Chinese classical opening

    Keywords: Opening, Culture & History
Set opening  

Through the centuries, and until the 1930s anyway, even games in China started with this type of formation of 4-4 points, as the prescribed starting position.

This is in fact a very dynamic beginning point of the game. The properties of the 4-4 point will make it hard for either player to pursue successfully a purely territorial plan: between able players fighting is guaranteed.

The classical Chinese games also tend to use specific joseki patterns - see Chinese classical joseki.

There is no particular reason why this opening shouldn't appear in contemporary games, after Black plays cross hoshi. The fact is that W4 is then more often played at a 3-3 point or 3-4 point. Perhaps it is currently felt by pros that White should do something of that kind, even allowing for komi, to counter Black's pace.

Compared with normal komi go, it appears (to me) that black has a more significant advantage here since he can play tengen and have the best sanrensei. ~srn347

-- Charles Matthews

Dave But I think the reason that it does not appear is that Black does not willingly play cross hoshi against a white star point. This seems to be avoided (judged inadequate?) by Black at the professional level.

Charles I suppose it's always possible: that B3 to get here is thought not-so-good, on the grounds that W4 at, say, the 3-3 point is too-good-to-allow. That seems oddly narrow to be a fixed pro judgement. The business of diagonal openings seems to be to do with wanting to fight, rather than get into framework contests. There hardly seem to be enough examples, to come to any conclusions.

Dave Yes, I have never seen a comment on this but the huge preponderance of alternative plays for B3 seems to indicate some shared assessment (bias?) among pros.

Rubyflame After black 1, white can play in the opposite corner to force a parallel fuseki. After white 2, black can force a parallel fuseki. Since either player can force a parallel fuseki, diagonal fuseki only happens if both players want it.

Thus you can simply decide to never play diagonal fuseki, and then you don't have to study it. I think that may be why it doesn't show up much.

Robert Pauli: According to Michael Koulen?'s Go -- Die Mitte des Himmels (Go -- Center of Heaven), this setup is the Chinese zuozi rule. Japan first carried it on, but abolished it in the 14th or 15th century. Go World 71 features four complete Chinese games played like this. Noteable: two of them start with white.

John F. You're giving a wrong impression, Robert. It's normal to start with White in the Chinese set-up. And the games are not rare. We have hundreds on the GoGoD CD. Also, the notion that Japan used this system is accepted only if you accept that the sole plausible example, the Nichiren game, is not a forgery. Go Seigen says it is a forgery. There is no record of any abolition, so you can't date it, even if it existed. There are also reasons to think China may also have used five zuozi (see the Ma Rong poem).

Robert Pauli: Sorry, I only quoted Koulen (including "abolished"). Thanks for your correction! About the starting color: the other two games started with black, so what's normal?

Robert Pauli: Here's another "abolished" (translated it from German):

Go -- The most fascinating game in the world
Part 1 -- Introduction
Published by Nihon Kiin
7-2, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Copyright 1973
Translator Manfred Wimmer

It is commonly believed that Go was introduced to Japan before the Tang dynasty's period of government (more than 1300 years ago), probably via Korea.

In following centuries the Chinese form of Go was remarkably modified and further developed by the Japanese. According to the old Chinese system a game only started after both players placed some stones in prescribed way onto the board.
[. . . ]

Meanwhile many centuries have passed since this old system of prescribed stone placement has been abolished in Japan. This reform, which was necessary to enable all players to enjoy Go as a pure game, is to be ascribed the unique Japanese way of thinking.

. . . whatever that is. :--)

Niklaus: There's also lots of old (Qing dynasty) Chinese games on gobase. See for example [ext] here and [ext] here (the games of Huang Longshi; you might find the placement of stones in 3 stone games interesting as well)

Robert Pauli: Thanks, Niklaus. Handicap three on the diagonal, yes, why not (better for White :--).

Chinese classical opening last edited by on December 6, 2009 - 08:30
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