American Go E-Journal

In Memoriam: Robert A. McCallister

Saturday February 15, 2014

Robert A. McCallister, one of the key go organizers in the U.S. in the late 1950’s and 60s, died Feb 5 in Winchester, VA at 92. A long time New Jersey organizer, McCallister also served the American Go Association in just about every official capacity, from American Go Journal (AGJ) editor to membership secretary, ratings head and president. “He was part of the first wave of US go after WW II with publication of the American Go Journal and a set of rules for commercial go sets like the one my parents found in Brentanos Bookstore in the Bergen Mall in Paramus NJ,” says former AGA president Terry Benson. McCallister served as AGA Secretary starting in 1957, as well as AGJ staff, and headed AGA publications from 1959 to 1962, editing the AGJ from 1957-1962. He served as president of the AGA in 1961 and 1962, was in charge of membership from 1965 to ’66, then headed ratings with Robert Ryder in 1967, when he drafted a go rating system and, with Richard Dolen, developed a procedure for holding telephone matches that was used for national championships and international friendship matches. “He was a fixture at the New Jersey Open and remained an active player into the early ’80s,” Benson says. “A quick review of the AGJ during his reign features a nice article by him called ‘My Trip to Japan’ in Vol. 7, No 3 May 1959,” adds Keith Arnold. “He was over for business for five months, coincidentally in the same building that held the Nihon Kiin. He was 3 kyu at the time, and played Segoe Kensaku, Takagawa Kaku and Karigane The game record of the Takagawa game is provided. There is also a photo of him, along with Iwamoto, Karl Davis Robinson and Edward Lasker during Iwamoto’s New York visit.” Benson adds “Thinking of the 55th New Jersey Open coming up on March 1st brings back memories of the fixtures at that tournament: Bob, Harry Gonshor, Bob Ryder and Takao Matsuda. The torch bearers from that era are now all gone.”
photo: McCallister playing Harry Gonshor in 1977; photo by Terry Benson

Categories: U.S./North America