Quest of the lost systems

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Chapter One: Yagura

Section 3: The Morishita System

The R-2i formation was a waiting game. Some of you may say that rings a bell. Yes, the Morishita system, which was a craze in the pro shogi world for a certain period, shared exactly the same conception. The reason the R-2i formation got less popular was that the modern yagura (with the immobile P on the second file) was taken for granted. But its idea of waiting was the backbone of the Morishita system, the fad that went as suddenly as it came. In other words, the R-2i formation gave its way to the N-3g position which shares the concept of the R-2i.

According to Morishita himself, the system with his name on is not just a formation but a "thought". Though the Morishita system is for Black, who is supposed to have initiative, to play, the main idea is "always to be prepared" while watching the opponent's deployment. Only after seeing what White is about to do, Black decides the eventual formation to take. He says, "It's more like a mind set to be prepared for any attack or trick White may resort to."

Let me explain a little further, from the technical side. Yagura, as the suzume-zashi shows, is originally meant for Black to take the offensive, and for White to be on the defensive. The Morishita system, however, gives priority to castling the king tightly, omitting the P move on the second file. Then, and only then, in response to White's plan, Black decides his offensive formation, and sometimes his defensive formation. Always be alert to find a way to give a fatal blow one move before the opponent does. This is the idea.

This formation itself was not the first to appear in the yagura history. Teruichi Aono (now 9-dan) and Hitoshige Awaji (now 8-dan) both played it before him. But Morishita gave his own elaborate investigations to it, developing it into what was to be called the Morishita system.

Let me give you three prototype games of the Morishita system. White's plans basically fall into three types below.

  1. passive tactics
  2. the bo-gin with S-7c
  3. attack on the fifth file

The diagram 1 is from a Ryu-O-sen preliminary match between Taku Morishita(b) and Michio Takahashi(w), on May 17th, 1993.

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