Strange goings-on in Yokohama

There was a documentary not too long ago on Japanese television about Yokohama Mary, the country's most famous "panpan girl" who died in 2005 aged 84. She kept the US sailors in Yokosuka Naval Base entertained for many years, but her real notoriety came from her lifestyle of sleeping rough and carting all her meagre possessions round. Her story attracted bohemian types such as chanson singers, which made her even more famous, yet she eschewed all offers of charity.

A long running series in Gekkan Go World on appearances of go in films and on tv Takagi Shoichi, Nihon Ki-in mentioned this documentary, though for no obvious go reason. It was just an extremely tenuous excuse to mention Takagi Shoichi 9-dan (left), since he is a native of Yokohama. Slightly more relevant was the fact that he is known as collector of what might be called bohemiana in go, mainly on the strength of an offbeat book by him. At any rate, we were glad to be reminded of it.

It is called Tenka no Kifu to Kishu - The World of Strange Games and Strange Moves (Nihon Ki-in, 1993; ISBN 4-8182-0356-4).

The bulk of it is devoted to complete games, covering famous examples such as Suzuki Etsuo's move 5 shoulder hit against Go Seigen, a triple ko game, ladders, the longest game, and so on. The second half is devoted to unusual moves. This is much smaller and each item is covered in far less depth, but in some ways it is much more interesting. These moves have generally not become famous, so have novelty value for many people. There is also the question of why they did not become well known.

For some of them we invite you to decide for yourself. At the very least they may offer you ideas for your own games. The examples we have chosen relate to the very early opening but not quite the beginning. Anyone can devise an unusual strategy in advance such as a Great Wall opening or 5-5 points, which can be played however the opponent responds. It takes rather more imagination to come up with an unusual move after beginning a game in a mundane way. We are also focusing on strategic ideas rather than new josekis.

We have supplied comments of our own, and sidelights from our database. For more rigorous discussion of the ideas we can strongly recommend Takagi's innovative book.

Next >>