Go, also known as the encircling game, is a war game. Go is also a psychological game. Psychological warfare is - simply defined - the united actions of one party intended to reduce the opponent’s morale.
Before I come to the inevitable question, let me present a fascinating example of historical psychological warfare:
On March the 15th, 1783, none the less than George Washington pulled off a brilliant coup of psychological warfare. The event is known in history books as the Newburgh address. The Newburgh conspiracy was a mob of officers in the Continental Army, whose aims were to start a military rebellion against the then-new United States Congress. In a meeting held to appease the rebels and attempt to forestall the movement, Washington was not scheduled to speak, but showed up. The astonished intended speaker relinquished the podium to Washington, and he took the stage in front of the armed and unruly mob of rebels.
What matters here is not so much the text of the address itself, but Washington’s clever trick before the address. Fumbling in his pocket for his spectacles, he said, “Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.” This caused the men to understand that the legend before them had suffered and sacrificed far greater than they had. The realization stung and disheartened the rebels, many of whom threw down their weapons and left in tears of shame on the spot.
Taken from Michael T. Stevens’ The Art of Psychological Warfare. How to Skillfully Influence People Undetected and How to Mentally Subdue Your Enemies in Stealth Mode (2016).
Okay, here it is. Bet you saw this one coming
Does psychological warfare play a role in go? And if so, what role?