Gote no Sente / Discussion

Sub-page of GoteNoSente

John F. There is a problem with this page which applies to quite a lot of terms. I don't really know what the solution is, but one may emerge with a bit of discussion.

The problem is Nippocentrism. Understandable though that may be, given the history of go in the west, I still think it should be held up to scrutiny.

The implication of the design and content of this page - the tiny box at the top gives Chinese and Korean just a passing mention - is that the term (hence the concept) is the result of Japanese invention.

Yet in Japan this term is not even really a pure go term at all. It was apparently introduced to go from swordfighting by Sekiyama Riichi only about 50 years ago.

But the term appears in a Chinese manual of 1698 (as bu xian xian) in a commentary on a game in Yixuehui Hai (by Dong Yao). We know exactly what is meant, of course, because we have the game record, a masterpiece by Cheng Baishui. (Sente was esteemed almost above all else in ancient Chinese games, and Cheng's opponent played a gote move that was really sente, but in his keenness to keep sente overlooked that there was a better shape way to do the same thing.)

So China can claim primacy on this concept.

No less than Go Seigen has claimed that Huang Longshi of the same era can also claim primacy on amashi strategy, though there the complication is that there is no suitable Chinese word in the ancient literature.

Even with simple terms, the format used here is suggesting that the Chinese and Korean terms are equivalent to the Japanese, and yet that is very often not the case - they may have their own nuances and different ranges of use, but they very rarely have their own pages.

As I say, I don't know the solution. I suspect, if there is one, it may lie in trying harder to anglicise go concepts. But at the very least it seems sensible to try to be more eclectic and above all to give Chinese more weight.

Yet I suppose the classic example of priority reversal is go instead of weiqi, and I must admit that I can't see myself switching from saying go.

Bill: As one of the authors of this page, I simply meant to explain a Japanese go term. It also seemed relevant to a comment made on another page. I do not believe that having pages on go terms in different languages implies any kind of centrism. Au contraire. SL is an international site.

As for the CJK box, it has become the custom on SL to include such boxes for similar terms in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, if any are known. I agree with you that such boxes can be misleading. In fact, they may typically be misleading. But there again, I think that the intent is inclusive rather than favoring any language. Bamboo joint has a CJK box. Is there any implication of Anglocentrism there?

Bob Myers: I have a more basic question about this concept, which is new to me. In what sense does B1 in the diagram "appear" to be gote? It would seem to clearly appear to be sente to anyone stronger than 10-kyu. I'm willing to admit there's room for the useful concept of a gote-appearing move actually being sente, but this would not seem to be a good example of that.

John F. To Bill, the Chinese and Korean terms for bamboo joint mention no bamboo, so there is a bit of exclusion going on. I'm not saying people are being deliberately centric, just that it happens (and I've been one of the many that let it happen). The net result is an impression that Japan is thus given credit for rather more theory and terminology than is the case.

To Bob, the idea is simple if you take the Japanese term in its swordfighting sense - you take a step back to put yourself in the best position to go forward. The definition is therefore a little defective. It should apply only to a gote move that in some sense implies going back (a hiki, or a repair-move connection, maybe). In other words, there is a pun going on in the Japanese.

unkx80: I suspect that sente no gote and gote no sente mean something like, if we see only the initial two moves (B1 and W4 in the sente no gote example, B1 and W2 in the gote no sente example), then the B1 move appears to be sente and gote respectively, but if we consider the entire sequence of moves then they are actually gote and sente respectively.

However, I thought that sente no gote and gote no sente may have a meaning broader than implied on these pages. For sente no gote, it might be that the initial sequence is sente, but it leaves behind some (possibly serious) aji that requires patching sooner or later, however the patching may not be done immediately. For gote no sente, [ext] gobase has an entry which says "temporary it is gote but the follow up is servere sente". I am not a linguist, and I may be wrong here. Language can be so vague. What do you think?

Bill: To Bob: These two terms are on the surface contradictory, so I'm not sure that there is a well-defined concept with either of them. There may be, however, in which case the appears to be clauses need replacement. (Note: Searching the web I did not find either term in a professional commentary. I think that their main use is pedagogical, aimed at average players.)

To Unkx80: The gobase definition is wrong.

unkx80: Thanks. =)

To JohnF: If anything, SL is Anglocentric. English is the main language, and most of the go terminology pages are about English terms. I agree that there is a relative paucity of pages about Chinese and Korean terms. I do not think that this is any more than a reflection of the history of go in the West. But I think that the fix is simple: more pages about Chinese and Korean terms.

As for the CJK boxes, I don't know what to say. They are often misleading, but they do serve a purpose. I think that eventually they might be replaced by cross-references to pages about similar terms in other languages.

I also think that there is a general lack of scholarship about terminology on SL, and that's too bad, because it has become a reference.

unkx80: After some googling, I found the following information for the Chinese terms.

Jia Titao (贾题韬) is a person who mastered both go and chinese chess. He wrote the 象棋指归, a book on chinese chess, which contained descriptions for 先手 (sente) and 后手 (gote). He subclassified 先手 into 先中先 (sente with hidden sente) and 后中先 (gote with hidden sente); similarly, he also subclassified 后手 into 先中后 (sente with hidden gote) and 后中后 (gote with hidden gote). He also commented that while it is easy to see 先中先 and 后中后, it is much harder to differentiate between 后中先 and 先中后.

I presume these descriptions are also applicable to go, what I can't tell is whether Jia Titao invented the terms 先中先, 后中先, 先中后 and 后中后.

Bill: I found this entry in an [ext] online weich'i encyclopedia.



With the help of [ext] Babelfish I get the impression that 后中先 may be gote at the moment, but carry a large threat because of a defect in the opponent's position. Is that right? (That is somewhat different from gote no sente.)

unkx80: Yes, thanks. I found it out too, so 后中先 has a meaning broader than gote no sente. Similarly, 先中后 also has a meaning broader than sente no gote. I will fix these later.

Bill: Thanks. The whole four-fold classification sounds very interesting. :-)

TheBigH: One way of expressing this concept in English might be "Gote? No, sente!"

See also:

Gote no Sente / Discussion last edited by TheBigH on April 20, 2014 - 07:59
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