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 Post subject: Saijo Masataka
Post #1 Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 5:35 am 

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I never met Saijo Masataka 8-dan, but my GoGoD colleague T Mark Hall talked admiringly about him a lot. I gather he was very generous with his time for western amateurs at various congresses. And of course Catalin Taranu was his pupil.

Those who knew him will therefore surely be sad to hear of his passing at age 80 in early August 2021.

 Post subject: Re: Saijo Masataka
Post #2 Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 6:37 am 

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Universal go server handle: jptavan
He was also very funny and nice. Photo at the Sanilhac summer go camp in 1995.


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 Post subject: Re: Saijo Masataka
Post #3 Posted: Sun Aug 29, 2021 7:52 am 

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Saijo Masataka 8p, honorary 9p on retirement acknowledging his teaching, attended every European Go Congress from 1993 to 2010 except for 2003 (Russia because he - like many - had had bad experiences with border controls) and 2004 (second Tuchola because he disliked the repetition of venue). He also visited some other European tournaments. After his retirement from EGCs, in 2011 Hayashi took his place in spirit at EGCs but does not quite reach Saijo's drive.

At EGCs, Saijo would appear during the morning, briefly peeking into our playing rooms. Afterwards, except for meal breaks and excursion Wednesdays, he would be teaching or playing teaching games to typically 2am (if the venues would allow that). While some other teaching professionals would do the bare minimum they were scheduled to do, Saijo's teaching efforts were only interrupted by sleep late during the nights. He would prepare thoroughly before his lectures and he commented on everybody's games or played against everybody waiting long enough for his seat.

1993 was also my first congress so I got lots of commentaries from, games or talks with Saijo. He was always a joy for everybody and the most welcome teacher at EGCs. For reference of his strength, he beat me to 9 stones in 10' blitz with dynamic handicaps in 1999, we were between 3 or 4 stones in blitz in 2002, in slow games against him I needed 3 stones in 1997 - 2009 (only later, I needed 2 stones from professionals of roughly his strength), in 1995, Christian Pop played quite a few 2 stones games against him, in 2006 I beat Saijo and another pro 8p in a large-scale life-and-death discussion.

In 2000, I watched his late night 9 stones game, in which he was in a desparate position but would not resign. He tried global trick play, which I commented: "Saijo, the go devil!" A few days later, in a commentary on one of my games, he would get his revenge, jesting in Japanese (which somebody translated): "The blind giant!", with which he meant that I could attack but neglected the "natural flow like water" (supposedly of the relative move values) during the middle game.

Saijo was one of the two major writers of the Japanese 1989 Rules. If he happened to notice, he would watch rules disputes. In 1994, he watched my dispute, in which I pointed out a gap in those rules. In 1999, he noticed my expert advice under Ing Rules and then we discussed what would have happened under Japanese Rules.

EDIT: 2010. (Now my memory confirms his last EGC year.)

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