American Go E-Journal » 50 years aGO

50 Years aGO – January 1972

Sunday January 16, 2022

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ōhira Shūzō wins the Nihon Ki’in Championship

On January 7th, Kitani Reiko 6d (daughter of the great Kitani Minoru, wife of Kobayashi Kōichi) defeated Honda Sachiko 4d to capture the Ladies Hon’inbo for the sixth time. It should be noted that the Hon’inbo title eluded her father and her husband, but not her daughter, Kobayashi Izumi. (Game record: Ladies Hon’inbo Game 3)

Two events dominated this month, our coverage of them started last. First, two games completed the Nihon Ki’in Championship, which started the new year knotted at 1-1. On January 11-12, Ishida Yoshio lost to Ōhira Shūzō in a game titled by Go Review, “Even Computers Make Mistakes.” Ōhira regained the title with a win in the fourth game on January 18-19. (Game records: Nihon Ki’in Championship Game 3, Game 4)

Sakata Eio wins Jūdan Game 1

Japanese go fans were enthralled by the Jūdan match between two members of the old guard. It should be noted, back in those days, the Jūdan was 4th in prestige amongst the big seven titles. On January 26-27, Sakata Eio defeated the title holder Hashimoto Utarō in the first game. (Game record: Jūdan Game 1)

There were interesting developments in the Meijin and Hon’inbo leagues. As of January 27, both dethroned champions were leading the leagues. Fujisawa Shūkō led the Meijin League, seeking revenge against Rin Meijin, while Rin led the Hon’inbo League looking for a rematch with Ishida Hon’inbo. Ishida was off to a bad start (0-2) in the Meijin League.

Game records thanks to SmartGo, photos from Go Review.

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50 Years aGO – December 1971

Friday December 31, 2021

By Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Nihon Ki'in Championship match between Ishida Yoshio and Ōhira Shūzō
Nihon Ki’in Championship match between Ishida Yoshio and Ōhira Shūzō

European amateur Manfred Wimmer played taisha expert Yamabe Toshirō 9d in a three stone game. Wimmer, studying go in Japan, played quite creditably, in a game featured in Go Review, losing by three points.

On December 16, Sakata Eio defeated Rin Kaihō for the right to challenge Hashimoto Utarō for the Jūdan title. (Game record attached here.)

Ōhira Shūzō began his bid to regain the Nihon Ki’in Championship from title holder Ishida Yoshio. Ishida won the first game on December 21st, but Ōhira evened the series on December 27. (Game records: Game 1, Game 2.)

Sakata Eio wins again Rin Kaihō in the Jūdan Tournament
Sakata Eio wins again Rin Kaihō in the Jūdan Tournament

Finally in this holiday season while many are out purchasing presents and facing a bit of inflation, we thought we would feature the prices of yesteryear, as stated in a Go Review ad. For those of you with a nice real kaya table board, slate and shell stones and cherry bowls on your wish list, the price was a “hefty” $110, shipping included. Happy Holidays!

Photos courtesy of Go Review, game records from SmartGo

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50 Years aGO – November 1971

Wednesday November 24, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On November 4, Sakata Eio won the first game in his defense of the Ōza title against Hashimoto Shōji 9d. He completed the defense on November 17. (Game records: Game 1, Game 2)

Back in the USA, Takao Matsuda won the New York Championship on November 20 and 21. Future AGA President John Stephenson was promoted to shodan after winning the kyu championship.

Go Seigen made a trip to the US, visiting Hawaii as well as New York from the 15th to the 20th and San Francisco on the 22nd. New York Champion Matsuda was one of the few players to manage a win against him – on three stones. The game was featured in Go Review.

As mentioned previously in this column, the “new” (and current) Nihon Ki’in building was opened on November 22.

Finally, in Europe, the International Go Master Tournament was held in Yugoslavia from the 26th to the 29th. The clear champion with a perfect 6-0 record was Jürgen Mattern of Germany.

Sakata Eio wins Ōza title match Game 1

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Photos courtesy of Go Review

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50 Years aGO – October 1971

Monday October 25, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Fans of Japan’s “old guard” had gotten hopeful that Fujisawa Shūkō might hold the Meijin title, but those hopes were dashed on 5-6 October as Rin Kaihō won the sixth game, regaining the title with a 4-2 finish. (Game record: Meijin Game 6.)

On 23 to 24 October, the second U.S. International Go Tournament took place in New York City. Once again, the Chinese team led by Dr. C.S. Shen were the victors, with a 16-2 record in the competition between three player teams – two Chinese teams, two Japanese teams, two Korean teams, and one U.S. team. (Author’s note – I suspect that these teams were drawn on racial lines, some of the “foreign players” were probably citizens, certainly residents of the U.S.) The U.S. team of Robert Ryder, Harry Gonshor, and Gerald Rogers were a surprise second place. The Japan A team, headed by long time New York Go Club President Mitsuo Horiguchi, placed third.

On 31 October (the following weekend) the 2nd Wessex Tournament was held, sponsored by the Bristol Go Club. The 52-player British Go Association event was won by Rick Hubbell, 3 dan of Seattle Washington.

Rin Kaihō wins Game 6 of the Meijin title match, retaking the Meijin title.
Rin Kaihō retakes the Meijin title

Image courtesy of Igo Club.

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50 Years aGO – September 1971

Saturday September 25, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Two early matches in the TV tournaments attracted attention because of interesting match ups. First, on September 5, Kitani Reiko 6d, daughter of the great Kitani Minoru (and future wife of Kobayashi Koichi and mother of Kobayashi Izumi) upset Takagawa Shukaku 9d in the 4th Quick Go Tournament. (Game record: Kitani-Takagawa.)

Second, on September 12, the new Hon’inbo Ishida Yoshio faced off against the legendary Go Seigen in the 19th NHK Tournament. Go Review remarked that Go “overwhelmingly defeated” the young star. See for yourself in the game record: Go-Ishida.

But the month was dominated by Rin Kaihō’s attempt to get the Meijin title back from Fujisawa Shūkō. The second game was postponed for a day due to the title holder’s health and he lost the game to go down 0-2. Shūkō then came back to win the 3rd and 4th games, played from September 9 to 10 and September 17 to 18 respectively, to even the series. But we offer a photo of a smiling Rin after his victory in the 5th game, played from September 27 to 28, to lead the series 3-2. (Game records: Game 2, Game 3, Game 4, Game 5.)

Kitani Reiko wins Hayago tournament game against Takagawa Shukaku

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Photos courtesy of Go Review

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50 years aGO – August 1971

Monday August 30, 2021

By Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ōtake Hideo defends the All Japan First Place Title
Ōtake Hideo defends the All Japan First Place Title

From August 10 we see Ōtake Hideo 9d in triumph over Katō Masao 7d in the All Japan First Place Title. Ōtake’s 2-0 victory meant that he now had held the title for 4 straight years. (Game records: Game 1, Game 2.)

The first game of the Meijin Title took place on August 20 and 21. Fujisawa Shūkō, the title holder, confidently dominated his young challenger, Rin Kaihō…until he made one of his fateful blunders on move 131, going on to lose the game. Sakata Eio watches as Rin shares his thoughts with a dismayed Shūkō. (Game record: Meijin Game 1.)

Rin Kaihō wins Meijin Game 1
Rin Kaihō wins Meijin Game 1

On August 15, the ladies of Koyukai once again took on the best foreign players for the fourth time. The games ended 4-4-2 so for the first time the guests did not win. Wins by notables Manfred Wimmer, Horst Mueller, and James Davies were offset by losses by Richard Bozulich and James Kerwin.

On 29 to 30 August, Nihon Ki’in’s young professional players went on a biking trip at the Cycle Sports Center in Izu, by invitation from the Japan Bicycling Promotional Association (Nihon Jitensha Shinkōkai, which later would be absorbed into the present-day Japan Keirin Autorace Foundation).

Nihon Ki'in's young professionals on a biking trip
Nihon Ki’in young professional players on a biking trip

Photos courtesy of Go Review, Go Weekly, and Igo Club, game records thanks to GoGod

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50 years aGO Special – You Were There in July 1971

Wednesday August 18, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister and guest contributor John Tilley

James Kerwin at Nihon Ki'in
James Kerwin at Nihon Ki’in. Photo courtesy of Go Review.

We enjoy bringing these glimpses of go history each month, and we love hearing from you.

This month we received not just thanks, but precious additional info from 50 years ago regarding July 1971. John Tilley, author of GO: International Handbook and Dictionary, worked in the overseas department of the Nihon Ki’in, and proofread many of the early Ishi Press books. And he was there…

“James Kerwin is having a paid teaching game with Takenaka 4d. You could buy a ticket for a lesson at the reception at the Nihon Ki’in Chūōkaikan and this gave you a game plus review with one of the professionals – I am guessing that the whole lesson would have been 45-60 minutes and cost about 1,000 Yen. In one of the back issues of Go Review the fact that Kerwin had a lot of lessons was mentioned.

“I remember watching Takenaka-sensei with interest, as he was waiting for his next student he would play though jōseki after jōseki using just the white stones.” The professional next to him in the photo (top right) is Matsumoto Tokuji 7-dan, giving a five stone lesson.”

John also supplemented our report regarding the 4th Asahi Best Ten Pro-Amateur Match –

GO: International Handbook and Dictionary
GO: International Handbook and Dictionary

“Eight of the games were 2 stones and the other two were even – the amateurs who played the two even games both won – against Ishida Yoshio and Kajiwara. (I am guessing no komi). Kanazawa (the 13 year old sensation) beat Hashimoto Utarō on 2 stones by 5 points.”

We return John’s best wishes, and look forward to providing more information from our readers, in those instances where – you were there.

9/20/21 Update: This post has been updated: the pro at top right is Matsumoto Tokuji 7-dan, not Sakakibara Shoji, as previously reported. Thanks to John Power for the correction.

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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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