View Full Version : The Game of Go & The Martial Arts - Part II

3rd September 2000, 06:21

Allow me to quote some more from the article by Fred D. Baldwin, Ph.D. entitled "The Game of Go & The Martial Arts".

On Go and War ...

"If [western] chess resembles a pitched battle between two hierarchically organized armies already in place on a small battlefield, Go is more like a full-scale war over a large territory. Or, considered as a battle, it resembles what military writers call a *meeting engagement,* in which two opposing armies come together unexpectedly and must engage in combat without time for pre-deployment. Commanders push newly arrived units to fight for high ground, to exploit gaps in the enemy's lines, or to contain any breakthroughs made by the enemy. (The best known meeting engagement in American military history is the battle of Gettysburg.)"

Interesting statement when coupled with a little related history (also from the article) ...

"The Japanese daimyo class, feudal masters and samurai, can certainly be credited with having had informed opinions on matters related to the martial arts. So it seems pertinent that the sixteenth-century warlord Oda Nobunaga was an avid go player who encouraged his lieutenants to study the game. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, sponsored the first all-Japan go tournament, Hideyoshi's successor, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who made himself the first shogun and founded the dynasty that lasted from 1603 to 1867, created a government office for the development of go, laying the foundation for Japan's subsequent pre-eminence at the game.

"To be sure, the daimyo also encouraged poetry, flower arrangement, calligraphy, and the tea ceremony. But Go's attractions were not merely aesthetic. A historian of the game has written: 'In the 12th century, the warrior class decisively supplanted the aristocracy as the effective rulers of the country. For the next five centuries, a period of almost continual warfare, the game [of Go] was highly regarded because the warrior generals believe[d] that the study of its tactics and strategies was good moral and intellectual training for the operations of armies in the field. Many great warlords kept a teacher-in-residence, usually a lay monk, to provide instruction for himself and his officers. -- Richard Bozulich'"

BTW ... Nikkai (Honinbo Sansa), a monk of the Nichiren sect of buddhism, was the first to be called "meijin" (expert, or master of Go) (called this by Oda Nobunaga) and the first to later hold the government office for the development of go established by Tokugawa Ieyasu.

An interesting tidbit (quoting Andrew Grant as posted at: http://www.honinbo.freeserve.co.uk/ )... "In 1582 Nikkai was summoned to the Honnoji temple in Kyoto to play a game against his main rival, Kashio Rigen, in Nobunaga’s presence. A triple ko is said to have arisen in this game, requiring the game to be abandoned. ...

"This game is one of the most famous in go history because of what happened next. The reunification of Japan was still far from complete, and heavy fighting was taking place in the western provinces, where Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Nobunaga’s subordinate generals, was making steady but slow progress. On the night of the triple ko game Nobunaga ordered another subordinate general, Akechi Mitsuhide, to march west to relieve Hideyoshi. Akechi seems to have harboured a secret grudge against Nobunaga, for upon reaching the Katsura River, just west of Kyoto, he turned his troops around, shouting "The enemy is in the Honnoji!", and marched them back, capturing the temple and forcing Nobunaga to commit suicide. Because of this, a triple ko was thereafter regarded as an unlucky omen - not unlucky for the players, just generally inauspicious."

"Ko" is a word that means "eternity" or "eternal" in buddhist terminology and refers to a fairly common board situation in Go that could potentially go on for eternity without being resolved. Therefore, there is a special rule that prevents kos from going on forever. However, if a triple ko (three seperate kos going on at the same time) arises in a game, there cannot be a resolution ... the game will be abandoned.

Until later ... ;)



[Edited by burp on 09-03-2000 at 01:25 AM]

3rd September 2000, 13:13
Is it an official rule that a game must be abandoned if a triple ko arises? I have never heard that, but I don't believe I have ever witnessed it either. Thank you.

5th September 2000, 02:56

A game where a triple-ko arises is always abandoned, because it can't really be finished.