I find this cover with the Go board and pieces interwoven with the title and cherry blossoms absolutely beautiful.
The Master of Go by Yasunari Kawabata with an introduction by Liza Gelby.
Translated by Edward G. Seidensticker. Yellow Jersey Press, 2006.
The Master of Go is the semi-fictionalised account of a 6-month long Go match that occurred in 1938 between the old Master and the new challenger. The Master of Go is an interesting look into the world of Go at the time but it does drag at points – primarily because the match is repeatedly delayed due to the Master’s ill health. The author Yasunari Kawabata had been a reporter for the actual match writing serials for a magazine which were later collated and published as a book in 1954. Several schematics of the Go board are included throughout, however, the emphasis on the characters means that even those, like myself, with a barely rudimentary knowledge of Go can enjoy the book. The framing of the match as a battle between the old ways and the new order – the Master vs Mr Otaké, adds an extra element and weight to the event. The book is primarily focussed on the character of the Master, so the prominence of the fictionalised version of the author (Mr Uragami) is perhaps surprising. Overall, I would recommend The Master of Go because it is a short read that provides immersive insights into pride, protocol and prestige that surrounds the game of Go.