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Go proverb

Go proverbs are "words of perceived wisdom" relating to the game of Go, generally used to assist weaker players determine a good move during a game. They are generalisations and thus a particular proverb will have specific situations where it is not applicable. Knowing when a proverb is inapplicable is part of the process of getting stronger as a Go player. Indeed, several proverbs contradict each other - however they agree in as much as they are advising the player to pay attention to the stated situation.

Several books relating to Go proverbs have been written, for example Go proverbs illustrated by Segoe Kensaku[?] was published in 1960. Such books do not just quote the proverb but spend their pages explaining the meaning and application of the proverbs.

The proverbs listed here come from many sources, including the "Contents page" of such books.

  • On the second line eight stones live but six stones die.
  • In the corner six stones live but four stones die.
  • On the third line, four will die but six will live.
  • An eye of six points in a rectangle is alive.
  • For rectangular six in the corner to live, liberties are necessary.
  • The comb formation is alive.
  • The Carpenter's square becomes ko.
  • The weak Carpenter's square is dead.
  • There is death in the hane.
  • Hane at the head of two stones.
  • Hane at the head of three stones.
  • Strange things happen at the 1-2 points.
  • Play in the centre of a symmetrical formation.
  • Your enemy's key point is your own key point.
  • In a semeai capture the ko on the final play.
  • Learn the Eye-stealing tesuji.
  • Don't make empty triangles.
  • Don't make dangos.
  • Strike at the waist of the knight's move.
  • Don't peep at both sides of a bamboo joint.
  • If you have secured all four corners then you have won.
  • If you have secured all four corners then you have lost.
  • Don't peep at a cutting point.
  • Never try to cut bamboo joints.
  • The monkey jump is worth 8 points.
  • If you don't understand ladders then don't play Go.
  • Ponnuki is worth 30 points.
  • Don't play 1, 2, 3 - Just play 3.
  • In a fight, contact plays strengthen the underdog.
  • You only have one weak group. Your other weak groups are dead.
  • Keep your stones connected.
  • Separate your opponent's stones.
  • Add a second stone to one on the third line then abandon both.

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