Showing posts tagged: terms


Kikashi and mochikomi

Kikashi and mochikomi are probably two of the most misunderstood and misused go terms. They are also two of the most unnecessary Japanese terms that still see use in English go jargon; this is because the same information can easily be conveyed by normal language without needing to resort to arcane Japanese terms.

Kikashi, or good exchange

A long time …

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The (ten) thousand year kō

is a Japanese go term and word originally derived from Buddhism, where it stands for an ‘extremely long time’. This is fitting in go, as kō fights can easily continue for dozens of moves.

Kō fights are a most interesting phenomenon in go. Go is already special in that the simple stone-capturing rules lead to the emergent property of …

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Hekomi

Hekomi is a Japanese go term that is fairly often used in Japanese go jargon, but is virtually nonexistent in its English counterpart. ‘Hekomi’ is usually translated ‘dent’ or ‘depression’; but in go terms, I find the former translation not very descriptive while the latter will get confused with the mental state. ‘Hollow’ would make for a more fitting noun …

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On the value of sente

Sente, or initiative

Sente is a Japanese go term that roughly translates to ‘initiative’. A ‘sente move’ is a move that your opponent has to respond to, so you can then switch elsewhere on the board if you want to. ‘Having sente’ means that it is your move turn and there is nothing urgent on the board; in other words, …

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Always read three moves ahead

A Japanese go adage tells us to always read three moves ahead. This adage is also in use in shōgi and, as I just now found out, in chess as well.

I first learned of the idea a long time ago – probably when I was studying a life-and-death theory book – and quickly dismissed it: isn’t it even better …

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Table: Japanese go terms and their translations

This table is an attempt to list all go terms, Japanese or otherwise, used on this website, along with their English translations and sample diagrams.

Japanese termDirect translationEnglish termExample
butsukaribumpbump
chūbanmiddle gamemiddle game
decome outpush through
gotefollowing movegote (losing the initiative)
haicrawlcrawl (rarely also push)
hekomihollow …

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Thread of Thought, Part Two

This article is continuation from Part One.

Below, I will show how I read out a go problem by example – but before that, we should establish definitions for certain Japanese terms.

Suji, or technique

The word suji holds many meanings in the Japanese language. Originally it meant ‘muscle’ or ‘sinew’, but gradually it also came to mean other …

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Fifteen Shades of Nobi

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 …

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