Glossary of go
More extensive lists of Japanese go terms exist elsewhere — for example at Sensei's Library or at Wikipedia — but this page is simply for me to keep track of those I should know! Equivalent terms in Chinese and Korean exist too, of course, but Japanese terms are commonly used when discussing go in English. English word order is used because I'm most likely to refer to this list from English-language documents in future, but Japanese kana are given for pronounciation.
- More literally taste, but in go means something like a feeling about the lingering possibilities left and prospects for a position. Bad aji means your stones have bad shapes and bad prospects. For this term, translation is kinda hard.
- (1) an empty point or liberty next to a stone. (2) a neutral area of little or no benefit to either side, usually an empty region between two opposing forces that would be filled eventually without any effect on the score.
- The rank of a professional or stronger amateur.
- An opening pattern of the whole board. The pattern of the initial placing of stones in the beginning stage of the game.
- The net shape.
- Antonym of sente. The player is in gote if they have lost the initiative. A move has gote if it loses the initiative for the player, because it doesn't compel the opponenent to reply, thus giving them sente.
- A move that goes or reaches/wraps/bends around one or more of the opponent's stones. When you play a stone in contact with your opponent's, but they are diagonally separated from your existing stones, and make a cutting point.
- The proper move, a choice that's solid, doesn't introduce any weaknesses and for which there's a clear continuation.
- A star point, the points marked by little dots where the handicap stones are placed.
- The situation where black and white have an equal number of points at the end of the game. A draw.
- A standard, studied sequence of moves, usually taking place in the corner, for which the result is considered balanced or even for both black and white. Sometimes used to describe an optimal sequence of moves, the best continuation, but even doesn't mean locally optimal nor even whole-board optimal.
- keima, ケイマ.
- A (small) knight's move, a pattern of two go stones which are two intersections away in one axis and one intersection away on the other.
- A record of the moves of a game, usually a complete record created by a game recorder (kiroku-gakari, 記録係, 'registrar') on pre-printed forms.
- A situation where two alternating single stone captures would cause a repetition of the original board position, thus creating a loop in the sequence of board positions.
- The *rule of kō* states that if one player captures the kō, the opponent cannot recapture the kō immediately.
- A *kō threat* is a form of distracting play where the loop is broken by some move elsewhere on the board demanding an immediate reply.
- A *kō fight* involves the players alternating between making kō threats and recapturing the kō.
- komi, コミ, 込み(?). More fully, komidashi, コミ出し.
- Points added to white's score as compensation for having to go second. Conventionally it is a half-integer in order to prevent a tied game (jigo). Komi is not fixed but under current Japanese rules it is 6.5.
- The rank of a weaker amateur. Beginners start at 30-kyū, progress to 1-kyū, and from there acquire a dan rank.
- A pair of empty points on the board such that playing at either is of the same value. Miai describes the situation where if one player take one of the points, their opponent can take the other, often essentially yielding the same result.
- A framework for potential territory, usually consisting of unconnected stones distanced from each other. An omoyō (
大 模 様) is a large-scale framework.
- seki, せき
- Mutual life. The impasse that occurs when two live groups share liberties which neither of them can fill without reducing their own liberties to zero and inevitably dying. There may be two points for which if either player plays at either, the other will capture or form two eyes, etc., so neither will. Simple examples are at Sensei's Library and Wikipedia. The area will remain untouched but will not be scored for territory.
- Antonym of gote, the closest concept in English is initiative. A player with sente isn't currently compelled to respond to their opponent's move (and it's their turn). A move that strongly compels an opponent to play a particular follow-up move is said to have sente. There are several other derived meanings.
- The Japanese word for the core concept of life and death. 'Alive' or 'dead' is an attribute of a group of stones, referring to whether they can remain indefinitely on the board, or whether they will be surely captured.
- The centre of the board, literally origin of heaven.
- Ignoring the opponent's last move and playing somewhere else on the board. This is usually to break out of gote and gain sente, and often by accepting some loss in position. Not to be confused with tanuki (
狸), but I do.
手 筋, from 筋'line of play'
- A skilled and clever move, often the best play from a (local) position. The antonym is zokusuki (
俗 筋, 'vulgar move'), typically unsophisticated move that loses position more than necessary.
- The nuclear tesuji refers to "throwing the Go board against the wall, denting the wall and the board, prior to uppercutting ones opponent".
- Problems or puzzles made so that players can practice. The problems usually concern life and death — keeping your groups alive or killing your opponent's.
From other languages
- kibitz, from Yiddish קיבעצן (kibetsn)
- To give unsolicited or unwanted advice or commentary to people trying to play a game.