Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Game of Go

A deep study of the complexity of the mechanisms of the Game of Go and its relations with the oriental culture

The aim of this blog is to share the results of years of studies, research and work in the field of the Game of Go; after playing this game for three years and a half, nearly every day, perpetually amazed by its simplicity, its deepness and its strong relation to mathematics, I spent a lot of time reading books on the game and establishing its link with the oriental culture. As most of those books are not available anymore - not published, as they are old books only kept by a few passionate players - and as my thoughts and my work in this field seems to be, if not fully original, at least worth considering, I am working on making it available for the huge part of the Go community that does not read Japanese, Chinese or Korean.

I assume in this blog that the reader knows what Go is and knows at least the rules of the game; I will not describe them, they can be easily found (see "Rules of the Game of Go" on the page bar). However, to make the reading more easy, I give here a glossary of the common Go terms used in my articles and I recall the main characters of the Go story.


Aji:  Potential for threats.

Atari: A group is in atari if it has only one liberty left and could be captured with one more move.

Baduk: The Game of Go. (Korean name)

Chuban: Middle of the game.

Dan: Ranking system for the strong players.

Dosaku: Famous Japanese player (1645 – 1702)

Fuseki: Beginning of the game.

Goban: Board with 19x19 intersections.

Go Seigen: Famous player born in 1914.

Gote: A move is gote is it does not force the opponent to answer.

Hayashi: Japanese Go school.

Honinbo: In the past, a Go school; nowadays, it is an honorary title.

Hoshi: Intersections marked with a black circle on the goban.

Igo: The Game of Go. (Japanese name)

Inoue: Japanese Go school.

Insei: Japanese Go student, aiming to become a professional.

Joseki: Ideal sequence for both players.

Keima: Horse jump.

Kisei: Go Saint. Honorary title.

Ko: Situation were a stone can be infinitely taken back.

Komi: Points given to the player which does not begin to compensate his second position.

Komoku: Intersection 3-4 on the goban. Very common during early game.

Kosumi: Two stones forming a diagonal shape.

Kyu: ranking from 30 kyu (a player who knows only the rules) to 1 kyu. The ranks above are the dan ranks, from 1 dan to 7 dan (9 dan for professionals) for the strong players.

Meijin: Master. Initially an honorary title, now the name of a tournament.

Moyo: Large area of influence that could be converted into territory.

Nikken­Tobi: two steps jump.

Sensei: Professor.

Sente: The opposite of "gote"; force the opponent to answer.

Shodan: First dan.

Shusaku: Very famous Japanese player, born in 1829.

Tengen: The Sky. Centre of the Goban.

Tewari: A way of evaluating a position by playing the moves that led to it in a different order.

Tobi: One step jump.

Tsumego: Life or death problem on a goban.

WeiQi: The Game of Go. (Chinese name)

Yasui: Japanese Go school.

Yose: Last part of the game (after fuseki and chuban).

Saturday, 1 February 2014


Most material presented in this blog that are not directly taken from my personal thoughts and my feeling about the game can be found by reading the following books: (some of them are not available anymore)

A Chinese Way to See the World, by Elisabeth Papineau

Andrew Grant's Go History, by Andrew Grant

Eyespace Value in Go, by Howard A. Landman (that one can be found on the net at the following address: http://library.msri.org/books/Book29/files/landman.pdf)

EZ­GO Oriental Strategy in a Nutshell, by Bruce and Sue Wilcox

Fundamentals Principles of Go, by Yilun Yang

Go­ a complete introduction to the game, by Cho Chikun

Go Art and Philosophy, by Hajime Okadao

Handbook of Proverbs, by the Nihon Ki-in (Japanese Go Federation)

History of Baduk, by the International Baduk System Co.

History of WeiQi, by the Yutopian Enterprise

How to Use the 36 Stratagems to Win, by Kenrick E. Cleveland

Mathematical Go, by Elwym Berlekamp and David Wolfe

The Game of Go: Speculations on its Origins and Symbolism in Ancient China, by Peter Shotwell

The Ten Precepts of Go, by Wan Chi Shin

36 stratagems applied to Go, by Ma Xiaochun

One can also find some interesting material on the Sensei's Library, a wiki about the game of Go with a lots of contributors, accessible at this address: http://senseis.xmp.net/