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Korschelt states that the ideograph for “Ko” means “talent” or “skilfulness,” in which he is very likely wrong, as it is more accurately translated by our word "threat”; but be this as it may, it is certainly true that the rule in regard to “Ko” gives opportunity for a great display of skill, and as the better players take advantage of this rule with much greater ingenuity, it is a good idea for the weaker player as far as possible to avoid situations where its application arises.
There is a situation which sometimes arises and which might be mistaken for “Ko." It is where a player takes more than one stone and the attacking stone is threatened on three sides, or where only one stone is taken, but the adversary in replying can take not only the last stone played, but others also. In these cases the opponent can retake immediately, because it will at once be seen that an endless exchange of moves (which makes necessary the rule of “ Ko”) would not occur. A situation of this kind is shown on Plate 6, Diagrams III, IV, and v, where White by playing at C 8 (Diagram III) takes the three black stones, producing the situation shown in Diagram iv, and Black is permitted immediately to retake the white stone, producing the state of affairs shown in Diagram v. The Japanese call such a situation “Ute kaeshi,” which means “returning a blow.” It forms no exception to the ordinary rules of the game, and only needs to be pointed out because a beginner might think that the rule of “Ko” applied to it.
We will now take up the situation called “Seki.” “Seki” means a “barrier" or "impasse” – it is a different word from the “Seki” in the phrase “Jo seki.” “Seki” also is somewhat analagous to perpetual check. It arises when a
vacant space is surrounded partly by white and partly by black stones in such a way that, if either player places a stone therein, his adversary can thereupon capture the entire group. Under these circumstances, of course, neither player desires to place a stone on that portion of the board, and the rules of the game do not compel him to do so. That portion of the board is regarded as neutral territory, and at the end of the game the vacant “Me” are not counted in favor of either player. Plate 6, Diagram vi, gives an illustration of “Seki," where it will be seen that if Black plays at either S 16 or T 16 White can kill the black stones in the corner by playing on the other point, and if White plays on either point Black can kill the white stones by filling the remaining vacancy. Directly below, on Diagram VII, is shown the same group, but the corner black stone has been taken out. The position is now no longer “Seki,” but is called by the Japanese “Me ari me nashi,” or literally “having ‘Me,' not having 'Me.' ” Here the white stones are dead, because if Black plays, for instance, at T 4 White cannot kill the black stones by playing at S 4, for the reason that the vacant “Me” at T i still remains. The beginner might confuse “Seki” with “Me ari me nashi,” and while a good player has no trouble in recognizing the difference when the situation arises, it takes considerable foresight sometimes so to play as to produce one situation or the other.
Plate 6, Diagram viii, shows another group which might be mistaken for “Seki,” but here, if White plays at J 19, the black stones can be killed, further proceedings being somewhat similar to those we saw in the illustration of “Go moku naka de wa ju san te.” Plate 7 shows a large
group of stones from which inevitably “Seki” will result. It would be well for the student to work this out for himself. “Seki” very seldom or never occurs in games between good players, and it rarely occurs in any game.
It is a rule of the game to give warning when a stone or group of stones is about to be completely surrounded. For this purpose the Japanese use the word “Atari” (from "ataru,” to touch lightly), which corresponds quite closely to the expression “gardez" in Chess. If this warning were omitted, the player whose stones were about to be taken should have the right to take his last move over and save the imperiled position if he could. This rule is not so strictly observed as formerly; it belongs more to the etiquette of the old Japan.
The game comes to an end when the frontiers of the opposing groups are in contact. This does not mean that the board is entirely covered, for the obvious reason that the space inside the groups or chains of stones is purposely left vacant, for that is the only part of the board which counts; but so long as there is any vacant space lying between the opposing groups that must be disposed of in some way, and when it is so disposed of it will be found that the white and black groups are in complete contact.
Just at the end of the game there will be found isolated vacant intersections or “Me” on the frontier lines, and it does not make any difference which player fills these up. They are called by the Japanese “Dame,” which means "useless." (The word “Dame” is likely to be confusing when it is first heard, because the beginner jumps to the conclusion that it is some new kind of a “Me.” This arises from a coincidence only. Anything that is useless or profitA B C D E F G H J K L M N O P Q R SI