American Go E-Journal

GO REVIEW: The Go Consultants

Tuesday May 25, 2010

The Go Consultants documents a unique event in go history, Kitani Minoru and Go Seigen’s 1934-35 consultation game against their teachers Suzuki Tamejiro and Segoe Kensaku.  Authors John Fairbairn and T Mark Hall provide fly-on-the-wall observations of what each side was thinking at every stage of the contest, doing 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. I have always appreciated tightly-decided games more than landslides, because they tend to exemplify the ideal of ‘balanced play’, and without giving away the ending, this game was very closely fought indeed. 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. As a bonus, the book includes the players’ own post-mortem analyses. $18 from Slate & Shell
– adapted from Tyler Reynolds’ Go For All blog