s the player with the most territory at the end who wins. The way to win is not to worry about how much territory each player gains. The key is making good shape. If you learn how to make good shape all over the board, you’ll be the one who wins.” 
– by Bill Cobb; photo by Phil Straus

Below you could see some positions from Takemiya Masaki’s games, which are connected to “Go the natural way”. I personally really love how free these moves look like, feels like he plays everything what he wants to play and it is full of freedom and beauty.

TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY” 2

Takemiya Masaki 9p (Black) vs. Yoda Norimoto 8p B+0.5 (5.5 komi) 

1991-08-08 16th Japanese Meijin, League

TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY” 3

Takemiya Masaki 9p (Black) vs. Otake Hideo 9p B+4.5 (5.5 komi)

1981-07-23 29th Japanese Oza, round 2

TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY” 4

Honda Kunihisa 9p (Black) vs. Takemiya Masaki 9p W+0.5 (5.5 komi)

1982-01-14 7th Japanese Meijin, League

TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY” 5

Takemiya Masaki 9p (Black) vs. Cho Chikun 9p B+3.5 (5.5 komi)

1986-02-12 24th Japanese Judan, Challenger Decision Match

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2 responses to “TAKEMIYA: ”DON’T WORRY ABOUT TERRITORY””

  1. Great article. Interesting advice indeed. I have a non-standard opening I’ve been playing with (and having mixed success with). I like playing it. But recently, when I asked a higher kyu player how I could improve my game – the only thing he told me was to criticize this opening. So for the last few games I’ve started, I played a more standard opening. Too embarrassed to continue experimenting with my strange opening. Maybe I will reconsider. Thanks for the article. Keep them coming.

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