Obituary of Chen Zude

Chen Zude

Chen Zude, one of the first Chinese nine-dan professionals, died of pancreatic cancer in Beijing on 1st November 2012. He was 68.

Credited as the first modern Chinese player to defeat a Japanese nine-dan (Iwata Tatsuaki) in an even game, Chen grew up during the Cultural Revolution era and was a self-taught player as well as a politically savvy Go promoter, bringing the game from the status of bourgeois decadence to that a mind sport of national pride. He is often considered the father of modern Go in China and as Go became integrated into the sports ministry in China, Chen was selected as the first president of China Qiyuan when it was established in 1992 to promote Go as a profession. He continued in that position until 2003 when it was passed on to Wang Runan. Chen was also the first president of the Chinese Weiqi Association, a body that represents Go on the international scene. In 1980, when Chen was playing in the Xintiyu Bei (New Sports Cup), he vomited blood and was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which he battled for 32 years.

Chen visited the European Go Congress in 1978, but because of his ill heath he was unable to visit again and never could visit the US Go Congress. According to International Go Federation (IGF) vice president Thomas Hsiang (who met Chen in Beijing in 2008), Chen often expressed his hope that the West would get to appreciate the fascinating game to which he devoted his life. He always gladly hosted visitors from the West, giving them copies of his books and offering the full cooperation of China Qiyuan.

Chen's study of fuseki triggered the systematic study of fuseki both in China and Japan. He also advocated and emphasized the cultural aspects of Go, saying that it would bring peace and help people conduct themselves well.