The Spirit of Go?

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In my view, the spirit of Go is universal. After all, Go, in one popular legend, originated as a simulation of the universe by astrologers. It encompasses all aspects of Bartle’s taxonomy of player types by emphasizing achievement (increased rank and won games), exploration (great depth of Go and creativity of play), socialization (Go as “Hand Talk”), and killing (both groups of stones and overcoming competition with others). The spirit of Go must also include the tradition of etiquette that has been built up around the game—that of respecting opponents, playing only the best moves you can find, and abstaining from trickery (which disrespects the opponent by assuming they won’t make the best possible replies).


I’d say that the spirit of the game, for me, is not mastering the game itself (since that is obviously impossible and even top pros consider such mastery to be a “work in progress”), but mastering yourself.

Go is imho the perfect medium through which one can train a lot of aspects of their own personality … be those aspects greed, the desire to always win, the inability to accept or handle mistakes, the thrill of the victory instead of the joy of playing, Go is there to tap you at the wrist and teach you moderation :

That you cannot be very greedy
That you cannot always win
That you will make mistakes
That you will have to adapt and do not give up
That you will have to learn to enjoy the process, not only the result
and so forth …

One could argue that this could be the spirit of gaming in general, but Go being one of the most intricate games of all, I consider that it has the most qualities, the most lessons to provide its players … so all that (and more) embodies for me the spirit of Go.


Thank you for your response. I find myself agreeing with everything you said. And indeed you have given me food for thought. the same can be said for what you, @JethOrensin said.

I have read before that the Go board and the game is little more than a mirror, and it isnt your opponant that you are fighting, you are simply fighting yourself. I personally find that to be true, but it also says a lot about the mentality and spirit of go.

@mark5000 I shall be taking a further look in to those links you posted, when i can be bothered to read a whole conversation XD.


It is complexity arising from simplicity, which is the nature of the universe itself.


Go is both deep and simple, in a way that sets it apart from many other games that are so often shallow and complicated.


The core nature of Go is self exploration and the pursuit of ever greater, but unobtainable, mastery. Competition, against yourself, is the cornerstone of every action that we take. In pursuance of deeper understanding, we are constantly skirting the edge of obtaining knowledge we once viewed, in the hands of others, with awe.

Because that understanding is hard won and requires endless excavation of the mind, heart, and spirit. Endlessly we dig deeper, looking for truths hidden in plain sight. We are never finished, endlessly disquieted, and insatiable passion endures. For what we are after is our own truth. The kind only obtained by journeying inward, along a path of dedicated deduction winding through halls of rumination and perseverance.

Every element, concept, and fact that we can assess, compute, and evaluate with our poetry and heart felt verses, is true. For Go embodies the entire spectrum of what can perceived and felt; the good and the bad, beautiful and ugly. But like the deepest love, there are aspects that mere words can never touch.

Within our beloved, lies an intangible essence that cannot be quantified. But it can be perceived by the heart and mind. This unknowable, immeasurable, indisputable substance, is the spirit of Go. It is why we play, what we chase, and what our hearts forever long to know better.


I came across a great quote somewhere - “…Backgammon is a game aginst fate, Chess is a game against an opponent, Go is a game against yourself” :grinning:


I very rarely have anyone to blame for my defeat but myself. :sweat_smile:


I know that feeling a little too well XD.


“…Backgammon is a game aginst fate, Chess is a game against an opponent, Go is a game against yourself”

Yes the spirit of Go for me is: “Being beat-up and left for dead, and then standng back up again for another beating by another stronger opponent.”

I don’t know if there’s any space for spirit in that? Perhaps the spirit is in “the effort to stand back up again”? Or just accepting anger against the opponent is useless, work harder if you still want to be better.

It reminds me of those training/recruitment ordeals: "C’mon say it! Say you want to QUIT! Say it!! "


From Killer of Go by Sakata Eio 9p:


That was a delight to read thank you… do you know where I might read more like that?

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Does anyone know what happened to Yoda Norimoto recently? Like his master Fujisawa Hideki, the life in the real world is a mess, but is very abundant in the spiritual world of Go. Almost all the energy and efforts wered edicated to Go. But today they are quickly surpassed by artificial intelligence. Maybe we should ask, what is the meaning of making ourselves stronger in the era of AI Go. You don’t want to run faster than the car, nor want to process data more than your computer.
For one who has dedicated himself to Go for more than 30 years like me, this is definitely not a denial of Go, but that Go must have a more none-technical meaning for me. For the ancient Chinese, Go is an image metaphor for Yi-jing (the Book of Changes).

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I used to send the Kifu of Sakata to the AI analysis. As a result, many moves are different from the advices given by AI. Perhaps stronger players may have other opinions, but my understanding of AI Go is that: in the beginning the aim is to take more territories as soon as possible in order to gain an advantage in points, but in the mid-game, it will choose a thick type so that to gain an advantage in attack and defense.

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When we see a thick potential or influence on the board of Go, our brain will automatically produce a black or white mist image in those emptiness zones. This automaticly supplemetary function of our brain is the source of all poetry and art. I remember that a master of Go once told me: Pursuing Go is like pursuing a girl. Her most beautiful time is when you have not succeeded in pursuing her. As she gradually becomes your girlfriend or wife, her beautiful image gradually dissipates like a mist. For AI, there is no mist, only calculations. This is also the reason why Takemiya Masaki’s Go has an artistic effect for humans, but for AI, this center-oriented operation mode will be given a lower winning percentage.


He was an outcast from the island sailing across the sea
Bending the horizon bearing with the breeze
Searching for a treasure buried long ago
'Cause nothing lasts forever except what you don’t know

But he weren’t afraid of dying or stepping through that door
The compass started reeling and he stared into the storm

Soon everything was rolling and rolling like a hound
And an angry ton of water knocked him to the ground

And it kinda stands to reason
It was hurricane season

He was hanging in the darkness holding to the land
Faces in the water of folks he’d left behind
Saying ‘boy you must be crazy should have stayed at home
Stuck with what you’d started, stuck with what you know’

And the sea had come to take him and snuff him like a light
In the black and heavy water in the black and heavy sight

And it kinda stands to reason
It was hurricane season


He called up to the angels he called into the deep
Said ‘God if you can hear me give me some relief’
And He didn’t ask for favours didn’t want to ask for gold
Only one possession possession of a soul

‘I’m begging for your mercy I’m begging to you please
I’m just a simple traveler lost upon the sea’

And it kinda stands to reason
It was hurricane season

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Does the song and lyrics you share have anything to do with Go? Are you sharing poetry? I’m trying to draw a correlation between your post and what you shared with me :slight_smile:.


This isn’t really Go related but I wanted to respond to this particular part of your comment. Frankly, it is an excuse to talk about something that I love and I’m going to take it :blush:

It sounds like this individual wasn’t happy with his choices in women. I’ve been married for 17 years. Without a shadow of a doubt, honestly and truly, my wife is hotter to me today than she has ever been before. One thing I often explain to my boys (I have five sons ages 4-14) is how important it is to find someone that you like as a person, versus someone you are attracted to. Especially since the mind, scientifically proven, reconfigures it’s criteria for what is attractive as you emotionally fall in love with a person.

So all of these years later, I’m more attracted to her than ever, as I’ve never loved her more. And we’ve been to hell and back again in our relationship. We’ve seen every possible side of each other and know the deepest darkness inside each other’s mind and soul. There are no rose colored glasses or illusory persona’s at work here. Because of this, I love her even more. I have a comfort with her that I do not share with anyone else. This magnifies my feelings and in turn magnifies my attraction.

Before I met her I chased after the skinny model types. When I met her, she was 16, overweight, and nothing like I had ever considered “desirable” before. Now, even when thinking about other women, it is her template of pretty that I find myself thinking about. Skinny model types just don’t do it for me. And they haven’t for what feels like a lifetime :heart:


All aesthetic judgments are very subjective. It is like a picture drawn by the little prince. Whether it is simply a hat or a snake that swallows an elephant into its stomach, depends on the different judgments of each person. For me, the board of Go is like an ocean, the ocean is like my mind, and my mind reflects my universe. I am looking for an answer inside that universe. But “I’m just a simple traveler lost upon the sea.”

Glad to hear that your relationship with wife is better than ever. And thank you for sharing your experience.


Here comes the ocean
And the waves down by the sea
Here comes the ocean
And the waves where have they been

Silver and black lit night, here’s to a stealer’s night
An empty splendid castle
Glowering alone at night, the princess has had a fight
Madness seeks out a lover

And here come the waves
Down by the shore
Washing the soul of the body
That comes form the depth of the sea

Here comes the ocean
And the waves down by the sea
Here comes the ocean
And the waves where have they been

Don’t swim tonight my love, the tide is out my love
Malcolm’s curse haunts our family
Odious loud and rich, ruler of filthy seas
Revel in heaven’s justice

And here come the waves
And save for a scream
There’s much like a song to be heard
In the wind that blows by the sea
Like the wind

Here come the waves
Here come the waves
Here come the waves
Here come the waves

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I tip my artistic hat to you sir :blush:. Well said (clapping). Thank you very much for sharing this with me :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Related to the sentiment of my previous post, here is a quote from the chess international master and go player Edward Lasker

While the Baroque rules of chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go.

Edward Lasker