John Barrs

British Go Journal No. 13. April 1971. Page 1.

It was with great regret that the Go World learned of the passing of John Barrs, who died suddenly at his home on 31st January 1971.

John learnt to play Go in 1929 at the age of 15 years, and became the driving force behind British Go in the ensuing years. In the 1930s he formed the Linta House Wei Chi Association and several internationally-renowned chess players were involved with John in Go at this time.

In 1953 John formed the London Go Club, which met regularly In his home until it finally outgrew his premises. At the same time he founded the British Go Association; he remained President of this organisation until his death, and was principally responsible for the great growth of popularity of Go in Britain. An estimated fifteen thousand Go sets have been sold in this country to date. Over the years many visiting Japanese and European Go players have found a warm welcome at Johns home.

A past President of the European Go Federation, he took an active role in the unified development of Go in Europe. John represented the United Kingdom in the First and Second international Go Tournaments held in Tokyo in 1963 and 1964. He gained the first shodan certificate awarded to an Englishman, and for many years this remained the only one.

He was always full of encouragement for beginners and spent many evenings teaching all levels of kyus. The current British strength of one 4-dan, one 3-dan, two 2-dans and eight 1-dans is testimony to this encouragement. In one way or another almost all British Go players owe their opportunities to play the game to John, and his loss is a bitter blow to Go in Britain and Europe.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 13
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

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