Memories of Pair Go


Kumiko Ishii (Japan)

"You had to cut."

"You’re right. I’m sorry."

When you play Pair Go, you think of unnecessary things, and this is how it ends up.

The partner I caused so much trouble to left on his final journey to the other world in spring.

This go friend commented at the review meeting of our group: "Today I had an enjoyable day playing with the partner I was allocated." Of course, after that, he cheerfully enjoyed himself with a partner he found for himself, not the allocated partner. I wonder if he’s not waiting anxiously for a Pair Go partner in the other world.

In our group, the organizers decide the pairs.

When Ms. Taki was starting the International Amateur Pair Go Championship, she consulted me, and I offered my support on the spot. I take part every year and invite my friends to join me. My team has won four times in the A, B, and C classes, come third once, and become the Kanto Koshinetsu representatives once ? I think I’ve done well.

One year, we played a pair made up of a cute elementary-school pupil, with a pochette on her shoulder, and her father. After the game, my partner praised her, saying ‘You’re stronger than your father,’ and she gave a big smile. She’s now professional 5-dan Yoko Kuwabara.

They made a dashing picture as they entered the hall: the Yukari Umezawa/Hideyuki Sakai pair, which had demolished so many strong opponents in becoming representatives. In that qualifying tournament, I was able to enjoy the strange experience that is the essence of Pair Go, winning against opponents one couldn’t beat by oneself. We beat two of the favourites, the Chifumi Yamashita/Seizo Nakazono pair. We also played Kaei, who was a star as an elementary and junior high school student. A cute, clear-eyed elementary-school student wearing a bow tie played all out with his slightly older sister. This older woman (me) had made a pair with an OB of a junior club, and we managed to win. Now we’d have to place a lot of handicap stones.

The familiar faces of the older men who played such lively go in the early years of the tournament gradually became fewer. The generation that worked so hard for the development of Japan has now aged and probably is living among its memories.

In their place, the number of student pairs doing well has increased. They also are ingenious about their dress and are a pleasure to watch. Sometimes they make you smile, sometimes they surprise you. I think it’s great to be able to enjoy go from a different angle.

When you come to the vital point, is it my imagination or do you hear people clearing their throats or tapping on the desks? Let’s stop worrying too much about winning ? failures are enjoyable and interesting, too. A man shows his true worth by bearing up against all adversity and finding a way to get out of trouble.

Lots of kyu-level female players take part in C Class. I hear that a smiling photo taken by a professional photographer to celebrate victory has appeared as the memorial photo at a funeral. The photo of a person who was a pupil in my class shows her full of pride. It must have been a happy memory.

Once the pair that had the reputation of being the weakest secured victory at a practice event. The lady was really grateful ? it’s a happy, fond memory for me.

Praying that 20 years will become 30 years.

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