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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

Image 1 of 3

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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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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Empty Sky Go Club celebrates 41st anniversary

Wednesday January 22, 2020

by Steve Colburn
It’s hard to imagine in these days of 24/7 global online go, but back in the late 1970s, if you were one of the few non-Asian Americans interested in go, your playing options were limited to a handful of clubs in places like New York City or San Francisco. A group of go players in upstate New York, hundreds of miles away from the nearest club, decided to organize their own club in Rochester, and formed an official chapter of the American Go Association on January 15, 1979, dubbing it the Empty Sky Go Club, an ironic name coined by organizer William Hewitt in honor of Rochester’s often cloudy sky. Club meetings originally moved from house to house, but from 1980 through 2000 were held regularly at Dave Weimer’s house in the South Wedge.

While the world of go — and indeed the game itself — has transformed dramatically in the 41 years since then, the Empty Sky Go Club is still fundamentally the same, in the sense that it’s a bunch of local players who value getting together every week to play this ancient game. On January 13, the current members of the club gathered to celebrate its 41st birthday.

Like all go clubs, the Empty Sky has gone through both fat and lean years as membership has waxed and waned. Longtime local organizers like Dave Weimer and Chris Garlock have relocated to other communities — where they continue to build the go community — but a steady group of students and locals have kept the game going in The Flower City for nearly half a century. Indeed, Empty Sky hosted two Go Congresses, first in 1991 and then again in 2004. The members that have come through this club are among the most loyal that I have ever seen, moving around the globe and continuing to grow friends through the game.

The Empty Sky Go Club would like to thank all its members, past and present, for coming to club throughout the years. And if you’re ever in Rochester, be sure to drop by (we meet every Monday and Thursday night in Java Wally’s, the RIT coffee shop located in Wallace Library, building 5) and be a part of our future as we look forward to many more years of fun and camaraderie together.

Got a story about your local club? We’d love to hear it! Email us at journal@usgo.org

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Go Clubs: Walla Walla takes it to the street

Monday October 9, 2017

The go club in Walla Walla, Washington is small, says Steve Tanner, “but dedicated.” The club, an AGA chapter, has been in continuous2017.10.09_walla-walla-club existence for several years and local go players gather in a local pizza shop every Wednesday evening. “In an effort to get some new publicity and attention for the club, two of the members decided to set up their goban on the Walla Walla Main Street sidewalk and play a game,” Tanner reports. “The goban gets people looking,” the club reported on its Facebook page, where they posted some shots. They plan to do a similar setup in other public locations around town in the future.

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