Books

Games of Go on Disk began in the era of floppy disks, and we have since moved to a more modern format of digital download.

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Ogawa Doteki, Go Prodigy

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Ogawa Doteki has often been hailed as the greatest go prodigy in history. Recent discoveries have given reason to re-assess that reputation slightly – a game against the great Honinbo Dosaku traditionally given at age thirteen is now known to be at around age seventeen. But to be able to play the first Go Saint on White as well as Black is an astounding achievement at any age. He also played White against the Inseki Meijin of ‘Igo Hatsuyoron’ fame.’ And to have a game described by the modern Go Saint, Go Seigen, as “impeccable” tells us we are in the presence of greatness when we play over the sadly few Doteki games history has left to us. For Doteki died very young. His life span was just 1669 to1690. Since, by then, he had already become the Honinbo heir and was at the highest possible rank outside of the sole Meijin, we can only wonder what levels he might have reached. This book contains all of Doteki’s known games, just over 20. Sixteen have been annotated, some with very deep commentaries, all based entirely on professional opinion. Five of those games are with Dosaku, and so we get to see two of the greatest go minds in action together. Like Go Seigen, modern players have struggled to find flaws in their games, which, incidentally, betray a likely influence from old Chinese go theory.
Despite his reputation, Doteki is not as well known as he should be. No doubt this is because his life was so short and so few games remain, and of course he was in the shadow of Dosaku, who outlived him. This book is an attempt to fill that void. It has brief survey of other go prodigies, in attempt to trace their various types and also the different pressures on them. It also maps out the Japanese go world of that era, which is likewise not as well known as it should be. It is in Go Wisdom colour format, and has an index for use with GW reference materials in other works. There are 24 Doteki games (17 commented) and six extra reference games.
Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
15/04/2022
Type
Paperback

Kamakura: The ten-game match between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru 1939 ~ 1941

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The ten-game match between the Chinese-born Go Seigen and his Japanese rival (and friend) Kitani Minoru is perhaps the most famous match in all of go history. Apart from being a clash to determine who was the world’s best player, it took place during the early days of World War II following a long period of tension and fighting between China and Japan. The match had great political significance.

This book describes the match in full detail. The scene is set, the players’ biographies prior to the match are given in depth, and every game is fully commented, based entirely on a wealth of professional opinions (quite often conflicting!), including the players’ own, of course. One game alone is based on over 50 pro commentaries.

The book was originally published in 2009 and proved extremely popular. With changes in the book market, however, the original publishers, Slate & Shell in the USA, decided to withdraw from the paper-publishing scene, and the original version went out of print, despite a re-print. Following very many requests, the author has at last decided to issue the present on-demand version in a slightly different format, with a few updates (e.g. Go’s death).

The new Go Wisdom  format follows his other recent books in being designed to tap into the latest theories on the best ways to study, in particular the concept of ‘effortful practice.’ This means the variation diagrams of the original version have been largely replaced by text that requires the reader to play through the variations on a board, absorbing the flow into one’s intuition, and learning to visualise. This is supplemented by a large Go Wisdom appendix, which can be likened to a  go concepts reference library. The idea is that concepts the reader wonders about, even those not mentioned directly in  the games, can be consulted and read about in depth. Moreover, all occurrences of each commented concept are fully indexed and marry up with the indexed occurrences in all other Go Wisdom books, so that the reader can study difficult concepts such as thickness and momentum, or probes and psychology, over a wide range of players and styles with a host of specific examples in the games themselves.

Apart from the changes required for Go Wisdom (which include also the use of colour), the text is virtually the same as in the original version. But changes have also been made in the diagrams and some illustrations, and of course the large Go Wisdom appendix itself has been added.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
12/02/2022
Type
Paperback

Go Seigen Versus Archers of Yue

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Go Seigen (1914 ~ 2014) has a reputation, rightly, of being a go genius. Almost all commentaries on his games, however, relate to the times when he was in the ascendant. Times when he made very few mistakes. This creates a slightly warped view of his long career. He was not so dominant when he began that career. Indeed, he made a plethora of mistakes then. But that is not to diminish him. Seeing the kind of mistakes he made and how he learned to overcome them adds richly to a true appreciation of his enormous talent.

Among the very first games arranged for Go when he arrived in Japan at the age of 14 in October 1928 was a series of 13 games in which Go (Wu in Chinese) was likened to Sun Zi, the “Art of War” military genius who helped the kingdom of Wu in their rivalry with the kingdom of Yue. His opponents. a different one in each game but all the rising stars of the Japanese go scene, were the archers of Yue.

In all these games, now very rarely seen, Go, as a lowly 3-dan, took Black. In fact, he had Black in nearly all his games until 1933. We therefore get to see how Go mastered the art of having first move in no-komi games. Much of the time he followed Honinbo Shusaku, whose games he studied in depth in China. But we also see surprising new ideas clearly based on his equally avid study of the old Chinese masters.

All the games are given here with commentaries in Go Wisdom format, based on comments from pros of the time, including the players themselves. Anecdotal biographies are given for each opponent. A full, indexed Go Wisdom appendix is included, so that the reader can study the games to a depth well beyond that of the commentaries themselves, and also use the concept data in conjunction with data in other Go Wisdom books.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
17/11/2021
Type
Paperback

Wizardry from the stone chamber (1590)

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The third book in the series on the evolution of go theory as a ‘medieval tour’ through a museum is now available on Amazon: “Wizardry from the Stone Chamber” 石室仙机.

The core period being covered is 1600 to 1900, and this book, dated to circa 1590, can be regarded as the foundation book in the series, providing the benchmark from which the evolution of theory shown in other books can be considered to have begun.
This book is from the late Ming. If you can’t quite afford a Ming vase for your house, you can at least have a Ming book on the coffee table. As is typical of most go books of that period, it was an anthology made up largely of older material, which I suppose in itself makes it fascinating. This includes the oldest known games, old texts, and a huge treasure house of openings (useful for studying the game commentaries in other books. There are novelties such as the very old games that suggest very strongly that sunjang baduk came from China. There is also a large selection of exquisite life & death problems that will delight the antiquarian. But there is clearly also much of what was then contemporary material, including the first glimmerings of the commentator’s art, making this an ideal book (a relatively large one of over 220 pages) to understand how go theory took off soon after in the Qing period.
Part of the length is explained by the translator’s addition of extensive notes, ranging from the genesis of the book and details of the author to explanations of the problem names.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
25/08/2021
Type
Paperback

Evergreen Go Records (1682)

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The Evergreen Game Records (不古编) of 1682 is the second book in the Museum of Go Theory series, but is the first truly mature go commentary manual. It is one of the earliest commentary books anyway, but the comments here are by a genuine Chinese master of the game, Wu Ruizheng, and his comments cover all aspects of the game with a rich technical lexicon, encompassing not just moves but concepts.
We can see from this book that Chinese masters as early as the start of the Qing era were aware not just of concepts that we take for granted now, but of others that stemmed from group tax and so are either not known now or which now have a different slant. Remarkably, these ‘new’ concepts can show the way to tease out the concepts that AI programs apparently use but cannot describe.
Evergreen Game Records was also the book to introduce the genius Huang Longshi to a wider public. But all the 66 games here are by Wu’s contemporaries, the top masters of late Ming and early Qing.
Offered here is a complete translation, also with the original text, and contains extensive additional notes on the vocabulary and thus on the theory of old Chinese go. Biographical notes on the players are also added.
The ethos behind the Museum series is to offer something of a ‘medieval tour’ in which the various masters and their milieu are brought to life, using above all their own words.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
25/06/2021
Type
Paperback

Evening Fragrance Pavilion (1754)

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Game Records from Evening Fragrance Pavilion (1754).

A translation of the commentaries of 15 games by Cheng Lanru, one of the Four Great Masters of the 18th century in China and much admired by Hayashi Genbi in Japan. With extra games and extensive notes on old Chinese go and its players. The first book in a planned series, “Museum of Go Theory”, designed to show how go theory evolved in China, especially in the period 1600-1900.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
22/05/2020
Type
Paperback

The Incident Room: Transgressions on and off the go board

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The Incident Room: Transgressions on and off the go board

This is a collection of incidents from the game of go, presented as bite-sized accounts suitable for bedtime reading, that relate to rules transgressions, rules disputes, rules etiquette, go diplomacy, and sometimes just plain daftness. For a game that is widely touted as having the simplest of rules, there is a remarkable variety of such incidents. This is not a complete catalogue, but certainly captures the scale and scope of the problems. The main intention, apart from entertainment, has been to try to capture the first or best examples of each oddity, or to point up cases where different interpretations or adjudications are used in the principal countries where professional go is played.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
22/05/2020
Type
Paperback

The First Teenage Meijin

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The First Teenage Meijin: At the end of 2019, Shibano Toramaru became the first teenage player to win a major title in the Japanese go world. When he became the new Meijin, it was almost as if the story of the manga Hikaru no Go had come true.

This book tells the story of the title match against Cho U. The first four games are presented with traditional commentaries, but the momentous fifth game – regarded as being of unusually high quality – combines tradition with AI analysis, which confirms the quality.

The coverage of the title match is preceded by a substantial account of the history of the Meijin title. The games themselves are also given with their atmospheric content and biographical details.

An index to topics in the Go Wisdom theory corpus presented in earlier books is also given.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
23/04/2020
Type
Paperback

Games of Shuei

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Games of Shuei: with Commentaries – now available as print-on-demand via Kindle Direct Publishing or Amazon. 133 commented games involving the Meijin of Meijins, Honinbo Shuei. This is a paper edition of a book previously issued as an e-book, but now has many more games, is about 50% larger, and (as with Genjo-Chitoku) comes in our new fully indexed Go Wisdom format, a new colour enhaced format designed to encourage, facilitate and improve private study. 538 pages.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
23/04/2020
Type
Paperback

Genjo-Chitoku

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The Meijin (or Master) as long been the most prestigious title in Japan for the best players of the oriental game of go. Only one Meijin at a time was allowed. Two of the very best players were Honinbo Genjo and Yasui Chitoku. Neither was Meijin. The reason was that they were at their peak in the same era, the early 19th century, which is often referred to as the Golden Age of go in Japan. They were rivals, but were also friends. Many of their games survive and each one is treasured. A major part of the reason is that both had contrasting styles – one favouring early territory then digging in, the other favouring early strength and gaining territory, or reducing the opponent’s, by later fighting. This, along with the very high standard of play, has made their games almost a standard text-book for students of the game. The present book collects all their 80-odd games with each other – several being recent finds – and gives detailed commentaries based on a combination of the very many professional commentaries that these games have attracted over two centuries.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
08/04/2019
Type
Paperback

Meijin of Meijins

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Honinbo Shuei (1852~1907) is the go player that masters of the calibre even of Go Seigen and Takagawa Kaku professed to admire the most. Many consider him the Meijin of Meijins, and in his late years no-one could
play without a handicap against him. Yet he achieved his dominance only in middle age, having several times disappeared from the mainstream go world for months on end. He lived at a time of enormous upheaval and uncertainty in the Japanese go world, seeing tragedy strike his father, his brother and his mentor. His own life was marred by a debilitating disease. But he compounded his problems by choosing to struggle – with some success – to uphold the Honinbo name and the game’s traditions in the brave new world represented by the rival Hoensha organisation. This book is a ground-breaking, detailed biography of Shuei set within the background of the tumultuous times he lived through. It is sympathetic but candid.

Publisher
Independent
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
18/04/2015
Type
Paperback,eBook

The Honinbo Tournament

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The Honinbo Tournament is go’s oldest annual tournament. By trial and error it set the standards for every tournament since. This book describes in detail how it came about, and goes carefully through each of the early years in the 1940s and 1950s, and each year’s changes. The games of each title match up to and including Term 6 are given with rich commentaries (32 games), showcasing also the most famous players and
anecdotes featured in the highest level of go.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
02/05/2013
Type
eBook

Today We Have a Splendid Feast

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Today We Have a Splendid Feast The great Inoue Inseki Meijin, the 17th century author of the famously hard-to-impossible problems of the Igo Hatsuyoron, produced other, easier tsume-go works. One was the Yoshin Teiki, most of which is now lost. But the portion that survives gives a fascinating insight into how he worked on his problems and (presumably) taught his pupils. The surviving sections, given here in full, are eminently suitable for beginners, but even strong players can learn amply from the way the Meijin used his mind, and be severely challenged by the hardest problems.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
10/01/2013
Type
eBook

New Ways in Go

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

New Ways in Go is a complete translation of Honinbo Shuho’s 1882 classic, covering handicap openings, even-game openings and commentaries on his games with Shuwa and Shusaku.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
29/11/2012
Type
eBook

Unfinished Symphony

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Unfinished Symphony gives extensive commentaries on the shortened ten-game match between Go Seigen and Karigane Junichi, with comprehensive historical background. This continues the series of Go Seigen’s matches that was begun in paper form by Slate & Shell.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
06/09/2012
Type
eBook

The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The original version of The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei was published as a Kindle book
over six separate volumes, but is now available as a SmartGo book with interactive game replay.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
16/05/2016
Type
eBook

The Gateway to All Marvels

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The 1347 Chinese go classic Xuanxuan Qijing, or Gengen Gokyo by its Japanese name, is the most significant go book ever produced. It has become the foundation for virtually every problem book since. Gateway to All Marvels brings together every problem and every variant from perhaps every subsequent edition, and discusses how the almost 500 problems and their solutions have evolved and varied.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
22/05/2012
Type
eBook

Inoue Genan Inseki

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

inoue Genan Inseki is a short biography of Honinbo Jowa’s main
rival and one of the most interesting characters in the go world.

Publisher
SmartGo
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
15/10/2011
Type
eBook
Brilliance | Power

Brilliance | Power

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

This is a flip book – two books in one. The first is Jowa’s Three Brilliances: Honinbo Jowa Plays Akaboshi Intetsu. This game is commonly known as the ‘blood vomiting’ game, but it is Jowa’s three brilliant moves that make it famous. The second is The Insha Game: Honinbo Shusai versus Karigane Junichi. It is the
first game of the pivotal match between the newly established Nihon Ki-in and the rival professional organization the Kiseisha. Not currently in print owing to Slate & Shell’s decision to end paper production of books.

Publisher
Slate & Shell
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
01/11/2011
Type
Paperback
Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki

Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki describes both the evolution of New Fuseki and also the 1933 game between Honinbo Shusai and Go Seigen.

Publisher
Slate & Shell
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
02/09/2011
Type
Paperback
The Meijin’s Retirement Game

The Meijin’s Retirement Game

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

The start of a series on famous games, intended also as a way of filling in gaps in the history of 20th century go. The Meijin’s Retirement Game covers in depth the famous game between Honinbo Shusai and Kitani Minoru. Not currently in print owing to Slate & Shell’s decision to end paper production of books.

Publisher
Slate & Shell
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
02/08/2010
Type
Paperback
9-dan Showdown

9-dan Showdown

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

A massive book, 9-dan Showdown covers no fewer than three ten-game matches between Go Seigen and Fujisawa Kuranosuke, the first two 9-dans in history. A book of excerpts was also published by SmartGo as an e-book. Complete book not currently in print owing to Slate & Shell’s decision to end paper production of books.

Publisher
Slate & Shell
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
01/02/2010
Type
Paperback
Final Summit

Final Summit

John Fairbairn (Author)

Description

Final Summit was the second in the series on all Go Seigen’s ten-game matches, of which Kamakura was the first volume. It features his last match, against Takagawa Kaku. Not currently in print owing to Slate & Shell’s decision to end paper production of books.

Publisher
Slate & Shell
Author
John Fairbairn
Publish Date
02/11/2009
Type
Paperback
The Go Consultants

The Go Consultants

John Fairbairn, T. Mark Hall (Author)

Description

The Go Consultants describes one of the famous consulation games
of the 1930s in which Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru, stars of New Fuseki, took
on the top players of the old order, their teachers Suzuki Tamejiro and
Segoe Kensaku in a consultation game. The discussions of the two teams were
recorded and provide a unique insight into how professionals think.

Publisher
Slate & Shell
Author
John Fairbairn, T. Mark Hall
Publish Date
09/04/2009
Type
Paperback

The Go Companion

John Fairbairn, T. Mark Hall (Author)

Description

The first book to appear under the strapline “From the GoGoD Archives”,
The Go Companion is a selection of popular material from our New In
Go column combined with newly written material (about 60%) in similar vein,
to present a 300-page wide-ranging survey of go culture and history. Not
currently in print owing to Slate & Shell’s decision to end paper
production of books.

Publisher
Slate & shell
Author
John Fairbairn, T. Mark Hall
Publish Date
01/01/2009
Type
Paperback