Chess vs. Go in terms of best move

In chess you often find that in a certain position there are typically one or two best moves. Is that the same way in Go? Or is it more about strategy. Do you analyze the expected next 10 moves and so on?

I am a total newbie, so be gentle…


Prepare yourself for an onslaught… Trying to play the game ahead by as many moves as possible is a very real thing in Go. So much so, you’d want to play far more then just ten moves, which can be very mentally stressing (nice on an UI because you can play forward to your hearts content, but can be very hard to play dozens of moves out on a real board, in your head). With that being said, there may be situations (joseki comes straight to mind) where there are one or two better moves maybe even a best move, but BEST is a hard place to get too at times, depending on the complexity of the board, and could be argued forever.

(Even now, with the advent of AI, we struggle to find what is BEST and what is simply good, acceptable, or comfortable. I love listening to Go commentary because they have such an elegant way of describing the ways you feel during a game. Your moves are not usually good and bad, but rather do you feel good about it? Do you feel confident with the exchange, or with your placement? Or do you feel uneasy, perhaps fearful?)

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During fights, it is often the case that there is one or two best moves only with the rest leading to a too big a loss.

Otherwise (when no urgent fights are going on) I would say there is often more moves that (according to our current level of knowledge) can be regarded as equally valid.

During endgame best moves can again become more singular and easily identifiable.

Regarding the number of analyzed moves, it might be a more difficult question than it seems. In Chess where there is definitive goal - capturing the king - you analyze only moves leading to (or preventing) that result. In go I would say it is more common to analyze sort of “secondary objectives” as there is no winning condition other than having more points… We read whether a certain cuts works or not, whether our group can make two eyes to live, whether a group of stones can be captured and what would be our gain. So in sum we might be analyzing much more than 10 moves, but the number is made up of many smaller “sections”.

Would not want to speak for others nor emberass myslef, but if we are speaking about reading out a single position - let’s say a fight - with all potential variations, I personally rarely manage to read more than 5 stones ahead at my current level and even then it is not too unusual for me to miss an important variation.

Not sure if I am making sense, must say I was struggling to put my thoughts into word. Welcome to the OGS forums :slight_smile:


That’s a great answer.

Go is more about avoiding bad moves than finding the best ones. Even in 9x9 Go with 81 points on the board, you can have as many as 20 “best” moves that lead to the same result with perfect play. It’s the same in 19x19 Go. The board is enormous. There’s a lot of creative freedom in the strategies that you can choose. It’s only in the local skirmishes (like josekis and middlegame fighting) that the number of good moves goes down, and sometimes there’s only one acceptable move. Go analysis becomes more like chess analysis in those situations, and you have to read ahead.

This is reflected in the lingo used to talk about Go. If you ever watch professionals comment games, you’ll hear them say that a certain move was “good enough” or that another move was the “only move.” The trick is to recognize where those situations occur, and make sure you’re not about to play a bad move.


Welcome to the forum!
I will say that I have vastly more experience with Chess than Go, so take my opinion for what it’s worth. And the best answer I can give you is “it depends”.

Both games to me seem to straddle the line between heuristic reasoning and concrete tactical analysis. Strength in one can compensate somewhat for weakness in another.

Each game at times will call on the player to make positional judgements without being able to read every possible line.
Each game will at times require a make-or-break decision that hinges on detailed analysis of each option.

Go probably more often mirrors the first scenario
Chess probably more often sounds like the second

But nothing is absolute. And either game can be played in the style you prefer.


Also, the “best” move in any scenario is the one your opponent is least equipped to deal with. There are always plenty of reasonable options against human players.


Thanks for all your great answers!!!

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