Manga: Game 002
|はるかな高み||From a Level Beyond|
|Haruka na Takami|
|From a Level Beyond|
|Depuis un niveau extrêmement élevé|
|Weekly Shounen Jump|
|1999 No. 4・5|
Hikaru is kicked out of Shirakawa Michio's go class at the community centre and receives a tip from the kindly middle-aged lady to visit the Touya go salon. At the salon he encounters Touya Akira, a boy his own age who is the son of Touya Meijin, the famous go player. Sai plays a teaching game against Touya Akira, ending the game ahead by two points of territory (but losing the game by 3.5 moku after considering komi).
Hikaru is in the lobby of the community centre when the middle-aged lady he met last week enters. She notices a match being played on TV; it is Touya Meijin playing against an unknown challenger. She notes that they say he is the closest to the Kami no Itte. Sai is immediately taken with the Meijin, admiring his rare skill.
After Hikaru is ejected from the community centre go class by Shirakawa Michio for once more tormenting Akota Suesaburou, Hikaru asks the friendly middle-aged lady if she knows of anywhere nearby where he can play go. She tells him of a salon in front of the station, but warns him that there are a lot of strong players there.
Hikaru arrives at the salon and is greeted by Ichikawa Harumi. Looking around the salon to find an opponent for Sai to play against, he despairs at the number of old men in the salon, then registers his name in the ledger and becomes excited when he sees a boy his own age. Ichikawa attempts to demur when Hikaru asks if he can play the boy, but the boy acquiesces, much to Hikaru's delight. Hikaru and Touya introduce themselves to each other and establish that they're both in the sixth grade. Ichikawa stops them as they head off towards a table, reminding Hikaru that he has to pay the entry fee. Touya suggests that she give Hikaru a freebie since it's his first time at the salon. She readily agrees, obviously enchanted by Touya, and the boys find a table.
Touya asks how strong Hikaru is. Hikaru says he's not sure, but he's probably pretty strong. Touya laughs, and suggests Hikaru place 4 or 5 stones. Hikaru declines the handicap, since they're the same age. Touya is a little embarrassed, and a patron of the salon scorns the idea of playing Touya Akira without a handicap. Touya suggests Hikaru goes first, and Hikaru remembers that that means he takes the black stones. Apologizing for his slow play, Hikaru plays the first stone according to Sai's instructions. Touya is a little disconcerted to see that Hikaru has the clumsy stone-handling of a beginner, but he recognizes that Hikaru plays stable hands, even if the shapes of his joseki are old and despite the way he hesitates over the board. Touya realizes that not only is Hikaru not intimidated by Touya's attacks, he is side-stepping them with ease, and wonders if Hikaru has been leading the game the whole time. Then Hikaru places a stone that Touya recognizes has been placed specifically to gauge Touya's ability, and is overwhelmed by the feeling that his opponent is playing him from a position far above his own.
Hirose enters the salon and asks Ichikawa if Akira-sensei is available for shidougo. Ichikawa tells him that Touya is playing a game with a grade-school student, and that Akira-kun won't like it if Hirose calls him "Akira-sensei" again. Hirose is a little sheepish, saying it's only polite that he call someone who teaches him so much "sensei".
Hirose mentions that he'd heard that Akira-sensei didn't take the pro exam this year. Ichikawa explains that he wanted to become stronger, even though he's already strong enough to pass the test. Hirose mentions that the Meijin his father must be agitated by his son's leisurely attitude.
Hikaru heads towards the door to leave. Ichikawa asks if his game is over. Hikaru confirms, mentioning that it's probably still too early for him to be playing games, since the long time it takes to play a game exhausts him. She sympathizes, and offers him a flyer about the Nihon Ki-in's upcoming National Children's Go Tournament being held next week on January 3rd. Hikaru isn't much interested but takes the flyer, thanking her before he leaves.
Hirose notices that there's some sort of commotion going on in the salon. All of the patrons are talking excitedly about Akira-kun's match, asking if it's true that Akira-kun lost by two moku, and asking if his opponent had a handicap. It's pointed out that his opponent held the stones like a novice, that Akira-kun is as good as a pro and no amateur could beat him, that Akira-kun actually won once komi was included, and if the boy could get so close, does that mean there's no difference between his skill and Akira-kun's?
Touya reflects that the two moku difference isn't the real level of his opponent's skill.
- Shindou Hikaru buys a Pocari Swat drink from a vending machine in the community centre.
- Entry at the Touya go salon is ￥500 for children.
|Shindou Hikaru (Fujiwara no Sai)||Touya Akira||W+3.5|
Appearing or Referenced
|Fujiwara no Sai|
|Igo Class Student (G149)|
|Touya Go Salon|
|Game 001||Game 003|