History of Go in Europe 1880-1945

with special consideration to Leipzig and surrounding area

Early Mentions of Go in Europe · Frühe Erwähnungen des Go in Europa · Fruaj Mencioj de Go en Europo
Geschichte des Go in Europa 1880-1945 · Histoire du Go en Europe 1880-1945 ····· 1920, 1930


1880 - 1881

1876, the chemistrian Oskar Korschelt (born 18??, 18??-18?? student in Dresden and Berlin) with his wife comes to Japan, invited by the Japanese, and becomes assistant professor at the university of Tokyo. His first two children are born in Tokio.
1880, he learns go while ill for a longer period. The he, for the first time in Europe, extensively presents the game of Go in the Mittheilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Natur und Völkerkunde Ostasiens (Informations of the German Society for Natural and Cultural Science East Asia), a union of researches mainly in Japan. His voluminous
article in several issues of the journal contains the history of Go, the rules, a nomenclature, 12 example games, 155 Tsumego-problems, endgame theory and 50 Fusekis from Murase Shuho. In it he also introduces the marking of the lines by Latin letters and Arab numbers.
1881 he republishes the article as Das Japanisch-chinesiche Spiel "Go". Ein Concurrent des Schach. Separatabdruck aus dem 21ten bis 24ten Heft der «Mittheilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens» (The Japanese-Chinese game GO, a concurrent of chess. Seperat print from the 21st to 24th issue of Informations of the German Society for Natural and Cultural Science East Asia), Yokohama.


6. R. Lechners k.u.k. Courtly and Universitarian Bookseller, Graben 31, and zje k.u.k. Courtly Bookseller Frick, Graben 27, Vienna, sell Go-gamesets in various price classes and several times advertize for them in the Neuen Freien Presse of Vienna.

1884 - 1886

1884 Korschelt, Knight of the Imperial Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, leaves Japan and return his family to Europe. His attempt, to establish trade with Japan from Hongkong, fails and (probably 1886) he returns to Leipzig, where he lives in the Kantstraße, later in the Fichtestraße 4. He makes a living by selling the sun ether beam apparatuses, he invented and patented.


Edward Falkener: Games Ancient and Oriental, London


R. Schurig publishes Go, das Nationalspiel der Japaner (Go the National Game of the Japanese), Leipzig

about 1900-1918

Austro-hungarian marine officers learn about Go from Korschelt's book and East Asia journeys.


The engineering student Edward Lasker in Berlin learns about Go from Korschelt's article. He and his friend Max Lange learn Go from some Kifu in a Japanese newspaper left behind by a Japanese gentleman in a chess café frequented by Lasker.


Emanuel Lasker returns from the USA to Germany and learns Go from Edward Lasker. They play Go once a week in Emanuel Lasker's flat, taught by the Japanese student Yasugoro Kitabatake.


L. Pfaundler Errors in Schurig's books motivate Courtly Councillor Leopold Pfaundler, Professor for Physics in Graz , to publish the book Das chinesisch-japanische Go-Spiel, eine systematische Darstellung und Anleitung zum Spiel desselben, Teubner-Verlag Leipzig, (The Chinese-Japanese Game Go, a systematic presentation and instruction to play it), which is sold in large number. A go circle develops around Pfaundler in Graz, from which also another circle in Vienna evolves.
Pfaundler's book is read also by austro-hungarian marine officers.

between 1905 and 1909

Max Lange is the first Go-player, who learns Go in Germany and travels to Japan for go studies. After his return he teaches the game to his brother-in-law Felix Dueball.

1909 - 1910

Pfaundler publishes and edits the handwritten Deutsche Go-Zeitung (German Go Journal) for 44-60 subscribers in Germany and Austria, the first non-Asian Go-journal.
The list of 47 players known to Pfaundler in the first issue from February 1909 on p. 3 contains: In the second issue from March 1909 on p. 8 the list is complemented:In the list of adress changes D. Eduard Herglotz from the University Leipzig is mentioned. The stated prename was an error by Pfaundler, the mentioned person war des the German Bohemian D. ph. Gustav Herglotz (as proofed by the adress list in the first issue of the DGoZ and the Personal-Verzeichnisse of the University Leipzig), , 1909-1925 Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Mathematical Institute in Leipzig.


Herbert Allen Giles writes in his book The Civilization of China, Chapter 8: Recreation:
There are also various games played with chequers, some of great antiquity; ... In all of these the money element comes in; and it is not too much to say that more homes are broken up, and more misery caused by this truly national vice than can be attributed to any other cause.



Edward Lasker comes to New York and there, together with Karl Davis Robinson and Lee Hartman, he founds the New York Go Club

ab 1914

K.u.K. Lieutenant-Commander Arthur Jonak von Freyenwald from Salzburg, before First Officer on the minelayer "Kameleon", is 1914 on the cruiser "Kaiserin Elisabeth" in Qingdao (since 1989 German colony town in China) and there he becomes a go enthustiast. Back in Pula, the main base of the austro-hungarian marine in Pula (at the southern tip of Istria, today belonging to Croatia) at the Adria-coast, he attracted many young officers and formed a larger circle of players. Jonak, called "go-god", is leader of the go circle; he forces subordinates to play Go and forbids them to play chess. Soon, go material is available on shop in Pula. Go is played on ships, in coffee houses, in marine casinos in Pula and Fiume (Rijeka) etc. The group contains about 200 members. Among them are also Alfred Nimmerrichter, Jonaks friend Lieutenant Carl Fröschl (later Austrian Go-Champion) and (since 1914) Erwin Fink, a young officer on the cruiser "Admiral Spaun" of slovenian nationality on the cruiser "Admiral Spaun" (he is the origin of Go in Slovenia after 1960 and Croatia)
Bruno Rüger, who also correspondes with Jonak, is called up for military service, but isn't sent to the front. So he can propagate the game of Go among his comarades.


Although still a beginner Rüger writes an introduction for Go, which comes out in an impression of 10.000 pieces in the Miniatur-Bibliothek-series. After receiving several postal reactions, he begins the privat production of Go-games.

Jonak buys a Japanese go-book by mail. He orders a Chinese sailor to translate it. The sailor refuses, because Japanese writing is different from Chinese. But Jonak claims, the characters are the same (which is true for Kanji) and chains the sailor for refusal of order. Some days later the book is translated.


Jonak dies in an self-caused explosion accident in Boka Kotorska (Southern Adriatic coast).


Rüger correspondes with Pfaundler about his book and Pfaundler's Go-journal


in Vienna two Go-circles arise:


Bruno Rüger meets Wagner, who, without being asked, becomes the donator for the beginning German Go-life


Beginning ot the 1920s

in Munich a Go-group arises in chess-cafés around the young lawyer Troll




with 113 subscribers the DGoZ reaches its climax of subscribers until 1945; but the galopping inflation increases the price of the DGoZ via 300, 1.000, 37.000 to more than 100.000 Mark; the money is worthless when it reaches Rüger, so he loses several Million Mark.



I. Tele-Tournament of the DGoZ on 15x15 with 16 players, on place 15. J. Schubert from Leipzig 2:13:1




Go-holidays of Rüger, Felix Dueball und Dr. Lasker from Berlin, Grethlein from Nürnberg, Dr. Rosenwald from Munich and Carl Fröschl from Vienna in Ilmenau, Dueball best player




about 1930

for the first time in a journal the rules of Go are published in Czech language


invited and financed by the Japanese multimillionaire Baron Okura, Felix Dueball, strongest German player, lives in Japan for 12 months with his wife and there trains daily; the first Go-game in history of the German Champion against the World Champion: SGF 7.6. 1930 Dueball - Honinbo Shusai






Tele-Go-game by telegrams between Dueball, Berlin (black), and Hatoyama, former Japanese Minister of Culture, Tokyo (white), takes 2 months bei and is financied and published by the newspapers Völkischer Beobachter (National Observer) and Nichi-Nichi . Hatoyama wins.

1937 - 1939

Masayoshi Fukuda 5P lives and teaches in Germany




In Cologne 15-20 illegal socialist resistance fighters around Dr. Lohmüller, Wahlert and Schiffer (both meanwhile dismissed) use go boards for camouflaging their activities as well as for real playing


the German Championship is held together with a Japanese-German country championship (16:8 for Japan) and Japanese-German friendship games (55:54 for Japan) ;
Rüger estimates the number of German Go players at over 2.000, but only the classes 20-37 are on the level of single digit Kyu of these days.
number of players0112233222
[Actually, Rüger indicates the number to be 200.000. This is either a printing error a an intentional false information by Rüger.]

A mail-tele-Go-game with pasted paper-go-stones between Carl Fröschl in Vienna and Siebert in Hamburg is examined by the GeStaPo in Vienna by interrogating Fröschl. But Fröschl can explain, what Go is, although the continuation is interdicted.



SGF telegame Rüger - Sato 3 Dan

In the bombing of the Second World War most of the German go literature is destroyed.


9. in an abandoned house in Timisoara, Romania, W. Schmidt finds a Go-set with a book from Bruno Rüger and begins playing Go with friends and students


white background: events outside of or extending over the limits of the area of the German language

Geschichte des Go in Leipzig und Schkeuditz: 1945 - 1969 · 1970 - 1979 · 1980 - 1990
Geschichte des Go in Leipzig: 1991 - 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006


Eine ausführlichere Behandlung des Themas findet sich auch in dem BucheMore extensive information on the topic can be found in the bookOn peut trouver des infomations plus extensives sur cet thème dans la livre:
Franco Pratesi, EuroGo, Vol. 1, Aracne, 2004 Firenze


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