Classic of Go


This work is in the public domain worldwide because the author passed away over 100 years ago and was published before January 1, 1928. [ext] Source 1 [ext] Source 2

also known as "Thirteen Articles of the Go Classic," was written during the reign of Emperor Renzong of the Northern Song Dynasty, in the Huangyou era.1010-1063 It consists of thirteen chapters.

论局 Reasoning about the situation

夫萬物之數,從一而起。局之路,三百六十有一。一者,生數之主,據其極而運四方也。三百六十,以象周天之數。分而為四,以象四時。隅各九十路,以象其日。外周七二路,以象其候。枯棋三百六十,白黑相半,以法陰陽。局之線道,謂之枰。線道之間,謂之罫。局方而靜,棋圓而動。自古及今,弈者無同局。《傳》曰﹕「日日新。」故宜用意深而存慮精,以求其勝負之由,則至其所未至矣。 The number of all things starts from one. The path of a game is three hundred and sixty-one. The first represents the master of numbers, controlling the four directions. Three hundred and sixty represents the number of the universe. Divided into four, representing the four seasons. Each corner has ninety paths, representing the days. The outer perimeter has seventy-two paths, representing the seasons. The game of Go has three hundred and sixty intersections, with white and black split evenly, following the principles of yin and yang. The lines of the game board are called the "pνng". The spaces between the lines are called the "guΰ". The board is square and motionless, while the stones are round and move. Throughout history, no two games have been the same. The《Chuαn》says, "Every day is new." Therefore, one must think deeply and consider carefully to understand the reasons for winning or losing, and only then can one achieve what has not yet been achieved.

得算 Gains and Calculations

棋者,以正合其勢,以權製其敵。故計定於內而勢成於外。戰未合而算勝者,得算多也。算不勝者,得算少也。戰已合而不知勝負者,無算也。兵法曰﹕「多算勝,少算不勝,而況於無算乎?由此觀之,勝負見矣。」 Go players, align with the situation and exert dominance over their opponents. Therefore, victory is determined by thorough calculations made internally, but its success is manifested externally. Those who can anticipate victory before the battle commences are skilled in strategic calculations. Those who cannot achieve victory through calculations are lacking in strategic insight. Those who are unable to discern victory or defeat after the battle is joined lack any calculations at all. The art of warfare states, "Abundant calculations lead to victory, insufficient calculations do not lead to victory, and what about the absence of calculations? This observation reveals the outcome."

权舆 the power of public opinion

權輿者,弈棋布置,務守綱格。先於四隅分定勢子,然後拆二斜飛,下勢子一等。立二可以拆三,立三可以拆四,與勢子相望可以拆五。近不必比,遠不必乖。此皆古人之論,後學之規,舍此改作,未之或知。詩曰﹕「靡不有初,鮮克有終。」 The player of the Go game, when setting up the board, should adhere to the basic principles. First, determine the situational moves in the four corners, then expand the influence diagonally and establish the initial positions. The second move can be expanded into the third, the third into the fourth, and when opposing positions meet, they can be expanded into the fifth. Close positions need not be compared, distant positions need not be overly contrasting. These are all theories of the ancient players and rules of later studies. If you abandon and alter them, they may not be known. As the poem goes, "Nothing does not have a beginning, but few things have an end."

合战 battle

博弈之道,贵乎谨严。高者在腹,下者在边,中者占角,此棋家之常然。法曰:宁输数子,勿失一先。有先而后,有后而先。击左则视右,攻后则瞻前。两生勿断,皆活勿连。阔不可太疏,密不可太促。与其恋子以求生,不若弃子而取势,与其无事而强行,不若因之而自补。彼众我寡,先谋其生。我众彼寡,务张其势。善胜者不争,善阵者不战。善战者不败,善败者不乱。夫棋始以正合,终以奇胜。必也,四顾其地,牢不可破,方可出人不意,掩人不备。凡敌无事而自补者,有侵袭之意也。弃小而不就者,有图大之心也。随手而下者,无谋之人也。不思而应者,取败之道也。诗云:“惴惴小心,如临于谷。” The way of Go is precious in its rigor. The high place is in the center, the low place is at the edges, and the middle place occupies the corners, this is the usual way for Go players. The rule says: it is better to sacrifice a few pieces than to lose the initiative. There is precedence and there is following, there is following and there is precedence. Strike the left and look to the right, attack the rear and be mindful of the front. Do not sever both lives, and ensure both lives are alive. Do not make the board too spacious, nor too cramped. Instead of clinging to pieces to seek survival, it is better to abandon pieces and seize the advantage. Instead of forcefully making a move when there is no need, it is better to adapt to the situation and make adjustments. When the opponent has more pieces than I do, I should prioritize their survival. When I have more pieces than the opponent, I should focus on expanding my influence. A skillful victor does not contend, a skillful tactician does not battle. A skillful warrior does not suffer defeat, a skillful loser does not lose composure. In Go, it begins with a normal alignment, and ends with a surprising victory. Verily, by carefully evaluating the situation, establishing an unbreakable position, one can catch others off guard and seize opportunities. Those who seek to strengthen themselves without provocation have intentions of invasion. Those who discard small gains without pursuit have ambitions for greater gains. Those who play without thought are men without strategy. Those who respond without thinking fall into the path of defeat. As the poem says, "Nervously cautious, as if facing a deep valley."

虚实 actual and virtual

夫弈棋,绪多则势分,势分则难救。投棋勿逼,逼则使彼实而我虚。虚则易攻,实则难破。临时变通,宜勿执一。《传》曰:“见可而进,知难而退。” In the game of Go, when there are many possibilities, the situation becomes divided, and when it is divided, it becomes difficult to save. In playing, do not force the opponent, as doing so would make them strong and leave us vulnerable. Vulnerability makes us easy to attack, while strength makes it difficult to defeat. In facing unexpected situations, it is wise not to stick to a single plan. As the saying goes in the classics, "Advance when opportunities arise, retreat when difficulties appear."

自知 Self-awareness

夫智者见于未萌,愚者暗于成事。故知己之害而图彼之利者,胜。知可以战不可以战者,胜。识众寡之用者,胜。以虞待不虞者,胜。以逸待劳者,胜。不战而屈人之棋者,胜。《老子》曰:“自知者明。” The wise foresee things before they arise, while the foolish remain ignorant until it is too late.Therefore, those who understand their own weaknesses and exploit the advantages of others are victorious. Those who know when to fight and when not to fight are victorious. Understanding the use of numbers and strength leads to victory. Waiting for unexpected opportunities leads to victory. Waiting for the opponent to exhaust themselves leads to victory. Defeating the opponent without engaging in battle leads to victory. As Laozi said: "Those who know themselves are enlightened."

审局 Analysis of the Situation

夫弈棋布势,务相接连。自始至终,著著求先。临局离争,雌雄未决,毫厘不可以差焉。局势已赢,专精求生。局势已弱,锐意侵绰。沿边而走,虽得其生者,败。弱而不伏者,愈屈。躁而求胜者,多败。两势相违,先蹙其外。势孤援寡,则勿走。机危阵溃,则勿下。是故棋有不走之走,不下之下。误人者多方,成功者一路而已。能审局者多胜。《易》曰:“穷则变,变则通,通则久。” In Go, one must constantly plan and strategize, seeking to take the initiative from the beginning to the end. In the critical moments of the game, victory or defeat hangs in the balance, and even the slightest difference can make a significant impact. When in a winning position, one should focus on preserving the advantage. When in a weaker position, one should be determined to seize opportunities and turn the situation around. Walking along the edges might provide temporary survival, but it ultimately leads to defeat. Those who refuse to surrender despite being weak are more likely to be oppressed. Those who act impatiently and only seek victory often face more losses. When two forces contradict each other, it is important to first crush the opponent's outer position. If the situation is desperate and one's forces are outnumbered, it is best not to retreat. If one's position is precarious and the formation is about to collapse, it is best not to make further moves. In the game of Go, sometimes the best move is not to move, and sometimes the best move is not to play. There are many ways to deceive others, but true success often comes from a consistent path. Those who can accurately judge the situation are more likely to achieve victory. As the Book of Changes says, "When one reaches a dead end, they must change, and through change, they can progress and endure in the long run."

度情 understand and appreciate your feelings

人生而静,其情难见;感物而动,然后可辨。推之于棋,胜败可得而先验。持重而廉者多得,轻易而贪者多丧。不争而自保者多胜,务杀而不顾者多败。因败而思者,其势进;战胜而骄者,其势退。求己弊不求人之弊者,益;攻其敌而不知敌之攻己者,损。目凝一局者,其思周;心役他事者,其虑散。行远而正者吉,机浅而诈者凶。能畏敌者强,谓人莫己若者亡。意旁通者高,心执一者卑。语默有常,使敌难量。动静无度,招人所恶。《诗》云:“他人之心,予时度之。” Human beings are born in tranquility, where their emotions are difficult to perceive. It is only through interaction with the external world that their emotions become discernible. Applying this principle to the game of Go, one can anticipate victory or defeat in advance. Those who are cautious and incorruptible often achieve success, while those who are reckless and greedy often meet their downfall. The one who seeks self-preservation without engaging in unnecessary conflicts tends to prevail, whereas the one who relentlessly pursues annihilation without considering their own vulnerabilities tends to fail. Those who reflect upon their failures can advance their position, whereas those who become arrogant after victory will see their fortunes decline. Seeking to rectify one's own weaknesses rather than focusing on the weaknesses of others brings improvement while attacking the enemy without understanding how the enemy may counterattack leads to losses. Those who concentrate their gaze on a single Goboard have comprehensive thoughts, while those whose minds are preoccupied with other matters have scattered deliberations. A person who travels far and remains righteous will be blessed, whereas one who schemes with shallow intentions will face misfortune. Strength lies in fearing the enemy, not in proclaiming oneself superior to others. Height is attained through broad-mindedness, while lowliness stems from narrow-mindedness. Consistent speech and silence make it difficult for the enemy to gauge one's intentions. Excessive agitation or passivity attracts the disdain of others. As the Book of Songs says, "To understand the hearts and minds of others, I must constantly assess and measure them."

斜正 oblique and upright

或曰:“棋以变诈为务,劫杀为名,岂非诡道耶?”予曰:“不然。”《易》云:“师出以律,否藏凶。”兵本不尚诈,谋言诡行者,乃战国纵横之说。棋虽小道,实与兵合。故棋之品甚繁,而弈之者不一。得品之下者,举无思虑,动则变诈。或用手以影其势,或发言以泄其机。得品之上者,则异于是。皆沉思而远虑,因形而用权。神游局内,意在子先。图胜于无朕,灭行于未然。岂假言辞喋喋,手势翩翩者哉?《传》曰:“正而不谲。”其是之谓欤? Someone may argue, "Isn't Go all about deception and killing, a realm of cunning strategies?" I would say, "Not necessarily." The Book of Changes (Yi Jing) states, "When the general sets out, he abides by the rules; when he retreats, he conceals his intentions." Deception is not the essence of warfare; the emphasis on cunning and deceit is a concept that emerged during the Warring States period. Although Go is a small domain, it shares similarities with warfare. Therefore, the aspects of Go are diverse, and the players' approaches vary. Those who possess lower skills act without much thought, resorting to deception with every move. They may use their hands to obscure their intentions or speak to reveal their strategies. On the other hand, those who possess higher skills differ. They engage in deep contemplation and long-term planning, utilizing strategies based on the board's configuration. Their minds immerse themselves in the game, focusing on making the best moves. They plan for victory before it becomes apparent and eliminate potential threats before they materialize. Are they reliant on verbose words and flashy gestures? The Analects states, "To be upright without being crafty." Is this not what it means?

洞微 penetratingly subtle

凡棋有益之而损者,有损之而益者。有侵而利者,有侵而害者。有宜左投者,有宜右投者。有先著者,有后著者。有紧避者,有慢行者。粘子勿前,弃子思后。有始近而终远者,有始少而终多者。欲强外先攻内,欲实东先击西。路虚而无眼,则先觑。无害于他棋,则做劫。饶路则宜疏,受路则勿战。择地而侵,无碍而进。此皆棋家之幽微也,不可不知也。《易》曰:“非天下之至精,其孰能与于此。” In Go, there are moves that bring benefits but also entail losses, and there are moves that bring losses but also yield benefits. Sometimes aggression can lead to gains, while at other times it can result in harm. There are situations where it is appropriate to attack from the left, and there are situations where attacking from the right is more suitable. There are those who should move first, and there are those who should move later. Some players prefer to make quick evasive moves, while others opt for slower progression. It is unwise to blindly pursue capturing opponent's pieces without considering the consequences, and one should think ahead before sacrificing one's own pieces. There are instances where it is better to start by approaching and then distancing oneself from the opponent, and there are instances where starting with fewer pieces can lead to greater gains in the end. If a path is empty and without obstacles, it should be observed before making a move. If a move does not pose a threat to the opponent's pieces, one can create a ko situation. If a path is spacious, it should be sparsely occupied, and if a path is restricted, there is no need to engage in conflict. Choosing the right position to invade and advancing without hindrance are all subtle strategies of Go players that one must know. As the Book of Changes says, "Among all the most outstanding in the world, who can compare with this?"

名数 naming of each move

夫弈棋者,凡下一子,皆有定名。棋之形势、死生、存亡,因名而可见。有冲,有斡,有绰,有约,有飞,有关,有札,有粘,有顶,有尖,有觑,有门,有打,有断,有行,有捺,有立,有点,有聚,有跷,有夹,有拶,有避,有刺,有勒,有扑,有徵,有劫,有持,有杀,有松,有盘。围棋之名,三十有二,围棋之人,意在可周。临局变化,远近纵横,吾不得而知也。用幸取胜,难逃此名。《传》曰:“必也,正名乎棋!” In the game of Go, every move has a designated name. The situation, life or death, and survival or demise of the Go pieces can be understood through these names. There are moves that involve charging, circling, extending, contracting, flying, connecting, blocking, sticking, topping, stabbing, observing, entering, striking, cutting, advancing, pressing down, standing, marking, gathering, extending, trapping, avoiding, piercing, restraining, pouncing, capturing, holding, killing, loosening, and surrounding. There are a total of thirty-two names in the game of Go, and the intention of Go players is to encompass everything within their reach. As for the changes that occur during the course of the game and the vastness of the board, I cannot fully comprehend them. Relying on luck for victory is difficult to escape from this reputation. As the classics say, "Indeed, it is crucial to give proper names to the moves in Go!"

品格 characteristics

夫围棋之品有九。一曰入神,二曰坐照,三曰具体,四曰通幽,五曰用智,六曰小巧,七曰斗力,八曰若愚,九曰守拙。九品之外不可胜计,未能入格,今不复云。《传》曰:“生而知之者,上也;学而知之者,次也;困而学之又其次也。” In the game of Go, there are nine qualities. The first is "entering a state of concentration," the second is "sitting with clarity," the third is "being concrete and specific," the fourth is "penetrating the profound," the fifth is "applying wisdom," the sixth is "being subtle and skillful," the seventh is "engaging in a contest of strength," the eighth is "seeming foolish," and the ninth is "maintaining simplicity." Beyond these nine qualities, there are countless variations that cannot be fully enumerated. Those who have not attained mastery cannot comprehend them, so I will not elaborate further. As the classics say, "Those who are born with knowledge are superior; those who learn and acquire knowledge come next; those who learn in times of hardship come after."

杂说 And so on

夫棋边不如角,角不如腹。约轻于捺,捺轻于避。夹有虚实,打有情伪。逢绰多约,遇拶多粘。大眼可赢小眼,斜行不如正行。两关对直则先觑,前途有碍则勿徵。施行未成,不可先动。角盘曲四,局终乃亡。直四扳六,皆是活棋,花聚透点,多无生路。十字不可先纽,势子在心,勿打角图。弈不欲数,数则怠,怠则不精。弈不欲疏,疏则忘,忘则多失。胜不言,败不语。振廉让之风者,君子也;起忿怒之色者,小人也。高者无亢,卑者无怯。气和而韵舒者,喜其将胜也。心动而色变者,忧其将败也。赧莫赧于易,耻莫耻于盗。妙莫妙于用松,昏莫昏于复劫。凡棋直行三则改,方聚四则非。胜而路多,名曰赢局;败而无路,名曰输筹。皆筹为溢,停路为芇。打筹不得过三,淘子不限其数。劫有金井、辘轳,有无休之势,有交递之图。弈棋者不可不知也。凡棋有敌手,有半先,有先两,有桃花五,有北斗七。夫棋者有无之相生,远近之相成,强弱之相形,利害之相倾,不可不察也。是以安而不泰,存而不骄。安而泰则危,存而骄则亡。《易》曰:“君子安而不忘危,存而不忘亡。” "Go on the edge is not as good as in the corner, in the corner is not as good as in the center. Tight moves are better than pushing and pressing, pushing and pressing is better than avoiding. There are empty and solid spaces in enclosures, there are real and fake moves in attacks. Many connections require flexibility, many captures require sticking. Larger eyes can win over smaller eyes, diagonal moves are not as good as straight moves. When two stones are facing each other directly, one should observe first; when there are obstacles ahead, one should not advance. Do not make a move before a plan is fully formed. A bent four in the corner leads to defeat. A straight four and a diagonal six are both live shapes, while a flower-shaped group with exposed points often has no way to live. A crosscut should not be resolved immediately; the potential lies within one's mind, do not play hane on the corner. In playing Go, one should not be overly concerned with counting, as it leads to carelessness; one should not be careless, as it leads to forgetfulness and many mistakes. When victorious, do not speak; when defeated, do not complain. Those who show a magnanimous and humble demeanor are gentlemen, while those who display anger and resentment are petty individuals. The high should not be arrogant, and the low should not be timid. A calm and harmonious demeanor indicates joy in an impending victory, while a restless and changing countenance indicates worry about imminent defeat. There is nothing more embarrassing than an easy win, and nothing more shameful than stealing. The most exquisite move is using a bamboo joint, and the most foolish move is a repeated ko. In Go, when a straight line reaches three, it should be changed; when a square is formed with four stones, it is undesirable. Winning with many potential paths is called winning a game; losing without any path is called losing a strategy. Both are strategies overflowing or blocked, and stopping the path is like a thorny thicket. Do not capture more than three stones in a single move, and there is no limit to the number of captures. Ko situations can involve gold mines and wheels, with an unending cycle and alternating patterns. It is essential for Go players to be aware of these. In Go, there are opponents, half-point komi, two-point komi, five-point peach blossom komi, and seven-point Big Dipper komi. In Go, there is a symbiotic relationship between life and death, achievements through proximity, manifestations of strength and weakness, and imbalances of advantages and disadvantages. These must be carefully observed. Therefore, one should remain calm without becoming complacent and maintain survival without becoming arrogant. Complacency in calmness leads to danger, and arrogance in survival leads to downfall. As the Book of Changes says, "A noble person remains calm without forgetting danger, and maintains survival without forgetting demise."

Classic of Go last edited by Zaghyang on October 29, 2023 - 17:27
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