Nuclear Tesuji

Paths: <= Bad Habits =>   ·   <= Go Humour =>
    Keywords: Humour

A.k.a. "Throwing the Board Against the Wall Denting the Wall and the Board Prior to Uppercutting Your Opponent"

Nuclear Tesuji Often times at my Go club, enraged old men will take the Goban and hurl it against the wall. This not only causes loud noises and distractions but also many injuries due to the flying stones. The old man then uppercuts his opponent and storms out of the room. If the man is seriously injured, he must wait until a member of the club is not playing a game before he can receive help. This is one of the worst habits in my opinion. Main Reasons:

  • Death or serious injury may be caused to your opponent.
  • Rushes all other games because the players are hurrying to finish in order to give the injured opponent proper medical treatment.
  • Fewer boards to play with in the club.
  • Less appealing club location due to dent in wall.

-- IronChefSakai

In fact, if you look back at some classical Japanese art, you'll find this theme dates back quite a ways. The IGS Art Gallery has [ext] an excellent example. And of course, the cover art on Bozulich's Get Strong at Go series demonstrates various "continuations" following this tesuji.

-- dr

Tamsin: I know the images you mean, dr. However, I believe they do not all celebrate the "art" of losing in singularly bad style. Instead, I think many commemorate a real incident, in which a particularly determined samurai defended his master against assailants by hitting them with the goban, it being the only "weapon" to hand.

Zarlan: Ah, yes. You mean as in the tale of [ext] Goban Tadanobu (axd: and see also [ext] Tadanobu furiously resisting arrest, wielding a go board with one hand and grasping the hair of his treacherous mistress with the other, the go pieces flying in all directions...)

An additional risk for some clubs:

  • Loss of location due to lease termination

I think clubs will soon move to using foam-rubber boards and cooked pasta shapes for the pieces, to avoid damage from the inevitable tantrums. This has the advantage that parents who bring children to the club can keep them amused (on the foam-rubber board) and fed (with the pasta shapes).

-- Ben Finney

Charles Sutton: When the stronger players in my club throw the board against the wall, it makes a satisfying crash; but when I try it, it only makes a dull thud. Does anyone know the traditional technique for this? I've also heard that it's traditional to land a few body blows before the final uppercut. Can anyone confirm this?

Jasonred: Play more games, practice. Eventually you will rise from a lowly kyu to a 5 dan, strong enough to cause ridiculous cacaphonies... oh, sorry, you weren't talking about that kind of stronger players? Anyhow, you're talking about Meijin period Go. In modern Go tactics, it's recognised that people aren't willing to be sporting and stand there and "receive" their uppercuts. So, it's a well known fuseki to flick a stone or two at their eyes first. For max efficiency, use the "what's that behind you?" routine and clobber them over the head with the Goban... or take a page from Mitani and Genma and rearrange the stones.

Stephan Terre: However, you must be able to rearrange stones to your benefit. When I try this, my score usually becomes sharply negative, and only quick application of Bistro Math keeps stones on nearby tables from being sucked into the ensuing vortex.

Marfack: While the term hane is generally known in Go as a particular move on the board, its now obsolete meaning was "head" or "heads" or, in its more common usage as a warning, "Heads!" Typically, the player who would first figure out that another player was going to throw board/uppercut opponent would yell, "Hane," and everyone else would duck. Those who did not heed the warning were often injured, as documented above, and sometimes killed. Hence the proverb There is death in the hane.

GregA: When someone yells "hane", should I generally extend out of the way of the goban, or should I anticipate the uppercut and crosscut?

Jasonred: Once, this (unpopular) guy was sitting in the corner, when a goban came flying at him from one of these altercations. (It is unproven that this goban was thrown with malicious intent). He quickly ducked and escaped without injury.

The same evening, the same thing happened, but this other poor loser was determined to get at least a clean hit after losing by around 50 moku, so he aims lower, at the shoulder. The target, again ducks, and is smashed upside the head. His stay in hospital for concussion gives the Go club days of relative peace.

Moral? When in the corner, go for kakari...

Bill: Shoulder blow for erasure?

Scartol: A relative of mine actually did something like this. I was staying at her house, while she and her husband played my parents in a game of Trivial Pursuit. When it became clear that my parents were about to win, she gave an enraged yell and hurled the board across the room, pieces and all. Since telling this story to my friends, mimicing it has become a humorous symbol of frustration when playing.

TakeNGive: A Korean player recently told me that prevention of this bad habit is the primary reason that traditional floor boards are so big and heavy. ;-)

Tim Brent: However, the big floor board with legs can be used as a lethal weapon, which according to some Ukiyo-e prints, the stories connected to them, I should say, happened. This type of bad behaviour is very common as well in Chess...

I might add actually that in a chess game I once played my opponent overturned the entire table such was the weight of his wrath after a rather tragic mistake in the endgame. -- Ian

dnerra: This does not seem to be a new phenomenon. If you happen to have old Go Worlds, look at the cover of no. 49 :-)

Kris Rhodes: My local Go club meets in the same room, at the same time, as the local Bridge club. A couple of weeks ago, we witnessed a violent attempt by one 60 year old lady to physically attack another 60 year old lady apparently because the other lady would not allow her to take back a play or something along those lines. One of the oddest things I've ever seen.

Legend has it that Napolean broke a chess board over his opponent's head...

Funny. I heard he broke his head over a chess board.

This is explicitly qualified as a bad habit "after losing". Is it acceptable behaviour before the actual loss? (the "Nuclear tesuji")? What about if you are winning or have won and just happen to feel like it? Please advise...

Confused in Canada, Mike Kaulbars

Jasonred : Brilliant! The Honinbo Title holder should use it as Title Defense move, the nuclear tesuji! Heck, the "just won" variant is even more brilliant! Celebrate your victory with a bang. Even better, it's a pre-emptive strike against those the guy who just lost...

Kungfu: As with all "myths" this one has a basis in fact. There is an old story abot Morihei Ueshiba (founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido) and his Daito-Ryu instructor. One day, they were playing a game of Go. And one of Morihei's martial arts friends came in the door. As he had his face covered by a scarf due to the bad weather, Morihei's Daito-Ryu instructor could not recognize him. He immediately picked up the Go board and bashed the guy on the head with it several times. When it was discovered who the person was, he sheepishly said "I thought he was an enemy in disguise coming to kill me".

This story can be found in the book "Invincible Warrior" about the life and times of Morihei Ueshiba.

IronChefSakai: That reminds me of an old story that I know. Once, I was playing Go at the local club. My friend who owed me five dollars came in the door wearing a new hat. I immediately threw my goban at him, upperutted him, and took my five dollars. Thinking he was my enemy in disguise come to kill me, of course.

This story strikes me as self fulfilling. If I was the guy in the scarf, I probably would try to kill him... once I recovered of course. Was there some bit about watching the Go game, getting excited and displaying a Killing Ki? It just seems weird to me that some joker in a scarf comes through the door, and this guy thinks it's someone out to kill him.

Well, the master in question was Sokaku Takeda, one of the few people Morihei Ueshiba could never beat in a challenge match. Sokaku was always very paranoid, because many people were in fact trying to kill him. It is also said that he would never enter his home without first calling out for another family member to come out and greet him, assuring him it was safe to enter.


This tesuji is the perfect opening move! Your opponent will be so frightened of your rage he will desperately try hard not to get ahead later on, lest you use it on him again. Then when you win, you can throw the board and uppercut him, just for the heck of it.

---I hate when this stuff happens cause one day i was playing with a bunch of people in a club nearby and a dude lost a really important game (not really) and threw the goban across the room into the wall pelting everyone in there with stones and causing many minor injuries as well as one major injury (my jaw still hurts) naruto3

-- RobertoPetresco? - I think I came up with a solution for this problem. I made an EVA foam GO board. This oficial size board is the cheapest GO board available. It comes with the 360 stones also made with EVA foam. Obviously this board can be thrown against the wall without any risk of injury to the wall or to an opponent. A picture showing this board can be seen at... [ext] EVA GO BOARDS.

kirtar: It will also almost guarantee that the board/stones won't fly very far...

-- I have once seen the preemptive uppercut kakari. I hear it is very difficult to master, but the player that initiated the nuclear tesuji meats a uppercut during the THROW YOUR GOBAN AGANST THE WALL phase of the tesuji. I was wondering if there were any more proper responses.

-- At a club where I used to play, someone suggested "Nerf" Go. He was sometimes distracted by the sounds from other boards. He complained about the noise at the end of games when the stones were collected and put back in the bowls.

-- I'm playing a variation for the last few months: uppercut first before throwing the goban against the wall. By playing the uppercut first, most other players do have the time to go down to the floor. With this variation the goban actually hits the wall more often.

-- Captain Sumo?: I believe there is also a version of this, called the "Ear Reddening Tesuji", when you hit the side of your opponent's head with goban, causing his ears to go red!

-- Bootmii: How do you do a nuclear tesuji on KGS? -- RBerenguel: A DDoS attack would definitely do it :D

-- Tynan?: Did the example at the top of this page really happen? Do people really get so angry they become physical with the Goban? I must be lucky, at my club nobody ever gets angry (maybe a bit frustrated, but no so much that it becomes physical or vocally loud). We are a pretty calm and cool bunch it seems.

-- MH: I often feel like going for the nuclear tesuji like this guy [ext]

Paths: <= Bad Habits =>   ·   <= Go Humour =>
Nuclear Tesuji last edited by on June 7, 2018 - 19:02
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