Go Seigen / Discussion

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Go Seigen's Style

What exactly is it? I find it hard to describe - "amorphous" is one word I've seen used. From my weak eyes I can see he is fast paced (always seems to get to the big points first), makes a lot of contact plays and exchanges and he wins most ko fights. But there is something about his fighting style that is distinctively different than say, Kato Masao. His fighting style seems to be more of a light, sharp kind as opposed to the brute-force, aggressive style. His games are easy to admire but often difficult to understand and certainly difficult to emulate.

I'd like to hear what others think of the greatest Go player ever, IMHO :)


He definitely wins most kos fights he starts but I agree, he has a style that's distinctly his own. Would it be correct to say Cho Hun Hyun has a style similar to Go Seigen?

And I agree, he is the greatest player ever!

crux: The only thing I can say about his style is that I completely fail to understand it. I like to browse through games in GoGoD, and fairly often discover things that I find interesting or even insightful; however, Go's games are a complete mystery to me. Does anyone else feel that way?

John F. Hi, Bernd - as a GoGoD user you deserve some help :) I think you'll find two things useful. One is that Go plays contact plays more than most people. This observation is due to Frank Janssen, in a private chat. The other tip is to look at the areas of the board (a) on the edge between the corner and the middle of the side and (b) in the centre of each quadrant. Go likes to dominate or influence (or just take account of) these areas, and this is part of what he means by his six dimensions to the go board. Of course immaculate reading is the most important asset he has, and the story above that he loses any ko fights is a SLUR. Well, there is a better story from Mihori Sho about when he asked Go how come he never lost any ko fights - Mihori thinking he had just made a great discovery. Go simply replied that he counted the ko threats before he started the ko. Mihori admitted he felt an utter fool as soon as he heard that.

Response to John F. - I find it hard to believe Go Seigen never lost a single ko fight, but if there was any pro that could claim this, it would be him. I must say, your use of "SLUR" re: the above seems a bit harsh, and I'm sure the original poster above had no intention of "slurring" Go Seigen.

Malweth: Response to Response to John F. ;) - I believe that the usage of the word "SLUR" was meant as a light-hearted way to describe just how little Go Seigen lost ko threats. From the poster's tone it does not sound like an actual attack on the original statement.

I'm sure Go Seigen has lost a ko fight, but it was so uncommon (and for good reason, as evidenced by Mihori) that it might as well be "never"

John F. Thank you, Malweth. There is sanity on SL, after all. Doesn't anyone else here understand hyperbole? Of course, Go Seigen lost ko fights - he had no control over starting some of them. (Just in case: no, I am not still attacking anybody or anything - I just believe a dose of light-heartedness and/or exaggeration can help the learning process.)

Bill: OK. Time to clear up a misconception. Sometimes losing a ko fight is the right thing to do. Sometimes starting a losing ko fight is the right thing to do.

For instance, say that you have an invasion that yields a ko but your opponent has the advantage in ko threats. In addition, you have no prospect of gaining an advantage in ko threats. It may be best to invade, anyway, and lose the ko. The point is the ko exchange. You gain something for the ko by playing elsewhere. The sooner you start and lose the ko. the bigger your gain.

Shaydwyrm: But if your opponent has the advantage in ko threats, and you have no way to reverse that, shouldn't he never have to finish the ko? As long as he can accurately read his advantage in threats, he can just leave it unsettled and not have to take the loss elsewhere. Eventually he will have to finish it, but this would be equivalent to leaving the aji of the ko until he is forced to spend a move to eliminate it.

Bill: If he has an infinite number of ko threats (or enough to keep from winning the ko until the dame stage -- or later with area scoring) then starting the ko does no good. But it doesn't do any harm, either, except for prolonging the game. Otherwise, you can run him out of threats by playing the ko. And generally, the sooner the better, as long as the ko is worth fighting. Sometimes you can even win the ko because it is too small for him to contest it. When that is correct play by both players, as it sometimes is, I call it tunneling.

choreck What is the difference between Wu Ching-Yuan and Wu Qing Yuan or Yuen? I sometimes see both in different places. How do they decide on Ching or Qing?

Malweth Unlike in Japanese, there are many different ways of romanizing Chinese. "Qing" and "Ching" are phonetically equivalent. Qi is a Chi sound when using the Chinese romanization based on Russian languages.

Go Seigen / Discussion last edited by on January 27, 2015 - 05:46
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