Classic Go Games: Fujisawa Hosai vs Go Seigen

This was the second game in a ten game match between Fujisawa Hosai 9p and Go Seigen 9p. It was played on February 25 and 26, 1943.

Go Seigen

Fujisawa Hosai vs Go Seigen - Game 2 of their first jubango (ten game match).

Fujisawa Hosai vs Go Seigen – Game 2 of their first jubango (ten game match).

Go Seigen is regarded as the greatest Go player in the history of Go.

We refer to him as a ‘living legend’ in Korea.

He was born on June 12, 1914, so next year (in 2014), he’ll celebrate his 100th birthday.

By the way, according to the way age is counted in some Asian cultures, Go Seigen will turn 100 this year (in 2013).

His style of play was so different from other top pros at the time, and he won nearly all of his ten game matches (jubango).

The only ten game match Go Seigen lost was this series against Fujisawa Hosai (4-6 in Fujisawa’s favor).

However, Fujisawa was taking black in all games and there was no komi. They played with a handicap called ‘josen’ (black in all games) because Go Seigen was 8 dan and Fujisawa was 6 dan at the time.

Fujisawa Hosai

Fujisawa Hosai was very famous for his mirror Go.

He kept experimenting with mirror Go because he wanted to learn all about it.

He didn’t just mimic though, he spent more time than his opponents did, and he often got into byo-yomi situations (was short of time) in the middle game.

He played with the sort of full concentration that Cho Chikun 9p does.

There were two famous players named Fujisawa in the Japanese Go world. Fujisawa Shuko (Hideyuki) 9p was the uncle of Fujisawa Hosai, even though he was 6 years younger.

Fujisawa Hosai was also the first professional player to be promoted to 9 dan under the Japanese Oteai system (Go Seigen was the second).

They played two more ten game matches on even terms when they were both 9 dan (the only two 9 dans at the time) and Go Seigen won both of them.

Commented game record

Fujisawa Hosai vs Go Seigen


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Related Articles

About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. This was a very complicated game, but it really highlights the importance in counting. As Black or White, I probably would have resigned much earlier due to the huge losses on both sides!

  2. Thanks!

  3. A few notes about Fujisawa Hosai & the game. He was the first modern, 9-dan professional under the Oteai system. The following year, Go Seigen was also awarded a 9-dan rank by special recommendation of his Japanese peers. Thus, for the next several years it was just Fujisawa and Go on the block. Every match between them would be billed as a huge event. Nevertheless, at this time Fujisawa Hosai was still known as Fujisawa Kuranosuke. It wouldn’t be until Fujisawa was beaten down in two following jubangos (10-game matches), and subsequently neglected his duties to the Nihon Kiin, that he resigned and changed his name to Hosai out of humiliation. Thus, for all these matches he was known as Fujisawa Kuranosuke.

    This game is famous for White’s brilliant & solid play, and the large number of big exchanges and ko fights. Kato Shin attributed Fujisawa’s losing move to 57, calling it dull. As for Go Seigen, he said “This was a game in which White played a truly well polished and solid manner. Every stone he picked up and played was flawless.” As for time limits, even though they were longer than today Go Seigen was a noted fast player, and Fujisawa the complete opposite. In this game Go & Fujisawa’s time usage was recorded as 6 hour 11 minutes & 9 hours 55 minutes respectively.

  4. It’s strange that Go Seigen could make a large enclosure in the lower left corner and turn it into territory without much of a challenge. If I were to do that, the corner would surely be involved in an ugly fight very soon.

  5. Flandre says:

    Very nice. Such detailed commentaries really help to understand what is going on in complicated game like this. Usually I’m very confused by Go Seigen’s games.

  6. jangalf says:

    Thanks to you Mr Younggil. As always, you comments are wonderful and inspiring to me and most of the readers of this web site. I hope you to continue with this task of comment old and classic games.

  7. Thank you for your comments, as always quite enlightening.

    This must be one of the best games ever. Such a precise fighting power. Of course complete unnecessary, but Go Seigen at his best against Lee Sedol at his best, who would prevail? In a non-speed game I would give Go Seigen the edge.

    Kind regards,

  8. DanielTom says:

    Thanks for this. Much appreciated!

  9. Byung Soo Lee says:

    Do any young pros/insei today study Go Seigen’s games? The Lee Changho generation certainly did, but I wonder if different materials are in fashion today. I read that Fan Tingyu studied Sakata’s games extensively, so it is certainly conceivable that there are young people studying Go Seigen’s games.

    • Byung Soo Lee says:

      I also read that Lee Sedol has studied Go Seigen’s games, so I guess I am asking about the generation after him, which was born in the 90s/00s.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      When I was young, I studied Go Seigen’s games quite a lot. His playing was incredible. It was far more creative and flexible than other top players of his period I thought. Inseis today might still study his games, but they’d rather study recent top players’ games.

  10. I am grateful for the great commentary! I am learning so much from you. Dear Mr. An Younggil, can you please suggest us some masters that are study today in Korea (by the new generation of the pros and by the yonguseng)?
    Thank you very much!

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Most of Korean pros and yongusengs are focused on recent top pros’ games. I think both Lee Sedol and Gu Li’s games are most popular to study.

      • Uberdude says:

        Michael Redmond 9p said something interesting about the different styles of Lee Sedol and Gu Li. Both are known for fighting and creating spectacular games, but he said Gu tends to play thickly and fight where he has the advantage, whereas Lee is more a master of doing well in disadvantageous fights.

  11. Great game, exemplary commentary. It’s rare to get ones questions about a game answered in such a thorough way.

  12. I was surprised how the timing of E17 can make a difference.

  13. I liked the game and the reviex a lot.
    Thank you.

  14. Thank you very much for this commented game ! I enjoyed the reading at most.

  15. Many thanks for this commented game!

    Very intresting,


  16. I think that w 88 move win the game….

  17. Many thanks for this commented game!
    Can you comment other game of Go Seigen?
    Thank you very much.

  18. I have many the game comment of Go Siegen but they do will be with the chinese. Are you Gmail? I will sent they for you