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White: Honinbo Shuwa
24th of 3rd month, Meiji 4 (1871-05-13)
1 ~ 100
The technique of White's opening moves 16, the approach move, and 18, the push, was very rarely played by Master Shuwa up to his middle years, but it often appears in the openings of his later years. There was no doubt a reason for this. The Master once told his pupils, "When I am at the board I dare say I am no stronger than all of you, but in every game I vary the openings a lot so that the same position never comes up again because of fixed opening patterns. This is the only way I differ from you." The fact that the top players of that period, Ito Showa, Ota Yuzo and so on, all took the handicap of first move against this master is probably because of his predilection for changing the shapes as in this opening.
Black 29 is played here because 31 is an important point and he wants to play there: he quickly settles the shape so that he can take sente.
Playing Black 55 first is a very good order of moves. If White has not blocked at 54, then even if Black plays 55, White will perhaps ignore it and things will become difficult to fathom. However, once he has blocked at 54 it is inevitable that he will answer 55 at 56. Because the moves here are in some way tied up with each player's intentions, it is difficult to asses their merits and demerits in advance.
Black 63 normally would be at 74, but here it would leave White the attachment at A, so that it is better to combine defence by playing this way.
Black 77 takes advantage of the fact that White's centre group is not yet settled, and playing here first is a very good order of moves.
For Black 129, it was possible to continue against the White centre group with 130, but I judged that Black had a slight lead and so decided to hold back.
101 ~ 197
© John Fairbairn & T Mark Hall (GoGoD), London 2007.