Direction of Play Discussion

Please describe direction of play, discuss aspects of influence, link to demo boards, and respectfully debate the merits of different opening positions.

I hope this becomes a great collection of different concepts. I hope this helps you all on your journeys.

My first attempt, feedback appreciated.


Hello GOing2, thank you for the effort. :slight_smile:

Definitely looking forward to other games/series.

Keep them coming, folks! :smiley:

I realise it’s usually a faux pas to try to bring a thread back from the dead, but this is a discussion I’m quite keen to have. I’m currently reading Takeo Kajiwara’s book on the subject, after someone suggested this was something I ought to pay attention to.

Anyway it’s a discussion I’d like to listen to even if I’m not yet ready to contribute. Seems daft to start a new thread when this one has had so little traffic. Why is that anyway?

According to Sensei’s Library on the subject, Direction of Play is a phrase that was coined in Kajiwara’s book, so that would be the definitive source.

Local dan players in Vienna use direction in their thinking, and they also teach us to use the term and play with correct direction in mind. I believe it’s the same elsewhere, at least in Europe and the US. Direction is certainly a widespread concept now, not just a relic from a single book :smile:

We need intuitive and high-level concepts like this to make fast decisions about candidate moves. To put an expressive name on a desirable way of thinking is very important because our thoughts are very language-oriented or language-bound. If you knew about direction (or aji, or moyos, for that matter), but you didn’t know what to call it, it would be much harder to apply that knowledge consistently, and train, teach and communicate it.

Direction is more than ‘play on the empty side’ or ‘extend from a wall’. The proper direction is where the stones want to go, in every context. That’s why I draw little eyes on the stones in my reviews. I think that gets the message across :smile:

What happens if you have not learned about the direction of play and your moves violate the principle? That’s the tricky part. Your game will become unfavourable, but it will be hard to tell why. Why did one player’s moyo turn out smaller than the other’s? Why did the invasion have to live embarrassingly small? And the attack that started with really awesome capping moves and good shapes somehow went nowhere.

You can have a stronger player look at the sequence, try other moves and find a slightly better one. Or they can tell you that the direction was wrong. The latter is much more instructive!


I guess I should thank you personally for pointing me in this direction [pun not intended]. This has nothing to do with Go, but I recently had a conversation with a musician friend about how improvement sometimes feels like the exact opposite and he made the point that often one’s development in a particular area is characterised by the realisation that there’s a whole area of ignorance, that you have, that previously was unknown to you. Or to put it another way, realising you’re crap at something you weren’t even aware of before.

Anyway, we all see things differently and I think a discussion of the subject would be beneficial to me [and at least one other] No one perspective can capture all the detail.

Thanks again :slight_smile: