Divine move in everyone


Some say that ‘There is that of God in everyone.’ so after encountering the idea of the Divine Move in “Hikaru No Go” and then reading about it here:

I say that: There is that of the Divine Move in everyone.

What are the properties of a divine move? Well one definition is that it is simply perfect play. I find that holy unsatisfactory because towards the end of a game there are demonstrably perfect moves that are merely correct play, not divine.

A divine move should have the following properties:

  • A winning move. However; when the margin of victory is irrelevant (as on OGS) then it need not provide the largest possible margin.
  • A surprising move. An obvious move lacks any divine aura, even if it is perfect or better than anticipated.
  • It should surpass analysis. Anything divine is usually considered to be not wholly knowable so a divine move must come from a combination of intuition and analysis and defy total analysis. (Surprisingly this seems to exclude an all-knowing God from being able to play divine moves but they might appear divine to us.)
  • An inspiring move. Such a move lifts the game of Go in our eyes. It allows us to glimpse the Spirit of Go and wonder at the undiscovered possibilities.

and therefore I believe that any enthusiastic Go player may, on rare occasions, touch the face of Go.


I’m pretty sure most go players call a “divine move” as a move that turns a game from losing to winning on its own (i.e.: Without the opponent making a mistake), which meets two of your criteria (winning and surpassing analysis) by definition, and another (surprising) through implication. Inspiring just usually follows.

There was a time when people believed the wedge in the fourth Lee Sedol v. AlphaGo match was one such move, although if I recall this has been debunked.


If a move turns a game from losing to winning without your opponent making a mistake your position was already winning.


But the move we’re talking about is the one after which the opponent can’t do anything about it anymore, right?

If you played some other move than this one, your opponent may or may not be able to defeat you, but after this one, they can’t unless you make a mistake.


Mind you, I’m far more intimate with the “dumbarse move”, which is where you were definitely winning, but after you play it you can’t win unless your opponent makes a mistake. :wink:


Oh yes :slight_smile: I’m familiar with that one too.

In addition to earlier definitions I would add that a “divine move” should appear to a well trained eye, at first glance, to be a bad move, or at least very strange one. Everyone should look at that move and think “how did you even come to consider that as an option”.


Same here … and I’m afraid some (if not even most) of these began with the intention of a diabolic move.

Hybris! Hybris!


I made a move, then looked at it again and hollered “Oh My God!” Is that a sign that I made a divine move and recognized it?


For me that is usually a sign of too late recognition of the ‘dumbarse’ move…


True, and that’s what confused me when I first read about it, but it does carry the idea that it was a move completely missed by analysis that could turn what a professional would believe to be a losing position into a winning one.