General proverb discussion

If you don’t like go, you won’t play ko.

Don’t play the small points.

If no player takes a corner, keep playing.

People outside of glass houses should throw stones.

Always start a fight if you’re behind.


Another one that I was just reminded of in a game:

You will never get ahead if you push from behind

In the game, opponent pushed from behind, I got ahead :+1: they pushed from behind again, I got ahead again :+1::+1: they pushed from behind a third time. Oh no - you just got cut my friend, hehehe! :smiling_imp:

Also relates to one mentioned above:

Often when there is pushing from behind, the other player can hane at the head. I read one Go writer put it as “You must not allow you opponent to hane at the head of your stones”

So wise up! No more pushing from behind :wink:

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Well, sometimes you have to push from behind a couple times in order to be thick enough to jump ahead without taking huge losses. But you always want to jump ahead as soon as the weaknesses and aji are no longer big enough


Indeed! Kageyama makes this point in his book “Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go”:

You must get ahead at the earliest opportunity

He illustrates this with a example where two pros are struggling to get ahead and both are leaving lots of weaknesses behind. The point being that getting ahead is more important.

Never push from behind unless the weakness is so great that it is unplayable.


Perhaps some of the spirit of that proverb is captured by the go proverb family “lose your first n games as quickly as possible.”?


Another proverb about fists: Only after the 10th punch will you see the fist

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Joke proverb / Go motto from a player on DGS:

Why sacrifice a stone when you can sacrifice two?

which is related to the actual Go proverb:

Add a second stone and sacrifice both

Why? Lots of reasons, e.g.: more aji, reduced eyespace, possibly for forcing moves, etc. See Sensei’s library for more details: Add a second stone and sacrifice both at Sensei's Library


I call that technique the momentum cut.

eg. what Black does in the traditional 5-4 joseki Play Go at! | OGS


Exception: don’t add a stone if it takes just one move to capture them (like pushed in a ladder for ex)
There is an annex proverb on that, each stone you add in a capture is worth 20 points.


I heard two points, or perhaps I heard five. Twenty sounds ridiculous.


Well there is exception of the exception like when you kill an eye or on some snapback for ex…

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Aok rethinking ponnuki is 40 and Bignuki 60, now after that it’s +7 each yes you’re right i was a bit greedy

The proverb is thirty for the ponnuki. (And one of the more dubious proverbs at that, in my opinion.)

I recently heard it justified as “Kageyama says the ponnuki is worth thirty points on an empty board.”

In what universe is it helpful to consider a ponnuki on an empty board?!

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Oo I remember a 40somewhere let’s say there are different opinions.

For some go variant?

It’s funny coincidence that I killed a group tonight, a nice big one and I had before a ponnuki which really helped me a lot

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tbh I never saw the “point value” as actually meaning anything. It’s just big.
Like, ponnuki is just efficient capture. If this happens to also radiate influence in the center, that’s usually a huge deal that can be game deciding even at kyu levels if there isn’t sufficient compensation.


It’s long ago that my opponent allowed me to make a big Niki facing the center… Maybe a nostalgia of DDK time :sob:

4 stone game with free placement of handicap stones :face_with_monocle: I make ponnuki around tengen :rofl:

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It could also be an opening in stone_defender’s Opening Freedom variant, in which komi is decided at some point during the opening in a way dependent on the position.

It’s just not absolute, ponnuki facing the center has more value in the opening as in the small yose…

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