The Master of Go, by Kawabata Yasunari. Perigee; 1981.

This is a novel about go, and it's wonderful. It's about the last official match played by Shusai, the last of the hereditary Honinbos; his opponent is Kitani Minoru, though he is called `Otake' in the book. The whole book is a report on the match; the moves of the match are given, though with only minimal commentary on them, enough to put them in their dramatic context but without too much detail so that non-go players won't get put off.

I'm not very good at describing literature, so I won't try that here other than to say that it's a very moving description of a changing of the guard. Read it, tell your non-go playing friends to read it as well.

It's currently available in a handsome Vintage International edition. Look in the fiction section of any good bookstore, in the K's.

Here is a picture taken during this match. (It's a JPEG, 108kb.) It's from the book Japanese Game of "Go", by F. Mihori.

david carlton <>

Last modified: Sun Aug 10 20:56:45 PDT 2003