This is a cross-post from lifein19x19.com of a Chinese article on 10 great habits for playing Go. The article was written for children, but I think there is much wisdom for all ages here, too, and it’s worth sharing!
If you follow the ten habits below, you will contribute to positive Go play, and through Go you will gain happiness and friendship.
1. Greetings. Before you begin play, smile and nod towards your opponent and exchange greetings (hello!), then decide who will play which color. When the game is over, thank your opponent for the match.
2. Respect your opponent. Don’t blather during the game, for example by saying, “Hurry up!” or “Why would you play there?”. Playing against someone is a form of companionship. If you need to step away from the table, first ask your opponent if that is ok (eg, “Excuse me, may I step out for a moment?”).
3. Study your opponent’s strengths. Don’t forget that Go has two players. Frequently consider the board from your opponent’s point of view. At the same time, study other people’s strong points.
4. Place stones decisively. You shouldn’t take back a move. Don’t tap your stones against the board. Don’t remove a stone from the bowl until after you’ve decided where to play, and once you decide where to play do not hesitate or waver. How you place a stone reflects your confidence. Don’t play with your stones. Don’t leave your hand in your bowl rattling around your stones.
5. Concentrate. Seriously focus during the game. Do not look around or chat with other people. Don’t walk over to other boards and give other players suggestions. With every stone you should consider several steps, consider what options you have, consider how your opponent might respond. If you don’t seriously contemplate, you will never play at your best level and you will not be able to anticipate your opponent.
6. Don’t Over-think. Maintain your sense of time. For each stone you should concentrate with all your ability, but once you decide on a course of action you should take it. Don’t make your opponent exclaim, “Keep thinking. I’m going to take a nap!”
7. Play Calmly. Respect your opponent, but don’t let your opponent’s attitude influence your own mindset. Carefully consider each move so that you play at your best, but don’t be afraid. Don’t let worry over winning and losing influence your judgment. Playing the best move is your goal, not winning. Winning is the natural result of good play.
8. Believe You Will Win. Believe 100% that you can play well and will be victorious. You mustn’t play timidly. Do not play timidly or weakly due to fear of failure. Only through vigorous, brave play can you achieve victory. Only through confidence and certainty in victory can your best level come out.
9. Review the Game Upon Completion. Through a review you can study your opponent’s decision-making and analyze your own mistakes. After the review carefully put away the stones and board.
10. Playing Go is a Happy Thing. Playing Go is not only about winning or losing, it’s also a form of entertainment. Victory should not make you complacent; defeat should not make you depressed. Regardless of result, it was just one game. Finding great moves, playing brilliant sequences, and being happy through Go are most important. In this way you will also gradually become a stronger player.