American Go E-Journal » 50 years aGO

50 years aGO December 1970

Saturday December 26, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

As of December 17th, Fujisawa Hosai 9 dan and Honda Kunihisa 8 dan hold the early lead at 2-0 in the 10th Meijin League.

Only one round has been played in the 26th Honinbo league. As we learned last month, Ishida qualified for the league, but dropped his first game against Kato Masao 6 dan. The victor is shown on the left in this match picture, with their teacher, the great Kitani, looking on. 2020.12.26-Kato defeats Ishida

The big news was the arrival of fellow Kitani disciple, Takemiya Masaki 6 dan 2020.12.26-Takemiya who, at age 19 became the youngest title challenger in history by defeating Fujisawa Meijin on December 1-2, and Sakata on December 16-17 to become the challenger to Ishida Yoshio in the Nihon Kiin Championship. He lost the first game, however, on December 23.

Finally, on December 27, the Nordrhein-Westfalen Championship was won by the strapping young man pictured. Veteran U.S. Go Congress-goers may recognize the German juggernaut Horst Sudhoff, who won the match in Dusseldorf. A regular feature at the Congress, Horst, win or lose, played the most games every year he attended, haunting the playing room and taking on all comers.

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50 years aGO – November 1970 Part Two – Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Saturday November 28, 2020

This month’s mystery pro question turned out to be much harder than I thought.  I asked you to identify the man in the picture at right, share his importance to Western go and finally, explain why we celebrate him this month.

Well, we only received one correct answer, and that only to the first two parts of the question.  I will let former AGA President, former International Go Federation (IGF) Director and current American Go Foundation (AGF) Treasurer Barbara Calhoun take it away. “I’ll take a stab that it is Yusuke Oeda. Don’t recognize the hair but it could be his face. Oeda was Michael Redmond’s sensei and was a prime mover in establishing the World Amateur Go Championship and the International Go Federation.”

Yusuke Oeda 9 dan, 1935-2010 was a student of Nobuaki Maeda.  In his E-Journal obituary, Barbara further elaborated on her friend’s efforts bringing the Meijin Tournament to New York, remarking “He was an emotional man who could relate to and communicate with people culturally different from him.”  Michael Redmond said that the lessons he learned from Oeda were not just about the game that became his career, adding that “Mr. Oeda was also generous with his knowledge of the fine points of Japanese language and culture, and he gave me a basic understanding of the country I live in” (7/26/2010 EJ).

My fondest memory of Mr. Oeda was watching him play simuls.  If you have had the pleasure of playing a simultaneous game with a professional, you understand the awe of watching their calm strength as they guide the game to a result that tests the amateur player.  They do not resort to strong player tricks but rather slowly wear down each opponent, happily winning or losing based on our performance.

That was not the Oeda way.  He preferred pairing himself with a young female professional, sharing the effort, but also playing moves designed to make his partner laugh, hilarious to watch as the young pro was torn between trying to maintain her professional demeanor and her natural reaction to Oeda’s mischief.

The final answer to this month’s quiz is explained in this picture of Ishida playing Oeda on November 12, 1970.  With his victory in this game, Ishida qualified for the Honinbo League and this game is the first one featured in Iwamoto’s (and Davies’) “The 1971 Honinbo Tournament” book, one of the great early Ishi press masterpieces.  The photo shows the moment where Ishida played move 11 (at the lower right corner of the book) “a new joseki developed at the Kitani Dojo”.  Oeda navigated the surprise move well, but gradually was out-maneuvered in an exciting game. (game record here).

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50 years aGO – November 1970

Wednesday November 11, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Fujisawa Shuko Meijin followed up on his victory with another title final. However, perhaps exhausted by his effort against youthful Rin Kaiho, he was defeated by his longtime rival, Sakata Eio, who returned to the world of titleholders with the Oza. Sakata won the first game in a mere 65 moves on November 5, and won the best-of-three match on November 19 (picture, game records).

A Go expo was held on November 6 at the Tokyo Department Store. It included a fourth match between the Koyukai ladies and the “Western” team, which was victorious including players Richard Bozulich, James Davies and Stuart Horowitz.

Go History Quiz! Pictured on the right in this GoWeekly ad is a professional go player – Who is he? if you know the answer, part two of this quiz will be easy – what is his significance to Western go? And finally, and a bit harder, why do we ask about him this month? We will share your responses in a follow up column later this month.

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50 years aGo – October 1970

Friday October 16, 2020

by Keith Arnold, ska, with Patrick Bannister

Sad news on October 8, Germany’s Dr. Felix Duebell (left), passed away at age 90. Known as the “German Honinbo,” Dr. Duebell studied under Shusai and was the recipient of the first Okura prize. He was posthumously awarded the rank of 6 dan, back when that was truly strong. His role in organizing Go in Germany and Europe cannot be overstated.

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But the promised main event this month was the culmination of the Meijin title. The big smiling black and white photo of Shuko tells the story. On October 6/7 Shuko took the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead.  Shuko looks content in this picture (right) from early in the game, and who would not be in front of that beautiful kaya board (below). Find the game record here.

The title was won on October 16/17 as we see a huge crowd gathered at the finish (below). Look closely at the picture, can you find Abe Yoshiteru (but you find him in the back of all of this sort of picture.  Or perhaps to you spot Kato Masao, or Ishida Akira, author of Ishi Press’s “Attack and Defense.” Finally, I think I see a young Cho Hun-hyeon. Let us know if you spot anyone else!

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50 years aGo – September 1970

Thursday September 17, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

On September 9 a young man traveled to Japan from Seattle, intending to stay for one year. That man was James Davies, and I think he has been there ever since, producing many of the true classics of Western Go literature including “Life and Death” and “Tesuji”.

A changing of the guard was noted when Sakata lost to Otake in the final game of the Meijin league. This loss dropped Sakata from the league. This same year saw Takagawa dropped from the Honinbo League after more than 20 years as the title holder or member of the league.

The European Go Congress ended on September 13 in Vienna, with Jurgen Mattern of Germany winning the European Championship.

A certain S. Horowitz of the USA was staying in Tokyo and working as an assistant editor of Go Review, according to Go Review.

But the dominant topic of the month was the the struggle for the Meijin title between Rin Meijin and challenger Shuko. Rin looks quite pleased to even the score with a win in the second game played September 7 and 8. That’s the back of the late Go Seigen’s head in the foreground. Rin won again in the third game, played on the 15th and 16th, but Shuko evened the score at 2-2 with a win in game 4 on September 24-25. We will see who wins next month.

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50 years aGO: August 1970

Saturday August 22, 2020

Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

I was pleased that I was not the only one to struggle with identifying Takagi Shoichi, pictured last month.  It takes a pro to know one, congratulations to Alexandre Dinerchtein for recognizing the Mt. Holyoke Congress attendee and winner of his second title this month fifty years ago.

On August 6, Fujisawa Shuko defeated Sakata Eio for the right to challenge Rin Kaiho for the Meijin title. (game record here)  Rin can be seen watching along with Takagawa, Otake and Awaji Shuzo.  Shuko started the match on August 28 in classic style, winning the first game while using only 4 hours and 25 minutes of his clock in the two day match.

Here we see the great Iwamoto waving goodbye (top left) as he takes an extended trip to spread go in the west.  Leaving Tokyo on August 7, his itinerary included Berlin, Frankfurt, Zagreb and Vienna.

He would leave behind the E-Journal’s own Richard Dolen (bottom right), who was visiting Japan during an extended research visit.  The then-4dan college professor also took part in the third annual match (top right) on August 23 between the “Gaijin” (foreigner) team and the Koyukai, a woman’s go group at the Nihon Kiin.  The all-male team were victorious, winners including Dolen, Richard Bozulich, Horst Muller, William Pinckard, John Tilley and future Congress Director Stuart Horowitz.  The two losses for the west were U.S. attorney Gene Kazlow on board one, and the late T. Mark Hall, co-creator of GoGod.

Speaking of Richard Bozulich, not only was the founder of Ishi Press victorious on board 2, here he is (bottom left, in the glasses) enjoying some whiskey with Iwamoto and others in an ad in the August issue of Go Weekly.

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Mystery man no more

Sunday August 9, 2020

We have a winner! The mystery go player shown in the last 50 years aGO is Takagi Shoichi, 9-dan. We had a number of incorrect guesses, including Noriyuki Nakayama – well-known for his wide and infectious smile — and Takagawa Kajiwara, who did write an Ishi Press book. “It does look like Kajiwara,” says Keith Arnold, “However the timing is way off, this guy is way too young to be Kajiwara, and Kajiwara never came to a Congress.”

In the end, Alexandre Dinerchtein came through, saying that Takagi is “One of my favourite masters. I really like his active playing style and fuseki (5-4 stones, thickness). He is the author of Beyond Forcing Moves.” Takagi “had a mane of wild hair Sakata- or Cho Chikun-style as he aged, so the closer cropped hair totally stumped me,” says Arnold.

This is a preview of the upcoming August 50 years aGO, which will feature Takagi, who won the Shin’ei Tournament — final match with Kudō Norio played on 2 August 1970. The caption mentions that he had recently won the Shushō Cup in 1969.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Still stumped

Tuesday August 4, 2020

“Is the photo a very young Ishida Yoshio?” wonders Shai Simonson, in response to our recent 50 years aGO stumper: Who’s pictured in the photo at left? Hints were that he attended a U.S. Go Congress and wrote an Ishi Press book. “(Ishida) wrote ‘All About Thickness’ for Ishi Press, and attended the (first?) Go Congress in 1985 in Maryland,” adds Simonson.
“It looks like it could be a young Takemiya Masaki, who later wrote ‘Enclosure Josekis’ and attended the 29th US Go Congress,” writes Michael Kyriakakis.
Nope and nope, says Keith Arnold. If you think you know the answer, send it to us c/o journal@usgo.org.

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50 years aGO: July 1970

Sunday July 12, 2020

Keith Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Our feature photo this month was originally captioned “Clash of the Titans: Takagawa vs. Go Seigen in the 18th Ōza Tournament,” 9 July 1970.  Takagawa (left, in photo at right)  was by this time one of the elder statesmen of the game,   His greatest achievement was holding the Honinbo title for nine consecutive years.  His “simple,” solid style has long been prized as one amateur players should emulate as they get stronger.  Two of the early go books in English – How to Play Go and Vital Points of Go – were published by the Nihon Kiin.

Go Seigen, of course, needs no introduction, arguably the greatest go player of all time.  At his peak, it is fair to say that he was at least a stone better than the entire world.  Game record here.

The quizmaster, stumped: While I rely on my collaborator Mr. Bannister for dates and competitions on these old photos, I invariably know the player’s names, since these were the greats when I was beginning to play. Embarrassingly, however, I was stumped by the gentleman in this photo (left).  We will share why he is pictured next month, but for now – who is he?  Bonus questions/hints – Which US Go Congress did he attend, and what Ishi Press go book did he author? Send your answers to us c/o journal@usgo.org.

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50 years aGO — June 1970

Thursday June 25, 2020

Keith Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On June 4 the Nihon Kiin Igo Festival was held.  There were a variety of events, but the greatest excitement was created by the 2nd place finish in the All-Japan Ladies Amateur Championship of an 11-year-old prodigy, Ashida Isoko (pictured)  She would enter the pro ranks in 1975. Today she’s a 6d player with Kansai Ki’in. Her biggest tournament victory so far was taking 1st place in the Kakusei in 1985.

On June 9, veteran player Hashimoto Utaro completed his victory in the Asahi Pro Best Ten (picture) with three straight wins over Kato Masao. (game records: Game 1; Game 2; Game 3).  He held off other young players – Rin Kaiho, Ishida Yoshio and Otake Hideo in the course of this triumph.

Go Review reports that William Pinckard returned to Japan and was furthering his go studies at Iwamoto’s Go Salon and had achieved 2 dan.

Finally, on June 14, the North American Honinbo match was held via telephone.  New York’s Takao Matsuda turned back the challenge of the West Coast’s Shigeo Matsubara.

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