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 Post subject: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #1 Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:56 am 
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Hello everyone,

To get straight to the point, I want to buy 'Kamakura' by John Fairbairn, detailing the ten-game match between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru. I have already purchased three other books written by John Fairbairn on Go Seigen's matches, and have thoroughly enjoyed going through them, both for the game commentaries as well as the detailed narration of what was happening 'outside the board'. However, as much as I have searched, I have not been able to find a single place that sells this book anymore.

Would anyone happen to have any suggestions?

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #2 Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:14 am 
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Your only hope seems to be that somebody wants to sell it second hand, well either that or that you pop round to John's for a cup of tea.

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #3 Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:14 am 
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Indeed, this is a hard one to track down - none of my usual sources have it.

Luckily, WorldCat to the rescue! It has an entry there, and apparently 3 libraries around the world have a copy in stock; two are in the Netherlands and one is in Rochester. And the entry in Rochester appears to be current; the RIT's own catalogue entry confirms it is in stock on the fourth floor. I'm not able to navigate the Dutch libraries' websites to check if they're also correct, but usually WorldCat is very good at being accurate.

So if any of those three locations are remotely accessible to you, try that :)

John, since you often frequent the forums, would you be open to adding this book to the GoBooks catalogue someday?

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #4 Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:27 am 
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John, since you often frequent the forums, would you be open to adding this book to the GoBooks catalogue someday?


I have no idea what the GoBooks catalogue is, so I can't answer that.

The reason Kamakura is no longer in print is that insufficient people were buying paper books to make it worthwhile for Bill Cobb to continue with paper publication at Slate & Shell. Kamakura was bucking the trend somewhat, but even then it took a charitable donation to S&S from a very kind American go fan to fund a second printing on the grounds that he thought this was a book that ought to stay in print. As I understand it, he wishes to remain anonymous, even though I would dearly love the western go world to know we include such a noble philanthropist.

However, I do now have the option to publish the book myself. I have been reluctant to do that because most current go players who want it have already bought it, and so it doesn't make sense to do a lot of work for a few marginal extra sales. Nevertheless, while that still applies, I have been strongly encouraged (as I mentioned in a separate "Genjo-Chitoku" thread) by the quality of Amazon/Kindle's print on demand, and it just so happens that the template size of the original Kamakura book and size of the Genjo-Chitoku book are the same, which takes a big bite out of the formatting work required. So that's become more of a possibility, but it's still in competition with other projects.

Just as a matter of pedantry, I don't frequent the forums - I am monoforumist, wedded to L19 alone, despite it being trying at times. And I don't like tea, Ian - just coffee!

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #5 Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:37 pm 
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The "GoBooks catalogue" refers to the electronic books available on the Go Books platform. Many others of your books are already available there.

(Regarding "forums", I'm not super happy with the nomenclature but technically L19 is supposedly a collection of forums, such as "Go Books", "Professionals", "Amateurs", etc. Thus things like the link on this page that reads "Mark all forums read".)

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #6 Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:45 am 
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apetresc wrote:
Luckily, WorldCat to the rescue! It has an entry there, and apparently 3 libraries around the world have a copy in stock; two are in the Netherlands and one is in Rochester. And the entry in Rochester appears to be current; the RIT's own catalogue entry confirms it is in stock on the fourth floor. I'm not able to navigate the Dutch libraries' websites to check if they're also correct, but usually WorldCat is very good at being accurate.


Since I live in Belgium, one of the listed libraries in The Netherlands is actually not that far away. Unfortunately, the website of the library mentions that this book can not be borrowed, and must be read in the library itself. Regardless of that, I was not aware of WorldCat, and it's a resource that I'm sure will come in handy at some point!

John Fairbairn wrote:
The reason Kamakura is no longer in print is that insufficient people were buying paper books to make it worthwhile for Bill Cobb to continue with paper publication at Slate & Shell. Kamakura was bucking the trend somewhat, but even then it took a charitable donation to S&S from a very kind American go fan to fund a second printing on the grounds that he thought this was a book that ought to stay in print. As I understand it, he wishes to remain anonymous, even though I would dearly love the western go world to know we include such a noble philanthropist.

However, I do now have the option to publish the book myself. I have been reluctant to do that because most current go players who want it have already bought it, and so it doesn't make sense to do a lot of work for a few marginal extra sales. Nevertheless, while that still applies, I have been strongly encouraged (as I mentioned in a separate "Genjo-Chitoku" thread) by the quality of Amazon/Kindle's print on demand, and it just so happens that the template size of the original Kamakura book and size of the Genjo-Chitoku book are the same, which takes a big bite out of the formatting work required. So that's become more of a possibility, but it's still in competition with other projects.


Thank you for your response, and I understand that it wouldn't make a lot of sense to put in all that effort just for a few extra sales. Nevertheless, I will continue to sporadically browse the Amazon webstore and hope to see Kamakura magically appear one day, so that I can add this 'crown jewel' to my collection of Go Seigen's commented games :D

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #7 Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:17 am 
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apetresc wrote:
would you be open to adding this book to the GoBooks catalogue someday?


You formulate your question as if it was an open, public library but you refer to an electronic retail business, which (together with Apple's income percentage) cuts income of an author / initial publisher dramatically. Therefore, you only find a fraction of all go books there. I am grateful that the Genjo - Chitoku book is (first) published as a printed book. GoBooks has its good purposes but inclusion of all go books does not belong to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #8 Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:32 pm 
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There is someone selling it on this thread, but he wants to sell his whole collection.
viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16549&p=242846#p242846

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #9 Posted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:35 am 
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I am very happy to be able now to "reveal" - with much gratitude - the anonymous donor who ensured "Kamakura" went into a second a printing.

He read this thread and pointed out privately that his name appeared in the second edition, so he was no longer technically anonymous. I did receive a copy of that second edition, but almost ten years ago and things are more than a little hazy now. I assume I just stuck it on a shelf and so missed the inscription. Even so, I see it only refers to "his support," which I believe is an understatement. And of course only the few that do read colophons would have picked it up. I heard about it (after the event) from the man himself on a baseball trip to the States when he very kindly took me to my first Minor League game. He said he didn't want to make a fuss about it, and still doesn't, but - author's privilege and all that - I think it is both humbling and inspiring for the western go world as a whole to know that, apart from the many more obvious benefactors such as Bill Cobb himself at Slate & Shell, such hidden noble benefactors do exist, too.

To keep, technically, within the spirit of things, I can make use of a feature of this thread (which incidentally we gratefully enjoy courtesy of another quasi anonymous benefactor):

Our Kamakura benefactor is KEITH ARNOLD of Baltimore.


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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #10 Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:31 am 
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I for one would be very pleased to have John's Kamakura or 9-Dan Showdown in paper format available again, as some of us missed the boat the first or second time around.

I appreciate the care and attention that John spends in his writing and translating.

We have an ability to misuse and misinterpret words. I've had to unlearn a few bits and bobs I've picked up from books in the past to put it mildly.

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #11 Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 4:46 am 
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This is just something I wish to put on record, to show what good and honourable people we have in the go community.

Kent Olsen (blankpaint here) wanted a copy of Kamakura. His solution was to offer to create, on my behalf, a print-on-demand version. The only reward he asked for was a free copy.

Kent has already done this for Shape Up (by Charles Matthews) so I knew he was genuine. Naturally I thought at first Christmas had come early.

But as discussions moved on, serious practical problems emerged. The biggest one, obviously, is that he hasn't got a copy to work from. My file version is not the same as the one Slate & Shell created. S&S produced different diagrams and made some other changes to keep text with diagrams, and of course there were the usual proof-reading changes (all lost in S&S's computer accident).

Also, this book is rather bigger than Shape Up and has many more diagrams - 500 to 600, I think. Kent recognised the magnitude of the task of recreating a format and of doing so many diagrams, but, instead of flinching, he sensibly said he would allow himself two years to do it.

At that point, with great reluctance, I decided to decline his stupendously generous offer. The reason is that, because there is so much demand (maybe even 10 people!), I had already looked at recreating the book myself, and had decided it was doable. I had therefore already put it next on my list of projects (which is headed by Shuei's Games, and that is going well). In other words, I hope to get an edition out in much sooner than two years, spurred on of course by Kent.

You may also recall that Kamakura has already been the recipient of enormous largesse - Bill Cobb's initial risk and work in taking it on, T Mark Hall's proofreading and moral support, and then Keith Arnold's bag of cash to fund a second edition!

One of my favourite poems from childhood, by Burns, has the famous lines: "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us/To see oorsels as ithers see us!"

Famous but cynical, and I always felt a little uncomfortable with that cynicism. But here I am, in the lucky position, thanks to the pow'r invested in me by L19, to have the gift of being able to remind these "ithers" (others) that there are, in fact, genuine and genuinely big-hearted people out there. I thank them all. And if you do have a copy of Kamakura, I hope you will share a little in that gratitude.


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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #12 Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:35 am 
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Reading 9 dan showdown and final summit again ^^. I was wondering if you were going to publish more books about go seigen, for exemple about his match with sakata or other opponents. Anyway love your work.

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #13 Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:18 pm 
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I was going to reply no, but something made me look at my files first.

To my amazement it appears that I have already done Go vs Karigane as a Smart-Go e-book (under the title Unfinished Symphony), and it looks as if I have also done all the games for Go vs Iwamoto. Or most of them. It seems as if I have done all eleven games of their ten-game match but have yet to do their three-game match. I also need to do some extra work on Iwamoto's biography.

I have no recollection of doing any of that, but judging by one of the prefaces it seems my work was interrupted by the demise of Slate & Shell, so I imagine I just packed everything up and got on with something else.

I previously said I was working on a paper edition of Shuei's Games and considering re-publishing Kamakura. I had started altering my stance on Kamakura anyway, but today's discovery definitely puts the kybosh on that. The reason I was altering my stance is that my new book Genjo-Chitoku, which got glowing comments on this site, has sold 27 copies. That's par for the course for history books and it's an expensive book anyway, so I'm not surprised (or upset - though I am still well out of pocket). But Kamakura has already been bought probably by almost everyone who would be likely to be interested, and it would be stupid of me to do all that work to sell 1 or 2 copies.

Shuei's Games, however, is coming along nicely. I have done over three-quarters (134 commented games). It will be bigger and so more expensive than Genjo-Chitoku, so may not sell any copies at all. Consequently I had been thinking that completion of that may be a good point to take a rest from banging the old head on the wall.

However, once that book's out of the way, I may well resurrect Go vs Iwamoto as Iwamoto is truly interesting, and the match coincides with Go's ultra-religious phase.

In the usual Friends style (though in this case with some Harry Potter-ish overtones), these match games are:

0: The secret game
1: The one with the funny result
2: The one with the old avalanche
3: The one with the godly premonition
4: The one with the belly ache
5: The one with the Lambton worm
6: The one with the winter of discontent
7: The one with the change of name
8: The one with local yokels
9: The one with the psychology
10: The one with the all the animals and ko threats

As a (copyrighted) taster, here's part of the introduction to Game 3:

QUOTE
Go Seigen was known for playing stones often in a very forceful manner. He was not the most violent player. In his heyday, that may well have been Kajiwara Takeo, who played as if he was challenging his opponent to an arm-wrestling match. Barely looking at the board, he would twist his body to get more leverage and then slam the stone down, sometimes smashing it. Go’s violence was more studied. He would sometimes take a stone out its bowl, and bring it close to his face, examining both sides of it caressingly to ensure it was a fit specimen for the task ahead, and then, as if, in one description, instructing it to add a dimple to the board, he too would slam it down. Masuda Kozo, a charismatic shogi Meijin, who was then 30, was also famous for his slam-dunk. In his case he would hold his piece high above his head, as if about to decapitate someone with a sword.

Quite what the effect was on the opponent is hard to say, but it seems implausible to imagine it had any effect on the placid and apparently imperturbable Iwamoto. Indeed, such a style of playing a piece was generally seen as a young person’s fault – trying to make up in bluster for a lack of study – and it was reckoned that three-quarters of such a player’s useful energy could be dissipated this way.

Iwamoto’s style was mostly to opt for a simple click. But that was no guarantee the stone would land where it supposed to. It was noticed in Game 1 that, in the endgame, where he had to play quickly, he might play a stone on the edge only to see it roll off on to the floor. Perhaps there was a hint of nerves there, but his expression, and the relaxed slope of his shoulders, still conveyed an inward serenity. His shogi equivalent in this regard was Tsukada Masao, another Meijin, also a very slow player like Iwamoto. Tsukada also on occasion waited till his opponent’s attention had wandered and then played his move soundlessly. Still waters run deep!
UNQUOTE


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Post #14 Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:01 pm 
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Thank you very much for your big answer, I didn't mentionned it but I also bought the book with karigane ^^. And I don't know much about iwamoto so I will wait for it ^^

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 Post subject: Re: Kamakura by John Fairbairn
Post #15 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:43 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Shuei's Games, however, is coming along nicely. I have done over three-quarters (134 commented games). It will be bigger and so more expensive than Genjo-Chitoku, so may not sell any copies at all.


Happy to prove you wrong : )

I'm also looking to complete my Go-Seigen-collection (Kamakura, 9-dan-Showdown, New/Old-Fuseki). So I'll happily buy the new Iwamoto book as well.

Would a Patreon page about creating Kamakura as print-on-demand help you to look past the probably measly sales? Just a way of showing our support for your work even when one does not buy a(nother) copy? (If there would be no sufficient support in your eyes you can still decide to drop the project.)

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