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 Post subject: New Go Seigen book - The Survivors
Post #1 Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 12:00 pm 
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From today in the UK my new book "The Survivors: Matches between Go Seigen and Iwamoto Kaoru 1948 ~ 1954" is available as an Amazon on-demand paperback. It takes a short time for it to propagate to Amazon sites in other countries, but when it comes, the ISBN to look out for is 979-8839226739. I am posting the news early because I'm about to go on holiday, away from the tyranny of the PC.

I will simply quote the blurb below, But I will add first a couple of notes:

(1) This is the first time Iwamoto's life has been given in any sort of detail in English. It is full of surprises. But many new details for Go Seigen are added, too. One little titbit is the Japanese name he chose for himself - no, not the half-Chinese, half-Japanese Go Izumi. The H N one!

(2) For reasons I haven't fully fathomed, but which I suspect may have to do with Iwamoto's love of Edo go, these games are surprisingly easy to understand at a whole-board strategic level (as the commentaries amply point out). This makes them especially useful for kyu players.

The blurb:

Quote:
Go Seigen was probably the greatest go player of the 20th century. As a Chinese player brought to live in Japan prior to World War II, when the game of go was extensively used as a diplomatic tool by Japanese politicians, he was also bound up in many historical events.

John Fairbairn has already chronicled several of the famous ten-game matches between Go and the best players the Japanese could muster. The first was "Kamakura," played during the war. In each book, as also here, all the match games are given with long commentaries based on multiple professional sources. In addition, the background is given in detail, including extensive biographical details.

Go's own life has been amply covered in previous books, and so is given mainly in tabulated form in the present book, although significant new details are interwoven with the commentaries. For his match opponent, however, Iwamoto Kaoru, extensive space has been devoted to biographical details of a player who has special significance in the West. Iwamoto left the game of go for a while in the 1930s to try to become a coffee farmer in Brazil. He (and his wife) suffered many great hardships, which were not to end when he returned to Japan, because he was one of the players in the famous Atom Bomb Game in 1945.

The present ten-game match took place in 1948, with post-war woes still affecting Japan. Go Seigen, too, had had a fraught time up to and through the war, being accused of being a traitor in China and suffering racist attacks in Japan. During the war itself he was fire-bombed out of his house. For a time after the war, in mental turmoil, he too left go for a while, taking up with a new religion. Like Iwamoto, he too was a survivor, and the present match was a first step on the road to recovery. Since no-one could be sure this would happen, a 'secret' game was arranged before the match, to ensure both players could perform as hoped. That game, revealed only in 1980, is given here, too.

Also included is a three-game match between Go and Iwamoto several years later. Happily, both men truly were survivors and lived very long lives. In Iwamoto's case, his latter years were spent largely on efforts to promote go internationally. He gave up a large proportion of his own assets to found go centres in several western cities. That story is told here, too.

The book, using colour, is in what has now become the normal Go Wisdom format for John Fairbairn's books. That means they are designed to promote effortful study, with all go concepts carefully indexed and described so that they can be studied across the various books, giving a wealth of commented examples, styles and eras for each concept (including Edo period go for Japan and various classical eras for China).


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 Post subject: Re: New Go Seigen book - The Survivors
Post #2 Posted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 1:56 pm 
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The books is available on Amazon US already. Thank you for continuing to bring us Go history and game commentaries in English. I like how your books (assuming this is like the others) aggregate different pro viewpoints.

And I appreciate the English humor. The joke about Rin Tin Tin being the Hayashi family pet (Archers of Yue, Game 7) is probably my favorite.

I ordered even though you are writing them faster than I am reading them. Well, I always read the history essay but I haven't got to reviewing every game commentary. To be fair to myself, I've been following modern titles more closely. Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: New Go Seigen book - The Survivors
Post #3 Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2022 2:49 am 
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CDavis7M wrote:
The books is available on Amazon US already. Thank you for continuing to bring us Go history and game commentaries in English. I like how your books (assuming this is like the others) aggregate different pro viewpoints.

And I appreciate the English humor. The joke about Rin Tin Tin being the Hayashi family pet (Archers of Yue, Game 7) is probably my favorite.

I ordered even though you are writing them faster than I am reading them. Well, I always read the history essay but I haven't got to reviewing every game commentary. To be fair to myself, I've been following modern titles more closely. Cheers!


Now I feel old, ancient games are what I emotionally would naturally go to for the sake of study (I'll normally follow modern games from an entertainment perspective).


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 Post subject: Re: New Go Seigen book - The Survivors
Post #4 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 5:29 am 
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This book is not yet available on the UK site, I checked on the 9th, 10th and again today the 11th. However it looks like I could order it on the USA site and it would ship to the UK.

It looks like John has gone on holiday, which has resulted in the Gremlins appearing and their well known quote "it was all right when I left".

Take Care - John

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 Post subject: Re: New Go Seigen book - The Survivors
Post #5 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 7:49 pm 
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John Tilley wrote:
This book is not yet available on the UK site, I checked on the 9th, 10th and again today the 11th. However it looks like I could order it on the USA site and it would ship to the UK.
I did a quick check and it seems to be available for shipping: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survivors-Matc ... B0B942DLMS

----------

I received my copy today and it's MORE than I hoped for (images below). I've only skimmed it so far but the book has a preface about digital publishing and it's not even a rant (though I do like a good rank). You get the full Fairbairn experience of not being able to go more than a few pages without consulting a dictionary (chiaroscuro). And the book has a significant essay on the players as well as the game introductions. And this book is the perfect size for my reading habits and price for my wallet. I guess the reader probably already knows if they want this book or not but if anyone is on the fence, go for it.

A happy surprise for me is that the font on the stones and game board has been improved (at least to my eyes). I did struggle with it a bit previously. Here is an image showing the old stone-font as seen in the Doteki book (and Kamakura, even back to Teenage Meijin, etc.) compared to the new stone-font in The Survivors (Iwamoto). The stones and board seem the same size but the font is larger but with thinner lines. I do like the larger 2-per-page diagrams in Stone Chamber but as explained in the preface, it just increases the cost. I think Mr. Fairbairn found a good solution here with the font change. The readability and cost savings are much appreciated.
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Larger image of the diagrams:
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 Post subject: Re: New Go Seigen book - The Survivors
Post #6 Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2022 1:28 am 
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Thank you for checking - it is now available on Amazon UK. I have ordered a copy.

I am really pleased to hear that the diagrams have been improved - I was struggling. I don't have any problem with Shuei, but the change to colour lowered the quality and I found those in Kamakura to be unreadable. Luckily I have the original, but those in the Go Wisdom version are very poor - eg page 182. I have just checked (again) with my reading glasses, computer glasses and high quality reading light. (Last optician visit 9 months ago).

I always read the background information first and then read through some of the games, I then sometimes play through the games on a board - diagram legibility is key.

Note to JF - can you easily change the diagrams in Kamakura? - at the moment it leaves a lot to be desired.

Take care in the heat - a good day to read a Go Book inside with the curtains closed!

John Tilley

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Post #7 Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 2:23 am 
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I'm back in the country for a few days. I have quite a few things to sort out before my next sally to the lands of Queuedom, so please excuse just brief comments on some of the above.

First, I have no control over how Amazon does its printing, but I have had NO problems with my copies of the books. But for those who have, I believe it is easy (and free) to replace the book. My own attempts to control the printing have included choosing a chubby font and high-quality paper, to avoid the problem of black ink bleeding into white numbers. It is true that the font has changed in the latest book, but that was an unplanned change. It happened because I upgraded my computer and in the process upgraded Word. But the new Word showed absolutely awful graphics on screen, and so I messed around a bit with fonts to try to improve that (without success; and there were other problems to do with e.g. page numbering). More in hope than expectation, I went ahead with Survivors and had a proof copy printed up. To my surprise, the graphics as printed were quite unlike what was on my (large) screen, and were perfectly acceptable. I will therefore stick with the latest version, but that does not imply that I had any problems with the previous font. It may be that my eyes compensate for being deaf, but I can still read without glasses. The only change I find is that my eyes can get tired faster than they used to.

Second, changing diagrams in existing books to reflect the latest font. No. Apart from not seeing the need personally, the more rational excuse is that it's a lot of work and I don't have a lot of time, being a carer. A further consideration is that sales don't justify it. The new version of Kamakura has sold fewer than 20 copies. I expected low sales because many people already have the Slate & Shell version - I was just responding to requests from people who lamented it being out of print. The upshot is that I am in effect subsidising this book, as I am with quite a few other titles (mainly the Chinese classics). Doing extra work on a book I am already subsidising is a "double nitric oxide" for me, to quote a New Scientist crossword clue from my holiday reading. (Quality in NS seems to have plummeted - dumbing down? But that's another thing I refuse to do. Bring back gerontocracy, I say.)

Third, as to colour, I think it enhances the books - I like it, anyway. But it's also a self-defence mechanism. It (I hope) deters photo-copying and the like.

If the above gives the impression that I will continue in my own wilful way, that is essentially correct. But that is not to say I don't heed what is said or what is happening. I do. The latest book (Survivors) is an example of that. I have a couple more Chinese classics books more or less ready for a final proof-read, and should have processed them first. But the pitiful sales of such books made me change back to Go Seigen. I have a Huang Longshi book not quite ready, but close. I deferred that for the same reason (Chinese classic) but also because it is a massive book (about 140 games) with hundreds of diagrams and a no-doubt rather high final price. I have heeded the signs in another way - no games. The book I am preparing at the moment is Life & Times of Segoe Kensaku. This will be large but without diagrams. Essentially it is the history of go in the first half of the 20th century, enlivened by one of its greatest characters and players. Judging by the similar (but much smaller) Life & Times of Shuei, this may sell enough copies to pay for my printer cartridges. But I am heeding the slow market in another way - I am slowing down myself - I am only aiming to have this ready for Christmas.


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Post #8 Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 5:00 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Essentially it is the history of go in the first half of the 20th century, enlivened by one of its greatest characters and players. Judging by the similar (but much smaller) Life & Times of Shuei, this may sell enough copies to pay for my printer cartridges.
I look forward to purchasing the special edition complete with the signed GoGoD high-kyu certification at a cost of 2 printer cartridges.

I'm only half kidding.

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Post #9 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:46 am 
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John - I have now had time to go through The Survivors - it's a book that I really like. I enjoyed the background and learning about Iwamoto's time in Brazil, which I was aware of but had not read anything. Highly recommended - thank you. Looking forward to your book on Segoe - only four months to Christmas! I met Segoe in Japan during my 14 months there, he occasionally dropped into Iwamoto's Go Salon Kunwa. He joined in the ren-go one Sunday - happy days.

The fact that the font change in Survivors was unplanned, due to MS Word, does not surprise me, after 55 years nothing surprises me with computers. I think the problem I had with both Kamakura and Doteki was down to the font on the stones and not the colour on the board diagram.

Please double check the font size on the diagrams when you eventually publish Huang Longshi.

Best Wishes - John Tilley

btw I think that there is a problem with the Amazon printing of my copy - the Go Wisdom index uses blue and a reddish orange for the text, which I can read, but on page 152 part of the first column uses just yellow - which is unreadable - a lack of contrast.

Flipping through the book same thing on page 148, then for diagrams same on page 140 and then same every 4 pages going back through the book.Not much of an issue for the diagrams, but not good for just text. Looks like one ink colour ran out during printing.

I'll try to get round to returning it to Amazon.

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Post #10 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 10:05 am 
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John Tilley wrote:
btw I think that there is a problem with the Amazon printing of my copy...I'll try to get round to returning it to Amazon.
I do not have these same issues. I flipped through my copy and did not have this issue anywhere. On the last sheet mine was made in Las Vegas, NV, USA.

My copy of Shuei was misscut (some pages were shifted up and then cut off so the book edges were not smooth). I ended up returning it to Amazon and they mailed me a copy immediately when I then kept next to my original copy which ended up being late and Amazon got mad and threatened to change me so I sent it back. Well, I did not. My wife took it to a clothing store that partners with Amazon and she received $5 to buy socks and the cashier at the store took the book and was supposed to mail it but who knows what happened... I checked the return tracking on my account for weeks. Eventually later Amazon decided everything was OK and didn't change me again.

My recommendation: Return it to Amazon, pray they send your new book in a separate package by itself, and do not return the book to a clothing store partner.

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Post #11 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2022 3:41 pm 
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I wouldn't expect you to have this problem. My copy was printed in the UK and it's a printing issue - one colour ink ran out. Our copies were printed from the same manuscript that John F produced, but as it's print-on-demand things can go wrong - in my case every fourth page but that doesn't show on black text. I would have hoped Amazon would have picked this up, the printer would be flashing "no ink". This is the first time I have had a problem with any of John F's books.

I've scanned in two pages to show what happened.

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I have to say it took a while to realise what the problem was - I'll return the book to Amazon and see what happens - hopefully all will be well.

I like the book, it's a good read!

Best Wishes - John

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Post #12 Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2022 8:01 am 
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I eventually returned the badly printed copy to Amazon, got a refund and ordered another copy. That arrived a bit battered, but it had the same printing problems, which was odd as I thought it was print-on-demand. I think Amazon just returned my first copy!

Anyway as I really wanted a good copy, I didn't return it again, eventually paid for another copy which arrived in very good condition. Excellent. I suspect the printing problem was a one-off, with the ink reservoir running low.

I enjoy reading through John F's books, and am looking forward to the one on Segoe. I met Segoe a few times in 1970 when I was living in Japan, he used to visit Iwamoto's Go salon "Kunwa" on a Sunday and he would join in ren-Go, which was magical. Segoe made the first trip by a professional to the UK in the early 1960s, which pre-dated my Go.

John T


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