John Fairbairn (writer)

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John T Fairbairn, born in Newcastle upon Tyne, lives in London, where he works as a political journalist, author and translator. His hobby is board games, particularly Go and shogi. As a specialist in Oriental Languages, he has translated and written many books about these games. He is also a developer and vendor of Go and shogi software.

He spent 11 years writing for the Shogi Association's magazine,[1] providing translations and original research on the shogi variants. During this period he also worked on developing a shogi program, and also a xiangqi program.

Fairbairn has also been a Go player for over 30 years, holds the rank of amateur 3rd dan in the British Go Association,[2] and has written many original features in Go World, including the first substantial expositions of ancient Chinese, ancient Korean and Tibetan Go in English.

Prior to moving to London, he taught a Japanese course, based on computer research, at Newcastle University.



  • Appreciating Famous Games (1977) by Shuzo Ohira, translated by John Fairbairn
  • The Direction of Play (1979) by Takeo Kajiwara, translated by John Fairbairn
  • Guide to Shogi openings: Shogi problems in Japanese and English (1983) by Aono Teruichi, translated by John Fairbairn
  • Better Moves for Better Shogi (1983) by Aono Teruichi, translated by John Fairbairn ISBN 4-87187-999-2
  • He has translated over a dozen Go books for Ishi Press, Kiseido and Yutopian.


  • The Dictionary of Go Names.
  • Invitation to Go. Oxford; 1977. Republished by Dover in 2003.
  • How to play Shogi (1979)
  • Shogi for Beginners (1984)
  • The Go Companion (Slate and Shell)
  • Kamakura (Slate and Shell, 2009)
  • Final Summit (Slate and Shell, 2009)
  • The Go Consultants (Slate and Shell, 2009)
  • 9-dan Showdown (Slate and Shell, 2010)
  • The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei (2012–13)



Fairbairn writes Go software and collects games with friend Mark Hall[3] for an informal partnership called "Games of Go on Disk" (GoGoD).[4]



  1. ^ SHOGI Magazine (70 issues, January 1976 - November 1987) by The Shogi Association (edited by George Hodges)
  2. ^ BGA Dan diploma awards. British Go Association.
  3. ^ Mark Hall - short biography.
  4. ^ "Games of Go on Disk" (GoGoD)