Old Mottos

    Keywords: Culture & History, Humour

At Sensei's Library's coffee machine, we keep a regularly updated motto. When it is updated, the old motto is saved here.

These motto's may be quotes from famous wise men, from the strongest professional players, or just from some random kyu player. They are usually insightful, and give us a window into the mind of go players. The mottos show how they think and what they think about. Browse for your pleasure...

The current motto is at the coffee machine. You might also like Great Quotes and Fun Go Facts.

Date of removal - motto. Most recent on top (until someone decides differently and re-edits...)

5 April 2023

Kosumi is not a move” – Pierre Colmez, 6d

“Of course it is.” – Bill

コスミ (kosumi) は囲碁用語のひとつで、すでにある自分の石から斜め隣に打つ手(move)のこと。” – [ext] https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B3%E3%82%B9%E3%83%9F

Translation by [ext] Google: “Kosumi is a Go term, a move that strikes diagonally next to your own stone.”

PJT (2019-11-18): The above link leads me (¿via redirect?) to the Japanese Wikipedia article on the ampersand ([ext] Google translation)! Perhaps someone who knows Japanese could correct or explain? (It was [ext] added on 2019-09-28 by along with the preceding remark attributed to Bill.)

Bill: Link updated. :)

Malcolm: I believe that P Colmez said this as a sort of a joke. Kosumis are slow and steady, and this motto expresses a general preference for more dynamic or faster moves.

3, September, 2018 "The difference in the value of the biggest move and the next is the value of Sente." -Myungwan Kim, 9p

6 April, 2016
"You have to think about the yose when you are playing the fuseki" Suzuki Tamejiro, important Japanese professional and teacher of Kitani Minoru.

3 July, 2015
"Christ once asked me if there is Divine Move in life. Now I understand there's never such a move. The best move we can make is surviving every day." The Divine Move (2014, Movie)

4 April, 2015
"You can only make one dot at a time" -Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, Oblique Strategies

2 February, 2015
"A game of go is like a spring whose waters go only where they can go and stop where they have to stop" -Liang Weijin, 1732 CE

11 November, 2014
"Play every move as if it were the first in your life"

Sekiyama Riichi 9p, the first to hold the Honinbo title by the modern tournament system.

17 July, 2013
"Go World is going to take a chance and predict a bright future for fourteen-year-old Takao Shinji." --From an article in Go World #63, based on a 1991 review in Kido of Takao's professional shodan promotion game by Tozawa Akinobu 9-dan

April 28, 2013

"If you want to be happy for a day, drink.  
If you want to be happy for a week, slaughter a pig.
If you want to be happy for a year, marry.
If you want to be happy for life, play go."

January 30, 2013

"Go is a world of harmony between yin and yang"
Go Seigen

August 11, 2012

"The fuseki follows the changing fashions of the times but also has a recurrent character"
Rin Kaiho 9p, top pro in Japan in the mid to late 1960's

December 8, 2011

"Begin anywhere."
John Cage

July 29, 2011

"There's sometimes pressure to become a "dan" player so that you are not bad at go anymore. But I think that being a dan player doesn't fix the problem." (Kirby on L19)

June 22, 2011

"I haven't failed, I've just found ten thousand ways that don't work." Thomas Edison

April 22, 2011

"Repetition is often boring, but it remains a very effective way of learning." (Tamsin, Learning Process)

February 16th, 2011.

"How did you improve so quickly?" "Well, it was a combination of tsumego and ritalin. Mostly the latter."

December 10th, 2010.

I'm often asked, "Sensei, how can I get stronger?" Naturally, studying would be good... but sometimes I say, "There is a Go tonic you can take -- a little before each meal will make you stronger in no time." Of course, that's just a joke...

--Shirae Haruhiko, Handicap Go Strategy

October 12th, 2010.

"Becoming one stone stronger is the supreme enjoyment." -- Go Seigen: A Way of Play for the 21st Century

April 7 th, 2010.

"The tie-break order should be Nigiri, SODOS, SOS. --TMark"


"The joy of being a 2 kyu - you can still improve nine stones."


"Whether you win a game or lose it is a matter of fate at the time. What really counts is whether or not you played good moves."

-- Kajiwara Takeo, famous Japanese 9p


I chose the ladder sequence because it was unbranched, easy to understand, and left the lead unclear, but perhaps what was unclear was not so much the lead as my vision in judging it. I lost by resignation.

-- Kageyama Toshiro, Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go


There are four reasons why amateurs don't get stronger:

  1. Playing inconsistent moves
  2. Playing moves which have no effect on the opponent
  3. Playing moves which approach strong groups
  4. Playing moves which build inefficient shapes

-- Takemiya Masaki


"Faced with a difficult and threatening situation, instead of daringly plunging in, my aim is to focus single-mindedly on playing thick moves in the expectation of pleasant things to come." (Hane Naoki, The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game)


"It's weird how much a game review can be like a trip to the shrink. 'Tell me about your mother. And this tesuji.'"

--fwiffo at GoDiscussions


"Amateurs' go comes from pleasure, professionals' go comes from suffering."

--Kageyama Toshiro (author of Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go)


The principle of unity of command

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign. Art of War - Sun Tzu


"Even the first move can be hasty"---Mukai Kazuo Japanese 7p


"Advance to Chencang by a hidden path" - 36 Strategems AdvancetoChencangbyahiddenpath


"Loot a burning house" - 36 Strategems LootABurningHouse


"Sacrifice plums for peaches" - 36 Strategems SacrificePlumsForPeaches


"Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip, is nothing more than your thought itself, in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too..." - Jonathan Livingston Seagull


" The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring." -Book of Changes

2008-06-27 "Lure the tiger out of the mountains - Art of War."

2008-06-25 "Nothing is difficult. Most things need time."

2008-03-13 "Timidity, foolhardiness, jealousy, inconstancy, impatience.... just as in day to day life, in Go too, these emotions drive the course of encounters between players. Their relative strengths are insignificant, in comparison." -- Awaji Shuzo

2007-11-11 "Even if I thought for a million years I wouldn't understand it." -- Kitani Minoru, great Japanese player and teacher.

2007-04-24 "Don't count your liberties before they're filled." --- Overheard at the Baltimore Go Club

2006-12-11 "Go is not about winning because you made a good move, it is about losing because you made a bad move."--- Sakata Eio 9p, great Japanese pro.

2006-08-14 "Strategy without tactics is the slow road to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat" --Sun Tzu

2006-07-17 "A stone on the 3-3 point looks like it will fall off the board, so I don't feel like playing it." --Takemiya Masaki

2006-06-01 "The difference between a swindle and a tesuji is often insignificant" anon

2006-05-02 "Amateurs do not sacrifice stones, they lose them."

"All my students, if their moves have a reason, it is good" --Guo Juan 5p

2006-01-15 "Every day, no matter what time it has to be, I play through one game." --Murakami Bunsho, top Japanese amateur

* * * Happy New Year, everyone! * * *


"There are pictures in your mind, and you can choose them." Jared quotes Guo Juan on how to select a move


"You see - I strongly believe that Go is a game of balance, that there are no best moves in the absolute sense, and that for every move you make you incur a certain loss which together with the gain this move brings constitutes the value of the move. In other words - no matter how good your move, it cannot simultaneously do everything you would like to do at the same time, and so certain goals must be sacrificed in order to reach other goals. To be aware of those little sacrifices is, to me, a sign of understanding of the game and maturity of a person as a player. To be able to choose which goals are worth sacrificing is a sign of playing strength." Dieter quoting Bantari

"Don't wait, Dictate" - Troilo

On Finding A Move

"Tactics is knowing what to do when there's something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there's nothing to do." ~Savielly Tartakover

On Teaching

"You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself." ~Galileo Gallilei

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." ~Chinese Proverb


Teacher: So, what you think?"
"Student: Scary, those cutting points."
"Teacher: Scary? Scary that's okay. Go game always scary. Check, read, it's okay." -- Yang Yilun at a 2005 Go Workshop


"If you ... start thinking like "what is it exactly that surprises me here" (after feeling thrilled by the surprise in the first place) and put some energy into that line of thought, from that very moment you'll start to grow." -- Kikuchi Yasuro, famous Japanese amateur player and teacher of pros (Yamashita Keigo) when asked how to improve at go (at the WAGC)


A common cause of business failure: seeing that a strategy isn't producing the anticipated results--and responding by going unconscious. A common cause of failure in your personal life: the same policy. -- Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D.

2005-07-09 A blunder, too, is an artistic play--Maeda Nobuaki


Go is harmony.--Go Seigen


You must train yourself to let go of the fear of loss

-- Jedi Master Yoda


Go's bad for your health!

(As is any other addiction... But please don't start posting sad stories!)


That's a really nice server! Very fine possibilities. Since I found this server, I am divorced!! I really enjoy it.

-- mbj's kgs user info


Experts play badly, others even worse.

-- Bobby Hamman, Bridge No. 1 player in the world for a long time.



-- Janice Kim, 3p (caps are hers)


"It's not enough to be a good player. You also need to play well."

-- Dr Siegbert Tarrasch (Quoted by Bobby Fischer in his book "60 Memorable Games)


"Moves you like look big."

-- Handa Dogen, top class Japanese pro in the 1960's.



Those above 4 dan win games by making more good moves.

Those 4 dan and below win games by making fewer bad moves.

Some news are found at Go News.

(Next motto: "Talking about a dream like the dream is over, talk like that won't get u nowhere!" - "All I Need"/ Matchbox twenty - Reuven)


mrkibbles: im kinda glad im not dan

mrkibbles: everybody would watch your games

lazy: but u'd be playing games which are worth watching!


"You're only scared to die when you ain't living right"
Reflection Eternal <> Good Mourning


"I knew I was getting stronger. Once I used to make my moves and then think about them, but now I think before I move." from scene 2


"It's not that I can't find any good place to play... And not as much that I see too many - It's more of a matter that if you ask a truly strong player all are wrong"

-- hopeless beginner


"Becoming one stone stronger is the supreme enjoyment"

-- Go Seigen: A Way of Play for the 21st Century


"Little minds try to defend everything at once, but sensible people look at the main point only; they parry the worst blows and stand a little hurt if thereby they avoid a greater one. If you try to hold everything, you hold nothing." - Frederick the Great

2004-08-06 "The more I practice, the luckier I get." - Legendary professional golfer Gary Player, but we all know he was really talking about Go, even if he didn't know it.


Rather than remembering joseki, Go is thinking about what the best move is in a position.--Yasunaga Hajime, Japanese pro-strength amateur, ghost writer for Kitani and Go Seigen of "Shin Fuseki Ho", and purported originator of the Chinese style opening.


Life, liberty, and the pursuit of territory through connection and influence -- this is what Go is all about.

(Quote from: Go Winds, Volume 3 Number 1 Spring 1999)


Student: Master, what is the greatest game invented by Man?
Master: Chess!
Student: What about Go?
Master: Go existed before Man did.
(Wording by ChadMiller at  c2.com)


"More than a contest, go is an art. Therefore I always think about new moves and new ideas. That's natural if you want to genuinely plumb the mysteries of go." -- Kikuchi Yasuro, famous Japanese amateur player, frequent winner of amateur championships in Japan, founder of a go school, and teacher of various top pros such as Yamashita Keigo.


Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler

- Einstein


Who needs girls when you have GO?

Stefan: Why settle for one if you can have both?

Tamsin: Who needs men when you can have go? Go's a good deal more useful! :-)

ChrisSchack: You have maybe something of an unusual perspective on the matter, but I can't bring myself to disagree...

Happy New Year Everyone!


Nothing is so bad that it can't be good for something.


Only the body is shed; the mind is forever in the maze of 19 lines-Touya Kouyo, Hikaru no Go Game 149


Multa ferunt anni venientes commoda secum, Multa recedentes adimiunt.

(The years as they come bring many agreeable things with them; As they go, they take many away.)

-- Horace: Ars Poetica


"SL is a large sandbox, in fact, it is so large some people mistake it for a beach."

- Arno


"Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again."

- F. P. Jones


"How many songs it takes for you to see/You can bomb the world to pieces/You can't bomb it into peace"

-- Michael Franti


"Philosophy has objectives and no rules, mathematics has rules and no objectives."

-- Seen in English Room on KGS


"Shakespeare was just some lucky monkey."

-- Dieter at Luck in Go


If your wife gives you a hard time at home - tenuki.


"A knight in Go is like a hotdog in a french restaurant."



-- a beginner after losing


"Go is all that matters. Well, there are other things in life, but they are gote and worth less than 10 points."

-- anonym


"Don't bite the goban, bite the seed."

-- Frs


"Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm."

--Sir Winston Churchill


"It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!"

- Nietzsche


"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try." -Yoda


"'To be is to do.' - Sartre. 'To do is to be.' - Rousseau. 'Shoo-be-doo-be-doo.' - Sinatra."


"It's easier to destroy than to create." -- Desperado (Movie)


"Better to fail and learn, than to succeed too easily and fail to learn."--Anon.


If you study something, you have to use it in a game, otherwise you haven't really digested it and made it your own. -- Michael Redmond

Fate Amenable to Change


Nobody here is soft... Me neither!

Waya (from Hikaru no Go, chapter 83)


"Play out tactics where you can't see how your opponent can stop you, for if he does it means he really is the better player ..." -- the unknown librarian

(So that he can win easily or you become a hamete player?)


An amateur can be as strong as a professional even at the top level --Jie Li


May the best of 2001 be the worst of 2002 (Scottish proverb)

Today is an average day: Worse than yesterday, but better than tomorrow. (Russian saying)
;-) --BillSpight

...need to counter with a more optimistic Russian proverb: "It is better to be rich but healthy, than to be poor but sick." Lots of the former to all in 2002. --Stefan

HolIgor: I've corrected the proverb to correspond to the original.


Get connected


"Hane, I shrank the groups."
-- Bill Taylor


All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
-- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


Don't sit on the grass.
Smoke it :-))


"I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge."

-- Igor Stravinsky


Forget worries, hand talk.


Seichuudou (Movement within stillness)
-- Iwamoto Kaoru 9 dan


L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace.
(Audacity, audacity, always audacity.)
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

BillSpight: Wasn't that Danton?

De l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace!


It's not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters.

(Paul Bryant - read on the website of Runner's World)


There exists not a shred of evidence that life is serious.


Motto for tommorow:

Never do that.

Motto for today:

Without Unceasing Practice nothing can be done.
Practice is Art.  If you leave off, you are Lost.
       -- William Blake


Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
I am large, I contain multitudes.
-- Walt Whitman


It's better to make a different error each time
than repeating the same error over and over.

this is in contrary to my motto:

If it doesn't work, try something different.
Maybe it doesn't work either. (c)BIG M


Go is all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

Old Mottos last edited by fool on April 5, 2023 - 11:42
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