The Newsletter Archive 1980-84

Newsletters 1980-84   Another batch of newsletters have been added to the archives for the period 1980-84.   To see these click News and Newsletter Archive and scroll down to find the earliest newsletters.

If the newsletters of the first 5 years of the NZGS (1975-79) were about formation of the NZGS and creation of go clubs around the country, the second five years chronicled the rapid development of the game in NZ. The NZ Go Congress was moved about the country: Palmerston North in 1979 (Oct 1979), Dunedin in 1980 (Oct 1980), Christchurch in 1981(Dec 1980), Wellington 1982 (held in the Marlborough sounds!) (Jul – Dec 1982) and Auckland 1983 (1984 no 1). 

That development was assisted by visits from Japanese professional players, from the Nihon Ki-in in 1977 (Sensei Shirae, Ito and Kondo) and 1981 (Saijo Masataka), and in 1983 from the Kansai Ki-in who sent Inoue sensei accompanied by Mr Shirakami as translator.  He became a great friend of NZ go and helped pave the way for the wonderful relationship that developed with that go organization.

The NZ rules were formulated by Ray Tomes in 1980, using the Chinese rules as a starting point but adding a more rigorous definition of terms.

Computer printed diagrams began to replace hand draw diagrams in 1982 and the comparative ease of printing games meant more games appeared in the newsletters giving NZ players a chance to assess the skills of fellow go players around the country. 

A “continuous rating tournament” developed earlier by Ray Tomes in Auckland was adopted by clubs throughout the country and provided players with a measure of their improvement.   The NZ Go Society officially recognized NZ Dan ranks for a few years though that practice appears to have ceased by 1984!  Ray’s analysis of the barriers along the rating path was instructive, highlighting a major mountain at 5kyu (Jan 1980).

With the WAGC giving players a chance to play players from other countries we began to get a sense of how our ranks stacked up internationally.  When Ray placed 8th at the 4th World Amateur Go Championship (March-April 1982) beating higher ranked opponents from Singapore and Hungary we began to feel a little cocky, though that remains the best placing by a New Zealand player at the WAGC.

Ishi Press was the source of all knowledge for NZ players at this time and the NZGS bookshop did a good trade in their books. Go World, the most stylish Go magazine you could hope for, with its Japanese Edo period prints as covers, started publishing in 1977.  It was NZ players’ access to the professional go world in Japan and beyond.  It’s editor, the Australian John Power, went on the edit and translate the finest go book in English (Invincible, The Games of Shusaku. Kiseido. 1982).

NZ played matches against Australia in 1981 (Dec 1981) and 1983 (Jul-Sep 1983) both of which were 4-4 draws.   

These were the days when the only way to play go against other people was to sit over a go board with them!  Go Fests began in the South Island as informal gatherings of players to test each others’ ratings over the course of a weekend with + or - 0.5 adjustments in rating after each game.

Kami Kaze’s Korner was a beloved fixture in the newsletter, a cornucopia of the curious, the crazy and the downright certifiable.   There was an early piece on Computer Go (Jul-Dec 1982) and an interview with a 16 year old Michael Redmond (July 1980).

The newsletters began to give NZ players a sense of their place in the go world, and with our own set of rules, representation at the WAGC and respectable results against international competition, we were encouraged!


Page 7 from the March April 1982 newsletter reporting the game that placed Ray Tomes 8th in the 4th World Amateur Championship.

The Newsletter Archive 1975-79

The newsletter Archive

Graeme Parmenter 12 Sep 2019


We plan to archive all the early printed newsletters of the NZ Go Society on the website.   This series covers the period 1975 until 1995.

We will add five years’ worth of newsletters to the archive every month so as not to overwhelm those who might have some interest in the origins of the game in New Zealand!



The existing online newsletter archive was started in 2017, but a few newsletters from the period 2003-2004 have also been added.  If you have copies of newsletters for the period 1996-2003 or the period 2005-2016 let us know!  We would like to make this a complete archive if possible.




The history of the NZGS newsletter begins before the NZGS, with the Auckland Go Society.  The first five newsletters were all published under the banner of that organization.

They report the 1st Auckland Go Congress, held in November 1975 and attended by 19 kyu players, including Kurt Flatow from the Sydney Go Club who won Division 1 of the tournament. 

Bob Talbot, the secretary of the Auckland Go Society was providing the teaching articles in the newsletters with hand drawn and labelled diagrams on the vital subject of “Connection”.

The newsletters include a discussion of a “New” system of counting (Chinese method) from Ray Tomes and an article on computer go!

They also give indications of players in other parts of the country, with reports of clubs formed in Wellington and Dunedin and announce an official visit to Australasia by professional go players from Japan.

On 10th July 1976 Bob Talbot became the first home grown dan player when he was given the rank of 1 dan by the Auckland Go Club committee.  Bob learnt the game in the pubs of London before becoming one of the leading lights of the Auckland Go scene.

The 1st New Zealand Go Congress, was also announced for 1976, signaling the inevitable formation of a national go organization.

The 1st NZ Go Congress was hosted by Auckland and players at the tournament agreed to form the New Z Go Society.  To solve the delay involved in formulating a constitution it was decided that the Auckland Go Society would change its name to The New Zealand Go Society and a new constitution for that organization would be adopted at the Go Congress in 1977, held in Wellington. 

In 1976, the bookshop was started and Ishi Press books became available to NZ players.  That staple of NZ players the Elementary Go Series was selling for a mere $2.50-$3.50 per volume!

In 1977 Ishi Press began publishing Go World, and suddenly new go players had access to commentary on professional games and up to date teaching articles. 

That same year dissatisfaction with the NZ rules of go began to be expressed and after the Chinese rules were published in Go World No 5 NZ adopted these at the 1978 AGM.

In 1979 NZ was one of only 15 countries to attend the 1st World Amateur Go Championship becoming a foundation member of the International Go Federation.


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