The nobi is a common Japanese go term that is usually translated as ‘extension’, or more rarely as ‘stretch’. It denotes a move played directly next to one’s own stone, usually with the intention of increasing its liberties.
Although ‘extension’ is a viable translation for the Japanese term, ‘nobi’ is still sometimes heard in English go jargon. This is possibly because ‘extension’ can be mixed up with its other meaning: a move played along the sides, further away from one’s own stone.
Intriguingly, in Japanese go jargon, ‘nobi’ is fairly rarely used. This is because in Japanese there are many terms for subclasses of nobi, and generally the most specific term is used for clarity. Read on to see how ‘nobi’ transforms depending on the context!
The sagari, or ‘descent’, is a nobi that extends towards the nearest side of the board. Most sagari are on the second line, but third and first-line sagari exist too; other moves that might qualify as sagari usually have an even more specific term available.
In English go jargon, both ‘sagari’ and ‘descent’ are used.
The tachi, or ‘stand’, is a nobi that extends towards the centre of the board.
This term is rarely used in the West, and most moves that qualify as ‘tachi’ are simply translated as ‘extension’ or ‘nobi’ instead.
The narabi, or ‘line-up’, is a nobi that extends along the side of the board.
Like tachi, this term is rarely used in the West, and most moves that qualify as ‘narabi’ are simply translated as ‘extension’ or ‘nobi’ instead.
The oshi, or ‘push’, is a nobi that forms a lined-up shape with the opponent’s stone or stones.
Because the English term is a perfect translation of the Japanese one and just as easy to say, ‘oshi’ is practically nonexistent in English go jargon.
Near the sides, some moves that look like oshi instead become...
The hai, or ‘crawl’, is an oshi that is formed near the sides of the board by the player whose stones are closer to the side.
In English go jargon, ‘crawl’ seems to have a worse connotation than the Japanese term has, and therefore some moves that would be called ‘hai’ in Japanese end up as ‘push’ in English.
The hiki, or ‘pull’, is a nobi that, as per the name, pulls a player’s stone towards their other stones.
It appears commonly in jōseki for example as the the ‘tsukehiki’ combination, i.e., immediately following an attachment.
While the term ‘pull’ does not show up often in English go literature, ‘draw back’ instead is sometimes seen.
The soi, or ‘run-along’, is a nobi that extends along the opponent’s wall of stones but does not qualify to be an oshi.
Both the Japanese and English terms are practically unheard of in the West, and even in Japanese go jargon, ‘soi’ only comes up rarely.
Butsukari, or tsukiatari, or ‘bump’ denotes a nobi that is played directly between one stone of the same colour and one stone of the opponent’s.
The Japanese term tsukiatari reflects this, as in general Japanese it means an ‘end of a road’. Butsukari, by comparison, means the same as ‘bump’, which is probably why the English term is prevalent in the West.
Tsuppari, or ‘tension pole’, is a more specific bump, where the bumping side’s stones are blocked in both ends by the opponent’s stones.
‘Tension pole’ is my free translation, and I have never seen it in use in English go jargon; simply ‘bump’ is used instead.
Takefu, or ‘bamboo joint’, is a nobi that mirrors another nobi of the same colour that is exactly one line away, therefore creating an uncuttable shape.
Because the English term is a perfect translation of the Japanese one and just about as easy to say, ‘takefu’ doesn't exist in English go jargon.
Tecchū, or ‘iron pillar’, is a sagari that is played from a star-point stone, usually as part of a jōseki sequence.
As with the bamboo joint, because the ‘iron pillar’ is an accurate and easy-to-use translation, ‘tecchū’ is not heard in English go jargon.
De, or ‘push-through’, is a nobi that is sandwiched by the opponent’s stones, and usually played with the intention of cutting the opponent’s stones afterwards. The ‘de-giri’, or ‘push-and-cut’, is a common example of this.
As ‘push through’ is short and informative enough, ‘de’ is not used in English go jargon.
Magari, or ‘turn’, is a nobi played from an already-existing nobi shape that does not extend in the same direction as the existing stones. Usually a turn is played in relation to the opponent’s stones, so that one’s stones ‘wrap around’ the opponent’s.
Although ‘turn’ is a good translation of the Japanese term, it still sees relatively little use (while the Japanese term is not used at all in the West).
Sashikomi, or ‘thrust’, is a nobi that is played on an intersection which is surrounded by the opponent’s stones from three sides.Because the new stone does not actually increase the player’s liberties, it is actually arguable whether it should qualify as an ‘extension’ or not.
Probably due to the fact that the shape itself is uncommon, ‘thrust’ is hardly heard at all in English go jargon.
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