Chinese ancient books

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Table of contents

Organized roughly by the author's year of birth.

Before Song Dynasty ( - 960 A.D.)

Qi Jing

碁(棋)经 (qi2 jing1) is the earliest surviving go manual. it was found at [ext] Mogao Caves (Gansu, China) a city on the silk road, only 159 lines survived, the original text is being conserved at the British library in London.

The age is not exactly known but people conjecture it was written in [ext] Northern Zhou (557 - 581 AD), because it tabooed using the character 黑 (black), 黑 is a part of Northern Zhou emperor's name. The signature at the end of the book is ancient Tibetan script (created in 7th century), so this handwritten copy should be made after 7th century.

Song Dynasty (960 A.D. - 1279 A.D.)

Wangyou Qingle Ji

忘忧清乐集 (Pinyin: Wngyōu Qīngl J, literally "Forget Worry Pure Happy Collection"; can be read as The Collection of the Pure Happiness of Forgotten Worries), edited by 李逸民(li3 yi4 min2) around 1100 AD (Song dynasty). It has the oldest surviving Go diagram.

This book collected famous essays:

  • 棋经十三篇 (qi2 jing1 shi2 shan1 pian1) by 张拟 (zhang1 ni3)
  • 棋诀 (qi2 jue2) by 刘仲甫 (liu2 zhong4 fu3) Wikisource has [ext] the original Chinese text
  • 论棋诀要杂说 (lun4 qi2 jue2 yao4 za2 shuo1) by 张靖 (zhang1 jing4)

And three ancient game records including the earliest surviving game record Diagrams from Wu dynasty, some old game records like Ranka,...,some old josekis, 34 tsumego problems (the oldest tsumego book), and more. It also established rules for recording game.

Yuan Dynasty (1271 A.D. - 1368 A.D.)

Xuanxuan Qijing

玄玄棋经 (xun xun q jīng), alias 玄玄集 (xun xun j), author 严德甫, 晏天章 helped the author, published in 1349.

The book includes articles, josekis, games and tsumegos.

The tsumego part has been translated into English under the title Gateway to All Marvels by John Fairbairn and The Profound and Mysterious by Cho Hye-yeon.

Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D. - 1644 A.D.)

Lanke jing

爛柯経(lan4ke1jing1) [ext]

Xianji Wuku

仙机武库 (xian1 ji1 wu3 ku4), compiled by 陆玄宇 (lu4 xuan2 yu3) and his son, published in 1629, Ming dynasty. Lately reedited by 过百龄.

It is in eight volumes, including famous games at that time and in earlier dynasties, handicap games, josekis, and around 500 tsumegos.

Translated to English under the title The Celestial Arsenal by Ruoshi Sun.

Shishi Xianji

石室仙机 (shi2 shi3 xian1 ji1), written by 许仲冶 (xu3 zhong4 ye3), published in late-Ming Dynasty.

In the book the writer gave an explanation of the Nine Levels, people still quoting the explanation. The book recorded games as well.

Wanhui Xianji

万汇仙机 (wan4 hui4 xian1 ji1), the full name is 潞藩辑纂万汇仙机棋谱, the author was 朱常淓 (pronunciation: zhu1 chang2 fang1, 1607-1646), published in 1634, in ten volumes.

It recorded some games at that time and in earlier dynasties, popular Josekis and variations, handicap games, and 490 tsumegos.

Sanzi Pu

三子谱 (san1 zi3 pu3, literally: three-stone games), the full name is 受三子遗谱, written by 过百龄, published posthumously in 1725.

Every situation is three stones handicap game, this book focus on josekis and joseki variations, it recorded 204 variations in four joseki categorys, and five three stones handicap game.

Translated to English under the title Three-Stone Games by Ruoshi Sun.

Sizi Pu

四子谱 (si4 zi3 pu3, literally: four-stone games), written by 过百龄, published in early-Qing in two volumes.

Every situation is four stones handicap game, this book focus on josekis and joseki variations, five joseki categories and 439 variations in total.

Translated to English under the title Four-Stone Games by Ruoshi Sun.

Qing Dynasty (1636 A.D. - 1912 A.D.)

Yifu Yangqiu

弈府阳秋 (yi4 fu3 yang2 qiu1), by 盛大有 (sheng4 da4 you3, 1600 - ?).

Commented games played by famous players at that time.


不古编 (bu4 gu3 bian1), compiled by 吴瑞徵 (wu2 rui4 zheng1), published in 1682.

The compiler traveled to [ext] Fu Zhou between 1676 and 1677, in Fu Zhou he and his friends sellected 66 games from recent famous players, and commented the games.

Guanzi Pu

官子谱 (guan1 zi3 pu3), compiled by Guo Bailing and reedited by Tao Shiyu, published in 1689.

The book contains thousands of life-and-death and endgame problems.

Translated into English under the title The Art of Closing by Cho Hye-yeon.


弈括 (yi4 kuo4), written by 黄龙士, published 1710.

This book is made up of two parts. The first part has thirty composed games by himself, all games are from opening to middle game. The second part has 361 tsumegos.

Huang Longshi Quantu

黄龙士全图 (huang2 long2 shi4 quan2 tu2, literally: games of Huang Longshi), by 黄龙士.

He comprehensively discussed strategy and tactics in the preface, this book recorded twenty games.

Jianshantang Yipu

兼山堂弈谱 (jian1 shan1 tang2 yi4 pu3), written by 徐星友 (xu2 xing1 you3, around 1644-?), published 1719.

The writer selected 62 games played by near 20 players of late-Ming and early-Qing, commented the games and summarized sytles of the players. He wrote this book during the second half of his life.

Yili Zhigui

弈理指归 (yi4 li3 gui1 zhi3), written by 施襄夏, published in 1763.

In the book he created a coordinate system based on [ext] Wu Xing and [ext] Ba Gua, and dicussed eight topics such as Two-space extension, 4-4 point, double low approach.

The first edition only has text, he used the coordinate system instead of diagrams. Laterly 钱长泽 (the writer of 残局类选) reedited it and added diagrams, the new edition named 弈理指归图 (yi4 li3 gui1 zhi3 tu2), in three volumes.

Yili Zhigui Xubian

弈理指归续编 (yi4 li3 gui1 zhi3 xu4 bian, literally: 弈理指归II), by 施襄夏, published 1778.

This book has three essays:

  • 凡遇要法总诀 (fan2 yu4 yao4 fa3 zong3 jue2), this one has many proverbs.
  • 四子总旨 (si4 zi4 zong3 zhi3)
  • 攻角总旨 (gong1 jiao3 zong3 zhi3)

And 12 topics in 257 variations, 6 composed games by himself.

Translated into English under the title Go Fundamentals by Ruoshi Sun.

Taohua Quan Yipu

桃花泉弈谱 (tao2 hua1 quan2 yi4 pu3, literally: games of peach flowers fountain), by 范西屏, published 1764, two volumes.

Twenty topics, such as attacking, invading and sealing of common shapes, in 458 variations with detailed commentaries.

Translated to English under the title Go Book of Peach Blossom Spring by Ruoshi Sun.

Yi Miao

弈妙 (Games of Wonder), compiled by Wu Jun (吳峻) and Wu Jiong (吳駉), published in 1764.

Translated to English under the title Games of Wonder by Ruoshi Sun.

Canju Leixuan

残局类选 (can2 ju2 lei4 xuan3), written by 钱长泽(qian2 chang2 ze2), published in 1770, Qing dynasty, in two volumes. 徐星友, 程兰如 and 范西屏 had helped the writer on this book.

The book bases on a thirty paragraphs poetry named 三十字母(san1 shi2 zi4 mu3, literally: thirty letters) that covers many tactics, the writer attached 679 diagrams to explain the ideas in the poetry.

Yi Cheng

弈程 (yi4 cheng2), compiled by 张雅博(zhang1 ya3 bo2), published in 1799.

This book is made up of three parts. The first part contains 36 games with little commentary. The second part is a short chapter on the author's understandings of go. The third part, which is the most valuable, contains 18 games commented by Shi Ding'an (施襄夏).

Translated into English under the title Path to Go by Ruoshi Sun.

Hai Chang Er Miao Ji

海昌二妙集 (hai3 chang1 er4 miao4 ji2, literally: collection of the two wonders from Haichang), compiled by 蒯光典(kuai3 guang1 dian3), published by 黄仲弢(huang2 zhong4 tao1)in 1897, three volumes.

The book is a compilation of 404 games played by 范西屏 and 施襄夏 both against each other and more than 30 other players. 范 and 施 were born in Haining of Zhejiang Province. Haining was called Haichang in ancient times (called Haining in 范 and 施's time), hence the name of the book.

The first volume contains the famous 当湖十局 (10 Games of DangHu). The same volume also contains bio's of both players, which provides valuable material on two of the best players of Qing dynasty for later researchers.

(To be edited)

Ji Qing Xia Guan Yi Xuan


Weiqi Jin Pu


Juyi Tang Weiqi Pu


Yi Yu Tong Hui


Huisheng Yuan Yipu


Jiashu Lou Shoutan


Pan Jing Zhai Yipu Yue Xuan


Wan You Yi Cui


Can Ju Zhai Qi Ping


Wan Xiang Ting Yipu


Zhou Lanyu Xiansheng Weiqi Pu


Ting Qiu Xuan Yipu


Qingchao Yi Hui


See also

Chinese ancient books last edited by hnishy on October 6, 2022 - 01:58
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