Eio Sakata, along with Go Seigen and Cho Chikun, will go down in history as one of the great geniuses of 20th-century go. Go Seigen was the preeminent player of the 1940s and 50s, while Cho Chikuns reign began in the early 1980s and continues to this day.
Sakatas go is marked by brilliant and unexpected moves, and, in his heyday, he had no rivals. This earned him the nickname "Razor Sharp.«Sakata. In his career, he has won 64 titles, a record yet to be broken, although Cho Chikun is near to breaking it as he has 58 titles.
Sakata was born on Feb. 15, 1920. He made
This was a humiliating start for Sakatas career in the big league, but in 1952 he won two newspaper-sponsored titles that heralded his coming domination of the tournament scene. After that, he won one title after another. Only one title eluded him-the Honinbo-but finally, in 1961, he won the Honinbo league and became the challenger for the title. He went on to defeat Kaku Takagawa, who had held the title for nine straight years, four wins to one loss. Then, in 1963, he won the Yomiuri-sponsored Meijin title to become the first Meijin-Honinbo of the modern era.
But in 1965, Sakata began his slow decline. That year,
Sakata handily won the first game of the match, but, to everyones surprise, Rin won the next three games. Although Sakata managed to win the fifth after Rin made a mistake, he was completely outplayed in the sixth and final game, and
Sakata came back the next two years to challenge Rin for the Meijin title, but each time he was defeated in the title match by a score
Rin challenged him for the Honinbo title in 1967. Although Sakata beat Rin that year, Rin became the challenger again in 1968 and dethroned Sakata as the Honinbo, becoming the second Meijin-Honinbo of the modern era.
Sakata was still a force in the go world to be reckoned
Problem 9. In last weeks column, you were asked to find the white move that would capture the five marked black stones. Clearly, White 1 in Diagram 1 would fail. Black would connect at 2 and all his stones are linked to his group in the corner. A more inspired move is required. White 1 in Diagram 2 is a clever move.
Suppose Black captures the marked white stone with 2 in Diagram 3. The position in Diagram 4 would result. But the marked black stones are now one move away from being captured. Their only liberty being the point where the white stone was captured. Therefore, White can come back and capture the six marked black stones with 3 in Diagram 5. This capturing technique is known as «snapback.»
Ladders are another kind of technique used to capture stones. For example, Black can capture the marked white stone inDiagram 6 using this technique. Black threatens to capture the white stone with an atari at 1 inDiagram 7. If White tries to escape with 2, Black ataris again with 3; White continues to try and escape by playing on the only point available with 4, but Black makes another atari with 5.
The sequence continues in Diagrams 8 and 9, but, when White arrives at the edge of the board, Black ataris with 13 and White has nowhere to go; Black can capture the seven white stones on the next move by playing at A.
Problem 10. In this problem, you have to capture the marked white stone in a ladder.