Seven Deadly Sins


Table of contents

Christian tradition applied

In Christian tradition, the Seven Deadly Sins[1] are

Janice Kim's list

In her Learn to play Go Series, Janice Kim has described the seven deadly sins of go as

  • fear
  • agitation
  • greed
  • thoughtlessness
  • irrationality
  • anger
  • envy

She (wisely) calls them "seven dangers" rather than trying to shoehorn them into the Seven Deadly Sins.

See [ext]

Rowson's list

In his book Seven Deadly Sins of Chess, Chess grandmaster Rowson [ext], [ext] identifies the seven deadly sins as:

  1. Thinking (confusion,lack of faith in intuition).
  2. Blinking(Missing key moments,lack of trend sensitivity and moment sensitivity)
  3. Wanting(Attachment to results,carelessness,”chalking it up”)
  4. Materialism(Misevaluating,lack of dynamism,oversights
  5. Egoism(Forgetting the opponent,fear , impracticality)
  6. Perfectionism(Time trouble)
  7. Looseness(losing the plot,drifting,lack of concentration).

See comments bellow [1].


Tamsin notes that it's very weird to apply Christian thinking to a game developed in a decidedly non-Christian milieu. What next? Should we love our enemies over the Go board and turn the other cheek when they play kikashi? :-) More seriously, though, Janice Kim describes seven deadly sins in Go in one of her Learn To Play Go Series. There are bad habits and frames of mind that need to be avoided, namely greed (trying to get too much out of a situation), anger (losing one's cool when faced with an unexpected move), envy (my territory is my territory, and so is your territory), laziness (i.e., not reading things out properly), fear, carelessness and something else (I forget what). Please note, however, that the deadly sins of Go do not correspond to the seven deadly sins of theology. Like all analogies, this one shouldn't be stretched too far...

Tirian In her own words (from Volume III), they are fear, agitation, greed, thoughtlessness, irrationality, anger, and envy. And she (wisely) calls them "seven dangers" rather than trying to shoehorn them into the Seven Deadly Sins.

Patrick Traill: On a tangential but related point, I find it unfortunate that sin suggests a moral weakness: that one errs knowingly through lack of discipline; in practice I too often see moves described as greedy, impatient or whatever where I cannot readily see why this is the case. It usually comes down to weakness in reading or unfamiliarity with the situation. On the other hand, weaknesses such reading for a while and then doing something different without reading (a special form of haste?) are susceptible to discipline — these should be distinguished.

Confused: Interesting how lechery could apply to Go: Is it the temptation, that you want to fondle your opponent's stones?

Continuing the lighter vein, lechery might be like Dangling a stone above the board while thinking or Sliding stones on the board or Watch the game on the table next to yours.

What next? Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Pagan theology? I fear we have started down a slippery slope. Philosophically there is the Tao Go variant. On a positive note, studying Ancient Chinese rules and philosophy or Scartol/Philosophy of Go or Go and Ethics can be useful. -- Hu of KGS

I thought this was an interesting concept. Maybe "invading when you are ahead" or something similar might work for envy?

Obviously, invading when you are ahead might be a mistake if you only need to solidify territory to win. It's along the lines of "A rich man should not pick quarrels." You don't win by eliminating all your opponent's territory; you win by having more than he does.

-- Chris Hayashida

Alex Weldon: My sin is definitely Pride, but not as described above, as counting territory before it's solid. Rather, I'm just an overconfident jerk who is probably about 10-12k, but plays like a 20k if he's playing vs. a 20k, because, upon seeing his opponent's bad moves, doesn't feel it necessary to think very hard about his own, makes a stupid mistake, and loses the game.

Actually, I have no idea what my real rank is, because of this effect. On IGS, I'm 17k*, because I tend to win games vs. 15-16k*, but have my rank dragged down by losing against 19-20k* due to lack of attention. In real life, I've been to the local Badouk club a couple times. I've won 2 out of 4 games against a guy who claims to be 5k. I don't believe him though, because there's no way I'm that good after just a few months of playing seriously.

Anyway, the point is: I should have more respect for my opponents and take the time to think and play the best moves I can, and not play carelessly just because I'm 40 points ahead and every move my opponent makes seems terrible to me. Man... how many 40 points victories I've turned into 5 point losses at the last moment by failing to protect an obvious cutting point in the endgame, or even simply not seeing an atari.

Learn from my mistakes. Don't be a jerk like me. ;-)

Vincent: I've been on both sides of this. First I come back from a bad mistake in the opening to win a game. (Which my opponent admitted was due to his arrogance.) Then, the day after, I'm the one who loses a won game though arrogance.

Neil: I think stubbornness and inflexibility, going ahead with one course of action regardless of the opponent's action, are more prideful than anything.

[1] tderz: I bought the book mainly for my time problem (no. 6). I have an account on KGS, where I did not dare to give my login name here, because I find it too embarrassingly low-rated. However, as I state there, Time Management is a relevant part of overall playing strength.
Rowson (re-)uses a word totally new to me "gumption" in one of the chapters. Some parts are only relevant for chess: everything what covers the "Remisbreite" and the problem of suspended games.

Another, even better book I am reading is "Schachpsychologie" from Munzert, being much more methodical and complete than the famous Krogius.

Afterwards I hope to find time and restructure an overcoupling psychology page on Senseis.

chrise tderz - isn't your embarassment a sin in itself?

tderz: Most probably yes: vanity would fall into which of the categories above??

chrise Doesn't vanity stem from the ego?

Seven Deadly Sins last edited by PJTraill on March 6, 2018 - 17:27
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