Friday, August 22, 2008

Let's Talk About: Takemiya Masaki

Takemiya Masaki was born in January 1, 1951. He was one of Kitani Minoru’s disciples. He turned to be pro in 1965.

At the age of 15, when he was already 5 dan, he was nicknamed as ”9 dan killer”, because he won several games against top rated players.

Among the go fans, he was very well known with his “Cosmic Style”. A style focusing in taking big moyo, but Takemiya Masaki prefer to call his playing style as “Natural Style”, although you will find so many strange moves in his games.

Actually Takemiya never thing about making big moyo, because it will be too easy to be spoiled, since there are so many players who are good in fighting. For sure, he won’t win so many games if he played that way.

Takemiya style is actually fighting style. His first pro teacher was Tanaka Minaichi. Takemiya was repeatedly told by him “Don’t win by taking territory; win by fighting”. Takemiya always remember that phrase and apply it in his game.

Takemiya Masaki is an intuitive player. He doesn’t try to seek the reason to play in a place, or counting. You can count territories, but you can not count thickness. Playing by intuition, for sure, would make you lose many games, but when you lose, you will reviewing the games, and your intuition will be better and better.

He has 2 books released until now (in English version), Imagination of A Go Master and This Is Go The Natural Way and a book translated into French, Le Go Cosmique.

Takemiya Masaki has won many titles during his journey. They are
• 1976: 31st Honinbo title
• 1978: 11th Hayago Championship
• 1980: 35th Honinbo title • 1981: 1st NEC Cup
• 1985: 40th Honinbo title and 5th NEC Cup
• 1986: 41st Honinbo title • 1987: 42nd Honinbo title
• 1988: 43rd Honinbo title and 1st Fujitsu Cup

Takemiya Masaki (W) vs. Kobayashi Koichi in the 1st Fujitsu Cup Semifinal. W+8.5

• 1989: 2nd Fujitsu Cup, Asian TV Cup, and 22nd Hayago Championship
• 1990: 28th Judan title and Asian TV Cup
• 1991: 29th Judan and 13th Kakusei titles, and Asian TV Cup
• 1992: 30th Judan title and Asian TV Cup
• 1995: 20th Meijin title

Iyama Yuta (W) vs. Takemiya Masaki (B) in the 17th Ryusei Preliminary. B+R

He was invited as the guest at the 2008 US Go Congress. At the congress, he gave the audience “the way to be stronger”. He asked the audience “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.”

“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.” Takemiya said.

I agree with what Takemiya said. It is very important to enjoy go. Many people leave go because they feel they are stuck and can not get any stronger. They don’t feel the fun of go. All they think is winning. This is horrible! Instead of winning, enjoying the game is much more important!

I hope you also enjoy your game :)


TaoTeaKing said...

Takemiya Masaki is great! I have the book "imagination of go master" (i did not started reading it) and i really love this quote of him about the question where to play... when i first read it a few month ago i even printed it out and hung it over my desk.

I am only 11 Kyu ... and at the moment i think i should not try to play like Masaki ... but someday i think i will make some experiments with the cosmic style ... :-)