Go Dreams


Is your obsession with Go limited to your waking life, or does it transcend normal consciousness? If so, this is the page for you to describe those encounters in the Go dreamspace.

When you play a game every day you will start to have dreams about Go. When you play 3 games a day, you will stop having dreams about Go.

hello. i will set the ball rolling with the following story: I found myself to be chief administrator of Limbo, in fact it was my job to decide whether people went to heaven or hell. The previous occupant of my position had used the criteria of 'physical attractiveness.' I chose to determine people's fates by their knowledge of Go. Strong players obviously went to heaven, then i widened my approach: i simply sat in front of an empty board and waited for a person's reaction. Whether someone placed a stone, or threw the board against the wall in anger, it was fine - i was just looking for some genuine interaction. Anyone who tried to talk their way around, or pretend some knowledge, went 'down'. Eventually i, in turn, was replaced. Unfortunately i discovered the doors of heaven closed to me, so i waited in a more subterranean line. There i had time to reflect upon the nature of the people with whom i would be sharing eternity. So ask yourself the question - which is a worse vision of hell - a place where no-one is interested in Go, or one where everybody is unattractive?

Jan: I had a Go dream quite recently. I don't recall my dreams all that well, but here's what I remember. In my dream, I was playing in a lightning Go tournament: 15 minutes per player, on a 19x19 board. However the players I had to play against didn't know the game, so the tournament director ordered me to explain the rules in the time allotted for the game. To make matters worse, we weren't playing with normal stones on a normal goban, but on a cardboard goban with those black and white pins you use in Mastermind turned upside down. Needless to say they fell over all the time. In the end, I got very frustrated and started kicking up a ruckus - and from then on I can't remember...

I'm probably a bit nervous about tomorrow's Go tournament :-)

Alex Weldon: I guess I'm a purist when it comes to Go dreams. I dream about Go often, but there's never any story to it, like a tournament or anything. All I see is a board, and moves being played on it.

Jenny Radcliffe: I don't get Go dreams as such, but when falling asleep I get life-and-death scenarios playing out just on the edge of my consciousness - so that I can't actually concentrate on them and work them out, just see them faintly. Very irritating.

Charles You have to narrow your eyes. It makes a change from narrowing your opponent's.

Hyppy: I see go stones occasionally during the waking hours. I'll slip off into a momentary daydream, and then suddenly, ceiling popcorn, or paint chips on the wall, or whatever is convenient, suddenly takes on shapes of life and death problems and fuseki exercises. I've even begun to see shapes within paragraphs of text that I type. . . . I am Jack's daytime hallucinations

Dieter: I had a dream ... once, but I try not to think about it anymore.

Bill: I have a dream:

That one day
All the little Black stones
And all the little White stones
Will play together
In harmony.

(With apologies to Martin Luther King. But, hey, that go dream has already come true, hasn't it? :-))

frs: I play turn-based Go on DGS, which enables me to submit moves deep in the night. In a game I struggled very hard to recover from a daring, but failed invasion. Wondering about the time I had submitted my moves, my opponent finally asked: Do you ever sleep? I replied: I have dreamed of good moves ...

connector Often when i've been studying go for a long period of time then abruptly move on to something else I will still be thinking in terms of go.. for instance, if I watch a court tv show and the defendant has just been caught lying I might think 'oh! atari!'... sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me feel a little bit crazy. :)

klay: After playing go long into the night, I've definitely woke up to my alarm clock beeping and my brain actively denying it: "it can't be beeping, then i cut and this is atari and it will lose." I then have a fuzzy-picture of a go-shape in my mind for a minute until I really wake up. The real scary part is that it has happened more than once.

connector That's exactly the kind of thing I mean. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one.

JohnAspinall: Driving to work on a busy highway, I'll have thoughts like: "I'd better change lanes, or that truck could put me in atari". Like klay's experience it's happened several times, and it's strongly correlated with having played Go late the previous night so (a) I'm not at peak consciousness yet, and (b) my most recent intense mental activity was Go. It doesn't happen driving home.

Coyotebd? I've stopped studying Go as hard as I used to. Anyway. when I was studying hard I would see Go shapes in the way people stood around in groups. I would also see boards in my head while daydreaming, and also while I slept. It was a fun and exciting time, but like all things I only have interest for brief spurts, then I'm on to other stuff. Go is a part of my regular rotation - painting miniatures, writing, drawing, wargaming, go. Round and Round. Gain interest in one, lose interest in another, but always returning.

Fork: I had a Go dream a few weeks ago, where the same sequence of moves kept playing out in my head, and I couldn't change it. For some reason I felt very scared.

zefciu:We were lying on the grass in Cracow, waiting for the meeting with Pope, and were very very tired after few hours in bus. One of the last things i remember before i fell asleep was an illumination. I realized, that we are forming a simple hoshi-joseki lying there. My legs and butt were forming keima, and a girl sleeping on my knees was blocking the corner with kosumi.

Halfling: I have dreamt regularly of some go players I play with on the Internet but never met in person... Another go dream once involved my stones being attacked one move at a time as an armed robber confronted us at my front door. I've also dreamt of playing an online friend (whose picture I never saw) on a live board, but the board was so vast you could not see the opponent at the other end.

Malweth: Well... I haven't been playing go long enough to get go dreams as such, but in HS I played a ton of minesweeper (which, due to its shape based nature, seems remotely similar to go) and played it in my sleep a number of times. It's only a matter of time before I start playing games of Go in my dreams. They'll probably be exactly that - simply playing a game of go against an unknown opponent, seeing just the board (heck, I'll prboably be playing both sides).

Syckls: What I do is spontaneously generate go positions in my sleep, but before I actually start dreaming. The weirdest thing is that these are positions I've never seen before, but they just show up. They generally appear as a life and death problem, and then I solve them and it goes away.

gimpf: I don't dream about go, fortunatly, but sometime ago when I tried this force feeding of a few hundred problems, I was steadily seeing go problems, like displayed by an HUD, wherever I was looking or whatever I tried to concentrate on.

Unicyclist: A while ago I had a food-related Go dream. I was White and Black started out by placing a large ladel-full of black-bean stew in the middle of the board, as his handicap (NZ rules allow such free placement :-). I sighed, thinking "how am I going to win against that" and placed a small grain of cooked white rice near one of the corners. Then my opponent took his ladle and scooped out the center of the pile of black-bean stew, leaving a hole in it. I thought "Oh no, now he's got an eye" and felt even more despondent.

BlueWyvern: A while ago I dreamt of a game I had just played and had gotten into a hairy situation, and I am positive I found the right solution in my dream but couldn't remember it when I woke up.

DrStraw: One night, about 25 years ago, I played a game in my dreams. The following morning I got up and played it entirely on the board. It seems like it was an original game as it was not one that looked familiar to me. Don't remember anything about it now. I was about 2 dan at the time.

BP:I only play go for about a week, and in school I start seeing Go shapes, for example when two of my friends were adjacent in the corner, and one table block another side of them, then I thought to myself that I should block their last liberty, but I realised that they are not on the same side, so if I enter the play then it would have three different armies and how could that be?

Cole: The bathroom where I work has an odd tile floor and I will often see random Go shapes. On the bus for debate tournaments is interesting though. I once fell asleep and woke up frightened because I only had one liberty. The seats of the bus were the other stones and I was in the window seat. Someone only had to sit beside me and I would be dead, but then I woke up. Most of these seem to be from lack of sleep, but I hadn't played Go for several days.

Joke: I had a very distinct and long dream about go. I was a witch`s apprentice and I had to get secretly in a castle. There I had to find Go. He had the shape of a man, but he was really the soul of the game. I had to give a few Euro coins to him. But as I knew my magic teacher hated games, I planned to warn Go against her. I seached a long while in vain, then I realized Go would surely be not on a higher floor because he doesn't follow stairs. (being Dutch-speaking, I dreamt 'trap' instead of 'stairs', and that's also the Dutch name for a ladder). I got downstairs and there Go took hold of me and said something like: 'oh, but I know you, you're one of my players' I was very glad he called me a go player!

naruto3: I had a very interresting and depressing go dream recently. It was insane because i was one of the groups standing there and i was about to get captured when this ghost told the player playing my color to extend my group. My group ended up living in the corner because of eyes but it was horrible, I was stuck in the corner i could not move i could not do a thing but stand in the corner for all eternity the group I was could not extend. HORRIBLE

DavidSJ: Myself, I've had Go dreams, I know. But I can't really remember them very well. Certainly I can't remember the specifics of any "technical" Go dreams, where the focus is on the actual moves made. I had one dream where a friend of mine became 2 dan, and another where I beat a 4 dan player on the Kiseido Go Server. In yet another dream, I imagined that I, as white, caused a go fight to extend "into the atmosphere", which seemed to be an analogy for "towards the center", to make the fight more difficult for black. And finally, I once had a dream where a decision I made in real life, but later screwed up, was like making a brilliant move in Go, but mis-reading the life or death situation afterwards.

Weird conflagrations between Go concepts and other concepts, like the thing with the alarm clock or the person waking up in atari, do happen to me, when I'm very sleepy, or have just woken up. But generally speaking, when I'm fully awake I don't think about everyday objects in terms of tactical Go concepts unintentionally. Certainly, a lot of high-level, abstract, "strategic"-level concepts will often find relations to Go in my mind, but stuff like the alarm clock feels more "tactical", and that only happens when I'm very sleepy.

Also, similar to a previous contributor, I'll find that during extended periods when I'm spending a lot of time playing or learning about Go, Go problems will spontaneously appear in my head, seemingly out of nowhere, and not, as far as I can tell, based on positions I've ever seen. I'll often find myself unconsciously trying to solve these problems, in the background of whatever else I'm doing, as if a song were stuck in my head but I don't have to really consciously think about it to keep it there.

Crimson : Usually, when I'm tired or when my mind isn't busy with something, I can see tactical positions. I can see variations of that position, and I usually wonder whether W can escape through the wall, or can the B group avoid being captured. Hmm...I think I actually use each of these colours for the state mentioned in a consistent manner, always black to save a group, white to run away.

SSFSX17 : I'm dreaming about stuff like:


I've also been dreaming about trying to cut the knight's move.

BramGo: Normally when I dream I always dream about being followed by a murderer while running through a huge library with thousands of stairs or talking to somebody who takes off his coat and turns out to be a wolve.

But about a year ago I had a totally different dream. I was entering a big garden or marketplace with a path through it and on both sides there were all kind of gods or half-gods. They were all doing their own stuff like dancing and showing off their tricks. And at the end of the path there were very special ones. Like a huge brain in an aquarium. To get to the point, in that dream I played go with a blue creature that had several arms :). I do not know if I won or lost though. But it was a pretty happy dream to my standards.

Jared: I used to have dreams where I'd play out tactical situations. I don't have go dreams anymore. I wish I did. I miss them. I think, when you play a game every day you will start to have dreams about Go. When you play 3 games a day, you will stop having Go dreams. I don't even get those Go daydreams anymore ...

AkitoKun?: so i have a dream about a beautiful girl giving me a beautiful go set, and i was very happy with it until i woke up(to my life with no goban)..... do anyone want to interpret my dream ^^?

koreangrl8: Do all go players have dreams or see the Go board in their head?you know the 19x19 grid??lines and dots..It's soo annoying to get the image out..LOL.


Imagist: When I was about 23k, I had a dream about this position (playing as black). The next day the exact position came up in a game, and I played a without even thinking (despite the fact that I had difficulty reading such things at that time).

It's the tripod group!

cliftutI have never had a go dream, but I have played out situations in my mind while fully awake. It was strange, because I would just start visualizing situations in my mind and half-subconsciously working them out through reading or plain trial and error. Late at night, also, when I was having a deep conversation with a family member concerning religion, go problems began flowing through my mind. I wasn't zoning out, though. It was actually more like 'zoning in', because even with these problems going through my mind I was still engaged in conversation. I was actually solving go problems while I carried out an active conversation, without missing a single thing in either. This only lasted about two days, though. Every once in a while a problem will almost appear, but as I realize it it dissapears, unfinished.
axd: sometimes have this dream where I realise some kind of connection with my opponent that permits us play together somehow on some board that exists in a space common to us, I cannot describe - it is a strange mix of dream (where the game plays) and reality (which observes the dream, realises that it is a dream); or that I start a game in my dream, and in a later dream I realise that I forgot to continue the previous dream's game. somtimes this later dream emerges much later - days, weeks - and then I feel embarassed because I didn't play. for those who know the term, that game then sometimes feels like a memory leak.
Blake: I had a go dream last night. I was sitting across from an older Asian man (I'm not sure what ethnicity; all I saw was his hand playing the stones), and we played through an entire game and then reviewed. I don't remember the game or much of the commentary, just a couple of lines. At one point he said "your jump here was excellent, the trade is favorable for you."
Korlon: I used to have a couple Go dreams a few months ago when I first started playing since I was basically hooked on playing games. Generally they appear because I was thinking about Go when I laid in bed. The dreams will simply be moves being played out on a board, nothing fancy like a story being attached to it. When I'm awake, though, I used to have tons of Go daydreams right in the middle of classes. For some reason, it actually helped me concentrate on the subject matters I was learning. Then when it was time to take a quiz or test, I would begin having Go sequences played out in my head. A context dependence theory later and I begin to do quite well on these tests, more than I used to do. For some reason I only had those daydreams at school, not when I'm at home. Probably because I would be actually playing a game then.

Video game enthusiasts (like myself) recognize the Tetris dream ([ext] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris_effect): particularly when learning the rules and mechanics of a new video game, often one will have dreams about seeing the game. One's thoughts wandering back to the game while drifting off to sleep also happens. After a few days or so of playing the video game, the Tetris dreams eventually cease.

It is thought to be connected with the intense visual stimulation of video games, and also with the formation of memories while you sleep. Surely such a thing is possible after an intense Go studying session. (I have not studied Go hard enough for this to happen to me. I believe that it would be harder to achieve with Go, due to the more serene pace of the board game, as compared to a video game.)

Go Dreams last edited by on January 13, 2024 - 01:13
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