The Dunhuang Classic (碁(棋)经) is believed to be the earliest surviving go manual.
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The text was written on a scroll found in the Mogao caves near Dunhuang, a Chinese city on the Silk Road in Turkestan. The scroll is 15.5 cm × 240 cm and has been estimated to have been written c. 550 AD.
The text is being conserved, sponsored by Zenmachine, at the British library in London as part of the International Dunhuang Project. That project provides an online copy of the Dunhuang Classic, including a translation of the first chapter.
The first chapter ends with:
- Although, this essay is meager and clumsy, it can reflect the patterns of things. Those who play accordingly will stay alive without loss.
The second chapter deals with ladders.
-  The date of 550 AD is given by Andrew Lo and Tzi-Cheng Wang, Spider Threads Roaming the Empyrean: The Game of Weiqi, in Colin Mackenzie and Irving Finkel, eds., Asian Games: The Art of Contest (USA, Asia Society, 2004), p. 192.
- Archived 2012-12-22 at https://web.archive.org/web/20120122205259/http://jerome.hubert1.perso.sfr.fr/Go/Histoire/Chine/spiders.htm; original page http://sites.asiasociety.org/arts/asiangames/war04.html not found on site as of 2019-10-21
-  http://idp.bl.uk/database/oo_cat.a4d?shortref=Foster_2009&catno=1 (at the at the International Dunhuang Project) says that in the 1960s, Cheng Enyuan provided a modern simplified Chinese transcription and opined that the characters and language used suggested the manuscript was written in the sixth century A.D. in the state of Northern Zhou.
-  Giles, L, Descriptive Catalogue of the Chinese Manuscripts from Tunhuang in the British Museum. London: British Museum, 1957.
-  http://idp.bl.uk/database/oo_loader.a4d?pm=Or.8210/S.5574 — Online description, images and translation at the International Dunhuang Project
-  https://web.archive.org/web/20120315014019/http://go.yenching.edu.hk/dh_txt1.htm — Modern simplified Chinese transcription by Cheng Enyuan.
-  Translation of  by Robert W Foster with support from John Fairbairn
-  Note 13 to the translation of the full text (of the first chapter).
-  https://www.usgo.org/sites/default/files/bh_library/historyofgorules.pdf — The History of Go Rules by Chen Zuyan? (2011, 13 page PDF). References the Dunhuang Classic (see this article), Wang You Qing Le Ji (Carefree and Innocent Pastime Collection, c. 1100), Xuanxuan Qi Jing ([Go Classic Offering the] Gateway to All Marvels, 1349)
-  In The History of Go Rules, Chen Zuyan gives the date as 557-581, this being the period when the Northern Zhou dynasty ruled northern China.