American Go E-Journal » 50 years aGO

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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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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