Monthly Archives: June 2006

Go step by step with “Voskhojdenie”

… continuation …

Igor Grishin: 10 rules of playing Go (or Weiqi) on the board

1. In the beginning the board is clear.
2. First move is by black, then in turn.
3. A stone is put on a vacant crossing and doesn’t move
4. Players need to divide the board between each other enclosing parts of the board with their stones. Compete in who can enclose more.
5. If one stone or group of stones is surrounded with opponent’s stones and has no connection with vacant crossings, it needs to be taken off the board. Captured stones are kept till the end of the game.
6. There are some forbidden places where one can’t put his or her stone. These are the places where there are no vacant crossings or allied stones nearby but only your opponent’s stones. Self-capturing moves are also prohibited.
7. You can put your stone in “prohibited” place if you capture one or more opponent’s stones with this move. Then the opponent’s stones are taken off the board.
8. You can’t capture a single stone right after it had been used to capture your own single stone. You have to make at least one move somewhere else before such “re-capturing”.
9. The game is over when there are no more segments to be enclosed to make them yours.
10. The winner is the person who has the largest sum of enclosed territory and prisoners.

Timur! I’ve got ten rules.

But some of the rules are not clear enough, do you think? In reality playing is much easier. It is a lot harder to word it. Let the reader try himself, may he can explain the rules easier.

By the way, I have a lot simpler formula that our kids use when instructing beginners.
It sounds like this:

“Go – is a very interesting game,
we begin on a clear board,
first move black, then in turn,
a stone is put on a crossing and can no longer move,
the aim is to divide the board, enclosing it,
stones can be captured,
the captured stones are those that have no more “branches”,
the one who has more territory and captured stones wins.
There is only one rule, that we haven’t mentioned, but we can play without it for now.
Let’s play!”

In my perspective, it is a lot better not only to play Go, but to learn Go. However you call the thing you do so it will be for you. At that occasionally happens so.

That’s why I decide to work out my …

10 rules of how to play Go in life

1. First you have no ideas as well as stones.
2. Life moves first.
3. A stone is a deed and it almost can’t be changed.
4. Playing with life, you should build a territory, where your control is as real as life itself.
5. Your stones-deeds can get surrounded and taken off the board, especially, if they are most precious for you. Life never surrounds useless stones.
6. There are times when deeds are not possible. You will be able to understand it yourself.
7. The moves of reality may become surrounded. If this happens, it’s your serious achievement. But you should be able to determine: was it a sacrifice or you’ve taken stones that were of big value.
8. A ko-fight with reality is as real as everything else.
9. It’s easy to realize when the game is over. If you are still alive – the game goes on.
10. Life usually wins, but according to the theory there should be exceptions.

Timur Saitov: Igor! I’ve never met those rules in any of the books. I only saw the ten commandments of Go. I think I’ll take the risk of giving them here.

The ten commandments of Go

The one who is craving for victory will fail.
If you invaded in the opponent’s sphere of influence, be tolerant.
Look behind before you attack.
If you give up a stone, continue fighting.
Give the lesser things, take the greater things.
If your stones are in danger, give them up without hesitating.
Refrain from scattering.
Whenever your opponent attacks you, fight back immediately.
If your opponent strengthens himself, do the same thing.
If you are isolated with no hope to escape, choose a peaceful path.

I took those from the book of the famous Japanese Master, Otake Hideo.

Now I would like to pass over to the topic of breathing, capturing, and connecting.

Diagram 5

Usually a stone has four breathing spaces. They are marked with crosses in the diagram. If a stone is on the side, it has only three breathing spaces. And if a stone is in the corner it has only two of them.

Diagram 6

White puts a stone by the black one. Now the black stone has three breathing spaces.

Diagram 7

Now the black stone has only one breathing space left. And if white puts another stone…

Diagram 8

… the black stone will lose it’s last breathing space and, according to the rules of Go, it should be taken off the board. The stone is taken off by the player who has covered the last breathing space. Without taking the stone off the move isn’t finished.

Igor Grishin: So then stones in Go die of suffocation?
Timur Saitov: Right you are! It happens just this way.

Diagram 9

Surrounded or “suffocated” stone is taken off the board. For each stone that is taken off you get a point at the end of the game. Situation when the stone had only one breathing space left is called atari in Japanese. This means that a stone or a group of stones may be captured with the next move. To capture any group of your opponent’s stones, you should “cover” all the group’s breathing spaces.

Diagram 10

In this picture black stones surrounded a white stone. This means that white stone should be taken off the board.

Diagram 11

As you can see in Diagram 10 and 11, the easiest is to capture a stone in the corner. To do this you need only two moves as it has only two breathing spaces. A stone placed in the center of the board is the hardest to be captured, as it has four breathing spaces.

If you don’t want a stone to be captured, like in Diagram 9, you should increase the number of breathing spaces, for example, by putting a stone by the first one.

Diagram 12

Two stones have six breathing spaces (can you count them?) and it is harder to capture them.


Such adding of a new stone to a stone on the board is called connection of the stones. Two connected stones are considered a group.

Diagram 14

In the diagram there are two stones. They can be captured separately.

Diagram 15

But being connected those stones are very difficult to capture.

Diagram 16

Beginners may think that the two stones are connected, …

Diagram 17

…but in reality they are not connected as they can be captured separately.

… to be continued …

Go step by step with “Voskhojdenie”

by Igor Grishin, Timur Saitov.
Go School “Voskhojdenie”. Moscow, 2006.

translated by Peter Trofimov, Max Yatskar.
Samara, 2006

Timur Saitov: Hello there!
Igor Grishin: Greetings!
Timur Saitov: So, what is Go? I’ll begin with a joke of yours, by the way.

The Master of Go was asked:
- Master, how do you make your living, even though no one knows what Go actually is?
- I answer the question ‘What is Go?” – the Go Master replied, – and as no one knows what it is, I have enough money.

But in fact, Go is a logical-strategical game, a kind of those “intellectual” ones. It first appeared in China, then it traveled over to Japan and further to Korea and so on. From those Eastern countries it was exported to us. The age of this wonderful game may approach 5000 years.

I’ll tell you a parable:

“A Sage, contemplating the stream of the river near his house, was putting out white stones on a flat cut of a tree-stump every day, creating inimitable pattern.

Everyone has one’s own way to understanding the things…

Maybe he thought, that contemplating the beauty, he will be able to reach the essence of all the things, copying a passing painting of harmony, he might understand everything?

At the same time there was another Teacher, who was obliged to point out on people’s imperfection and defects. He traveled around the world with a sack of black stones and in front of every worthy person he put out some black stones, which were one’s flaw that were crossing his or her way…

So, once upon a time, in the early morning, the Sage arranged himself by a piece of wood and was going to get down to his usual business, when right in front of him appeared a strange man. He laid on the board a black stone, symbolizing the Sage’s flaw. The Sage started meditating trying to find the only defect of his. At last he figured it out and the only thing he was to do is to put out a white stone in return. So the game of Go began: the black stone pointed out the disturbance of harmony, while the white stone restored it.

When both of the sages finished playing they were both relieved and faded away”.

How does Go look like?

A set of Go consist of the following contents:
A board – the field of the game, including 19 vertical and 19 horizontal lines.

N.B. Lines, not squares like in chess.

The field looks the following way:

Boards of 9×9 or 13×13 are very often used for beginners.

The “pieces” in Go are called “stones”. The stones are of two colors, there are 180 stones of each color. Usually the two colors are black and white, but some of the sets contain stones of different colors (for example, red and green). Most common form of stones is lenticular form, but flat stones are also popular. Black stones are usually made a bit bigger than white ones, because black stones look like they are a bit smaller. The stones are made of plastic, glass, ceramics, pottery, sea shells, and even semiprecious stones. The stones are stored in bowls. The bowls are made of wood and are decorated with ornaments.

The Basic Rules of Go

Go is played by two players at a time. One of them plays with black stones and another one plays with white stones. First the black player moves, then white and so on. As soon as a stone is on the board it can no longer be moved (but under particular circumstances it can be taken off the board).

The aim of the game is to surround as much territory as you can with your stones. The territory is all the vacant crossings of the lines. The side crossings are counted as well. As soon as there are no more useful moves left both players say “pass”. The game is over.

Diagram 1

There are six white stones in this diagram that surrounded 9 points in the corner.

Diagram 2

There six white stones on the side surrounded 4 points of territory.

Diagram 3

In the center white stones have only 2 points, but they still used six stones.

From all these examples we can come up to a conclusion, that to surround points in the corner or on the side is much wiser than to do it in the center.

Diagram 4

Here is an example of a finished game. The game is meant to be over when all the territory is divided between the players. Black has 16 points and white has 17 points. White won by a point.

… to be continued …

The “Russian Way of Go” in English

The Russian Go School “Voskhojdenie” is launching a new project called “Russian Way of Go”. We are planning to create a series of publications in English describing the unique teaching method of Igor Grishin. The main idea of this method is to use Go for improving student’s creative abilities, logic, aesthetic sense and communication skills.

We will be glad to present you:

− Go step by step with “Voskhojdenie”
− “How to teach your child…”
− “To think and to win” – selected chapters from the book

All the books and brochures are illustrated by Sania Mamleeva.

The books will be available soon for our readers all over the world.
We are also inviting all publishing companies and magazines to cooperation.

List of the Russian Internet sites concerning Go game

Igor Grishin: Timur, let’s give a list of the Internet sites, that can be useful for beginners and strong players or will help them to find answers to the questions we haven’t looked through here.

Timur Saitov: Ok, here are some websites in Russian:

The game of Go for beginners
Russian Go portal
Go Forum
Go in Korea
FAQ on the game of Go
Go teaches us to see
Go Federation News
Classic Go in Diagrams
Images of Go
Go kindergarten
Dances on Goban
Jokes from the Master of Go
The Go Federation
Snail slowly climb up the hill of stones
the game of Go and Tea club where you can play the game

Wish you all the best success in mastering the wisdom of the game of Go. Wish you success in the path of Go.

Mr. Poong-Jho Chun visited Moscow

Mr. Poong-Jho Chun 8 pro dan recently came to Moscow. Mr Chun is a famous master of Baduk. Thanks to him Go-game in Russia is developing well now. Russian Go professionals – A. Dinerchtein and S. Shikshina had an opportunity to study Baduk in Korea by Mr. Chun’s protection.

Mr Poong-Jho Chun the famous korean Baduk master

We hope that Mr. Chun will evolve relations between Korea’s Baduk community and new Russian Go community and The Go Federation (Moscow, Russia).