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Ishi Press Founder Bozulich Dead at 75?

Monday November 7, 2011

Reports of the death of Richard Bozulich (at left), Ishi Press founder and the father of the English-language go publishing industry, began circulating on the Internet last Saturday. Originating from a post on GoGameGuru, the report of Bozulich’s death at 75 quickly spread across Twitter and other social media and became a focus of discussion on Lifein19x19. The GoGameGuru post was based on an extensive obituary emailed to GGG which was marked “Special to the Japan Times,” however, we have been unable thus far to either find the obit on the Times website or independently confirm Bozulich’s death through our sources in Japan. Stay tuned for further updates as more information becomes available.
photo: Richard Bozulich (at left) with Neville Smythe, President of the Australian Go Association (center) and go writer John Power at the 2008 World Amateur Go Championships; photo by John Pinkerton.



Categories: World

Teaching Go at the Anime Syracuse 2011 Festival

Monday October 3, 2011

by James Howard

It was a lot of fun teaching go at the recent Anime Syracuse 2011 Festival.  Ten of our members helped to teach at the festival. We were given a room with four 8′ tables, and had a minimum of 7 beginner sets and three full size sets throughout the day.  Several of our members brought along their go sets.  On one full size set we set up Richard Moseson’s “Basic Life and Death Shapes”.  Dick and Breck Borges brought some beginner go books, Eric Hookway brought along a beginner go book, Hikaru no Go vol.1, and a Hikaru no Go dvd, and Jim Gonnella also brought a Hikaru no Go manga.

A lot of people were dressed up at the festival.  It was really interesting seeing the various characters; some of the costumes were quite elaborate!  I joined in on the playful spirit and went as Hikaru (of Hikaru no Go), and Kathy wore anime cat ears and a tail.  I hope next year, we can have someone dress as Sai and Akira too.

Although there were slow periods (mostly in the morning), there were also periods where everyone was busy, and people had to wait or come back.  There were a few times when people looked interested as they slowly walked by, but didn’t stick around long enough.  I did my best to watch out for those people.  During those times when I walked around, I kept an eye out for them, and I did end up seeing and talking to some of them later on at various places throughout the festival.  I gave them some info about go and the club, and they ended up coming back later on for lessons and more info.

Some of those we taught came back and played several games against each other.  Some of them even played on the full-size boards.  And at one point, at least seven games were going on at once and I was really glad Anime Syracuse provided us with so much space.

Our presence definitely generated a lot of interest.  There were approximately 700 people at the festival and I’d estimate that we taught approximately 150 to 200 people.

Some of the people we taught – who came from places like Binghamton NY, PA, MA, etc — live too far away to come to our weekly club meetings but I think its important to remember that even if those people can’t join our club, they could join another club closer to where they live, which –by supporting go– indirectly helps us in a number of ways.  I told them about KGS, and how to find a local club on the AGA website

Overall I would say we reached a good number of people, especially local people.  There were at least a couple dozen very promising local area prospects. Eric, one of the very promising players Richard Moseson taught at the festival came to our club the following Monday night and did very well.

We definitely accomplished spreading knowledge about go, and also awareness of the Syracuse Go Club; it was a lot of fun and I believe well worth the effort.

Categories: U.S./North America

NEW IN PRINT 2011: A Mixed Bag

Wednesday August 24, 2011

by Roy Laird
During this year’s annual visit to the vendor room at the U.S. Go Congress, I added four new titles to my collection. I’m interested in pretty much anything John Fairbairn has to say, so I was excited to see that his ongoing partnership with Slate and Shell has produced two in which he focuses on a single important game played by Shusai , the last hereditary head of the Honinbo school. Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki describes Shusai’s 1933 encounter with Go Seigen , while The Meijin’s Retirement Game covers the 1938 contest immortalized in Kawabata’s The Master of Go. Shusai’s opponent in that game was of course Kitani Minoru, who along with Go is credited with the creation of the revolutionary “New Fuseki.”  Fairbairn goes far beyond mere game analysis to tell the story of how these games came to be so important, placing them fully in the social and historical context of the time. There are “Timelines” outlining the lives of all three principals, and Old v. New contains an extended essay on the birth of “Hypermodern Openings.” Like Fairbairn’s other works, these books strengthen our appreciation for the deep sociocultural well we dip into each time we reach for a stone.

Another productive collaboration is that between S&S and Yuan Zhou. In addition to instructional material – my personal favorite is his small but powerful booklet, “How Not To Play Go” – he shares insights gained from a lifetime of studying the games of important players in his “Master Play” series. In five previous books, he has analyzed the style of seven top players through detailed discussion of two exemplary games – Go Seigen, Takemiya , Cho Chikun, Kitani, Kato, Lee Chang-ho  and Seo Bong-soo. In this year’s Master Play: The Playing Styles of Seven Top Pros, he takes a similar look at Sakata, Takagawa, Fujisawa Shuko, Rin Kaiho, Nei Wei-ping, Ma Xiao-chun and Cho hun-hyun. They say the best way to improve is to study pro games, and here we have a collection of games by some of the strongest players of our time.

Michael Redmond is also working with S&S to produce a new series of books for Western players on the opening. I saw a preliminary proof of Volume One, which will focus on the san-ren-sei opening. In the introduction, Michael says he intends this as “a textbook as well as a game collection.” Considering the Opening: San-Ren-Sei should appear in print before the end of the year.

On a more practical level, I found that I had somehow missed Volume 7 of Kiseido’s “Mastering the Basics” series, Attacking and Defending Moyos. This is the third book in English on the subject. Keshi and Uchikomi (2002; out of print) is organized as a dictionary, showing twenty standard reduction patterns and eighteen common invasion techniques. Reducing Territorial Frameworks (1986) focuses mostly on the “keshi” side of things.  Invading and Reducing Moyos co-authors Richard Bozulich and Rob Van Ziejst take a unique look at the subject by spelling out thirteen general principles, then illustrating these points through extended analysis of six carefully chosen games. The book ends with 151 problems.

Two problem-oriented series continued to grow this year, each serving a different purpose. Korean pro Cho hye-hyon was the youngest female, at eleven, to ever earn Korea professional credentials. In 2010 she became the world’s fourth female 9P. Her blog of challenging problems became so popular that last year she turned it into a book, Creative Life and Death; now she followed up with Volume Two. These books feature extended analysis of dan-level problems. At the other extreme, Oromedia’s Speed Baduk workbook series is now up to twelve volumes. Each book contains hundreds of problems breaking go down to its most basic elements, such as “hane at the 1-2 point.” Dozens of problems illustrate each point.  The workbooks themselves contain no answers – answer books are available separately for each three-volume unit. I also decided to pass up the 21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki,Takao Shinji’s update/rewrite of Ishida’s Joseki Dictionary, although I’m sure it contains valuable new material. I have Ishida, much of which is unchanged in the new edition, as well as Kiseido’s Dictionary of Modern Fuseki: The Korean Style. I also subscribe to Go World, where I see more discussion of modern openings than I can ever understand. If I didn’t have a joseki dictionary, though, this is the one I would get. Volume Two, completing the series, will appear early next year.

The long- rumored and anticipated Kiseido art book featuring ukiyo-e with go themes from the Pinckard collection, Japanese Prints and the World of Go, has finally appeared – and I’m sorry to report that it is a big disappointment. Unlike the rich, glossy covers of Go World, the prints seem faded and blurry. William Pinckard’s accompanying commentary in English and Japanese, on the other hand, is richly enlightening. Pinckard was a great scholar of go – click here to read his remarkable essay comparing go to the other ancient classic games, chess and backgammon. If you ever visited the Kiseido website’s “Art Gallery”, from which much of this material was drawn, you know how thoroughly Pinckard researched his acquisitions. I was looking forward to a beautiful book that could live on our coffee table – and I still am.


Park Junghwan Wins Fujitsu Cup, Breaks Record

Sunday August 14, 2011

Park Junghwan 9P (below) won the 24th Fujitsu Cup on August 14, defeating Qiu Jun 8P by resignation in 223 moves. The game, which was full of creative moves and severe fighting, ended in an enormous life and death struggle that Qiu lost. At just 18 years old, Park has not only taken his first major international title, but has also broken Lee Sedol Park Younghun 9P’s record as the youngest player to win the Fujitsu Cup. However, he is not the youngest ever to win an international title; that record is still held by Lee Changho 9P. En route to the final, Park also defeated Ogata Masaki 9P, Chen Shiyuan 9P, Piao Wenyao 9P and Iyama Yuta 9P. Qiu, for his efforts, will be promoted to 9P for reaching this final.
- Jingning; based on her original reports on the 24th Fujitsu Cup, at Go Game Guru. Photos: Upper right; Qiu Jun 8P (left) and Park Junghwan 9P. Below; Park Junghwan 9P holds the Fujitsu Cup.


Categories: World

SmartGo Books Releases Three More Books

Friday August 5, 2011

Just in time for the Go Congress, SmartGo Books has released three new books from Hinoki Press, reports SmartGo author Anders Kierulf (l). In Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki, Yoda Norimoto 9P takes a look at sabaki, one of the most intriguing techniques in go. “In the hands of accomplished players it can seem like pure sorcery. At times the stones can appear to dance with life. While playing lightly hither and yon, the opponent’s forces can end up ineffective, over-concentrated and misdirected.” (220 pages, $8.99). And in Shuko: The Only Move — volumes 1 & 2 — Fujisawa Shuko looks at joseki, fuseki and the middle game. “The key word here is imagination and Shuko Sensei never tires of repeating that the essential factor in go is to think in creative ways.” Two books from Kiseido are currently in preparation; Modern Master Games: The Dawn of Tournament Go by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich and The Games of Fujisawa Shuko by John Power. The free SmartGo Books app runs on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, and currently contains 13 go books available for in-app purchase. Click here for details.
- photo by Chris Garlock


US Youth to Play Japanese Insei

Sunday July 17, 2011

Ten of America’s youth players will compete in the first ever friendship matches with Japanese insei this coming Thursday, July 21st.  The insei are youth that are studying to become professionals in Japan, their lifestyle has been portrayed in the Hikaru no Go manga and anime, inspiring countless American kids to reach for the stars themselves.  Insei in classes B through D will compete, as will the top four high school players in Japan, according to Nihon Ki-in Overseas Coordinator Tom Urasoe.  The match has been organized by AGA Youth Coordinator Paul Barchilon, who chose the ten member US team based on both playing strength and dedication to the go community.  The matches will be held on the Japanese Yugen no Ma Go Server.  An English language version of the client is available at games will be held in the Japanese Go Room.  The US team, and a list of their opponents, can be found on  To observe the matches, download the client and create an id.  Matches will be held Thursday, July 21, at 5 pm PDT. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Image: insei characters from Hikaru no Go


Balwit Named Teacher of the Year

Sunday July 17, 2011

Portland go teacher Fritz Balwit has been selected as the American Go Foundation’s Teacher of the Year. “My selection is a great honor,” says Balwit, “it has been a unique privilege to introduce go to children. They immediately recognize its magical properties, and are receptive to its aesthetic allure at an intuitive level. I have found that it brings people together in friendly collaboration based on respect and shared appreciation. I hope to continue working with kids in schools and to create a space at our local go salon where kids can discover the beauty of the game.  I teach go daily at Portland English Language Academy where I also teach English as a second language. We have a very lively group that plays for fun. Many of the Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese students are newly introduced to their traditional game. These are mostly younger adults and a few teenage kids. One kid- Shohei Jinno- came forward in a class and shyly mentioned his rating was 6 dan; he subsequently rolled over all Oregon players at the AGA tournament in Salem.”
Balwit started showing up on the radar in 2008, according to longtime organizer Peter Freedman: “For a number of years he had taught chess in the public schools, but about the time I met him he had recently fallen in love…with go.  He morphed his chess clubs into ‘chess/go clubs’, but in fact all his chess clubs became go clubs.  During 2008 he had clubs in seven schools.  As a result of his efforts over 125  children and youth were exposed to go, and 90 played in one of the school go clubs.  Fritz also ran several go camps during school breaks.”  Many of the programs Balwit launched in 2008 continued in the following years, and he is running five programs now.  “I’ve assisted Fritz teach at many of these schools,” adds Freedman, “I call him ‘the pied piper of go’ in Portland.  He has a magical way with children. He is gentle, funny, articulate, gives out tons of positive reinforcement, and continually amazes me with the way he explains go to children, making it more than a game.  He talks about how in go you must share, just as in life. When talking about building a wall, he remarked, ‘If you don’t play here there will be a little hole for a ferret to crawl through.  You don’t want a ferret running around in your house, do you?”  Actually, Fritz has two ferrets running around his real life house, along with three children ranging from elementary to middle school age, all of whom play go. One of them was his assistant in the go club he organized at her school.” Balwit has won an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress in Santa Barbara, where he will be honored at the awards banquet.  He will be speaking at the congress as well, in a special round table for teachers, and anyone who wants to work with kids, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 5:00 pm.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Fritz Balwit: Balwit (r) teaching his son Theo (l).

Go Classified: Books for Sale

Monday July 11, 2011

All in very good condition! $15 – Basic Techniques of Go – hardcover; $20 – Modern Joseki & Fuseki, Volume 1 – hardcover (2-book set); $20 – Modern Joseki & Fuseki, Volume 2 – hardcover (2-book set); $40 – Strategic Concepts of Go – hardcover; $40 – The 1971 Honinbo Tournament – hardcover; $40 – The Middle Game of Go – hardcover; $40 – The World of Ki – hardcover; $10 – 38 Basic Joseki – paperback; $40 – Appreciating Famous Games – paperback; $40 – Attack & Defense – paperback ; $5 – Go & Go-Moku – paper; $5 – Go as Communication – paperback; $5 – Go for Beginners – paperback; $5 – How to Play Go – paper, spiral-bound ; $5 – In the Beginning – paperback; $40 – Invincible: The Games of Shusaku – paperback; $10 – Kage’s Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go – paperback; $10 – Les Bases Techniques du Go – paperback, French;$10 – Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go – paperback; $10 – Life & Death – paperback; $10 – Tesuji – paperback; $50 – The Breakthrough to Shodan – paperback; $10 – The Endgame – paperback; $10 – The Vital Points of Go – paper, spiral-bound; $10 – What’s Your Rating? – paperback. PLUS: Learn to Play Go, Volumes 1-5; sold as a complete set for $50 each. email

Categories: Go Classified

GO SPOTTING: Go, Poker and the Sublime

Sunday July 10, 2011

When Frank Lantz thinks about games, he doesn’t play around. Lantz teaches game design at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, the School of Visual Arts, and the New School. He created games for Cartoon Network, Lifetime TV, and VH1 before becoming becoming the co-founder and creative director of Area/Code. His writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications. In a recent lecture on “Go, Poker and the Sublime” at a game developers’ conference (click here to view online), Lantz declared that games are an art form on a par with music, literature and film, perhaps even “the most important art form of the 21st century. Describing go to his mostly non-playing audience, Lantz comes up with some remarkably well-turned phrases, explaining how “Go is good at teaching itself to you,” “. . . at the border of the discrete and the continuous,” “. . . thought made visible to itself.” I especially enjoyed his riff explaining why “light” is better than “heavy,” yet “thick” is better than “thin.” Lantz goes on with a similarly eloquent description of poker, which he finds to be about “the alchemical transformative power of greed.” Looking at both games together, Lantz sees a contrast with video games that dominate today’s market. Go, poker and similar pastimes are more abstract, less reliant on make-believe – in short, they are games that grownups also play. They are infinite – players do not reach an end point as in narrative-based adventure and role-playing games. He exhorts the game developers in the audience to think big: “I want a game that I can play my whole life, that I can teach my son, and he will play his whole life.” Mostly known for the iPhone app “Drop7,” Area/Code has pursued other innovative “social gaming” ideas such as Macon Money,  an alternative currency “game” conducted in “RL” (real life) in Macon, GA; and Budgetball, a physical sport that also requires a certain degree of fiscal planning.  In January, Area/Code was acquired by Zynga, the social gaming giant behind Facebook megahits such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, giving Lantz an even bigger arena in which to realize his dream. With its emphasis on building, cooperation and balance, go has much in common with social media games like Farmville and Cafe World (another Zynga biggie) with the added spice of life-and-death struggle. If Zynga’s next games have bit more of a competitive edge, perhaps we’ll know why . . .
- Roy Laird


GO SPOTTING: Yojiro Takita’s New Film

Saturday June 25, 2011

Yojiro Takita’s next film has an interesting historical connection to the game of go. Takita (r) – who won an Oscar in 2009 for Okuribito (Departures) – is adapting the novel ‘Tenchi Meisastsu,’ about a 17th century astronomer and mathematician. The film is an adaptation of To Ubukata’s novel of the same name, based on the life of Shibukawa, who later took on the name of his father, champion go player Yasui Santetsu, first head of the Yasui house. The novel has won literary awards in Japan on its way to selling 380,000 copies. It was published by Kadokawa, which is collaborating with Shochiku on the movie. Tenchi Meisastsu — which roughly translates as “insights into the universe” — is being shot at Shochiku’s Kyoto studio until the middle of August, and is slated for an autumn 2012 release.
- based on Gavin J. Blair’s story in The Hollywood Reporter, with thanks to Ramon Mercado for spotting the reference.

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting,World