The ten golden rules

If you keep these in mind when you play...

While I was reading Cho HunHyun's Go with the Flow, I came across a set of rules in the book, called "Ten Golden Rules of Go" written by Wang Jixin. Somehow I have never heard of it and wanted to share it with you. Unfortunately there are not much info about Wang Jixin and The Ten Golden Rules are attributed to him. Here is what I have found about Wang Jixin in internet:

Wang Jixin was a Go player in China during the Tang dynasty. Wang the Firewood Collector - the strongest player of his day (early 8th c.). He originally made a living collecting firewood but eventually became the official Hanlin Academy go tutor to the go mad Emperor Xuan Zong. There are many go tales from this period and Wang features in several.

But the actual list seems to be known first from a text of the Ming dynasty (1368~1644) by Liu Zhongda. In this the first maxim is given in the form bude tan sheng (you cannot be greedy and win).

There is a rumor in Japan that the list is the work of Honinbo Shusaku. This has caused a certain amount of umbrage in China.

There are several interpretations of the rules:

  1. The greedy do not get success

  2. Be unhurried to enter opponent´s territory

  3. Take care of oneself when attacking the other

  4. Discard a stone to gain sente

  5. Abandon small to save big

  6. When in danger, sacrifice

  7. Make thick shape, avoid hasty moves

  8. A move must respond to the opponent's

  9. Against strong positions, play safely

  10. Look for peace, avoid fighting in an isolated or weak situation

Here is another one:

  1. Greed fails!

  2. Do not rush in

  3. Check self, then hunt

  4. Drop stones to lead

  5. Drop small, save big

  6. When chased, drop bags!

  7. Play thick, not thin

  8. Fight back, bow not!

  9. Near strength, play safe

  10. Where weak, dodge fights

I found good explanations of the rules in the lifein19x19 forum:

  1. Greed fails - if you try to take too much, you may give an opportunity

  2. Do not rush in - this seems to be the same idea as the proverb about invading one move before an opponent's moyo becomes territory

  3. Check self, then fight - many books tell you to check your weaknesses before starting an attack. It's like putting on your armour before going into battle

  4. Drop stones to lead - one interpretation is that you should let go of small groups in order to keep sente, that the gain of making a move in sente is greater than the loss of a single stone or two at the edge; more subtly, one should judge the value of an area (follow-ups, potential, etc.) before you defend it - it could be more lucrative to play elsewhere

  5. Drop small, save big - Takao, especially, is fond of telling you to let go of "kasuishi" (unimportant stones). Learn to judge what is big, what is important, and drop stones that no longer have any value.

  6. When chased, drop bags - if you are under attack by a gang of thugs, you might want to drop any bags that you don't absolutely have to keep at all costs, because it will help you to run faster and jump into a safer place

  7. Play thick, not thin - leaving critical weaknesses behind might gain a temporary lead, but you will pay in the end

  8. Fight back, bow not - this one is translated at "Each move must respond to the opponent". I take this to mean not just responding passively, but rather to mean matching up to every blow and refusing to yield (unless it's in your interests to do so)

  9. Near strength, play safe - don't leave cuts lying around if you can't afford to lose something, don't start playing near thickness, don't make trouble when people nearby are carrying weapons

  10. Where weak, dodge fights - see above: it's better to let go of something, than to fight for it all and lose it all

That's it for now. Thanks for reading. If you have anything to add, share the knowledge and comment below..