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How to improve your Go: some advices by Japanese pros

The year 2000 saw the 50th anniversary of the Kansai Kiin, the Osaka-based (West Japan) rival to the much bigger Tokyo-based (East Japan) Nihon Ki-in. Some of this often intense rivalry has been sketched out in our series on the Forgotten Match. They even disagree to the extent that Tokyo makes the official English name Ki-in but Osaka prefers Kiin. But they also find lots to agree about, too.

To celebrate not just its survival for half a century but also its robust health, the Kansai Kiin has issued an anniversary book called San-san (Brilliance). Just 176 pages but in large format, it is packed with data that is accessible even in large part to non-Japanese readers. Each active pro had to contribute a game or a problem. Part 1 is a series of problems specially devised for the book - not just ordinary life-and-death but also full-board problems and puzzles. Part 2 is a collection of games chosen because they meant something special to the winner (the reasons are given, along with a short commentary).

Each selection is prefaced by a photo and thumbnail biography of the player, which includes the player's suggestion for the best way for ordinary go fans to improve. I have listed here all those given by the 9-dan players, plus a few more from the lower-ranked players.

The book also includes essays on the Kansai Kiin's history and many useful tables or lists. A bargain at a mere 2000 yen (though marred slightly by some misprints), it is available from the Kansai Kiin (Nihon Bunka Kaikan Building, Kitahama 2-1-23, Chuo-ku, Osaka City 541-0041). It has no ISBN number but publication day was 1 August 2000.   
Kansai Kiin anniversary book

Advice from the Kansai Kiin

Play with people about two stones stronger - Hashimoto Shoji 9-dan

Only actual games - Sato Sunao 9-dan

Think about what you should be regarding as most important in the current position - Koyama Yasuo 9-dan

Be sure to count during the game - Tono Hiroaki 9-dan

Treat each game you play as important - Minami Yoshimi 9-dan

Have confidence and strive to do your best - Shiraishi Yutaka 9-dan

Enjoy life-and-death problems - Mizuno Hiroshi 9-dan

Enjoying easy life-and-death problems - Oyama Kunio 9-dan

Striving to solve easy life-and-death problems completely and asking pros about problem points - Ushikubo Yoshitaka 9-dan

Playing lots of games - Ushinohama Satsuo 9-dan

Lots of games with stronger players - Endo Takahiro 9-dan

Play where you want to - Morino Setsuo 9-dan

Play lots of go - Muraoka Shigeyuki 9-dan

Playing with confidence. Being taught by professional players. - Hotta Yozo 9-dan

Play moves you want to play regardless of the outcome - Yokota Shigeaki 9-dan

Study tesuji and life-and-death problems - Yuki Satoshi 9-dan

Use moves you have learnt - Chin Kaei 9-dan

Playing lots of games. But don't just play - put your heart and soul into it. - Kubouchi Shuchi 9-dan

(1) Throw away your scruples.
(2) Survey the whole board.
(3) Check whether you can tenuki. - Miyamoto Naoki 9-dan

Repeatedly study simple and basic life-and-death problems, until they are in your eye and brain. You will become strong by understanding the patterns and processes. - Miyamoto Yoshihisa 9-dan

Review your own games by playing them over. - Ishii Shinzo 9-dan

Studying games, and life-and death problems - Honda Kunihisa 9-dan

The most important thing is to find a good teacher. - Ota Seido 9-dan

Don't attack and don't defend - Sonoda Yuichi 9-dan

(1) Try new ideas and play for fun.
(2) Do simple life-and-death problems. - Yamazaki Yoshihiro 9-dan

Stress a feeling of reserve - Kubo Katsuaki 9-dan

Have a rival - Hasegawa Sunao 9-dan

Sustain the feeling that you want to become strong - Kiyonari Tetsuya 9-dan

Play lots of go - Takahara Shuji 9-dan

One life-and-death problem each day - Imamura Toshiya 9-dan

Solving lots of life-and-death problems in order to acquire reading ability - Yukawa Mitsuhisa 9-dan

If you have a mind to study sincerely and with unmixed feelings, I believe you will improve irrespective of the circumstances or the means - Moriyama Naoki 9-dan

Find a rival, and persist until you don't lose to him - Kurahashi Masayuki 9-dan

Approach go for fun - Ieda Ryuji 8-dan

Acquire the habit of reading out moves as you play - Kurahashi Shozo 8-dan

Do your own question-and-answer sessions on your own moves - Honda Mitsuhiko 8-dan

Studying with a professional player is most important. Also, life-and-death problems in order to acquire reading ability. - Kawamura Kazunori 8-dan

Solve lots of simple life-and death problems and play lots with players just a little stronger than you - Aragaki Shun 8-dan

Play often with stronger players - Yata Naoki 8-dan

Dream and play go - Sekiyama Toshimichi 8-dan

Study your own games - Kamiya Tetsuo 7-dan

Solve lots of simple life-and-death problems - Takiguchi Masaki 7-dan

Make friends with a pro - Saito Tadashi 7-dan

Take note when you see things you don't know and imitate - Nakano Yasuhiro 7-dan

Play each game earnestly so that it remains in your mind, stressing the concepts without worrying about local details - Kashiwabara Yasuto 6-dan

Do life-and-death problems - Cho Rosho 6-dan

Choose a teacher or go rival - pro or amateur doesn't matter. Have time to talk with friends about go over a drink. - Hayashi Kozo 6-dan

Make contact with a pro. If that is not possible, play over pro games and do simple life-and-death problems. - Yoshida Mika 6-dan

Play lots of go - Honda Goro 6-dan

Always think about tenuki-ing and be sure to seize the initiative - Inoue Shusaku 5-dan

Play lots of games for fun and accumulate experience - Sumi Shinsuke 5-dan

Learn the basics thoroughly - Fujiwara Katsuya 5-dan

Vary your go style. Your form may fall off when you change, but you are bound to become stronger once you absorb the change completely. - Katsuma Shiro 5-dan

Believe that you can become strong - Imai Kazuhiro 5-dan

Read "Igo Kansai" - Hasegawa Hiro 5-dan

Play lots of games for fun, and with players stronger than you - Mizuno Hiromi 4-dan

Play lots of games and have a stronger player review them immediately afterwards - Iwaya Shigeru 3-dan

Believe that you want to improve - Yokochi Susumu 3-dan

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