Humour Almost Proverbs

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Some proverbs that never made it to the Go playing community. (See Go Proverbs for those that did.)
You might also like Great Quotes and Fun Go Facts.

  1. Cut first, think later.
  2. Never try to smoke a bamboo joint.
  3. Hitting your opponent on the head with a wooden stick is vulgar style.
  4. When you have a train to catch, resign. [1]
  5. Strange things happen at the 17-14 point.
  6. The first line is the edge of the board.
  7. Play fast, lose fast. Play slow, lose slow.
  8. The empty sake bottle shape is negative.
  9. Learn the wallet-stealing tesuji.
  10. Learn the Tenuki tesuji.
  11. Learn the nuclear tesuji.
  12. Learn the makemashita tesuji.
  13. Strong players walk straight.
  14. The strongest player knows the way to the restaurant.
  15. The walls may have ears, but they don't have eyes.
  16. If throwing in doesn't work, try throwing up.
  17. Play kikashi before you forget.
  18. Tenuki before you forget.
  19. Don't die with gote. [2]
  20. Faint in the east before attacking the west [3]
  21. Lose 100 stones as quickly as you can.
  22. Since everything works in Theory, let's move there.
  23. A stone on the board is worth two in the bowl.
  24. An oddity, an oddity, always an oddity.
  25. Give me liberties, or give me death.
  26. It is better to dip your fingers in the coffee than to try to drink the stones.
  27. Know the time-stealing tesuji.
  28. White is always keeping the black stone down.
  29. Don't play Go in the nude if you don't have the stones.
  30. Even a moron peeps at an open skirt.
  31. The 9 stone handicap does not qualify you for government disability.
  32. Joseki addiction is a symptom of brain hormone deficit. (Taken from [ext] Hiroshi's Go Proverbs)
  33. Don't play a time-stealing tesuji with your first move
  34. When in doubt, tenuki.
  35. ...When attacked, don't be in doubt.
  36. Let him that is without gote place the first stone. --Simon Goss
  37. Reading Western authors on go loses four stones in strength. [4] --Stevertigo
  38. Except when you are trying to understand Bill Spight; you either gain two stones or lose two stones in strength; it's Miai. [5]
  39. Read Hikaru and lose two stones in strength. Watch Hikaru and lose four.
  40. Play Hikaru no Go and lose a lot more strength? [6]
  41. (Based on the above:) Whatever you do, you'll lose two stones in strength.
  42. Apply any of these proverbs and lose two stones in strength for each, cumulative.
  43. If at first you don't succeed, die, die again.
  44. Don't overlook the rest of the board. (Look it over, but don't overlook it! ;-)
  45. Rules strength and playing strength are independent. --Ing Chang-ki
  46. Sacrifice every group of fewer than seven stones! (Russian proverb)
  47. It is better to die in good shape than to live in bad shape. --RobertJasiek
  48. Strange things happen in byo-yomi.
  49. Cut first, ask questions later.
  50. Don't cut without thinking. Think first, then cut anyway.
  51. Why cut your losses when you can cut everywhere!
  52. Having two large groups is better than having one small group.
  53. When the samurai verifies the presence of his head during fight, the dragon smiles. [7]
  54. To comprehend the games of Go Seigen is to have too much free time on one's hands. --TimBrent
  55. Don't try to win. Try not to lose.[8]
    1. variation: Don't try to lose.
  56. Don't play Go and feel bad; play bad Go and feel good.[9]
  57. Peep first, ask questions later.
  58. Never attack a weak group lest it will become a strong group. --Skelley
  59. Never hesitate to play bad shape. --Skelley
  60. An empty triangle is only bad shape when it's bad shape. --Skelley
  61. Drive your opponent up the wall.
  62. Bad shape is never good shape unless worse shape comes along. --Skelley
  63. No answer is also an answer. (Hopi proverb)
  64. Use ladders to climb the walls. --Jasonred
  65. Dame is worth ten points.
  66. Seen from a sufficient distance, the black and white stones of any go game form their own unique shade of grey. [10] SkyCrashesDown
  67. Do not pass. Do not collect $200.
  68. Go is like golf
  69. Don't play a gote ko threat.
  70. It's only a ko threat if there's a good response to it.
  71. Know and avoid the beer-spilling tesuji.
  72. If you can't think of a good reason not to make a particular play, don't make it! [11] SkyCrashesDown
  73. A good procrastination is worth 30 passes.
  74. Tedomari in filling the dame? is worth double-nothing.
  75. Cash in your aji. Play aji-cashy.
  76. You can't win a semeai against a group with two eyes (alternatively: Two eyes against one eye is a fight about nothing)
  77. Answer the crappy play with diabolic laughter.
  78. If you obey no proverbs then resign. If you obey all proverbs then resign. [12] Reinhardt
  79. If you obey ANY proverbs on this page, you might consider resigning too!
  80. All Go Proverbs lie. - Godel
  81. White stones never die, they just get sacrificed
  82. A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing.
  83. Better the tesuji you know than the joseki you don't
  84. Know the eye-not-quite-stealing-more-like-borrowing-for-an-extended-period-of-time tesuji. -- Meijin Touya
  85. Learn the flatulence tesuji.
  86. Learn the cleavage tesuji. [13]
  87. Learn tesuji.
  88. You connect, I connect, we connect.
  89. The more you try to prevent something from happening, the more likely it is to happen. [14]
  90. People who play Go in glass houses shouldn't throw stones -- Nathan P. Clarke.
  91. The pear shape is negative.
  92. Remember, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. [15]
  93. To peep into a tigers mouth is to invite death -- Malweth
  94. Your opponent's best move is the one you overlooked -- Malweth
  95. Why play ko if you can die without one (comment of MarcinKaminski to my game.)
  96. Strange things happen in the third round. [16]
  97. In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. Elsewhere, the best he can do is seki. -- Fwiffo
  98. I can see the mistakes that caused me to lose. I cannot see the mistakes that caused me not to win. -- Fwiffo
  99. In a lightning game, don't make a molasses ko.
  100. With enough thickness, you can get away with anything.
  101. When there is no vital point to strike at, invent one.
  102. Any go proverb is right if it's cool enough.
  103. Don't drink soda before your go lesson. [17]
  104. If you don't have a sente move, resign.
  105. As is often the case, the point where you start noticing that White is kicking you around is actually much later than the causes of the kicking.
  106. If you get to the point where you have to make choices between bad alternatives, then the problem is not here, but in earlier moves.
  107. In the long run, it's not the great moves that win you the game, it's the bad ones that lose it.
    1. It is extremely important to unlearn such moves!
  108. It is your responsibility to make sure that your opponent suffers if they have a weak group on the board.
  109. Learning joseki loses two stones; studying joseki gains four stones
  110. Never start a fight unless you are losing
  111. The center has become as white as Himalaya snows.
  112. The challenge in Go is to find moves that accomplish several things at one time. We amateurs often end up playing moves that accomplish none of our objectives.
  113. This is another move that is worse than passing.
  114. White asks to be cut, so you should do her the favor!
  115. White should not expect to make life here. In a pro game, this would be insulting to black. In a high kyu game, it might actually work.
  116. "(...)And if you want to live high, live high. And if you want to live low, live low.'Cause there's a million ways to go(...) - lyrics to "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" by Cat Stevens [18]
  117. Anyone notice M&Ms look like miniature go stones, hey! and you can eat them after the game! [19] [21]
  118. The pro verb is win. ilanpi
  119. A good go book requires good pros. ilanpi
  120. The three most important words in go are: "knowing how to count". ilanpi
  121. Passing is the ultimate tenuki. ilanpi
  122. Old go players never die, they just pass. [20] ilanpi
  123. You need to know how to [22] ilanpi
  124. Cut all over and let God sort 'em out.
  125. Eat dragon eggs before they hatch.
  126. Use a carpenter's square on the 2x4 board.
  127. If you cannot find a good move, try the 404 enclosure. [23]
  128. White is usually trying to kill a larger group than Black is trying to save.
  129. Many opponents stones fill the farmers hat.
  130. One stone does not make a shimari.
  131. When in atari, tenuki.
  132. If Black has all 5 corners, resign
  133. There is damezumari in the 1-1 point. George Caplan
  134. White groups never die, they just get sacrificed
  135. Repeating mistakes creates a sense of familiarity ... [ChrisWKS]
  136. The difference between a rip off and a tesuji is often insignificant
  137. Don't surround thickness with territory.
  138. If an infinite amount of large monkeys jumps from a submarine, it's still gote.
  139. One-nuki is better than no-nuki at all.
  140. Go is so incredibly complex that it begins to approximate actually doing something.[24]
  141. Do not play go with lodestones.
  142. The 3-3 invasion is always premature.
  143. Run before dying.
  144. Even blind dragons breath fire.
  145. Eat well, sleep well, and gain two stones [25]
  146. Cut out carbs and lose one stone, maybe two.
  147. I never play sente moves, its a waste of ko threats. [26]
  148. I am in your base, stealing your eyes. [27]
  149. Apply the Blackhole Tesuji and gain 2 stones in strength.
  150. Drop the bowls in a dark room, lose 20 stones. HighlyResponsive?
  151. Armstrong: That's one small sente for me, one giant sente for mankind. math[28]
  152. 1+1 weak groups are not as bad as 2 weak groups.
  153. Play quadruple hane to cut ponnuki.
  154. Make an entire board moyo to claim half the territory; make a moyo twice the size of the board to claim all the territory.
  155. 30 Ponnukis are worth 1 point.
  156. Answer a crosscut by cutting it.
  157. The best play is in the corner of the edge and the center...or is it the center between the corner and the edge...
  158. Only change lightbulbs if the ladder won't be broken. -- KGS user mathwiz2
  159. Resigning is gote, and should never be played.[29]
  160. 157 liberties live, 155 may be dead.
  161. If no one has any corners, black should move.
  162. You have to crouch before you can leap high.
  163. Strange things happen at the 19-18 and the 18-19 points.
  164. Learn Aerodynamics before trying out a B2 Bomber.
  165. Morons connect against the peep.
  166. If you have a 7x7 dango, a black hole will form.
  167. If it is only worth about 58 points, tenuki
  168. Always have a second board with you.
  169. Become obsessed with Hikaru No Go and lose 361 stones.
  170. Small shapes are easier to escape.
  171. A ponnuki is worth log 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000 points.
  172. A ponnuki in the corner is worth two eyes.
  173. A ponnuki off the board is worth minus four points.
  174. A B2 Bomber is worth the game.
  175. Have a drill in your pocket, it's worth free eyes in your eyespace.
  176. Daggers in your belt might help you towards victory.
  177. All your eyes are belong to us.
  178. If all else fails, call in Sherlock Holmes.
  179. Listen to the string theorists, they are looking for the theory of go.
  180. Don't play the Influenza Fuseki or else everyone will get H1N1.
  181. Cut a Dragon before it steals a princess.
  182. A rich man should not pick squirrels. -- Jokep
  183. Stones are cheap, tenuki is king.[30]
Government health warning: Applying these proverbs to your games may seriously damage your strength.

[1]: This one is true!! Someone I know missed her train because she kept on playing while she was behind, even though I warned her using this proverb :-) Jan

[2] See also Get strong at gote [ext] from [ext] Ritchie Press

[3] Faint and feint form a pun here. It's just not funny as feint, though indeed that's the correct term in the actual proverb. --TnG (to whoever keeps changing it to feint) (oh no! have I got OCWED too?)

[4] I think that Charles Matthews, Pieter Mioch, and Rob van Zeijst are all excellent Western Go authors. :-) (Not that I have read anybody else.) --BillSpight

(Also James Davies, Richard Bozulich and Michael Redmond? --Grauniad)

I agree, Bill, and I think this proverb may be soon completely obsolete, but I put it there for historical accuracy: it only recently was certainly true. :D --Stevertigo

By the standard of that proverb Reading Eastern Authors on Go Loses 5 stones strength on average. --RobertJasiek +

[5]: Seriously though, thinking about endgame plays like Bill does has slowed down my yose play to a Molasses Ko speed and moreover killed my intuition. What's worse, my endgame does not seem to be impoving at all. Maybe there's some good advice there: don't try to understand Bill's stuff until you are at least 10 kyu (rough estimate, please adjust, fellow deshi): You won't (understand Bill) and certainly you can't (emulate him). Or you might try? :-) But then I'll catch you in a ladder?

I'm just glad there is no such strict analysis for fuseki yet? I (think I) can still do that quite well! --Jan

Bill: Seriously, I play yose by intuition. Do calculation away from the table. In time you'll see the biggest plays, and how to get tedomari.

As for strict analysis for fuseki, learn tewari. :-)

And identifying miai is valuable in all stages of the game. :-)

[6] Jasonred: This has been especially true for my playing Hikaru no Go 2 for the GBA? they give you really AWFUL opponents, Isumi is the strongest you face at the beginning, then they introduce Stone Get and VS mode where you are rewarded with stuff for facing these guys with high handicaps? trust me people, playing horrid opponents but giving them 9 stones on a 13*13 is just going to teach yourself bad Go habits?

[7] See also Get strong at inventing proverbs? [ext] from [ext] Ritchie Press

[8] Sadly, it's so true! --dnerra

[9] (With apologies to actor Leslie Nielsen) --TimBrent

[10] Reinhardt: This disregards the color of the board peeking through at the eyes. It would actually be a shade of tan, sandy brown, acorn, peru, or goldernrod. I've been watching too much [ext] Trading Spaces, haven't I?

[11] SkyCrashesDown: Reasoning being that most of the time, there are pros and cons for any play -- if you're not aware of the cons, you can't determine whether the play is worth making. Charles I don't think this is really sufficiently misleading for this page. Perhaps be wise - generalise: if you can't think of a good reason for not applying these 'proverbs', don't apply them. ~ian~ I agree with Charles; this would only be funny if it advised make it instead of don't make it.

[12] Benjamin Geiger: If you resign, aren't you following a proverb, and therefore shouldn't resign in the first place? And why does my brain hurt?.

[13] Benjamin Geiger: If you have cleavage, that is. Plumber's cleavage doesn't count... though I guess it would sufficiently distract your opponent...

Stefan: I admit I have lost a tournament game (it must be 7 or 8 years ago) because I wasn't familiar with the cleavage tesuji. I'm not proud of it. Of course, now I'm a lot stronger and it doesn't work on me anymore, although I still enjoy the aesthetics of it being skillfully deployed.

[14] Tamsin: I added this because I have noticed that weaker players often go to great pains to defend corners or other areas they perceive as "their" territory. But, what do you know?, because they make bad shapes and leave behind bad aji the stronger player usually finds a way to take everything away from them anyway.

[15] Tyler: Then it's just fun!

[16] dnerra: The way tournaments at least in Germany are usually organized, there are three rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday. So the late middle game of the third round is when you have been playing go for 6-7 hours and you would already much prefer to sit in the restaurant.

[17] Malweth: This one just came to me today as an epiphany... don't ask how. :D

[18] Phelan: I saw this one on a [ext] Spanish Go Forum, and thought it was funny. :p

[19] BlueWyvern: You can get black and white M&M's some places. They are the perfect size on some smaller boards. I bought some with the intention of making a goban cake. :-)

[20] Applying the previous proverb therefore gives: "Old Go players never die, they just play elsewhere."

[21] One day at the local Go club, two players used M&M's to play. I believe the prisoners were eaten.

IsaacFreeman: I can't remember where I found this (it might have been here) but this kind of a Go Koan:

Student: Master, what is the most complex game that man has invented?
Master: Chess!
Student: What about Go?
Master: Go has always existed.

Zarlan: I've also seen that (and also don't remember where). But it is not a proverb and I don't acually think it should be in one of the humour pages anyway

Stefan: Maybe on Cornel Burzo's go lessons site?

Zarlan: Yeah, that's the page.

BTW, some of the proverbs that where added recently (at the moment numbered 105-116) are, although real good, a bit out of place. A bunch of them aren't realy proverbs, but would be nice additions to the kibitz page (well actually the part of it that was moved to Get Strong at Kibitz) and the joseki proverb is a real proverb.

[22] tenuki

[23] There's no way to link "internally" to the brand new 404 page?

(S:) Yes, there is - no need to tenuki! ;-)

[24] A proverb I recently developed after discussing the number of possible games of go and number of possible moves... - Jaime K.

[25] Zarlan: That's true actually. I can't say if the amount of stones is correct though. Anything you do with your mind is enhanced by takeing care of your body. There is a common proverb for this, but I don't remember the exact words. math:"Mens sana in corpore sano sit." I know it in Hungarian. In a literar translation: "Healthy mind (resides) in a healthy body."

[26] Seen in a KGS kyu players description.

[27] Hylebos: For those of you who do not get this proverb, its a reference to the famous Starcraft taunt "I'm in your base, killing your mans".

[28] Phelan: This seems like it should belong in Celebrity Wannabe Go Players instead.

[29] OneWeirdDude: That's what this one opponent of mine once thought!

[30] My own quote that i berate my friend with all the time!

Humour Almost Proverbs last edited by on December 3, 2020 - 23:18
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