Term for bad sente

In a couple of her columns in Koreatimes, Chihyung Nam discusses the concept of “bad sente” (e.g., when a player gets the habit of trying to do sente moves all the times even if these forces the opponent to live where s/he could have been killed if the forcing move had not been played). Is there any Japanese term for bad sente?


Sounds like aji keshi


Aji keshi has a slightly different nuance to bad sente which is more general. I.e. there are moves I would describe as bad sente but not aji keshi (even though if you said “but it IS aji keshi” I might be hard pressed to win the argument, it’s just not the natural language for it). But all aji keshi are bad sente. I’m not aware of a Japanese term for bad sente adopted into the english go lexicon, and why do we need it as “bad sente” is clear and concise already.


I was just wondering since it is a useful concept (especially for beginners). When I read her columns, I realized that this is a vice I have.

Yeah i dont know if theres japanese term for it, but its indeed good to remember that sente gains nothing - some move being sente doesnt yet make it necessarily a good one ^^


Everybody plays bad sente or aji keshi moves, even quite strong players. Only the frequency of such moves tends to go down as players get stronger.

1 Like

Idk, 30k may be safe. Can’t play bad sente if you don’t know what sente is!

1 Like

According to Thank You Move at Sensei's Library there is “arigatai te”.

1 Like

A larger concept but i dunno if it would be so useful.
Sente is a useful concept in itself, so i would better say something like “abuse of sente” is worthless or one can’t have sente all the time or good timing is crucial…
Aji keshi seems a more precise term considering the examples given maybe, but restrained as what could evoke “bad sente”

People can make bad sente moves for a variety of reasons.

  • (Generally DDK:) push without cutting, just because it makes one point in sente, or just because it’s sente.
  • Peep instead of cutting, thus helping the opponent to repair their weakness.
  • Peep at every one-space jump because they are afraid to die, while strengthening their opponent.
  • Make many contact moves because they are afraid to die, while strengthening their opponent.
  • Make endgame moves on the 2nd or 1st line too early just because they make points, while losing a possibility of an invasion later.

So I don’t think “bad sente” is an interesting concept in itself. More useful is to know why the move is bad.

1 Like

Behind comes the “timing”, one of the highest concepts of the game…
See a old book (german only) from Mattern on this.

What is the title of that German book?

Ok i searched, here

1 Like

Thinking about what makes aji keshi different to bad sente, aji keshi tend to be moves which do do something good, but there is a choice of several good things, and maybe some of the others are better, or often you simply did it too early before it was clear which one was best so its better to keep the exchange in reserve until you have more information to decide the best way to play. It’s about destroying other possibilities. Bad sente on the other hand, particularly from weaker players, are often moves that don’t even do anything good.

In Japanese, otetsudai (お手伝い, helping others) is often used for such harmful sente moves.

1 Like

Bad sente was more used to describe the mentality that you have nothing to lose by making a sente move even if it in fact sometimes helps the other player or doesn’t really achieve anything.

One way to progress is to try to keep the most liberties and choices, let say the most oxygen to your stones. Overuse of sente is on the opposite side.

1 Like

That applies especially to the bad habit of some players to push into everything and lose important liberties as a result.