American Go E-Journal


Monday August 2, 2010

There was a lot of laughter at the Nakayama Noriyuki 7P memorial service Sunday. Just as sensei would have wanted. Nakayama, who was a popular visitor at both the European and U.S. Go Congresses for over two decades, died on February 16. The service began with a solemn kenseki ceremony, in which Nakayama – whose portrait overlooked the gathering at the U.S. Go Congress in Colorado Springs, CO — took white and mourners each placed a black stone on the go board, slowly filling it up. Then the mourners took turns remembering Nakayama and it quickly became clear that Nakayama’s legacy is as much in the hearts of the many go players he touched over the years as it was on the go board. Master of ceremonies Haskell Small 3D – the only other winner (besides Nakayama himself) of the Nakayama Award (given for exceptional service to the Go Congress; he organized the first U.S. Go Congress in 1985) – admired the “precise and definitive fashion with which Nakayama would place each move, pressing it firmly down into the board.” Yasumasa Hane 9P said he hoped “the memory of Mr Nakayama remains long in your hearts.” And, describing Nakayama’s many interests – from go to food, adventures and Japanese literature — Richard Dolen 5D celebrated Nakayama’s “wonderful curiosity,” adding “he was such a sweet man,” a sentiment shared by many of those present. AGA President Allan Abramson 3D took note of Nakayama’s “irrepressible delight” in the game, while former AGA President Roy Laird 3k said that his greatest lesson was “to take go seriously but also to have fun with it.” There were many tales of Nakayama’s jokes and gleeful approach to the game, including Ken Koester’s story about Nakayama’s “stone-color-changing tesuji.” Shunichi Hyodo 6D, who has led Japanese tour groups to the Go Congress for years, laughed about how he would only see Nakayama each year at the Congress. Former AGA Board Chair Dave Weimer 3D reminded attendees that Nakayama’s lectures “were always the highlight of the Congress for many of us.” Betsy Small 11k surely spoke for all when she said that “The delight and joy that he took in go was infectious and inspiring. Goodbye and thank you.”
– report/photos by Chris Garlock