The Sommelier Game

In this game, we guess the “vintage” of a kifu by studying the moves, testing our ability to use joseki knowledge and opening theory to pin down a point in the history of Go.

We won’t be able to see the players, komi, time control, venue or any other compromising info. The first person to guess the correct decade of the game will win the round, be given a point, and have the responsibility of providing the next kifu.

League Table

Player Points
mark5000 5
bugcat 3
Jhyn 2
kingkaio 1

Round 1

Sugimura Saburozaemon – Honinbo Shuei, 1873

Round 2

Honinbo Sansa – Kashio Rigen, 1582

Round 3

Takemiya Masaki – Cho Chikun, 1985

Round 4

Nakagawa Senji – Honinbo Shusai, 1889

Round 5

Kitani Minoru – Takahashi Shigeyuki, 1924

Round 6

Honinbo Retsugen – Yasui Senchi, 1786

Round 7

Yamashita Keigo – O Rissei, 2008

Round 8

Kosaka Masanobu – Takeda Shingen, 1566

Round 9

Suzuki Tamejiro – Segoe Kenzaku, 1911

Round 10

Sakata Eio – Takagawa Kaku, 1954

Round 11

Honinbo Shugen – Honinbo Shusai, 1897


This has got to be a Shusaku. I’m going to guess 1850s.

Outstanding. Shusaku opening with taisha declined, three-space low pincer, and a territorial focus on the left. Strong play, somewhat quiet, with the lead switching midway. Young professionals just after Shusaku’s time?


I think I’ve seen this game before.


Correct! The game was Sugimura Saburozaemon – Honinbo Shuei, 1873.

Looking on Waltheri, it turns out they actually played a four-game series at this time. Shuei was not an exceptional professional before the 1880s (“before reaching 7-dan pro” is one professional opinion) and was even considered to be embarrassingly mediocre for the head of the prestigious Honinbo house. It’s understandable that he loses this game, which is ofc without komi.

Well done to @mark5000 who scores the first point! Now it’s up to you to provide the next round.

Good guess by @Samraku, not too far off, definitely limbering into form~


What are the resources which are allowed to be used? I surmised Shusaku (or another from that era), and then looked up when he lived and took a guess from that. This seems in the spirit of the rules, right?

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Any research is fine, if you want. I’m not really going to do any digging, but you can if you’d like.

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Guess the vintage of this game record:


There are enough really old-fashioned-looking moves that I’m confident we’re not in the 20th century.

The players seem quite reluctant to leave the third line, which suggests to that we’re not later than about 1850 when Jowa’s influential style was becoming popular.

There’s something about this game that tells me we’re not in the 17th century… back then I think we would have seen an early approach by White and some sort of taisha fight, and more obviously weird-looking shapes.

The fact that Black loses so quickly indicates that we’re in the 18th century, when the house system was in stagnation and there was probably quite poor teaching for some lower-ranking players, meaning they’d get trashed by real talent. So, my feeling is that we’re somewhere in the 1700s, but it could definitely be the 1800s.

I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and say the decade 1800s.


Anyone else?

To be clear, Black didn’t lose; the players agreed to end the game without result.

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My Guess

I have studied very few specific professional games in general and so really do not have the authority to form a good hypothesis but based on the little bit of information and the opening joseki (which I find odd and out of date) I am going to throw a wild guess that one of the players was Honinbo Dosaku and that the game was played in approximately 1675. I really have no idea though.


Is that a triple ko? That would help to find the game :wink:

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My guess

The style is old, and there is a triple ko. It may be too obvious, but I’m going to bet it is the historical Honnôji triple ko game. It should be right after Sengoku, so 1580s? (could be 1590…)


I am waiting for the next version of this game: The Sommelier Game 2.0, where two or more games of different opponents from different go-eras are mixed.
That would be a challenge.

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@Jhyn correct! The game was Kashio Rigen v. Honinbo Sansa, 1582.

Notwithstanding the game record, scholars now believe that “Kashio" and “Rigen” were two different people, and it’s unclear which of them played black here. The game ended in a triple ko and is traditionally held to have taken place on the eve of the treacherous Incident at Honnōji, (in which Nobunaga was forced to commit seppuku). Triple ko has been considered a bad omen ever since.

Well done to @Jhyn who scores the second point! Now it’s up to you to provide the next round!


Strange, the game isn’t on Waltheri. In fact, I couldn’t find any of Sansa’s games there.


I am not sure how to make this interesting, but I found a candidate game. However, I can’t figure out how to open a sgf file in OGS. I can create a demo board and input everything by hand, but this is too much trouble for me, and the documentation doesn’t help. So here is my game, hopefully I left no info.

Edit: I changed the filename but the old name keeps appearing when the fils is offered for download. I can’t figure this out. Any help?

Once you find a suitable sgf file, you must upload it to your OGS library (found on the sidebar).

Before you upload it, open the sgf with a text editor and delete any identifying information. This is a guessing game after all!

Annotation 2020-07-24 093828

If you see a “server 500” error upon uploading the sgf to your OGS library, that means OGS is having trouble reading the file. The most common causes are usually blank fields that OGS expects to contain data. For example, OGS doesn’t like a blank komi field: “KM[]”. You need to delete it completely.


You can leave RE in, nothing wrong with knowing the result of the game. And I think whether you take out BR and WR is a matter of choice.

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Thanks for your help, but my sgf libary is sending me “500 server error” when I try to upload (drag & drop or the button). Any idea?