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 Post subject: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #1 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:56 am 
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http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20101 ... 1-yom-soci
Sakata Eio has just passed away

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #2 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:31 am 
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This is one of the saddest days of my go playing life. As many of you know, he was my favorite player and I honored that by posting under the name Sakata on GD.

RIP, Sakata Sensei.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #3 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:25 am 
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It's really sad to hear this. I was reading his book this morning. It's really a lost for the Go world that he has passed away.

RIP, Sakata Sensei.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #4 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:26 am 
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I have always rooted for the old veterans - Nicklaus in golf, Connors in tennis. And so, as an overeager go player in the 1980s, I was always hoping Sakata would make another run at one of the titles. He was my first favorite player.

I have three still vivid memories of him at the 1986 US Go Congress. First seeing him introduced and standing before the group on the morning of the first round of the Congress tournament. This was my first time meeting Michael Redmond and Yi Lun Yang, but Sakata was the star and the awe from the players and the respect from the other pros was absolutely palpable. And I recall my discomfort when Sakata, and the other pros remained standing while the tournament director answered questions about the tournament rules.

I remember approaching him, with his slight frame and amazing mane of gray hair (which I now envy almost as much as his go playing) with my copies of Modern Joseki and Fuseki and The Middle Game. He happily signed them, and it was clear that, for all his ferocity on the go board, this was a happy man. I recall my jealously of Ray Kukol - who followed my lead with his superior hardback copies of the early Ishi books. I am proud to say I subsequently purchased those books from Ray.

Finally I can still see him in action, playing a one on one exhibition with the Congress Champion Charles Huh. Charles was truly strong, he would go on to win many events, but Sakata was Sakata. I do not recall whether it was 2 (unlikely) 3 or 4 stones but our local hero was absolutley helpless, staring at the board...alone, because, for what seemed like more than half the time, Sakata was out having several smoke breaks.

As a surging (if that is possible) 4 kyu at the time, who was starting to pummel serious 12 kyus in 9 stone games - to see Huh, who I knew could perform a far more elegant 9 stone pummelling of me fall in this way - crystalized for me, as never before or since - the real depth of this game.

For those who never had a chance to meet him, I recomend the late Nakayama's essay regarding a game between Sakata and Shuko - a wonderful game and a wonderful story that truly makes you feel like you are in the room with him. The moment when he exclaims in frustration "This shows how hopeless I am at go" and his genuine anger when the players at the next board burst out in laughter is priceless.

As was he.

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This post by HKA was liked by 7 people: Chew Terr, ethanb, imabuddha, logan, Marcus, topazg, xed_over
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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #5 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:36 am 
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Sakata broke Takagawa's streak of 9 straight wins of the Honinbo title and went on to hold it for seven straight times. He was the first person in modern times to hold the Meijin and Honinbo titles at the same time. He had wonderful fighting spirit. There is a good story involving him in Nakayama's Gokyou Monogatari (Tales of a Man Crazy about Go), translated and published in [i]Go World[i] issue #50. Actually the story's main subject is another player, Hoshino Toshi, but Sakata as a youth plays a major role. The story is about how the young Sakata's awesome strength was dealt with once in the rating tournament.

I remember Sakata's visit to the second US Go Congress. Keith it was a two stone game with Charlie Huh and you're right, Sakata wiped the board with him with what seemed like no effort at all. And that was long after Sakata's peak as a player.

How the go world is changing. So many of the great players from the time when go was really being spread to the West, are gone.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #6 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:36 am 
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bobmcg wrote:
How the go world is changing. So many of the great players from the time when go was really being spread to the West, are gone.


I was thinking about this as I was driving to work this morning. It occurred to me to wonder just what percentage of people who play on KGS even know who Sakata Eiju was and how important he is to 20th century go.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #7 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:05 am 
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DrStraw wrote:
bobmcg wrote:
How the go world is changing. So many of the great players from the time when go was really being spread to the West, are gone.


I was thinking about this as I was driving to work this morning. It occurred to me to wonder just what percentage of people who play on KGS even know who Sakata Eiju was and how important he is to 20th century go.


Most of them only know that Hikaroo guy...

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #8 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:34 am 
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Too bad, end of the legend.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #9 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:48 am 
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I saw Sakata Eio at the 1998 World Amateur in Tokyo, where he was the chief referee. When he went on the stage at the opening ceremony, he seemed extremely frail and one of the younger employees of the Nihon Ki-in walked behind him, to catch him if he fell or tripped. I said then that I did not expect him to last the year. I am not a good prophet.

When I was studying reasonably seriously, I played through a collection of his games as well as those of Hashimoto Utaro, Kitani Minoru, Takagawa Shukaku and Go Seigen. With Sakata I felt as if every move he played was on the edge of a razor and dipped in acid. He was truly a great player.

For those interested in Sakata's complete games (almost 2,000), we are constantly adding, and, as it happens, we have entered quite a lot recently as we work through the magazines of the 50s and 60s. The current GoGoD total is around 1300.

Best wishes.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #10 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:54 pm 
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TMark wrote:
I saw Sakata Eio at the 1998 World Amateur in Tokyo, where he was the chief referee. When he went on the stage at the opening ceremony, he seemed extremely frail and one of the younger employees of the Nihon Ki-in walked behind him, to catch him if he fell or tripped. I said then that I did not expect him to last the year. I am not a good prophet.

When I was studying reasonably seriously, I played through a collection of his games as well as those of Hashimoto Utaro, Kitani Minoru, Takagawa Shukaku and Go Seigen. With Sakata I felt as if every move he played was on the edge of a razor and dipped in acid. He was truly a great player.

For those interested in Sakata's complete games (almost 2,000), we are constantly adding, and, as it happens, we have entered quite a lot recently as we work through the magazines of the 50s and 60s. The current GoGoD total is around 1300.

Best wishes.


Sakata's nickname in the go world was "kamisori" (razor) :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #11 Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:38 pm 
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Speaking of Hikaru, is the Kuwabara Honinbo character loosely based on Sakata?

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #12 Posted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:25 am 
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gowan wrote:
Sakata's nickname in the go world was "kamisori" (razor) :lol:


I know that; I have seen enough comments about razor-sharp Sakata to have taken the point (or perhaps the edge?).

Best wishes.

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 Post subject: Re: Farewell Sakata, we'll miss you
Post #13 Posted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 5:24 am 
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palapiku wrote:
Speaking of Hikaru, is the Kuwabara Honinbo character loosely based on Sakata?



Same hair style and smoking habit at least :lol:

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