Books: Rustle of Wind

THE MASTER OF GO

by YASUNARI KAWABATA

Translated by EDWARD G. SEIDENSTICKER 208 pages. Knopf. $5.95.

Judging by the travails of this book's title character, Boris Spassky has seen nothing yet. Defending his championship in the ancient Japanese game of Go, fighting a losing battle with a heart ailment, the aging master enters a final match that takes six months to complete. Along the way he endures adjournments, squabbles over the ground rules and three changes of venue. In the end, the master's game falters, and he loses to a brash opponent half his age....

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