inverarity: (Go)
A Nobel prize-winning novel* about a go game.


The Master of Go

Vintage, 1954, 189 pages




Go is a game of strategy in which two players attempt to surround each other's black or white stones. Simple in its fundamentals, infinitely complex in its execution, Go is an essential expression of the Japanese spirit. And in his fictional chronicle of a match played between a revered and heretofore invincible Master and a younger and more modern challenger, Yasunari Kawabata captured the moment in which the immutable traditions of imperial Japan met the onslaught of the twentieth century.


Knowing the game will deepen your appreciation of the book, but you can read it knowing nothing about go. )

Verdict: An exquisite read with surprising depth, you have to read The Master of Go to understand how an account of a go game could help its author win a Nobel prize. It's about two men representing different aspects of a changing Japan, and what Yasunari Kawabata thought Japan had lost, on the go board which represented the world. If you like Japanese literature, or you'd like to sample Japanese literature, don't pass this book up because you're not a go player; you don't have to be. Plus, it's short. But good! On the other hand, if you are looking for action, drama, and something more Western in the way of a "plot," The Master of Go will probably just bore you.

*Pedantic ETA: Yes, I know that the Nobel prize for Literature isn't given for a single novel, it's given to the author for a body of work. So my one-line blurb was sloppy. The Master of Go is generally considered Kawabata's finest novel, though.




My complete list of book reviews.
inverarity: (Go)
I was not feeling well today, so I didn't go to the go club.

I have long avoided playing computer games because they are time sinks, and computer go proves to be as addictive as any other game. I am still not playing human players online as often as I should, but I am definitely improving against MFOG.

Progress at 4 months )
inverarity: (Default)
I was not feeling well today, so I didn't go to the go club.

I have long avoided playing computer games because they are time sinks, and computer go proves to be as addictive as any other game. I am still not playing human players online as often as I should, but I am definitely improving against MFOG.

Progress at 4 months )
inverarity: (Go)
I have started going to the local go club. The club president is an amateur 4-dan. I've played a couple of games with him. He gives me a 9-stone handicap and then utterly destroys me. I've played a couple of games against a 6-kyu player, each time with a 6-stone handicap, and lost both of those (mostly due to making stupid errors).

So today there were a bunch of new players, and the president asked me to teach one of them.

Who me, teach? Okay. So one of the newbies was the older sister of that 12-year-old kid. She already knew how to play, she just didn't have much experience. Her brother told me to give her 9 stones. I was like... o...O Have you seen me play?

So, we played and against a 9-stone handicap, and even after pointing out to her a few times when she made some serious errors and letting her take back some moves, I beat her pretty soundly.

Lest the feat of beating a total beginner with a 9-stone handicap sound too impressive, the rest of the club was gathered around us as we finished our game, and then they pointed out all the places that I should have not just beaten her, but utterly and completely destroyed her if I'd even been paying attention, and places where I would have lost entire corners if she'd known what she was doing.

Go is a long, hard learning curve. She and her brother will probably be cleaning me off the board in a few months.
inverarity: (Default)
I have started going to the local go club. The club president is an amateur 4-dan. I've played a couple of games with him. He gives me a 9-stone handicap and then utterly destroys me. I've played a couple of games against a 6-kyu player, each time with a 6-stone handicap, and lost both of those (mostly due to making stupid errors).

So today there were a bunch of new players, and the president asked me to teach one of them.

Who me, teach? Okay. So one of the newbies was the older sister of that 12-year-old kid. She already knew how to play, she just didn't have much experience. Her brother told me to give her 9 stones. I was like... o...O Have you seen me play?

So, we played and against a 9-stone handicap, and even after pointing out to her a few times when she made some serious errors and letting her take back some moves, I beat her pretty soundly.

Lest the feat of beating a total beginner with a 9-stone handicap sound too impressive, the rest of the club was gathered around us as we finished our game, and then they pointed out all the places that I should have not just beaten her, but utterly and completely destroyed her if I'd even been paying attention, and places where I would have lost entire corners if she'd known what she was doing.

Go is a long, hard learning curve. She and her brother will probably be cleaning me off the board in a few months.

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