The Ten Golden Rules List

PageType: Path   Difficulty: Advanced   Keywords: Tactics, Strategy, Go term, Proverb

Here are The Ten Golden Rules of Go (围棋十决) as formulated by Wang Jixin.

  1. Tan Bu De Sheng (贪不得胜) - The greedy do not get success
  2. Ru Jie Yi Huan (入界宜缓) - Be unhurried to enter opponents territory
  3. Gong Bi Gu Wo (攻彼顾我) - Take care of oneself when attacking the other
  4. Qi Zi Zheng Xian (弃子争先) - Discard a stone to gain sente
  5. She Xiao Jiu Da (舍小就大) - Abandon small to save big
  6. Feng Wei Xu Qi (逢危须弃) - When in danger, sacrifice
  7. Shen Wu Qing Su (慎勿轻速) - Make thick shape, avoid hasty moves
  8. Dong Xu Xiang Ying (动须相应) - A move must respond to the opponent's
  9. Bi Qiang Zi Bao (彼强自保) - Against strong positions, play safely
  10. Shi Gu Qu He (势孤取和) - Look for peace, avoid fighting in an isolated or weak situation


  1. Tān bd shng (贪不得胜) - Greediness is not victorious
  2. R ji y huǎn (入界宜缓) - Be unhurried to enter opponents territory
  3. Gōng bǐ g wǒ (攻彼顾我)- Take care of oneself when attacking others
  4. Q zǐ zhēng xiān (弃子争先 ) - Discard stones to gain sente
  5. Shě xiǎo ji d (舍小就大) - Abandon small to save big
  6. Fng wēi xū q (逢危须弃) - When in danger, sacrifice
  7. Shn w qīng s (慎勿轻速) - Make thick shape, avoid hasty moves
  8. Dng xū xiāng yng (动须相应) - A move must respond to the opponents
  9. Bǐ qing z bǎo (彼强自保) - Against strong positions, play safely
  10. Sh gū qǔ h (势孤取和) - Look for peace, avoid fighting in an isolated or weak situation

2003.05.12 KjeldPetersen There is one rule that I miss here in the 10 Golden rules, and that is to have an eye on every cut. Does anyone agree with me on that ?

unkx80: Are you referring to some possible implication from rule number 10? There is no rule among the ten that is exactly what you mean.

Skelley: I would say that rules 1, 3, 7, 9 and 10 speak against the idea of keeping an eye on every cut . Don't forget, when you cut stones your own stones are cut too.

John F.: I agree entirely. And don't forget that cuts were even more important in the days when these maxims were formulated - group tax applied.

mAsterdam, to Skelley and John F. : Are you assuming that Kjeld Petersen only refers to the opponents' cuts when he says "every cut"?

Tamsin to all the above: I interpret Kjeld's question to mean "should I be mindful of every cut?" That is, being aware enough to recognise that a cut, which could be either one's own or the opponent's, that was harmless some time ago might become crucial under changing circumstances.

John F. Given the reference to Maxim 3, your question seems already answered, no?

Skelley I guess you are right, mAsterdam, Kjeld was refering to cuts from both sides. But then... being aware of cuts in your own position is also covered, under rules 3 and 7.

John F. Since I don't think it's mentioned elsewhere, it may be of interest to point out that this list is said to go back to Tang times (when actually group tax may not have applied...). It is attributed to Wang Jixin - Wang the Firewood Collector - the strongest player of his day (early 8th c.). He originally made a living collecting firewood but eventually became the official Hanlin Academy go tutor to the go mad Xuan Zong Emperor. There are many go tales from this period and Wang features in several.

But the actual list seems to be known first from a text of the Ming dynasty (1368~1644) by Liu Zhongda. In this the first maxim is given in the form bude tan sheng (you cannot be greedy and win). There are variant versions also for 7 and 8.

There is a tradition in Japan (espoused by no less than Kitani Minoru, apparently) that the list is the work of Honinbo Shusaku. This has caused a certain amount of umbrage in China.

KjeldPetersen First of all, I'm happy to see that so many people are joining in on the discussion. About the cut thing: As I'm "only" a 3 kyu at the moment, I think much of my training is concerned with analysing and looking after all cuts (my own and the opponent's). This is perhaps more a basic skill than a strategic skill. But I think learning this skill is very difficult, but nevertheless necessary if I want to become stronger and able to follow the 10 Golden rules above.

KjeldPetersen The goal of the game: I look at the page ComputerGoMusings where it is descriped what a computer should look for, but I think this should be seen in a different way.

Try to ballance all groups of stones, so they have equal flexibility or stability, but when stones are captured they should be discarted. On the other side try to bring your oppenent out of this ballance.

And also when looking at the different influense functions, I think they are not good enough. A ballance functio should say something about the condition of every single stone. I beg to differ, there is no this side or that side, there is only One side and that is to balance precisely On the line, overextend and you will lose points (Rule One), play too short and you don't reach your full potential.

Laval?: The first rule as the page currently stands is incorrect in terms of the both the original text and the translation. The correct original text can be found on the Wang Jixin page linked to at the top of this page. It roughly translates to "Do not be greedy for victory."

John F. Not quite. It is only true that the maxims have been traditionally ascribed to Wang Jixin, but this is due entirely to the Hong Shu encyclopaedia of the Ming dynasty, which only indirectly ascribes them to him via Liu Zhongda. There is no bylined text available, but modern scholarship, based on many references in rarer works, attributes the list to Liu Zhongfu of the Song. However, many of the maxims, including this one, appear in different form (though not as a single list) in the Dunhuang Classic, the text of which predates Wang Jixin, so at best Liu probably only codified a list.

There are variant forms of several of the maxims, not just this one, and there is an added complication in that the list is also claimed by xiangqi players. The Morohashi dictionary gives the xiangqi form, for example.

As to the translation, the "Wang Jixin" version can probably better be construed as "you cannnot be greedy and win" (bu was not then the usual way to mark a negative imperative), and the Dunhuang Classic supports that. Its version (emending an obvious misprint) was "If you are greedy you will lose often; if you are timid you will succeed little."

Laval?: Is there the need to go through the historic debates when we can just use the form that is most widely published among Go circles? On the subject of grammar, if you are thinking of an omitted "er", it would make for some really awkward sentence structure ("you will win upon not getting to be greedy", to be literal). According to Wang Li's classical Chinese dictionary, "de" has carried the connotation of "to be allowed to" since the Classical era of Chinese (i.e. before end of Han dynasty). I would interpret this as a case of omitted subject (happens all the time in Classical Chinese texts, but I know of no exact English equivalent) instead of imperative, anyways.

The Ten Golden Rules List last edited by tchan001 on April 14, 2012 - 08:14
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