First Kyu - The Novel

First Kyu: A Novel
By: Dr. Sung-Hwa Hong
Publisher: Good Move Press, 1999
ISBN10 0-9644796-9-9
ISBN13 978-0964479692

First Kyu: A Novel, copyright 1999 by Dr. Sung-Hwa Hong, Illustrations by Du-Ri Han, Published by Good Move Press, the publishing arm of [ext] Samarkand, ISBN 0-9644796-9-9

The back cover says this is "a compelling, insightful and haunting tale of love, sacrifice, the search for excellence, and Go -- the world's oldest game." I think that's pretty accurate.

This novel is lots of bittersweet fun for Go players. It follows a teen player as he comes of age pursuing a professional Go career. As an occidental, I was fascinated by the scenes of Asian "Go culture" (including bangneki gambling -- now I understand what those guys at the Korean Go club were doing :-) and the backdrop of 1960s Korean society.

Though the story is well-written and very entertaining in its own right, Go players will appreciate some bonuses. Part 1 includes the kifu of the famous Blood Vomiting Game. In Part 2, most of the chapters are titled after Go proverbs; several include Go diagrams that seem to illustrate the proverbs.

Interestingly, based on a [ext] Google search I did, at least two American colleges are using First Kyu in courses about Asian culture and Go.


Does anybody know someplace where you can buy this book? Amazon and ABEbooks don't have it, and neither do any of the top Google matches.

Jk: As of August 1, 2003, First Kyu is back in print and [ext] available at [ext] Samarkand.
For german residents: The book is available for 15 (+2.50 p&p) at [ext] www.hebsacker-verlag.de (as of 04/30/2004)

Phelan: Probably old news, but the book is now available on [ext] Amazon. (May 18, 2005) Phelan: I recently(October 2008) bought it from Schaak En Gowinkel Het Paard, and recomend it for europeans.


Malweth Is this book Autobiographical? Or perhaps based on a true story? The Author's Note in the beginning mentions actual characters in the novel.


I spoke with Dr. Hong at one of the US Go Congresses and he said the story is not autobiographical.


TheClam I Own This Book, The story is of a boy that trys to become pro, he meets many people, and its just a good book to get. The Ending Is A Bit Sad, and left me wanting more.


rubin427? some trivia: The book of "the games of Wu" which the main character studies is likely a collection of the games of Go Seigen

In my opinion,The book First Kyu contains a major literary reference to the novel "Demian" by Hermann Hesse. That novel has many parallel themes, including an emphasis on fate as a major force in the lives of the main characters.


First Kyu - The Novel last edited by tapir on August 11, 2013 - 19:16
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