Go

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A few moments to learn, a lifetime to master.

Go is a strategic board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules. It is very popular in Asia, especially in China, Japan and Korea, where there are over 100 million active Go players.

Quotes[edit]

  • It is difficult for a man who always has a full stomach to put his mind to some use. Are there not players of Liubo and Weiqi? Even playing these games is better than being idle.
The board must be square and represents the laws of the earth. The lines must be straight like the divine virtues. There are black and white stones, divided like yin and yang. Their arrangement on the board is like a model of the heavens.
- Ban Gu (32-92 AD)
  • The board must be square and represents the laws of the earth. The lines must be straight like the divine virtues. There are black and white stones, divided like yin and yang. Their arrangement on the board is like a model of the heavens.
    • Ban Gu (32-92 AD), in Yi Zhi [The Essence of Go]
  • Rather than being the image of a single struggle as in chess, Go is much more like the panorama of an entire campaign, or complex theatre of war. And so it is more like modern warfare where strategic mass movements are the ultimate determinants of victory. … As in modern warfare, direct combat, without supporting tactics, rarely occurs. In fact, to engage too soon in direct combat frequently spells defeat.
    • Oscar Korschelt, The Theory and Practice of GO (1880)
    • Translated from the German Das "Go"-spiel by Samuel P King & George G. Leckie (1965), page 6-7, ISBN 0-8048-0572-5
  • Go is destined to take the place of Chess as the leading intellectual game of the Occident, just as it has reigned supreme in the Orient for some four thousand years.
  • While the Baroque rules of Chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go.
  • Becoming one stone stronger is the supreme enjoyment.
    • Go Seigen, considered to be one of the best Go players of all time, in A Way of Play for the 21st Century (2008)
  • When starting, the best strategy is to spread the pieces far apart and stretch them out, to encircle and attack the opponent, and thus win by having the most points vacant. The next best strategy emphasises cutting off the enemy to seek advantage. In that case the outcome is uncertain and calculation is necessary to decide the issue. The worst strategy is to defend the borders and corners, hastily building eyes so as to protect oneself in a small area.
    • Huan Tan (c. 43 BC–28 AD), in Xin Lun [New Treatise]
  • Go is to Western chess what philosophy is to double-entry accounting.
  • Go is hard.
    • Cho U, professional Go player in Japan, commenting on the seventh and last game of the 30th Meijin Title Match, which he won against Kobayashi Satoru (in November 2005). Also translated as "Go is difficult".
  • This is the universe! And I'm placing stones one by one on that. Like I'm increasing the number of stars one by one... I'm making the universe. It's like I'm a God. I'm going to become a God! On this Go Board.
    • Hotta Yumi, in Hikaru no Go (in the anime, Hikaru says this when he plays in a Go tournament for the first time.)
  • The number of all things in Nature begins with one. The points on the go board number three hundred and sixty plus one. One is the first of all living numbers. It occupies the polar point of the board around which the four quarters revolve. The other 360 points represent the number of days in a [lunar] year. They are divided into four quarters which represent the four seasons...
    • Wang You Qing Le Ji [The Carefree and Innocent Pastime Collection], the oldest surviving Go manual, from the early 12th century (though it is actually an anthology of older texts), as quoted in Go in Ancient China.
  • The Ancient Japanese considered the Go board to be a microcosm of the universe. Although when it is empty it appears to be simple and ordered, in fact, the possibilities of gameplay are endless. They say that no two Go games have ever been alike. Just like snowflakes. So, the Go board actually represents an extremely complex and chaotic universe.
  • A game of go is like a spring whose waters go only where they can go and stop where they have to stop.
    • Liang Weijin (1680–1760), Chinese Go player, quoted in John Fairbairn's essay on Fan Xiping and Shi Ding'an (11 January 2000).
  • Go is an ancient board game that takes simple elements — line and circle, Black and White, stone and wood — combines them with simple rules and generates subtleties that have enthralled players for millennia. Go's appeal resides not only in its oriental elegance, but also in practical and stimulating features in the design of the game.
    Go's few rules can be demonstrated quickly, and grasped easily. It is enjoyably played over a wide range of skills. Each level of play has its charms, rewards and discoveries. A unique and reliable handicapping system leads to equal contests between players of widely disparate strengths. Go is uniquely flexible and rewards patience and balance over aggression and greed. An early mistake can be made up, used to advantage or reversed as the game proceeds. There is no simple procedure to turn a clear lead into a victory. Go thinking seems to be more lateral than linear, less dependent on logical deduction, and more reliant on a "feel" for the game, a "sense" of form, a gestalt perception of significant patterns.
    Beyond being merely a game, Go can take on other meanings to enthusiasts: an analogy with life, an intense meditation, a mirror of one's personality, an exercise in abstract reasoning, or, when played well, a beautiful art in which Black and White dance across the board in delicate balance.
    But most importantly for those who play, Go is challenging and fun.

The Master of Go (1951)[edit]

That play of black upon white, white upon black, has the intent and takes the form of creative art. It has in it a flow of the spirit and a harmony of music... A masterpiece of a game can be ruined by insensitivity to the feelings of an adversary.
- Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972)
The Master of Go (1951) is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata.

Translated from the Japanese by Edward G. Seidensticker (1972), ISBN 0-399-50528-8


  • I have heard that Otaké of the Seventh Rank and Wu of the sixth rank once went to a clairvoyant and asked for advice on how to win. The proper method, said the man, was to lose all awareness of self while awaiting an adversary's play. [...] While waiting for a play he [Onoda of the Sixth Rank] would sit quietly with his eyes closed. He explained that he was ridding himself of the desire to win.
    • p. 42
  • From the way of Go, the beauty of Japan and the Orient had fled. Everything had become science and regulation. [...] One conducted the battle only to win, and there was no margin for remembering the dignity and the fragrance of Go as an art.
    • p. 52
  • That play of black upon white, white upon black, has the intent and takes the form of creative art. It has in it a flow of the spirit and a harmony of music. Everything is lost when suddenly a false note is struck, or one party in a duet suddenly launches forth on an eccentric flight of his own. A masterpiece of a game can be ruined by insensitivity to the feelings of an adversary.
    • p. 164

Go proverbs[edit]

Rather than being quotes about Go as a game, Go proverbs are about specific situations that occur within a game of Go, and are commonly used to aid in evaluating a move in Go.
  • 1. The greedy do not get success;
    2. Be unhurried to enter opponent´s territory;
    3. Take care of oneself when attacking the other;
    4. Discard a stone to gain sente;
    5. Abandon small to save big;
    6. When in danger, sacrifice;
    7. Make thick shape, avoid hasty moves;
    8. A move must respond to the opponent's;
    9. Against strong positions, play safely;
    10. Look for peace, avoid fighting in an isolated or weak situation.



  • Urgent points before big points.
  • Keep your stones connected.
  • Lose your first 50 games as quickly as possible.
  • Play on the point of symmetry.
Use Go to meet friends.
  • The enemy's key point is yours.
  • Make a feint to the East while attacking in the West.
  • Don't go fishing while your house is on fire.
  • Don't follow proverbs blindly.



  • A few moments to learn, a lifetime to master.



  • Use Go to meet friends.
    • Chinese proverb: 以棋会友

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
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