Link to articles from old Renju World Magazines
Ants Soosorv from Estonia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, is the current chief editor of Renju World. The former chief editor Ando Meritee made a certain Web site Renju World Magazine Online. There you can read Renju World No 25-31.
Renju World is very important. If you are not a connection man of RIF (Then you have a free subscription) and have not a subsribtion you should subscribe. The fee of subscription is 15 US $ for one year (3 issues). If you want to subscribe you should contact Stefan Karlsson, Sweden, e-mail: email@example.com.
If you are a new player in the renju world you should also try to get old issues of Renju World where you are able to find many interesting games commented and analysed and a lot of other information.
From 1964 to 1973 , for the space of 10 years the Meijin title in a 5-game match was contended for by two players: Toshio Nishimura (Kumamoto town, Kyushu island) and Taizan Isobe (Saitama town). Having suffered defeat from Toshinori Yamakita in 1959, Isobe put himself a goal "to reach and overtake Kyushu. Combining the traits of the best Kanto (eastern half of Japan) players with "Garyukai" (which means "the club of peculiar styles"), he elaborated a strong individual method, which allowed him in 1965 at the 4 tournament to overtake the Hakone town. Up to 12 tournament inclusive (with the exception of 7 tournament) Isobe was winning from Nishimura despite Kyushu support of the latter. "Yamakita is the third, Nishimura - the second, Isobe - the first" whom we're proud of - these were the words of Takeo Miyoshi, 7 dan. He was called "magician of the board edges", he knew how to lure his opponents into the mazes of middle-play and find a win where none was possible. For persistence in play and resourcefulness in difficult situations Taizan Isobe can be called "a battle spirit", a great champion.
The Meijin-sen match everybody was dreaming about began in 1962; for the first time the opponents were two players representing the eastern and the western halves of Japan. As was expected, the West presented Toshinori Yamakita, while Toshio Mitsumori, age 26, 6 dan, a new star who managed to take the better of a row of 8-dan players - became the East representative. Prior to the match with Yamakita Mitsumori had his share of defeats, which he explained by his "hot temper" in decisive moments, but he could be proud for swiftness of his attacks and sharpness of new tricks, which he threaded one over another. After defeating Yamakita, Mitsumori together with Isobe, who joined him later, had become the nucleus of the army of renjuists , which was giving West the hell. Aside from that Mitsumori was enthusiastic in propagating renju as well as in tutorship over beginners: a lot of people learned about renju from the books written by Mitsumori. Checking the answers to the tasks as a member of the qualifying committee Mitsumori always sent them back with his hand-written comments, taught not to distract players at the playing time, always embellished the playing board with new tricks - therefore he was very popular among the beginners.
"Well, in our country", said Alice still panting a little, "you'd gene- rally get to somewhere else - if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing." "A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else you must run at least twice as fast as that!" (L. Caroll Through the Looking Glass) In RW N1 there was an article about such important aspects of renju like theoretical and psychological training. Here I would like to return to the problem and add some more strokes. We have to point out, that the last five years after creating RIF are noted for a closer interrelation between european and japanese schools of renju. It helps make some notions about style of playing renju. Incidentally, even in Japan there exist Tokyo and Kioto ways of renju development. First I shall say the main thing: after a lot of thinking together with 12 years of practical playing I came to the conclusion that your main adversary in the game is not your opponent but yourself. Only overcoming yourself you can get satisfaction from the play and its outcome. The said is true only if the result comes from the process of playing and not from good homework in theory. More than 75 % of the games are lost due to ignorance in debut continuations. We shall later return to this aspect of playing, and now - about psychological training. The main reason of painful defeats is underestimation of your opponent. Many renjuists, when playing against someone, whose "image" is not as high as their own, think that he will surely make a mistake, or are frivolous in choosing not an optimal debut. But when the said opponent doesn't make a mistake, underestimation ends catastrophically. This hope for a mistake won't let you concentrate only on the play, you'll be waiting for it and not try to make him play your way. It might seem paradoxial but to win the game you have to be not too eager to win it! When a player wants to win a game too much, he has a thought inside his head "What have I got to win it for?" The result - he can't reach the needed level of concentration. Moreover, when an eager-to-win player throws himself into an attack, it very often happens, that he undercalculates the reasonable risk. If his opponent is playing correctly - he loses the attack and the whole game with it. Not only psychology but also your theoretical and technical readiness are important in renju. They must go together. During the game the main thing is to get tuned on the battle, concentrate all your thoughts on the play and not divert yourself with walks in the hall, talks with other players, etc. Full concentration helps you reach utter clarity of your mind. You'll easily calculate the long variants, control all lines and intersections and their interrelations, see all the flanks, not only parts of the board. Catching your opponent's incorrect reaction (e.g. on your move on the left flank), you can reach a decisive advantage on the other flank. From time to time strong european and japanese players experience this state of mind, which depends mostly on their general condition. It's like an inspiration, some feel it after good drinking the day before - but that's not a controlled concentration. The strongest japanese players can order themselves to enter this state . Maybe, it's the result of a certain training. If you watch their play, you'll see, that very often, somewhere by the 15th move they take a long time to think. In the same debut europeans just go on playing by the theory. Sure, from the rational point of view there's no sense thinking something over the board, it's better to save time and use theoretical knowledge you got while homeworking. It seems, the japanese, while thinking over the position and calculating, at the same time are trying to concentrate i.e. to reach the state of full psychologic alertness. "Maybe, they just don't know theory?' - an unsophisticated reader will ask. I can answer, that as a rule in the after-the-game comments the strongest players point out that their theory came to an end 8-10 moves AFTER they had taken this long thinking interval. To enter the state of concentration you may try reading some short ( two-three lines) japanese poetry, amazing in its depth. Thinking over this or that verse a player enters a state of concentration, and gradually all irrelevant thoughts fade away. Then throw everything away with just one mental effort and let yourself sink into the game. For example: Always I thought, that I knew how to win. But now I know - to win not more than to lose. However, the choice of poetry is strictly up to you - the aim is to stop thinking of anything (victory, defeat, etc.) but the game itself. The japanese also have a strong school of determining points, from which to continue and develop an attack. True, the moves they make are too elegant sometimes more elegant than effective. With europeans the art of mise and yobi is a bit mechanistic, but is mostly the result of calculations. A more encyclopaedic european approach to debuts workings and theory of debuts helps materialistic-minded europeans avoid mistakes in the initial stage of the game. The same approach in debut building is also characteristic of japanese players, but mostly of high-level ones. An average player here doesn't abuse theory with dull studies. As we have already pointed out, 75 % games in renju end with a defeat due to a wrong choice of a debut, a mistake in a variant of development and, at last, an inexact move. So, knowledge of debuts for the most part determines your performance as a player. To facilitate debut studies the "Renju World Magazine" ordered and made a computer program named RenBase 2.10 as well as Base-3500. This computer program together with notebook computers is a way to renju progress. Now every player, even a beginner, can use something like an reference book. The program allows you to place stones in a certain position (if it calls for permutation of moves, you may use unnumbered stones), and then it will find all the games with this initial position for you. If you play Swiss tournament then you'll your future opponent 15-20 minutes before the play so preparations along the lines described in RW N1 are out of question - you have no time to look through all the published matter in the playing hall. But with RenBase you can do it. Giving the program your opponent's name you can: 1. Look through all the debuts, used by your opponent - as a rule, the repertoire doesn't change. It's hardly probable, that he will use a debut, he never played before. Most likely he'll use one of the debuts he successfully used at the latest competition. 2. Therefore pay most attention to his latest competition. 3. Now look, what color you'll be playing against him with and try to find a debut that you know better than he does. If he will want to use the debut you have chosen for yourself then you'll have to decide what type of this debut you prefer - vertical or diagonal. 4. With the help of the program choose the games where your partner changed color and plan your strategy for the game. Remember, if you have managed to find the debut you'll play and made your opponent play the variant you can look at five minutes before the game - it's 30 % of your success. 5. But RenBase can add 20 % more: it'll take you minutes to build on the left half of your monitor the position of your variant and review all the games played with this initial position. Maybe, someone has already found a better continuation and you forgot it. But don't you get the impression, that the program will solve all your problems for you. To have the program is not enough to play good genju - it is only a good helping facility during your training process. Keep in mind that no one but you can correctly determine the debut (the program will only quickly supply you with the needed information!). Using the data you will be playing not some losing variants, but variants which will be actual. When entered into the RenBase your games will serve both you and your opponents in developing your playing and renju. Remember, if you don't use RenBase - maybe your opponent does! So, using RenBase+Base together with a notebook computer will help you intensify training during the competition. Creating analogous programs takes time and money. The heart of the program is a database with 3500 games played last years. RW Magazine is the main customer of the RenBase and Base programs and owns a copyright to them. We are now working at the Windows version of the programs, which will be compatible with Apple-type computers. Send your suggestions and orders to the Publisher. We are ready to cooperate in converting the database to another format, compatible for computers, used in Japan. But we're off the track - let's return to discussing psychological aspects of renju. Renju technique by itself can't bring much success. Think over the epigraph to this article about the country behind the looking glass. In fact, renju is a country where you can stay where you are only constantly moving forward. Just stop and let yourself a rest - and already you are far behind. You must move forward in spite of yourself. A sophisticated reader can ask the author, what is to be done if both players live according to recommendations of this paper and achieved concentration at the game. There is only one answer - it will only depend on you, which of you will better ask the Got for a help. If both players are equal - there is such an ending called a draw. Alexander Nosovsky