Many GoGoD users have asked why we do not convert our material to paper form. Well, thanks to a tie-up with
Slate & Shell, now we have. And as we have much more material than can easily appear on the CD, this is also an opportunity
to unlock more of the GoGoD archives.
The first book to appear, in February 2009, was The Go Companion. This 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.
The second appeared in June 2009. This was Kamakura, a detailed account of the famous
ten-game match between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru which took place mostly in Kamakura in 1939-41.
Extensive biographies of both
players and the go, social and political background to the match are followed by complete
analysis of all ten games based on over 60 years of pro commentaries we have collected. A special
feature of this 200-page book is that its large A4 format makes it possible to read through all the
games and variation diagrams comfortably without a board.
The third book to appear was The Go Consultants in September 2009. This 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.
Final Summit was the fourth book, and 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.
This book appeared in November 2009.
Book five was the massive 9-dan Showdown which covers no fewer than three
ten-game matches between Go Seigen and Fujisawa Kuranosuke, the first two 9-dans in history.
This appeared in early summer, 2010.
In November 2010, the sixth book was the start of a new series on famous games, intended also
as a way of filling in gaps in the history of 20th century go. We began with The Meijin's
Retirement Game between Honinbo Shusai and Kitani Minoru. The second, in April 2011,
was Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki, describing both the evolution of New Fuseki
and also the 1933 game between Honinbo Shusai and Go Seigen.
In April 2011, in collaboration with Anders Kierulf, we also began publishing some books
in electronic format for SmartGo Kifu. The first was an extract (four games) from
As go players ourselves, we understand why books about Go Seigen have a special appeal. Still, it
was nice to get or see so many unsolicited comments about Kamakura as soon as it appeared. Here are some.
I have read all of the background info in the book and the first three games and this is simply a magnificent accomplishment.
Rarely has someone made me feel like I am in the room with the players in a great match for such a
sustained period. I have wanted English commentaries on these games for decades. Thank you so much.
The book is simply excellent.
Ein bemerkenswerte Buch!
Diese Studie zeigt sich ungewöhnlich breit und tief und braucht inhaltlich wohl den Vergleich mit dem berühmten Buch
über Honinbo Shusaku nicht zu scheuen. Wir können es jedem Liebhaber des Go-Spiels nur wärmstens ans Herz legen!
It is the first book in 20 years or so that comes close in quality to John Power's Invincible.
I have already devoured the excellent historical and biographical info and look forward to exploring the games this weekend...
My favourite book of the 21st century as yet is Kamakura... I do not expect to change my mind unless it be through
a book by the same author.
Over the years I've come to respect John Fairbairn's authorship as a mark of quality. I have confidence that this book will be a bestseller for many years to come.
Judging from what I know of John Fairbairn from his GoGoD work, this book is cheap at the price of USD$30 + shipping. Everyone buy a copy right now!
Wonderful and understandable commentary. Easy and fun to read... I absolutely recommend that book to everyone.
It's a wonderful book, with excellent
commentaries, very interesting games, and a whole lot of interesting historical tidbits. A must-have. I hope to see more
books of this kind.
John Fairbairn's book Kamakura is fabulous! I personally, would love to see more historical go books like this.
This book is a wonderful contribution to go literature in English.
Within 4 days I’ve finished reading the book thoroughly once. The realistic experiences that brought
out through all the diagrams really means that Kamakura was a treasure must be keeping by any GO player. It will definitely
improve one’s strength by at least one to two stones by finishing this book... Can’t wait to finish it for the second time and then lay it out.
Once in a while, a really good book will appear. In Go, the book that I am talking about now is Kamakura
by John Fairbairn... The book not only gave a superb introduction to each of the players as well as a superb write-up
to the events and history leading to the Kamakura games (trust me, it is really excellent), what he did in the game commentary is simply
amazing. We have all read and seen game commentaries where good moves and alternative moves etc. are discussed, with various
diagrams. What John added was not only the surrounding background and sometimes the time the players took to think (so that we
know that a move was thought over by a player for 30 minutes, for example), he also recorded the conversation between Go Seigen
and Kitani. You you actually know what they are thinking and talking to each other...
Please accept my highest recommendation for Kamakura. It will be a classic in the league of John Power’s
Invincible, the games of Shusaku.
The historical material is great, and Fairbairn is a good storyteller - he really conjures up the atmosphere of the match,
and gives a feeling for what a special occasion it was... Overall it's a fantastic insight into a significant event, and a very enjoyable read.
I'm glad I bought it, and I'll look forward to the next in the series!
For years I longed to see more of the famous Kitani Minoru, and you just served my wishes.
I have just this afternoon finished my first reading and play-through of the games in John Fairbairn's Kamakura, and I must tell you how fabulous this book is! Lacking only the scope of games in John Power's Invincible, Kamakura is every bit its equal for scope of the pertinent surrounding history, both in the world of Go and in the wider world of international affairs and for the intimate details of all of the games. My sense is that this is John Fairbairn's masterpiece. It will surely reward multiple readings.
I've just started reading through it, but it has been immensely enjoyable. Easy to follow, with in depth commentary and multiple variations taken from several sources. The book may only cover 10 games, but the quality of the game play and the coverage makes it worth while. I would say at this point (and I'm only on the third game) I've enjoyed it more than The 1971 Honinbo Tournament or Invincible. Both books are great reads and worthwhile, but the historical content and comment style of Kamakura makes it my favorite so far.
The quality of the writing is exceptional, and there is also a great deal of biography and background information. One of the best books on go ever... Intermediate level, although Advanced players will also want this book.
I am now reading Kamakura - LOVE IT!
I just wanted to send a quick message to say how much I am enjoying Kamakura. I just played through game 4 this afternoon and not only is the go fascinating but you do an excellent job of setting the scene and giving a generous explanation of some of the variations.
John Fairbairn’s Kamakura is giving me great pleasure.
I have been enjoying Kamakura very much -- it's a marvellous book and deserves to sell a lot of copies. I just have to be careful not to pick it up late at night -- I've lost some sleep already, as it's hard to put down once one starts reading. The large-page format certainly works well.
And I have to say, I've really enjoyed playing through the Kamakura book.
I would recommend Kamakura over Invincible or The 1971 Honinbo Tournament as a first game collection book. The detail of the commentary and the layout of the pages make it much easier to follow than other collections. Added to that, the history that is covered and the games themselves make it a must read for everyone no matter what your level.
Just started reading Kamakura last night and I just want to say thank you for giving us such a nice book! I love the backstories of go history and Seigen and Kitani, really! I also like the style of the game records, with just a few moves in every diagram. Makes it really enjoyable to read when you don't have a board nearby.
I have waited 30 years for this book. Thank you so much!
I would highly recommend the Fairbairn books (Kamakura, etc.). They are Go Seigen games, so I freely confess a lot of it is well over my head, but I find I enjoy the commentaries more than any others I've read.
I have Kamakura and Final Summit. I'm currently going through Kamakura. It's another great one.
Just yesterday I received my copy of “Kamakura” by John Fairbairn and read through the first Kamakura game between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru. So far I’ve been amazed by this book!
It's an excellent piece of writing.
Fairbairn's Kamakura is absolutely wonderful, and the feel of playing these games out with actual stones is something that virtual versions can never replace. The depth and richness of his historical narrative really adds to the experience too, and I just don't get that from a virtual version.
Some comments on The Go Companion:
I had no second thoughts about rushing to buy this latest book...
If you enjoy reading more about Go than just about how to play it, then this book is a must.
This is a book that interests me a LOT. I could see reading a chapter here or there, scattered throughout a year. It appears
to be well over 250 pages of "real" material plus an index. It seems pretty darn inexpensive to me.
John Fairbairn and T Mark Hall’s “The Go Companion: Go in History and Culture” is a lovely book. Perhaps there are such
books printed in the languages of Asia, but this is a first for the English speaking world. It examines over thirty topics
which interest the authors, and will very probably interest many readers... I have no hesitation in recommending this book.
The love of go, of Asian languages, and of Asian cultures is ever present.
I highly recommend this book, I enjoyed it a lot. Some books are hard to put down, but for this book is I would rather
say that it is easy to pick up. As it is a collection of many stories of various length, I would just browse it randomly
until something caught my fancy, and something always did.
While the style of his pen already levels the pencil of Nobel prize 'painter' Kawabata, this collection of short essays is only a small omen of so much more to come. Nevertheless, it immediately ranked - by its wisdom, wit and wide scope - as best book of the new Century, so far.
Some comments on The Go Consultants:
I have just bought this book and am simply glued to it. How instructive and how inspiring to find a book which presents a professional game analysed move by move by the highest level professionals? John Fairbairn and T Mark Hall have done the GO playing world a wonderful service in producing this marvellous book. One would wish for these two authors to produce many other accounts of consultation games. With John Faibairn's equally impressive "Kamakura" and more surveys of high level professional matches to come from Slate & Shell, this promises a series of feasts for the Western GO playing community!
Really enjoying it.
A very enjoyable read, and perhaps one of the most detailed commentary to a game with 155 pages for a single game.
I'm adding it to my wishlist.
Enjoying "The Go Consultants" by John Fairbairn & T Mark Hall. Great book: 150 pages about a single Go game.
Congratulations and many thanks for my enjoyment.
A great read.
Kamakura is great. Consultants is very interesting, but I find it less useful though more entertaining.
If you enjoy reading about Go Seigen and Kitani, then pick up the Go Consultants. It's a great read and includes a lot of discussion between the pair. I just pick up all of Fairbairn's books I can.
I like it a lot. It's easy to read and easy to follow the game as well as the variations discussed.
An excellent job of describing the characters and putting their status into context for 21st-century readers.
In fact the story is related so naturally that The Go Consultants reads like a hard-to-put-down novel,
complete with amusing anecdotes as well as keen commentary on the actual progress of the game. It’s
like a show-within-a-show. On top of the pure entertainment value of the story, I found it insightful to
learn how professional players approach serious games and a relief to discover that even professionals can
be taken by surprise... Whether you’re a novice historian or an obsessive student of go, you won’t find
a more thorough deconstruction of a professional game-in-progress.
Nowadays, in our fast-paced world (so much speedier than the modern fast fuseki of Go and Kitani),
consultation is banned in fast-paced pair-go in Europe and elsewhere. In Fairbairn's break-through book
- again with help of T Mark Hall - he matches marvellous images of analyses and thought with profundity
of profiles and elaborate, eloquently worded historical and cultural backgrounds.
This has the best commented single game I've ever read. I still need to get Meijin's Retirement Game though.
Some comments on Final Summit:
I just got my copy and want to express my congratulations on another wonderful book. I really didn't know much about Takagawa aside from playing through a number of his games and liking his style. I find I also like his character very much.
As usual it is very interesting, and well-crafted. It seems that I am learning some things from it, but am definitely enjoying it.
Again the quality of the writing is exceptional, and there is also an extensive biography of Takagawa. Another really good book from John Fairbairn.
Keep them coming - these books are really interesting!
Like the earlier "Kamakura", the book seems a new summit itself.
I enjoyed Kamakura, and am equally enjoying Final Summit.
The large format and rich commentary filled with background information about the matches is without peer.
Some comments on 9-dan Showdown:
I had it in my head that I'd be picking up a copy at the US Go Congress... but now I'll have to see if I have the will power to wait until then.
I want to congratulate you on another great contribution to go literature. I'm especially enjoying the parts about the characters of the players. I have played through a number of Fujisawa's games but I wasn't familiar with the details of his fascinating personality.
you're weighing one of those versus 9-Dan Showdown though, I'd take the Fairbairn book hands-down.
This is the "bible" for anybody who is interested in Fujisawa Kuranosuke [since it's hard to find other commentaries on him apart from his Mirror Go games] and it has a real wealth of commentary on the games.
Another top book by John Fairbairn.
have the 3 books. My opinion: they are great! The work of Mr. Fairbairn compiling the data, the historical references, the geography and his excellence in writing and even working of the little details of what happened during the development of the game is amazing and shows a great devotion to the work and to the Go.
Fairbairn has combined information from many sources not easily accessible for westeners. Next to the go technical commentary there are numerous historical and bibliographical details in this book that give you the impression he witnessed the games in person.
I am reading your Hosai book - simply amazing.
Some comments on The Meijin's Retirement Game:
Just finished my first reading of "Meijin's ..." -- great :-)
Not only did I really appreciate the huge amount of detail on points on the game itself that I had simply never
considered, but I also greatly enjoyed the greater understanding of the players' other concerns, provided
not only in the body of the book, but also in the Appendix on Kawabata's "Meijin" (and translation). I also took
took much pleasure from the distinctly British English style.
Some comments on Old Fuseki versus New Fuseki:
I have so far read it only once, and have already been forced to revise my simple-minded idea of what Shin Fuseki was(/is).
I have already browsed quite a bit of it and it’s a fascinating book.
Bravo John Fairbairn for this book and the Meijin's Retirement Game book.
Some comments on e-books:
I purchased volume one of the Go Seigen games by John Fairbairn - excellent! There are lots of diagrams, almost for every move a diagram and so you do not need a separate board (like when you read a printed book) to follow the game.
The fourth book in the ten-game match series will probably feature Iwamoto Kaoru.
To get more information about these books (including sample pages), please visit the
Slate & Shell site.
These are not the only books by John Fairbairn and T Mark Hall - only those that came from the GoGoD archives.