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Google’s Shusaku Doodle Sparks UK Kerfuffle

Saturday June 7, 2014

A Google doodle on June 6 honoring the 185th birthday of Honinbo Shusaku sparked a bit of a kerfuffle in the UK when Google hastily replaced it with links to letters, photos and maps of the Normandy landings to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day. “What were you thinking #Google?” chided a tweet. “Unfortunately a technical error crept in and for a short period this morning an international doodle also appeared,” said Peter Barron, Google’s director of communication. “We’re sorry for the mistake, and we’re proud to honour those who took part in D-Day.” The Shusaku doodle remained in some countries, including Japan and Hong Kong, honoring one of the greatest go players of the 19th century. Click here to read Go Game Guru’s report, which includes Shusaku’s famous Ear-reddening Game, and here to read the BBC’s report.  Click here for an interesting discussion on Board Game Geek about which countries the doodle appeared in.
Thanks to readers around the world who sent in sightings and links to reports.

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2014.06.06_honinbo-shusaku-550×212

Saturday June 7, 2014

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The Traveling Board: Innoshima, Birthplace of Honinbo Shusaku

Friday August 2, 2013

by Jan Engelhardt

Western go players sightseeing in Japan won’t want to miss Innoshima in the Hiroshima prefecture. That’s the birthplace of Honinbo Shusaku, the most famous go player ever. Shusaku was born as Kuwahara Torajiro on June 6, 1829 in Innoshima. At the age of 10 he moved to Edo (now called Tokyo) to join the legendary Honinbo go house. Even after he became a professional go player, Shusaku returned to Innoshima for long stays. The people of Innoshima are very proud on Honinbo Shusaku and value his heritage, calling themselves a “Go playing city” where as much as ten percent of the 20,000 inhabitants play go and twice a year Innoshima hosts a a “Shusaku Honinbo Go Festival” for professional and amateur go players.

The “Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall” is a fascinating museum honoring Shusaku’s life and accomplishments, showcasing many artifacts of his life, including the old goban on which his mother taught him go. In the museum’s back yard there is a reconstruction of the actual living house of the family. The museum’s memorial hall is also used for go events, including professional ones. There are always go boards available for guests and it’s amazing to see all the letters, game records and go material related to Shusaku’s fascinating life. Next to the hall one can find a shinto shrine constructed by a later Honinbo in Shusaku’s honor.

Not far away is Shusaku’s grave. It is said that one becomes two stones stronger by touching the gravestone, and it’s traditional for visitors to light an incense stick there in the great player’s memory.
– Engelhardt, who was in Japan recently to attend the Osaka Go Camp, is the E-Journal’s German Correspondent. photos by Jan Engelhardt

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2013.07.27_ShusakuGrave

Saturday July 27, 2013

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2013.07.27_Innoshima-Shusaku

Saturday July 27, 2013

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2013.07.26_ShusakuBoards

Friday July 26, 2013

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SmartGo Books Releases “Invincible: The Games of Shusaku”

Thursday May 3, 2012

Invincible: The Games of Shusaku,” John Power’s classic and widely-acclaimed masterpiece on one of the greatest go players who ever lived is now available in SmartGo Books. Originally published by Kiseido, the SmartGo Books edition of Invincible “includes the complete text, games, and diagrams of the print edition, painstakingly converted to digital format,” SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf tells the E-Journal. “And it takes full advantage of the digital medium – be prepared to experience this classic in a whole new way.” Features of the new edition include the ability to replay moves in figures and diagrams, play out your own variations, fewer moves per figure, with the appropriate text for each figure, and inline diagrams for move sequences embedded in the text. Best of all, the new edition’s portable accessibility on iPad or iPhone means Invincible — at an introductory price of $19.99  — can now always be with you. SmartGo Books is a free app for the iPad and iPhone available on the App Store. Check out free chapters of over 30 go books and purchase those you like using in-app purchase.

 

 

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2012.04.29_shusakuRomania

Sunday April 29, 2012

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Shusaku Number, Corrected

Thursday August 4, 2011

In our recent “Shusaku Number ” article (What’s Your “Shusaku Number?”), we mistakenly reported that Hoensha founder Honinbo Shuho faced Shusaku in four of the “Castle Games.” Shuho actually never had the chance to play in those matchups. However, records of 38 games between the two masters have been preserved. The oldest dates from 1850, when Shuho was just twelve years old; most notable is the ten-game series (jubango) that Shuho and Shusaku played in 1861. In that series, playing mostly Black with no komi, Shuho managed six victories and one tie. For more details including copious historical material and several commented game records, you can consult Invincible: The Games of Shusaku,  generally regarded as one of the most important go books to ever appear in English.
– Roy Laird

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What’s Your “Shusaku Number?”

Sunday July 24, 2011

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. Now there’s the Shusaku number, which represents the “distance” between a go player and Honinbo Shusaku, measured in go opponents.

Kuwahara Shusaku  (1829-1862) was the strongest player of Japan’s “Edo” period, a “golden age of go” where four “houses” devoted themselves to winning the honor of playing in the “Castle Games” for the Emperor. The author of the most famous move in go history – the so-called “ear-reddening move” – Shusaku once famously responded, when asked the result of a game, “I had black.”  (The komi system was still more than fifty years in future.) He won nineteen consecutive games over a thirteen-year period, an unparalleled achievement, before dying of cholera at age 33. To equal this achievement today, a player would have to win every game on white by at least eight points. The ideas Shusaku left behind, especially the so-called “Shusaku opening,” formed the foundation of go theory for the next hundred years.

How closely are you connected to Shusaku? Borrowing from the world of mathematics, where authors proudly calculate their “Erdos number”, some go players enjoy figuring out their “Shusaku number,” a series of games leading back to the historic figure. For instance, The E-Journal’s erstwhile translator Bob McGuigan’s “Shusaku number” is four, a very respectable achievement for an amateur player. McGuigan once played a game with Sumiko Shiratori 5P, who in turn once played Fumiko Kita 6P, an important figure in the Hoensha, forerunner of today’s Nihon Kiin. Ms. Kita in turn once played Hoensha founder Honinbo Shuho, Shusaku’s unlucky opponent in four “Castle Games.” That’s a three-player link, so Bob is a four. (Shusaku’s “Shusaku number” is of course zero.) If you have ever played Bob, you are a five.  Click here to learn how to trace your “go lineage” to the great master.  When you’ve got that all figured out you can take it to the next level, and try to figure out yourWinning Shusaku Number,” where you have to trace a series of victories all the way back to someone who beat Shusaku.  Handicap wins on black don’t count, so good luck with that . . .
– Roy Laird

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