This is the third in a series of books that give a very detailed analysis of a famous game while also placing it in context. Writing in 1948, Segoe Kensaku wrote of the game in this book, which featured champions of the old and new styles of play, "There has been no game in recent times that has caused as much surprise and as much great fuss among fellow go lovers as this one."
It still has the power to astonish. I hope, courtesy of a swathe of professional commentaries I have consulted, to enable the reader to understand the game as well as goggle at it. It is covered in great depth, which may initially make it hard to understand, but it was a complex game and I hope to have conveyed some of the complexity. The two players spent months on the game, and in my view such a game deserves in-depth coverage.
The first two books in the series (also published by Slate & Shell) were The Meijin s Retirement Game and The Insha Match. It is no coincidence that these books describe periods or systems in which Go Seigen featured.
I began this series as a break from covering Go's ten-game matches (so far Kamakura, Final Summit, and 9-Dan Showdown have appeared-again all from Slate & Shell-featuring Kitani Minoru, Takagawa Kaku, and Fujisawa Kuranosuke as opponents), but also with a view to filling in gaps in Go's history and the environment in which he played. So far, the "famous game" books have not featured Go as a player. This one does. It is, however, as different from the games of his later matches as it is possible to be. This was the age of New Fuseki, go's equivalent to chess's Hypermodern Openings.
The focus of this book is on New Fuseki. I hope to show that it was an organic process and not, as commonly thought, a spontaneous invention of Go and his friend Kitani. Apart, therefore, from a timeline for the two players here, there are few biographical details. Full details of Go's life can be garnered from the ten-game match series. A full account of Honinbo Shusai's life can be found in The Meijin s Retirement Game. If I may post here a reminder, the works mentioned have my name on them but they would not appear without my long and much valued collaboration with my GoGoD colleague T Mark Hall. He provides sources, research, discussions and other support essentially on a full-time basis. I can only hope that, as he claims, watching commuters trudge to work as he slaves away really is sufficient compensation.
John Fairbairn London 2011 GoGoD