« AnteriorContinuar »
times four more stones are given, and when given they are placed on the diagonal half way between the corner “Seimoku" and the center. These four stones are called “Naka yotsu,” or “the four middle stones,” but such a handicap could only be given to the merest novice.
We have now completed a survey of all the actual rules of the game, and it may be well to summarize them in order that their real simplicity may be clearly seen; briefly, they are as follows:
1. The object of the game is to obtain vacant territory.
2. The stones are placed on the intersections and on any vacant intersection the player chooses (except in the case of “Ko"). After they are played they are not moved
3. (a) One or more stones which are compactly surrounded by the stones of the other side are said to be taken and are at once removed from the board.
(6) Stones which, while not actually surrounded can inevitably be surrounded, are dead, and can be taken from the board at the end of the game without further play.
(c) Taken or dead stones are used to fill up the adversary's territory.
4. The game is at an end when the opposing groups of stones are in absolute contact (the case of “Seki” being the single exception).
It is not possible to imagine a game with simpler rules, or the elements of which are easier to acquire.
We will now turn our attention to a few considerations as to the best methods of play, and of certain moves and formations which occur in every game, and also to the names which in Japanese are used to designate these things.
t an e
GENERAL METHODS OF PLAY AND TERMI
NOLOGY OF THE GAME
As will be shown more in detail in the chapter on Openings or “ Joseki,” the game is commenced by playing in the corners of the board, and generally on one of the squares adjacent to the handicap point. The reason for this is that the corners of the board are natural fortresses, and can be more readily defended against attack. It is also easier to form territory in the corners of the board. Next to the corners of the board the sides of the board are easiest to defend, and territory is more easily formed along the sides than in the center, and in an ordinary game the play generally proceeds from the corners and edges to the center. The importance which the Japanese attach to the corners is shown by their saying “Yo sumi torarete go wo utsu na,” or, “if the four corners are taken, cease playing.” Against a good player it is next to impossible to form territory in the center of the board, unless it is based on one of the sides or corners.
There is, however, an old rule of etiquette which is not consistent with this theory of the opening; it used to be regarded as exceedingly impolite and insulting to play the first stone on the handicap point in the center of the board, called “Ten gen.” It has been explained to me that the reason for this rule is that such a move was supposed to
assure the victory to the first player, and it is related that when on one occasion Murase Shuho had defeated a rival many times in succession, the latter, becoming desperate, apologized for his rudeness and placed his stone on this spot, and Murase, nevertheless, succeeded in winning the game, which was regarded as evidence of his great skill. It has, however, been shown by Honinbo Dosaku that this move gives the first player no decisive advantage, and I have been also told by some Japanese that the reason that this move is regarded as impolite is because it is a wasted move, and implies a disrespect for the adversary's skill, and from what experience I have had in the game I think the latter explanation is more plausible. At all events, such a move is most unusual and can only be utilized by a player of the highest skill.
When good players commence the game, from the first they have in mind the entire board, and they generally play a stone in each of the four corners and one or two around the edges of the board, sketching out, as it were, the territory which they ultimately hope to obtain. They do not at once attack each other's stones, and it is not until the game is well advanced that anything like a hand to hand conflict occurs. Beginners are likely to engage at once in a close conflict. Their minds seem to be occupied with an intense desire to surround and capture the first stones the adversary places on the board, and often their opposing groups of stones, starting in one corner, will spread out in a struggling mass from that point all over the board. There is no surer indication of the play of a novice than this. It is just as if a battle were to commence without the guidance of a commanding officer, by indiscriminate fisticuffs among
the common soldiers. Of the other extreme, or “ Ji dori Go,” we have already spoken. Another way in which the play of experts may be recognized is that all the stones of a good player are likely to be connected in one or at most two groups, while poorer players find their stones divided up into small groups each of which has to struggle to form the necessary two “Me” in order to insure survival.
Assuming that we have advanced far enough to avoid premature encounters or “Ji dori Go,” and are placing our stones in advantageous positions, decently and in order, the question arises, how many spaces can be safely skipped from stone to stone in advancing our frontiers; that is to say, how far can stones be separated and yet be potentially connected, and therefore safe against attack? The answer is, that two spaces can safely be left if there are no adversary's stones in the immediate vicinity. To demonstrate this, let us suppose that Black has stones at R 13 and R 16, and White tries to cut them off from each other. White's best line of attack would be as follows:
and Black has made good his connection, or Black at his fourth move could play at Q 14, then
There are other continuations, but they are still worse for White. If, however, the adversary's stones are already posted on the line of advance sometimes it is only safe to skip one point, and of course in close positions the stones must be played so that they are actually connected. The Japanese call this skipping of “Me" by the terms “Ikken tobi,” “Nikken tobi,” “Sangen tobi,” etc., which literally means “to fly one, two, or three spaces.” Although this is plain enough, these relations are nevertheless shown on Plate 13, Diagrams I, II, and 111. When stones of opposite colors on the same line are separated by vacant space in a similar way (Diagram iv), then the terms “Ikken kakari,” “Nikken kakari,” etc., are used. “Kakari” really means “to hang” or “to be related,” but as used in this sense it might be translated “to attack.”
Sometimes the stones are placed in relation to each other like the Knight's move in Chess. The Knight in Japanese is called “Keima,” or “the honorable horse," and if the stones are of the same color the relation is called “Keima" or “Kogeima," "Ko” being the diminutive. If the stones are of opposite colors, then the phrase "Keima” or “Kogeima kakari” is used as in the previous case. The Japanese also designate a relation similar to the Knight's move, but farther apart, by special words; thus, if the stones are one space farther apart, it is called “Ogeima,” or “the Great Knight's move," and if the stone is advanced one step still farther, it is called “Daidaigeima,” or “the Great Great Knight's move.” On Plate 13, Diagrams v, vi, and vir, are shown “Kogeima,” “Ogeima," and “Daidaigeima.”
The next question that will trouble the beginner is where to place his stones when his adversary is advancing into his