The Divine Move?

Is this concept (from Hikaru No Go) more than just a plot device for the motivation of Sai?

It doesn’t make much sense to me… the idea that there is “A move that Go players are seeking for”

It was the lead-in for the spin-off movies two decades later. I admire their long con. :woman_shrugging::+1:


Well, from the perspective of both players having complete information about the game, there’s no such thing as a “good move”: you either make no mistakes (then you’re really strong, tough luck for your opponent, nothing they can do about it), or you do and must hope your opponent doesn’t catch it.

But probably the plot device is this player that can manage to play moves that would appear to be an error, but turn out to be good?

(disclaimer: I don’t know what you’re talking about really)

1 Like

Elaborating on the concept: supposedly the ghost of the ancient Wei-Chi-Master is haunting people and helping them play Go while he searches for “The Divine Move”.

“Please keep playing for me just this one more game, I am so close to the Divine Move”.

It’s the plot device that drives the whole series on.

Sounds delusional in multiple ways to me :stuck_out_tongue:

There is something like the “divine game”, though, where the winning player plays according to an actual winning strategy (one that wins from any opponent).


I don’t think there’s a move to end all moves, but this concept of divine moves isn’t unique to Hikaru no Go. I like to think of it like divine inspiration: a move that was in our collective blind spots that suddenly becomes known to the player only explainable by intervention from a higher power.


*only explainable by intervention from a higher power KataGo.


Eh, if we’re going serious:

I think it a somewhat brilliant guess/ oracle thing from the writer, about what the game was “gifted” by AI. I don’t know if in the late 90s what we now take for granted, after less than a decade really, was a possibility in this particular form, but my impression was that Sai is looking for that extraordinary whole - board joseki, where the balance applies to the goban as a whole and not locally.

(there’s probably a more eloquent way to put it, but I guess dead of night is not the time)


The idea that the board should be taken as a whole came way before AI! (And computers :slight_smile:)

You haven’t watched Hikaru?!

1 Like

Yeah - that’s in line with the “divine game” that benjito suggested.

(The point not being that the board should be taken as a whole, but rather that the whole game can be seen the whole time, in the Divine Game)

Nope… Maybe I should.

Let’s see if I can find the manga in Japanese, would be good language practice

Yep, I know.
We were never so close though, because computing possibilities is way, way, way out of our capabilities.

You’re not alone. Ive read like one page

1 Like

It would be interesting to see if you can watch it (the anime) and I guess the same for the live action, but this belongs in “the other” thread

Adding: Sai can’t reach the Divine Move without playing. He was legendary before, and when he played more, incorporating what people had discovered in between, he became even more legendary.
AI multiplies the effect, but the point is always that the Move will be revealed by playing.
Giants on the shoulders of giants etc.


As an old player not used of mangas, I encourage both of you to watch it. You may book a full weekend with stock of eating/drinking, even invite others to join.


I believe phrases like “Divine Move” or “Hand of God” were used before Hikaru no Go, and are well-known as a concept other than just a reference to the series.

I think it’s a highly subjective thing and doesn’t necessary mean just a single move either, but rather an entirely brilliantly played game against a very strong opponent that challenges one to rise to greatness. I think when Sai expresses his ambition to play the “divine move” or achieve the “hand of God”, what he is essentially saying is that he is still hoping to play his ultimate masterpiece game, one where he demonstrates nothing short of an overwhelming strength that could only be compared to God. His unfinished business is to perform such an unparalleled magnum opus.

In recent times, another example where the phrase was used was during the Lee Sedol vs AlphaGo match. In particular, Gu Li, while providing the official Chinese commentary, exclaimed “the hand of God” when Lee Sedol played move 78 of game 4.

EDIT: here’s a video of Gu Li and other commentators making the exclamation 神之一手 on seeing move 78.

We discussed this particular move in another thread, starting here:

Go Pro Yeonwoo also made a video about it:

Relevant Sensei’s Library article: Kami No Itte at Sensei's Library


I always interpreted the term (神の一手, kami no itte) as »perfect play«.

I think it makes little sense with regard to a single move. Who hasn’t made a move that all commenters, AI and human alike, would regard as »the only move« or »AI choice«?

It may start to make sense to describe a longer sequence of plays that have a significant impact on the outcome of a game. I guess that most people would agree that a complete game played without objective mistake would somehow manifest »the hand of god«.

However, and this is also alluded to in Hikaru no Go, playing such a perfect game requires an opponent of equal strength.

Finally, I’d guess that nobody would expect from humans to remain perfect ever after.


Interesting that kami no itte can be translated just as happily as move of the gods, considering the ambiguous pluralisation.

No-one says that only one kami is referred to, right? And as there are so many kami, it’s perhaps better called a move of a god rather than move of god?

Also, compare divine move to godlike move. Slightly different connotations?
Or even mystical move or supernatural move?

I think the most faithful translation of kami no itte is just kami move, keeping the specifics obscure.

1 Like