Shinfuseki

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Shinfuseki (新布石?) or new opening strategy was the change of attitude to go opening theory that set in strongly in Japan in 1933. It corresponds, a little later, to hypermodern play in chess, with the inversion that shinfuseki thought the center of the board had been unjustly underemphasised.

In the 1930s, a group of Japanese players led by Kitani Minoru and Go Seigen began to question conventional wisdom on Go openings. Playing for early central influence, they emphasised in the early part of the opening fighting concepts such as thickness and moyo.

Traditional opening play followed a basic principle of sound play that can be summarized in three words — "corner, side, center." Territory is easiest to surround in the corner, because two sides are bounded by the edge of the board; on the side, one edge is available, but in center the territory must be completely surrounded on four sides. Shinfuseki thinking saw this approach as too narrow. For three or four years radical innovation was tried.

Subsequent opening theory has partly accepted these ideas, and dropped others. Contemporary players such as Takemiya Masaki and Yamashita Keigo have added their own personal innovations to the stock of opening ideas rooted in shinfuseki.