Memories of Pair Go


Yoshiko Hattori (Japan)

Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the International Amateur Pair Go Championship. Exactly 20 years have passed since my husband and I got married. It was go that had brought us together; as a newly-married couple, we formed a pair and competed in the Kinki regional qualifying tournament. My husband was a strong player who had been active in his university go club, but I was kyu level. During a game, I made a major blunder; my husband was unable to cover up for me, so we lost. When I looked at his profile and the expression in his eyes as he tried to contain his regrets, I felt I had really done something inexcusable.

Notwithstanding my level, every year when autumn came my husband chose me as his Pair Go partner. I suddenly realized during a game that my husband was playing the opening that I always played. He was fitting in with me, to make things easier for me.

I did my best to understand, in my own way, the meaning of the moves my husband was playing. Since then, a dozen or more years had passed; I had made my entry into the bottom level of the dan ranks, and Pair Go had become an autumn event we always looked forward to. That year, we began our games in the mood of exhilaration that only Pair Go brings. We won the first game, the second game, and then in the third game I again made a serious mistake and my mind went blank. At that time, a solid, relaxed feeling was transmitted to me from my husband sitting next to me, and the sharp click of the stone he placed on the board seemed to say to me, “Don’t worry.” We fought our way out of the critical situation we were in and somehow were able to win the game. We also won the fourth game and, to our astonishment, won the tournament.

On top of that, we also won the lottery for a trip overseas. When we were sitting on the stage for the awards ceremony, I felt strongly that I had learnt from Pair Go to surmise my partner’s feelings and to feel sympathy for the opponents’ feelings. I feel that our history as a married couple has been shared with Pair Go. I hope to keep enjoying Pair Go and to keep playing the game of go called life with my partner.

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