American Go E-Journal » 50 years aGO

50 Years aGO – July 1971

Saturday July 31, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On July 11, the 4th Pro-Amateur Go Congress took place, between ten pros and ten top amateurs. Our source is silent on the handicap, but the score was a tie, with each team winning 4 games and two games ending in jigo, There was quite a sensation when 13 year old M. Kanazawa defeated Hashimoto Utarō 9d.

The Meijin League entered its final phases. On July 8, Rin Kaihō’s perfect 5-0 start was ended by veteran Takagawa Kaku, keeping suspense alive as to the challenger for another round. But on July 22, Rin defeated Ōtake Hideo and secured the right to challenge Fujisawa Shūkō. (Game record: Rin-Takagawa.)

On July 26 (televised on August 1) Kojima Takaho 6d won the 3rd Shin’ei TV event by a half a point over Cho Hunhyun 5d. (Game record: Kojima-Cho.)

Two amateur players visited Japan to study go this month. The more famous, at the time, was Manfred Wimmer, amateur 5d and former European Champion. His plan was to stay for two years. With a plan to stay for two months, James Kerwin arrived to study as well. He is pictured on the left facing Takenaka 4d at the Nihon Ki’in.

Rin Kaihō wins the Meijin League
Rin Kaihō wins the Meijin League
Kojima Takaho and Cho Hunhyun in the final game of the 3rd Shin'ei Tournament
Kojima Takaho and Cho Hunhyun in the final game of the 3rd Shin’ei Tournament
James Kerwin at Nihon Ki'in
James Kerwin at Nihon Ki’in

Photos courtesy of Go Review.

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50 Years aGO – June 1971

Friday June 25, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ishida Yoshio, the youngest ever Hon'inbo in June 1971
Ishida Yoshio

This was Ishida Yoshio’s month, by the end the 22-year-old would hold three titles, youthful success in newspaper tournaments unprecedented before that time.

On June 10-11, in Game 5, he scored an upset victory over Rin Kaihō Hon’inbo to take a 3-2 lead in the title match. Then on June 21-22, in Game 6, he navigated a complicated ōnadare joseki — to become very much in vogue — to lead to the famous exchange: Rin – “Half a point?” “Half a point to the good” replied Ishida and he was Hon’inbo. The counting, under the watchful eye of Sakata Eio, is pictured here. (Game records: Hon’inbo Game 5, Game 6.)

Ishida added the Pro Best 10 to his Hon’inbo and Nihon Ki’in Championship, but it was not without difficulties. Carrying a 2-0 lead in the five game match into the month he stumbled, perhaps under the pressure of the concurrent Hon’inbo match. On June 6, Ishida, known as “The Computer” for his calculating skills, had an AlphaGo Game 4 moment when he retook a ko without a threat – the first time this had happened in a tournament final – and lost by forfeit. He then was defeated by Kajiwara Takeo in Game 4, setting up a decisive Game 5. On June 29, with the Hon’inbo title secured, he returned to form and secured the title. Watching the smiling Ishida is a constellation of pros, including white haired taisha expert Yamabe Toshirō, Awaji Shuzō, Takemiya Masaki and Ishida Akira. Standing on the left is a gentleman who I think might be a pro who regularly attends the European Go Congress – his name escapes me, perhaps a reader can help. (Game records: Pro Best Ten Game 3, Game 4, Game 5.)

On June 21, Murakami Bunshō won the Amateur Best 10 for the fourth time in the event’s 11 year history.

Scoring Game 6 of the Hon'inbo title match - Ishida wins by a half point
Ishida wins the Hon’inbo by a half point
Ishida wins the Pro Top Ten
Ishida wins the Pro Top Ten
Murakami Bunshō wins the Amateur Best Ten Tournament
Murakami Bunshō wins the Amateur Best Ten Tournament

Photos courtesy of Igo Club.

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50 Years aGo – May 1971

Saturday May 22, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

The 11th Messe Go Tournament was held in Hannover, Germany, on May 1 and 2. Fifty players competed. In the final game, Korean visitor Lee Min-sup won, defeating European Champion Jürgen Mattern.

31 May Hon'inbo game between Ishida and Rin
31 May Hon’inbo game between Ishida and Rin

In those pre-Kisei days, the Hon’inbo tournament had greater prominence, with three games played in the title match in May. Title holder Rin Kaihō took a one game lead into the month. On May 6-7, Ishida Yoshio lived up to his “Computer” nickname with a brilliant win in yose by 1.5 points. However, he did not get that far in game three on May 18-19, as Rin forced a resignation with a dominance the Japanese go world had come to expect. As the month ended, on May 31, Rin stumbled with a blunder on move 92, leaving the match all square at 2-2. In this match photo, Ishida confidently plays a move, watched by the champion, and Maeda Nobuaki, the “god of Tsume-go”, in the center of the picture. (Game records: Hon’inbo Title Match Game One, Hon’inbo Title Match Game Two, Hon’inbo Title Match Game Three.)

The busy Ishida was simultaneously defending his Pro Best Ten title against Kajiwara Takeo 9d. The young champion prevailed in the first two games on May 14 and 24. (Game records: Pro Best Ten Final Game One; Pro Best Ten Final Game Two.)

Described as a new event, the Amsterdam Go Tournament was held on May 15-16. Attended by 80 players, including 10 from Germany (including our friend Horst Sudhoff), 8 from France, 5 from England, 2 from Yugoslavia, and 1 player from Japan, it was a truly international affair. This time, Jürgen Mattern won the final against Mr. Katō of Japan.

On May 28, legend-in-the-making Cho Hun-hyeon secured promotion to 5 dan at the Nihon Ki’in at the age of 18.

Photos courtesy of Go Review.

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A 50 Years aGo Special – Goishi Day: Reflecting on the Stones We Cannot Play Again

Friday May 14, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, and Patrick Bannister

Burial mound for go stones
Burial mound for Go stones. The epitaph reads “Treasure is in your grasp.” Photo courtesy of Go Club.

On 14 May 1971, Goishi Day, the Kyōto Branch of Nihon Ki’in raised a burial mound for go stones and held the first Goishi Kuyō. Goishi Kuyō is a memorial service for broken Go stones, and also for the stones that were captured or died on the board that year. The attendees joined in a tournament in honor of the occasion. Rin Kaihō Hon’inbo, former Women’s Hon’inbo Inoue Minako, and that year’s Amateur Ladies’ Championship third place winner Sakaguchi Kaori attended the event, and Rin Hon’inbo gave commentaries for some of the day’s tournament games.

The event had elements of a funeral – a burial mound where attendees offered flowers, and a Buddhist priest chanted sutras on behalf of the stones – but the tone wasn’t completely solemn. After all, stones that “die” on the go board are collected at the end of the game, soon to be played again. Broken stones – even from a cherished old set, rich with memories of games with your teacher and your friends – can’t be compared to a person. Hasegawa Kō, reporting on the event for Go Club magazine, characterized the Goishi Kuyō as “unusual” and “eccentric.” Goishi Day is a rhyming pun: May 14 = 5 14 = GO I SHI.

A large celebration of the 50th anniversary was planned for 9 May 2021, but like so many events, was cancelled.

Nevertheless, let us take this opportunity, this moment, to acknowledge and mourn the stones not broken this year, the stones not captured, the stones not played. It has been a year without the sound of stones snapping on boards, subtle slides into place or intimidating slams onto what we hope are the vital points. A year where the message of our moves was not reflected on the faces of our opponents – invariably friends – old, new and soon to be.

And take this moment to remember those we will never get another, or even a first, chance to play.

So, grasp those bowls from the shelf, let the stones breathe, feel the warmth of your fingers, and roam over the board. Whether cautiously reaching out, masked and vaccinated, to friends, or within family bubbles, or simply reviewing a pro game on a board and not with bytes – let the stones play.

Bowls of stones waiting on the shelf
Photo courtesy of Keith Arnold.
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50 years aGO – April 1971

Friday April 23, 2021

By Keith L Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Kajiwara Takeo
Kajiwara Takeo

The month began with Kajiwara Takeo 9d, the sharp tongued author of Direction of Play, defeating Sakata Eio on April 1 in the Asahi Best Ten. His subsequent win over Ōtake Hideo placed him in the best of five final against Ishida Yoshio. (Game record: Otake-Kajiwara.)

Ishida, of course, is the busy man of the month, winning his final game of the Hon’inbo League over Fujisawa Shūkō, unable to help his nephew, Fujisawa Hōsai, who was losing his match to Sakata at the same time. And so, Ishida won the league with a 6-1 record. (Game record: Shūkō-Ishida.) The first game of his challenge against Rin Kaihō was played on April 26-27, and did not go well, he was convincingly defeated. (Game record: Ishida-Rin.)

Arakawa wins the All Japan Amatuer Ladies Championship
Arakawa wins the All Japan Amateur Ladies Championship

April 6 saw Arakawa Kazuko upset Miyashita Suzue in the All Japan Amateur Ladies Championship. The photo captures the precise, dramatic moment when Arakawa, left, captures a large group to clinch the victory.

The British Go Championship required a final post Leeds Go Congress game between Jon Diamond and Tony Godard before Mr. Diamond prevailed on April 17 in London.

Finally, the First Gaijin Hon’inbo was held at Iwamoto’s Go Salon in Tokyo. Hugh Hudson, of San Diego, California, defeated M. Hall and Ishi Press’s Richard Bozulich to win the handicap event, securing promotion to 2k for his efforts.

Photos courtesy of Go Review

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50 Years aGo – March 1971

Saturday March 27, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

James Davies playing at the Asahi Amateur Best Ten Tournament in March 1971
James Davies

The big story this month was the Hon’inbo Tournament. As you may recall, Ishida Yoshio 7d finished last month 2-1, trailing Fujisawa Hōsai 9d, who was 4-0. Ishida played three games in the league this month, winning all of them. The first one, played on March 3 and 4, was the most important – a half point win against league leader Fujisawa Hōsai made a large lead seem as small as the game’s margin. Two weeks later he defeated Chino Tadahiko 7d, and on the last day of March he defeated Kanō Yoshinori 9d (author of Graded Go Problems for Beginners) to finish the month tied with Hōsai at 5-1 with one game remaining. (Game records: Ishida-Hōsai, Chino-Ishida, Kanō-Ishida.)

On March 14, the first round of the Asahi Amateur Best Ten Tournament took place in Tōkyō. Two Westerners took part, Richard Bozulich – founder of Ishi Press – and James Davies, taking time out from compiling information about the 1971 Hon’inbo Tournament. The study must have put him in good stead, as Davies (pictured) won his first game, although he lost in the second round.

Miyashita Shūyō and Fujisawa Hōsai talking after counting the score of their game at the 3rd Hayago Championship in March 1971
Miyashita (right) and Fujisawa Hōsai

Japan completed two television tournaments this month, with the victors vanquishing the movers and shakers of the Hon’inbo League. On March 21, Miyashita Shūyō 9d (on the right in picture) defeated Fujisawa Hōsai in the final of the 3rd Hayago Championship. Ōtake Hideo defeated Ishida Yoshio on March 24, in the final of the NHK Tournament. (Game records: Miyashita-Hōsai, Ishida-Ōtake.)

Two events occurred in the greater New York area this month. On the March 6 and 7, the 12th New Jersey Open Championship took place. Takao Matsuda 6d defended his title with a victory in the final round over his rival Takahiko Ishikawa 5d of Philadelphia. In the New Jersey Championship, Robert Ryder 5d won over Harry Gonshor 4d. The kyu champion was David Ault. The report in Go Review thanked Jeff Rohlfs for his hospitality during the event – Jeff is still an active tournament go player today.

The following weekend, Matsuda showed he could win giving handicaps as well by winning the New York Okigo Championship with a perfect record.

Photos from Go Review.

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50 years aGO – February 1971

Sunday February 14, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Hashimoto

On February 2 Ishida Yoshio finally played his third game – picking up his second win — in the Honinbo League, over Sakata Eio.  By the end of the month, Kato Masao had played twice as many games, with a 4-2 record, while Fujisawa Hosai led the league with a perfect 4-0 record. (Game record here).

Also on February 2, Otake Hideo defeated Hashimoto Utaro to even up the Judan title at 2-2.  Otake is pictured making the sealed move (which proved to be a mistake, though not a fatal one).  However, on February 11 Hashimoto, the 64-year-old veteran of the atom bomb game, defeated his youthful opponent to win the title.  Interestingly, he also won the first Judan title, and veteran Fujisawa Shuko, who just regained the Meijin title last year, had won the first Meijin as well. (Game records here: Judan 4 & Judan 5)

Speaking of old and new, on February 18th a match occurred in the Nihon Kiin Championship Tournament.  On the right is 70-year-old Hayashi Yutaro 9 dan.  On the left is a 14-year-old 4 dan named Cho Chikun.  The score was a lot closer than the age difference; a half point to the elder.  (Game record here).

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50 years aGO – January 1971

Sunday February 7, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold hka with Patrick Bannister

Ishida (r) defeats Takemiya
Hashimoto Utaro vs Otake, with Miss Miyashita and Liljana Atanasova

Ishida Yoshio won the second game in his defense of his Nihon Kiin Championship Title on January 6-7.  He completed his three game sweep over challenger Takemiya Masaki on January 13. (games files below) He also beat out Otake Hideo and Fujisawa Shuko for the Shusai prize for the outstanding player of the year.  His record for the year was 35-7 and continues a 30 game winning streak in the Oteai rating tournament.
Game 2
Game 3

The old guard was represented by Hashimoto Utaro who at 63 mounts a challenge in the Judan title against Otake.  He won the first game on January 6.  In this picture of the match, Miss Miyashita, former Ladies Amateur Honinbo and a guest from Yugoslavia, Miss Liljana Atanasova are on his left.  He won the second game on January 13, Otake kept the match alive with a win in the third game on January 25.
Judan 1
Judan 2
Judan 3

Kitani Reiko regained the Ladies Honinbo with straight wins over Honda Sachiko on January 6 and 13.
Ladies Honinbo 1
Ladies Honinbo 2

Kitani Reiko
John Barrs

The Western go world lost one of its early leaders when Britain’s John Barrs passed away on January 31.  Barrs learned to play at age 15 in 1929.  He would found the London Go Club in 1953 and founded the British Go Association at the same time.  He was President until his death.  Also a past president of the European Go Federation, he was the first Englishman to win a shodan certificate,  He represented the United Kingdom in the First and Second International Go Tournaments in Tokyo in 1963 and 1964.  Francis Roads was named BGA President pending an election.
Editor’s Note: Our apologies for the lateness in publication of this column, due to a delay in production, not the fault of our timely authors.

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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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