User Created Go Slang

    Keywords: Go term, Humour

'Banana' (a.k.a. tesuji)

One day me and an opponent were in a weird mood, and every time we played a piece we would shout out something like "Let's see how you play against my 'errant roadkill fuseki'" or "I see you have chosen to play the 'overripe watermelon joseki'". Well, after a particularly clever play one of us shouted "It's the amazing 'banana tesuji'!!!!". Since then we have been calling tesujis 'bananas', i.e. "White P14 is 'banana' for this shape". -- BlueWyvern

'Rotten Banana'

When an opponent starts a ridiculous invasion in some obviously secure territory under the hopes that you may screw up. When you actually do screw up because you aren't paying attention, usually out of severe annoyance at your opponents rude playing style, his move is a 'rotten banana'. See Sow discord in the enemy's camp. -- BlueWyvern

We used to call an odd corner sequence with a clearly biased result a noseki . -- Dieter

A deviation from joseki is joseki ayamari, but who knows that term? Back home we call it Fred Seki. -- Bill Spight

Does Fred have a brother named Joe? --OneWeirdDude


does anyone know the proper name for this triple keima?

'Cooking the Chicken'

This means to play poorly. A friend was commenting to me that he was playing a high kyu player who was playing bizarre and unorthodox moves that he should have been able to beat but according to him he lost because he was "Cooking the Chicken". I thought he he was referring to some really obscure go proverb, it turned out, he was literally cooking chicken, jumping back and forth between the grill and his computer. -- BlueWyvern

cliftut: Wow! Only now have I realized that this could have very well been me! While reading this to my brother, he remembered a game I played with someone online. I was cooking dinner (chicken of course ^_^), and I was taking a moment to play my moves, so my brother apparently typed in a comment for me saying that I was (you guessed it) "Cooking the chicken"! By "high kyu" Do you mean high in numbers or rank? Strong or weak kyu, because I don't think I was particularly strong at the time... it would be hilarious if it actually was me. Wow...

It seems that in France, all the 'bad' moves are all 'Belgian' something or other. I have heard mentioned fuseki Belge, joseki Belge, shicho Belge and tesuji Belge.
From my years in Rotterdam, I seem to remember that this attitude would be natural for the dutch as well.
I don't know why there's this agreement on the (lack of?) Belgian intelligence... :-)) -- Morten

And what about Swedes, Morten? The Norwegian I knew used to tell the same jokes about Swedes. It seems that each country has a neighbor or a minority. -- HolIgor

No, no, HolIgor, we Norwegians are above that sort of thing.
The Swedes may have jokes about us - we have true stories about them ;-)) Here's one

Tas: And we danes make fun of both of you (Swedes and Norwegians) .

Oh, it's a lot worse than that... The English are in on it as well! Remember the old English army advice: "What do you do when a Belgian soldier throws a hand grenade at you? Pull out the pin and throw it back."

Seriously, Morten, it's all just frustration about what happens when we cross the borders and whoop the French and Dutch behinds in their respective tournaments :-). You had to be there, at the prize giving ceremony of the 1999 Obayashi Cup in Amsterdam. The Belgian contingent performed so solidly that tournament authorities openly questioned the Belgian rating system, which seems to turn a Belgian 2 kyu into a Dutch 3 dan :-) And don't get me started about my fellow countryman "Invincible", the world's only professional 5 kyu...

-- Stefan

Please Stef, keep silent. Only mentioning His name makes me tremble with fear. He is truly a master of the game, only to be defeated when he hasn't been drunk the night before. In an interview He shed a small light on His secret: alcohol kills the weak neurons, so that the brain will only maintain the healthy ones. Being fewer in number, their tendency to link up increases, and oh, the emotions betake me ... -- Dieter

Well well well... Could you please shed some light on the identity of such mighty player?! You know, I live so far from the Castle...

-- AvatarDJFlux

NO!!! ARE YOU CRAZY??? This is a public forum!!!
(talk to me in private) -- Stefan

Regarding the 'Belgian' thread, I certainly know the following terms:

Other terms that I and the people around me use:

  • stone-moving tesuji. No explanation needed.
  • foetsiekawari, which is an interesting contamination of the Dutch "foetsie" (gone) and furikawari. It is used to denote a furikawari-like situation which is nevertheless clearly better for one of the players, or also for mochikomi
  • the pain limit (which is a word in Dutch of which I do not know the usual English translation): The swallowest (sic) invasion such that the opponent is not happy with just enclosing his territory below it

-- Andre Engels

BillSpight: Andre had a typo. I was going to change it to "shallowest", but I like the image of a swallow lightly dipping down into the opponent's moyo. :-)
I also like the term, "pain limit". It's high time we started developing our own go vocabulary. :-) Andre, what is the Dutch word? There's no reason to stick to English.

The Dutch word is pijngrens. I copied the discussion, which originally came below, to a separate page. -- Dieter Verhofstadt

The English phrase is probably 'pain threshold'

Belgisch Ko  

Skelley: In Holland we do have the expression "Belgisch Ko" for a move like this of Black.

Several other Dutch ones I know are:

  • mouw tesuji (sleeve tesuji): for those players who like to wear clothes with long or wide sleeves during play and shuffle the stones on their side of the board with the sleeve of their playing hand.
  • kotsumi: a bad kosumi (kots = puke)
  • koffiepauze (coffee break): a tenuki which is clearly too early. I.e. the opponents move should have been answered locally but instead the player to move is leaving the battlefield for a coffee break.

I know a few more which would need an 'adult content' page because they are based on the fact that the English word cut, sounds very much like a Dutch word that would refer to a certain part of the female body. So I'm not sure if I should put those on the SL...

-- Skelley

Another little story concerning user created Go slang.

One of the best known expressions for a certain kind of play is the 'eye-stealing tesuji'.
I was watching two players of dan strength, Corina and Roberto, playing one of those mad lightning games, ten minutes each on a chess clock, no byo-yomi. Because the board was already quite a mess anyway, Corina decided to play what she would call the 'foggiest' move possible, one for which the continuation was not at all clear. Roberto seemed a bit at a loss for one, too, but knew he had to play quickly, and was thus nervously waving a stone around in the air. At that point Corina couldn't refrain from a sly chuckle, saying: "It's the time-stealing tesuji..."

-- Mark Wirdnam

Thanks, Mark, this one definitely belongs in HumourAlmostProverbs. ;-)

One of our clubmembers in Gent (Belgium) invented a name for the invasion on the three-three point (san san): "de smeerlap". If you translate the dutch word it is something like 'the bitch'. It was made from frustration during handicap games because it works very often.


I read somewhere a cute user-created term in an article by a pro (perhaps Guo Juan?) who said that she and her childhood contemporaries referred to shicho as "shaking his butt" -- for example, if Black traps White in a shicho, and White just keeps extending and Black just keeps blocking on alternate sides, then Black was "shaking White's butt."

White "pushing snakes" into Black's center  

Also, back when I was around 20k, I often played with my roommate, who was about 3 stones weaker. He used to express great frustration when I would start "pushing snakes" into what he thought was his territory, thereby reducing it.
-- TakeNGive

I suppose there is a typo in the diagram? =P --unkx80
Naw, no typo... we were just bad players. (I still am; haven't talked to him in years, so maybe he's gotten better. :-) -- TakeNGive

In the UK some players call this kind of chain of stones pushing into enemy soil a "worm". -- Tamsin Jones

In Sweden you can hear players talking about intestines when this happens. -- Joorin

I know this kind of playing as "toothpaste Go". -- Harleqin

I've started using the term "coffin-nail" for a tesuji play that finally gets an opponent who is already losing badly to capitulate. -- BlueWyvern

I've coined a new phrase that I like to use in my own games. A "zone of pain" is a moyo so vast, solid, and intimidating, that the opponent has little choice but invade, and in doing so, will come under immediate and vicious assault. It works best when you use it with your name. Something like "I dub this moyo 'Momotaro's Zone of Pain'." -- BlueWyvern

This term apparently shows me up as an evil capitalist, according to the fluffy academics in the Durham University Graduate Society Go Club, but if we've been beaten so badly we've got minus points, I call it "negative equity." It's such a good description! -- Jenny Radcliffe ;)

powercut: a cut that 'shuts down' your opponent.

Benjamin Geiger: Are the sleeve tesuji and nuclear tesuji Weapons of Mass Disruption?

HandOfPaper: One of my own terms, drawn from my own strange mind and something in the "HACKER" instruction manual, is the term "rabid weasel". I use this in the context of an escape which is very difficult and/or improbable (maybe requiring the opponent not to see what you are doing until a few moves later) and generally uses some simulataneous or sequential ataris. As far as usage is concerned, before making such an escape (once you have it secured) you can say "Rabid Weasel Power!", or, if you don't have it secured, you can say that you "are making an invocation to the rabid weasel" or something like that. After such an escape has been successfully made (especially if it is not too harmful to you overall), you can say "That was quite a rabid weasel escape." For higher levels of implausibility or impressiveness of escape, there are also "Glowing Rabid Weasel Power!", "Glowing Hovering (or Floating) Rabid Weasel Power!" or "Superluminal Glowing Floating (or Hovering) Rabid Weasel Power!".

Jan: "Met de benen wijd" is used at my go club for a hazama tobi. I'm not sure whether it's appropriate to translate, since SL is a family website - I'll let the other Dutch speakers decide :-)

tsjanl: "Spread legs" only becomes inappropriate in the mind of the reader. So let the innocent read this.

Jan: Yes, but the way it was used seemed to invite,,, a penetra^h^h^h^h^h^h^hmove, hmmm that's not quite right either. Let's just say that a hazama tobi invites a poke :-)

victim: I once told some Go players about the book by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, "The Meaning of Liff", newer edition "The Deeper Meaning of Liff", where the authors use names of places as new words for things that don't have names yet. See [ext] or other sites Google comes up with when looking for "Liff". Some of my favorites are "Spofforth", "Corriedoo", "Naples", and "Gloadby Marwood".

Since then, a lot of connections of this kind have been made for go situations, alas in German only, so the verbs end with -n:

  • a bottrop is someone who puts himself in auto-atari and then says, "he tricked me again!"
  • garfeln means to attack a living group, flieden is to run away with it. Both are methods of filling dame in the middle game.
  • pommern means to kill an already dead group, vorpommern means to threaten the dead group. (If the opponent doesn't defend it, it will be pommered.)
  • a betzenstein is a stone which was a cutting stone once but is relatively useless now because the other cutting stone has been captured
  • rinteln means to stand in front of the result table at a tournament and try to find out who you will be playing next.

thomas of KGS noticed the following shape in a Go game between TheCaptain and burtabel:

New go shape?  

He called it... the paw!

teshizzle -> It's a really skillful move Snoop Dogg would play if he played go.

related terms:


Alex Weldon: This is hilarious. I'm going to have to start using these terms.

I created the term "Atarimate" for an atari which is impossible to prevent your stones from being captured. (After the far more signifigant Checkmate of Chess) I just found out there is already a term for this: Oiotoshi.


Shaydwyrm: I believe Oiotoshi is a bit more specific than the definition you previously had up for "atarimate". IIRC, oiotoshi is specifically "connect and die" type situations, where connecting does not relieve the atari. You had mentioned that ladders and the like were included as atarimate, but these are not oiotoshi.


In Thailand there's a word "sell" which means throw stone(s)away.

In honor of the release of the title of the final Harry Potter book, HP and the Deathly Hallows - I present this term I have coined for non- go playing folk - "goggles"
HKA, in [ext] GoDiscussions

A couple of years ago a friend and I were walking through Leicester towards the venue for the British Go Congress. We passed two people: a middle-aged bearded man with a teenage boy. After we'd passed them, we looked at each other and said: I reckon they were Go players. That beard ... yeah, I bet they're Go players. And behold, they were. When we told this story to another friend, he said: aha, you have Godar - "the intuitive ability to determine whether another person is a Go player or not". Jenny Radcliffe

Phelan: Apparently WGAR means bad shape. :P

'Doing donuts'

Term [ext] coined to describe tromping around your opponent's moyo, turning it all in to dame or othewise ruining its potential. -- Fwiffo

A Reverse Monkey Jump can also be called a Jumpy Monk, according to Warfreak2.

For Vietnamese go terms, shicho is refered as "goat's head twisting" move - KoKs

Phelan: Ghandicap is when you avoid fights with a weaker player, instead of giving him stones at the beginning. :P

'Ko Factory' term used by javaness to describe a local position on the board capable of generating many ko threats. A simple example is a ladder.

User Created Go Slang last edited by on December 14, 2011 - 17:41
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