Pairgo--some memories and reflections from Kirsty Healey and Matthew Macfadyen 2009


Kirsty Healey and Matthew Macfadyen (United Kingdom)

The Delight of being Surprised

One of the great delights of playing Go is to be surprised by a really brilliant move from your opponent.
But the delight is usually tempered by knowing that you are likely to lose. Only in Pairgo can you be surprised and delighted and winning the game all at the same time.

1992 Canterbury

As the only kyu player in a game with three experienced 4dan plus partners, suddenly discovering the feeling of a higher level of play was like being launched onto an Olympic ski run from the nursery slopes.

1995 Marlow

The first sponsored Pairgo tournament in the UK, complete with some serious entries for the best dressing prize. It was such a delight to see so many women playing Go, not just the usual 10%, and at the same time to discover that the British male players were actually able to dress quite nicely if they tried.

Never an odd player without a game

Now we have discovered Pairgo there is never a problem with an odd number of people at Leamington Go club. Two of the players simply play as a pair against one of the others.


Some of the most exciting games for all involved are pair games with a beginner on each side. In traditional Go groups of stones have status, they are alive or dead, connected or surrounded. In Pairgo with beginners nothing is constant. Groups of stones have adventures.

Berry Picking

When children pick wild berries together they often compare to see who has picked the most. This is a fundamental mistake, because the berries will be added together and not subtracted. Similarly in Pairgo the two players’ contributions should add to each other. This realisation has helped us to be a successful pairgo partnership as well as a happy married couple.

Emotion is allowed

During the Pairgo tournament in Tokyo, the quiet and (almost) serious atmosphere was punctuated by a cry of anguish, best translated as ‘I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry’. It is good to know people really care.


Almost every thinking game is now being played well by computers. Go is the last and hardest of all the classic games for the programmers to attack, but Pairgo will forever be a game played by human beings.

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