Author looking to generate a weiqi/go game for book (paid)

***UPDATE–thanks to the help of everyone, especially in explaining how difficult it would be to recreate ancient play styles, I’m going to take a closer look at the fan vs shi game that @Vsotvep linked at this time! thank you again for everyone’s help and generosity of time ;~; ***

Hi! I’m an author of children’s books working on a reimagining of the chinese classic, 3kingdoms, and I’m looking to generate an image of a game that the characters play. my knowledge of go is pretty limited, so please forgive any mistakes in the following description (am open to discussion and correcting them!), but to describe the game board image I’m looking for:

  • white would start (this was traditional in the han dynasty, around which my book is set**)
  • both players are intermediary to advanced
  • the game would need to be played roughly to mid or after, say ~75%. it cannot be a game where it’s overly obvious that one side is winning and would therefore justify an early surrender
  • the 75% mark is flexible, because the game would need to be played to a point where an advanced player can forecast that they’re about to win, and by a margin of 4 points (or X points–the idea is that they have a good grasp on the specific margin, and it’s slimmer than what they are accustomed to, as they think highly of their skill level)

**the book itself is historical fantasy and set in an AU time that’s similar to the han dynasty, but because it’s not strictly historical, the game play need not strictly follow methods of ancient play (beyond the detail of white starting first)

can provide more details and we can chat if you’re interested! I’d pay for your time and am happy to discuss quotes (as I’m not familiar with how long generating this game would take). thank you so much for considering this!


I am not a good/strong enough player to be able to help with this, but if there are not suitable actual games from that era, maybe someone could locate a modern game that fulfills all that criteria and just swap the colors (black starts first now, so just illustrate all the black moves as white’s and vice versa).


thank you for this suggestion! this actually reminded me of a question I had while looking at actual historic games (and anyone can answer)–is game plagiarism a thing? or are certain/all games in the public domain? I feel silly asking, but my book will eventually be published, with portions of the game board included potentially in print, and I wouldn’t want to take a real game (even if the colors were swapped) and insert it into my fantasy if players have ownership (?) over their games

It could be if they are modern professionals. But if they are long dead masters of Go (hundreds of years old dead), I’d say anyone could use the game records for anything they might like, as long as it is respectful to the original players and mention them in the credits/sources.

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I recommend using some historical games.


Game records, modern or ancient, cannot be copyrighted. The only thing that can be copyrighted is particular presentation of games, like commentary, annotation.

So you don’t have to worry about it. If you want to be historically accurate, I’d opt to choose a famous game. People who don’t recognise the game wouldn’t notice the difference between a famous game and an arbitrary other game, but people who do recognise it will probably greatly appreciate the easter egg.

It happens quite a lot in media to feature games, like famous chess games being featured in the Queen’s Gambit. Probably the most famous media about Go is the anime / manga “Hikaru no Go”, which features many games played by actual professionals.

Unfortunately there are no records of Go games from the Han dynasty, it seems. There are games from the Jin dynasty, though, which is only a century off. Allegedly this game is a complete one of them, although it could be several centuries newer. It’s called the Rotten Axe Handle game (see also this fable). However, this game isn’t that famous.

I’d second @yebellz’ suggestion to choose a Shusaku game. Those are not only historical, they are very famous as well, so it’s bound to be recognised by some people.

Being able to guess the count of the game before endgame has started is something very difficult, and you’d really expect only quite advanced players to be able to do so accurately. Moreover, only quite advanced players would be able to not make so many mistakes to make an accurate count a correct prediction. That is, intermediate players could correctly estimate that the game is ahead by 4 points, but will inevitably lose or gain several points due to endgame mistakes, making it all a bit of a gamble anyways.

Endgame of Go is very complex, and finding the right order of moves is difficult enough that some very advanced mathematics has been applied to it (so advanced in fact, that the mathematicians who studied it, could cook up endgame problems that stumped actual professional Go players, see also this).


Thank you so much for the incredibly detailed reply! and for linking to the jin dynasty game–I’ve had a hard time finding records of famous historical chinese games so this is very appreciated

the queen’s gambit and hikaru no go definitely came to mind as an examples of how real games are incorporated, but since both are still set in the real world, it felt less jarring to me to have real games incorporated (vs a fantasy AU world). this is probably my personal hangup, though, so I will sit with these feelings more as I browse through historical games

lastly, it’s very helpful actually to confirm how hard counting the game would be in advance of endgame, since my character doing the counting is based on an OP historical figure, and so I needed the character to do something slightly OP too but took a hedge at what would be considered hard :sweat_smile:

It’s hard, but certainly not impossible. I estimate that an average mid to strong Dan level amateur would be able to feel confident of winning when 4 points ahead. If you browse a list of professional games, you very rarely see games that end with a margin of more than 2 to 3 points, since professional players tend to give up before the endgame commences when they know they are 4 points behind: they know that the opponent will not make mistakes that large.

For me, a 4 kyu, I regularly lose about 5 to 10 points in endgame, according to AI analysis, so if I’d count the game at 75% finished, assuming I would count correctly in the first place, I may be off by as much as 5 to 10 points.

I had a look at another website, and I found a great game that you could use:

This is a game from the 18th century, so older than Shusaku’s games, and most importantly, this game starts with the traditional diagonal opening that was also custom in the Han dynasty, and White has the first move. Furthermore, this is a game from a famous series of games, by famous players. Ah, and they’re Chinese players, making that part fit quite nicely with your book as well.


I didn’t know. May i ask you where you learned this?

It’s very hard to play a game in the style of some ancient way of playing. The way we think how to play a game change a lot!
So copying a record seems the easiest, although history keep track of very talented players and you asked for

With intermediate level players, my guess is that 4 points difference is too small, that would be more something over 10 points

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Awesome project! But you should know about a couple of scoring quirks. The discussion is a bit technical, but bear with me.

Half counting. The Chinese counted the score a bit differently back then. Black’s score was the only one that must be counted. To determine the winner, they subtracted the number of non-scoring points from the total points on the board and divided by two. If Black’s score was higher than this “half count,” Black won, and if White’s score was higher, White won. When you count this way, the margin of victory will be half as much as we would say modernly. In the game that @Vsotvep linked above, for example, the margin of victory is shown as 2.5 points. But if the game were scored today, the margin of victory would be 5 points. So when you want a game with a margin of victory of about X points, you may want to decide if the ~X points is supposed to be by half counting or full counting. And when you’re describing the player’s mindset, they’ll be counting only their own stones and the points they expect to control in the near future, and they won’t be counting their opponent’s stones.

Point increments. A score of 4 is actually impossible without komi (edit: barring a seki situation with an odd number of dame unfilled). Imagine a point on the board. If Black occupies that point, it’s one point for Black, and if White occupies the point, it’s one point for White. So each point on the board actually represents a swing of two points. And there are an odd number of points on the board. As a result, the score would be either 3.5 or 4.5 in the ancient half-counting method, or 3 or 5 in the modern counting method.

By the way, if you end up using the game record above, I’m happy to modify it the reflect a different score if the game result of 2.5 (or 5) isn’t close enough to what you want.


Unless there is a seki, right? Seki position(s) could force the players to leave an odd number of dame unfilled.

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Echo the recommendation to use a real ancient Chinese game, not Shusaku (who’s Japanese and over used and feted).


Gogod has a lot of old games, a decent number of which have white starting first.

You could get the collection from there or it comes with the smartgo apps

The game @vsotvep linked is in there as is games like


yes I’m trying to use a chinese game if possible, if going the historical game route!

ooo the game record between shi dingan and fan xiping is extremely helpful! thank you for it!

from chinese sources!


translation: There is a saying that the way of yin and yang is integrated into Go, and in ancient China, white was respected. White is yang, black is yin, and the seat represents the balance of yin and yang. According to the thinking of the ancients, men are yang, women are yin, the upper part is yang, the lower part is yin, the sky is yang, and the earth is yin. Yang precedes Yin, so white representing Yang has the right to go first. There is another saying that “when the sun rises, the world becomes white”. Every day starts at dawn, so the chess game follows the laws of nature. This rule has been followed until the end of the Qing Dynasty, and it has been implemented for nearly two thousand years.

this is incredibly helpful!! I will make sure to reflect the correct increment since they are in fact playing without komi. I also really appreciate the offer to adjust the shi and fan game if I decide on a larger margin–I will message out if so. thank you again!!

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oh thank you so much! the gu vs yan game is very helpful to have

Valid point! My statement about it being impossible to attain a score of 4 was incorrect. But the probability of achieving such a score is extremely low and can occur only in the situation you described.

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