Obituary of Go Seigen

Go Seigen

Go Seigen died from old age in Japan at 01:11 on 30th November 2014 at the age of 100. He is regarded by many as the best player of the last hundred years. Earlier in 2014, his 100th birthday had been celebrated by many Go players from around the world.

Go Seigen (Chinese name Wu Qingyuan) was born in China on 12th June 1914. He did not start learning Go until he was nine, a relatively late age for a player to go on to be a professional. He was a fast improver and soon became known as a Go prodigy. He immigrated to Japan in 1928 at the invitation of Baron Kihachiro Okura and Inukai Tsuyoshi (later prime minister of Japan). There he embarked on a professional Go career being tutored by Segoe Kensaku.

In 1933, along with his great friend Kitani Minoru, Go Seigen developed and popularized the "Shinfuseki" breaking away from the traditional opening patterns. It is for this very important contribution to Go that both he and Kitani are recognized as the fathers of modern Go. Starting in 1939, he played a spectacular series of Jubango matches against other top players of the day. It was through these matches that Go Seigen convincingly demonstrated a dominance over the other Japanese professionals.

He had suffered from ill health and retired from playing serious Go by 1964. However, he continued to remain active through teaching, writing, and promoting Go around the world. His life was celebrated in the movie "The Go Master" in 2006.