Are go players allowed to brag?

I noticed that go players never brag. You don’t ever see thread like “after X years I finally reached Y rank”, “I finally beat a player X ranks higher than me”. We usually share out lost games for reviews and focus on our mistakes.

Don’t you think it’s too negative?


I’ve encountered a number of people who have ‘bragged’ in the past, but they’d normally say it in private among friends. After all, a boastful forum post doesn’t contribute much to the community in general than a game review where everyone can share and absorb new ideas.

Just because many players ask for reviews and few brag on the forums doesn’t make it negative though. Besides, a fair number of review requests are for games that the player has won. Aside from asking for general advice, wouldn’t that be considered an act of showing the community their proud achievements also? :slight_smile:


More accurately:

“I never notice when Go players brag.” I’m not really sure if that warrants advice, but since I’m so inclined, I’ll deliver. Read the chat more frequently.

If there’s a bias toward ironing out mistakes instead of celebrating successes in Go, I would conjecture that it’s very simple to predict future failures in games and very hard to predict really any form of future successes, therefore it would more frequently come as a surprise when people register a success. If you’re surprised, you’re unlikely to have been confident about it and if you weren’t confident, it may seem illogical to take credit for the ostensibly remarkable result, unsurprisingly resembling the definition of humility.

If your point is that even adjusting for how easy it is to (have someone help to) detect failures, we (i.e. you) should see more success reports, I would hypothesize that it is rather uninteresting for anyone to be lauded for their personal achievement (as you implicitly realize by using the negatively loaded term).

We are left with the question of what purpose “bragging” serves. Again I would hypothesize that it serves to inspect the relationship between “praise requester” and “praise giver”, mostly because it would be uninteresting if the former was solely motivated by the need to disseminate a factual statement (which therefore does not require affirmation), despite the fact that I deem it a legitimate reason (“I made it to 1d.” - Yes, you did).

It follows that if you don’t see ‘motivated statements of success’, it’s either because you literally do not witness them or because no one tells you about them. The former would be likely if we assume low prior probabilities for the relevant factors P(people are successful) * P(people have a motivation to tell) * P(you are able to witness) - where ‘able to witness’ includes detecting and identifying unobvious/indirect/encrypted ‘bragging events’.

The extension of this model would return to focus on the question of motivation - and serve an explanation for the latter option. If it was indeed to inspect the relationship with the prospective ‘praise giver’ (i.e. indirectly asking “do you care about me?”) it might simply be that (if you literally don’t get to see any praise requests) no one cares about your praise.


Really? Are you serious? Like real serious?

You’re saying that you have never seen me bragging on chat about sand… winning ddk’s? Like, reeeeally?


I don’t count chat because people talk all kinds of stuff on chat, maybe what, 3 people see it and couple minutes later it’s pushed out of screen.

Compare it to chess subreddit. At all times there’s at least 3 bragging posts on first page. And what do you know, the hottest post at this time is bragging.



The inhibition placed on bragging is ancient; as an expression of hubris it might invite the wrath of the gods. Despite our modernity, these ideas do linger, at least subconsciously. Consider also, China and Japan, where go developed, are traditionally very polite cultures where bragging is frowned upon.

By the way, I should probably mention that bragging too often can cross the line into taunting or abusing an opponent, so if done, it needs to be done respectfully.


I believe there’s a stark difference between pride and prejudice hubris.

Pride with regard to “bragging about success” is essentially to communicate one or more of these:

  • “To whom it may concern: I accomplished something and I’m rather pleased with my performance.”
  • “I accomplished something and perhaps you will find the problem/method/results to be interesting/informative.”
  • “I accomplished something and I feel overjoyed - join me and share my joy!”
  • “I accomplished something and therefore I deserve praise - praise me!”
  • “I accomplished something which you didn’t / couldn’t, therefore you should acknowledge my authority.”
  • “I accomplished something which you didn’t / couldn’t, therefore you should feel bad.”

The way I see it, hubris refers to something more akin to “I am awesome, therefore…”, does not necessitate an actual accomplishment and is more rooted in a priori arrogance.

Now there’s a grey area between these, and that’s utterances like “I am (a member of group x), (therefore y)”. I’m sure there’s a logical fallacy that captures these (appeal to ~), with respect to either pride (cheaply, “I’m a proud x”) or hubris (cheaply, most statements invoking innate or otherwise immutable supremacy).


my read is the brag=open celebrate. maybe go is a peaceful game that celebration is not in its spirit.

when i get to 1d, you will certainly hear from me:grinning:

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What would you brag about in Go?
Did I beat a stronger opponent? It’s his mistake.
Did I get to 1d? There’s 8 more above me + 9 more pros + AlphaGo
I was kind of incredulous when I got SDK the first time and still doubt to actually be so now. Not much to brag about! :wink:


I think it’s overgeneralizing to say that “go players never brag” or to characterize chess players of being more conceited. Both games have a large enough player base to have all types of people.

I don’t think people are being negative by asking for reviews for games that they have lost and trying to learn from their mistakes.

Modesty is not the same as pessimism.

But back to the question, should players be “allowed” to brag? Well, I don’t see anyone trying to stop it, and I don’t see how anyone could oppose that within a society that embraces freedom of speech.

I think the more pertinent question is whether players should brag. I don’t think so. What does bragging even accomplish? Perhaps, one could argue that celebrating success is an important part of self-motivation toward continual improvement, however, I think it is toxic to the community to achieve such aims by implicitly putting others down.


I think the actual answer to the question is “yes, Go players are allowed to brag”.

However we don’t see it much, largely I think for the reasons lysnew said, and the eastern roots where modesty is a virtue.

(Submitting lost games for review is not negative at all - it’s practical: that’s where there is the most to learn)



Well … yes. No penalty for it.

However, I’d plead for 20 lashes with the whip of ridicule :joy:

I think the only bragging I’d find tolerable would be “reverse bragging”, like:

“Hey, look at that amazingly stupid move I played there!”

If you look at my games you might find many of these :smile:

Yes, thankfully!

BTW, there’s a wonderful page on that evil social network, called “Bad Go” (note the URL also, after the slash)

… it posts lovely blunders every other day. I’ve even set notifications on for their posts b/c I don’t want to miss anything.