Sam Zimmerman – Photo by Joshua Guevin

The Iwamoto North America Foundation for Go enthusiastically awards its 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award to Sam Zimmerman.

Successful voluntary organizations often rely on exceptionally dedicated members who quietly do the work needed to make good things happen. For many years, Sam played this role for the American Go Association, serving as Ratings Coordinator and Membership Database Manager. During his decades of service, he was an often behind-the-scenes contributor to virtually every AGA initiative.

Sam, who is 92 years old, was an avid chess player before he discovered Go in the early 1960s. He and a colleague at Westinghouse taught themselves how to play from a book. He later was a Go organizer in Baltimore, Maryland, where he directed the Go club for many years. Sam became aware of the AGA in the early 1970s after attending a Go tournament hosted by the Japanese Ambassador in Washington, DC. Soon after joining, he became a very active member.

In 1986 he took a pioneering step toward creating our virtual Go community when he released Tele-Tsuke, the first software that allowed Go to be played remotely on computers.

Many American Go players will remember Sam from tournaments and Go Congresses. He directed a number of tournaments, including the main tournament at the first U.S. Go Congress. Sam directed the 1997 U.S. Go Congress in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and helped the directors of many other congresses. Keith Arnold, who worked with Sam on many Go projects, reports that Sam was invariably kind and patient despite any challenges. Keith goes on to say that he believes that over the years no one contributed more to the successes of U.S. Go Congresses than Sam.

Please join with the INAF in thanking Sam for the many years he devoted time and energy to promoting Go in North America.