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 Post subject: New book - Five-star Kita Fumiko
Post #1 Posted: Mon May 08, 2023 2:09 am 

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In the early days of modern professional go in Japan, there were few players and the traditional handicap system was still in use. There were, therefore, next to no tournaments of the type we are used to: leagues and knockouts. The usual format was a win & continue. Because of the levelling-up implied in using handicaps, it was difficult to win a long sequence of games - no wins over weakies to pad out the sequence.

Winning even five games in a row was quite rare, and when it happened it was marked with a special prize. It can be viewed rather like winning five games in a row in a 32-player knockout - except that it was somewhat harder. In a knockout, you can guarantee from its inexorable process that someone will end up with a five-star performance. But in a win & continue, when a player on 4 wins lost a game, the whole process had to start of all over again.

But in 1911, Kita Fumiko did achieve the magic five. In effect, she won the equivalent of a tough modern title-match. On top of that, she did it by beating only men, and elite players at that.

She was the world's first really strong professional go player. In addition, she played a pivotal role in go history, through easing the formation of the Nihon Ki-in and looking after Go Seigen. She also had a host of pupil, One of those we still follow here, Mrs Sugucihi Kazuko. She remains the only woman to be inducted into go's Hall of Fame.

This new book describes her annus mirabilis, with commentaries on five of her games by the top players of the age, including Honinbo Shusai (whom she defeated in the W&C). It is an in-depth, illustrated account of Kita's go life, style and influence, with ample biographical details of her opponents and commentators.

There is a special reason for this book. A reason which also explains why it is a small (i.e. very affordable) book. My hope is that it will give easy access to a significant role model for female players in the west. Mind you, she's a great role model for go players in general.

It is now available on-demand in Amazon. The title is "Five-star Kita Fumiko" and the ISBN is 979-8390858912. Of course, you can also search under my name. It can take time for the details to propagate around the various Amazon sub-sites, but it is showing already on the US and UK sites.

This post by John Fairbairn was liked by 9 people: Elom0, Ferran, gowan, imabuddha, roninsum, sorin, swannod, Theo van Ees, Waylon
 Post subject: Re: New book - Five-star Kita Fumiko
Post #2 Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2023 10:49 am 
Lives in gote

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KGS: Ferran
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I'm very grateful this book's out. I've been looking for info on Kita sensei for quite a while, now, but I only had a PDF of her GoGoD games and some bits and pieces. As soon as I've settled some things here, I'll get a copy...or two. Which is not something I usually add.

Thank you.

玄 又 玄

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