So, even Inagaki acknowledged this as a "rare" game. And of course esteemed it enough to include it in his book, Igo Jissen 50-ban, which was published in 1921.

But did you notice that not once did he praise one of Black's moves? We can infer from the Japanese word in the comment on Black 14 ("immature") that Black was a youngster. We can see for ourselves what plucky resistance he put up despite getting off to a poor start.

Of course we don't know what was said on the spot. We can hope there was at least a smile of encouragement. We don't know the exact circumstances of this game, but from the other records in the book, nearly all handicap games with different players, we can hazard a good guess that they come from around 1910. That was when Inagaki went on a big trip with his pal Honinbo Shusai. Shusai addresses Inagaki with the familiar form kun, even though he was 20 years younger, and adds a preface to Inagaki's book.

Inagaki was born in 1854 and was at first an apprentice at Hoensha. But after qualifying as a 1-dan in 1869, he became a civil servant in the War Department. He took part in the Satsuma Rebellion, which will be familiar to those who watched the Tom Cruise film, The Last Samurai. He re-joined Hoensha in 1880 and reached 4-dan in 1901, deciding then to become a go professional.

After his trip with Shusai, he settled in Nagoya in 1911, as a 5-dan, publishing the go journal Chukyo Kikai (Nagoya Go World). He reached 6-dan in 1913 and 7-dan, then a very high grade, in 1929. He had the unusual honour of being granted the name Nissho by the Jakkoji temple in Kyoto, this being the Honinbo family temple. He died in November 1940.

<< Previous