Goh or Wei Chi, by Horace F. Cheshire. Published by the author at Hastings; 1911.

Erwin Gerstorfer kindly contributed the following guest review:

A [rare, long out of print] handbook of the game and full instructions for play. Introduction and critical notes by Prof. T. Komatsubara. 21 diagrams and 4 plates; 12 illustrative games.

The book is intended for beginners, but the author hopes that "all but the champions may find something interesting" in his book too. It is one of the very early works in English that allows the reader to actually learn the game. It is an original work; there are no references to other Western Go books and it is pointed out that "nothing of the kind existed, available in this country [i.e. England]". Today there are probably more suitable books for beginners, but Cheshire's book is still interesting to read and was written with care.

The author states that he was using Japanese and Chinese sources, which is kind of unusual at that time. Consequently, the notation of some of the games is said to be coming from "our Chinese friends", were the board is divided into four, numbered quarters, whereas in other diagrams the Japanese style of notation (with characters and numbers) is used. On a few plates the reader can find examples of Go and Art, especially pictures of Japanese Tsuba [i.e. sword guards (from an English collection)] showing Go players.

The table of contents [main paragraphs]:

Horace F. Cheshire [his portrait is shown on the frontispiece], "F.I.C., B.Sc., Lecturer to the Japan Society (London), Hastings Chess Club, Turnbridge Wells Chess Congress 1911, Editor of the Hasting Tournament Book 1895, Author of "Sociable Chess", etc."was obviously inspired to this book by a demonstration of two "Japanese experts" at the Hastings Chess Club on January 6th, 1911. He mentions that a demonstration board on the wall was used there and an exhibition game between the two experts took place on an original Go board (with legs), lent by the Japanese Consul General.

Remarkably, the author states that he "played this game with considerable pleasure for over thirty years" [i.e. since at least 1881. This would make him one of the first Westerners to have actually played Go!]. Nevertheless, being a keen chess player, he writes about Go: "It perhaps never will take the place of our evergreen chess with its infinite variety, but it should at least make a very worthy companion."

david carlton <carlton@bactrian.org>

Last modified: Sun Feb 13 20:08:28 PST 2005