Notable Quotes About Go

Over the years -- centuries, actually -- many famous people have said fascinating things about the world's greatest game. We hope you enjoy this sampling. Post your favorites at the club; add them to a press release for your next public event; or just enjoy them!

Got any favorites of your own that we missed? Send them along to!

While the Baroque rules of chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go. -- Edward Lasker, chess grandmaster

Gentlemen should not waste their time on trivial games -- they should study go. -- Confucius, The Analects, ca. 500 B.C.E.

Go is the one game in which . . . everyone begins with an empty board and with no limitations, and what happens thereafter is . . . only the quality of your own mind. -- from Go and the Three Games , by William Pinckard [War is] like a game of weiqi . . . Strongholds built by the enemy and bases by us resemble moves to dominate spaces on the board. -- Mao Zedong, Selected Military Writings

If [President George H. W.] Bush hopes to gain from the upcoming trade talks [in 1992], he might abandon his high-handed bid for quick concessions and settle in for a long, patient duel. He is dealing with people enthralled by the mystique of Go. -- Editorial, The New York Times, 1/3/92

Chess has only two outcomes: draw and checkmate. The objective of the game . . . is total victory or defeat – and the battle is conducted head-on, in the center of the board. The aim of go is relative advantage; the game is played all over the board, and the objective is to increase one's options and reduce those of the adversary. The goal is less victory than persistent strategic progress. -- Dr. Henry Kissinger, quoted in Newsweek, 11/8/04

Competition . . . [is] about positioning yourself wisely over time, not wiping the other guy out on specific products. I approach competition like the Chinese board game go. You see where the other players have put their chips, and decide where to put your chips. -- John Reed, Chairman, Citicorp, quted in Harvard Business Review December 1990

It may be a hundred years before a computer beats humans at Go -- maybe even longer. 'If a reasonably intelligent person learned to play go, in a few months he could beat all existing computer programs. You don't have to be a Kasparov. -- Dr. Piet Hut, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., quoted in The New York Times, July 29, 1997

In chess you start with everything you have on the board. In go you start from nothing and build. -- Tim Klinger, quoted in he New York Times, July 29, 1997

How could I lose this game? I played perfectly!! Russell Crowe as Prof. John Nash in the Academy-award-winning motion picture, A Beautiful Mind

Success at go requires the tactic of the soldier, the exactness of the mathematician, the imagination of the artist, the inspiration of the poet, the calm of the philosopher, and the greatest intelligence. -- Zhang Yunqi, Weiqi de faxian (Discovering weiqi), Beijing, Internal document of the Chinese Weiqi Institute 1991, p. 2

What's happening with chess is that it's gradually losing its place as the par excellence of intellectual activity. Smart people in search of a challenging board game might try a game called go. -- former Wold Correspondence Chess Champion Hans Berliner, The New York Times, Feb 6, 2003

Go is destined to take the place of Chess as the leading intellectual game of the Occident, just as it has reigned supreme in the Orient for some four thousand years. -- Edward Lasker in Go and Go-Moku, 1934. p. ix

The subtleties of this game are beyond the reach of the lazy, its triumph is too exquisite for the vulgar and materialistic man. -- Herbert A. Giles, Wei-chi, or the Chinese Game of War , in Temple Bar, England, Vol. 49, n° 194, 1877, p. 45.

The board must be square, for it signifies the Earth, and its right angles signify uprightness. The pieces of the two sides are yellow and black; this difference signifies the yin and the yang -- scattered in groups all over the board, they represent the heavenly bodies. Following what the rules permit, both opponents are subject to them -- this is the rigor of the Tao. -- Pan Ku, 1st century historian

Studying go is a wonderful way to develop both the creative as well as the logical abilities of children because to play it both sides of the brain are necessary. -- Cho Chikun 9-Dan, among the world's strongest players

The difference between a stone played on one intersection rather than on an adjacent neighbor is insignificant to the uninitiated. The master of go, though, sees it as all the difference between a flower and a cinderblock. Certain plays resonate with a balletic grace, others clunk, hopelessly awkward, and to fail at making the distinction is a bit like confusing the ping of a Limoges platter with the clink of a Burger King Smurfs tumbler. -- from The Challenge of Go: Esoteric Granddaddy of Board Games , by Dave Lowry

That play of black upon white, white upon black, has the intent and takes the form of creative art. It has in it a flow of the spirit and a harmony of music. Everything is lost when suddenly a false note is struck, or one party in a duet suddenly launches forth on an eccentric flight of his own. A masterpiece of a game can be ruined by insensitivity to the feelings of an adversary. -- from The Master of Go , by Yasunari Kawabata, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

Go is to Western chess as philosophy is to double entry accounting. -- from Shibumi , bestseller by Trevanian

"Just one game," they said, and started to play -- that was yesterday. -- Chinese proverb

You're striving for harmony, and if you try to take too much, you'll come to grief. -- Michael Redmond, the only Western go player to reach 9-dan, the highest level of professional play

When I was young, . . . I wanted to be the world's best Go player. -- from Bill Gates Speaks: Insights From the World's Most Successful Entrepreneur, p. 227

There are on the Go board 360 intersections plus one. The number one is supreme and gives rise to the other numbers because it occupies the ultimate position and governs the four quarters. 360 represents the number of days in the [lunar] year. The four quarters symbolize the four seasons. The 72 points around the edge represent the [five-day] weeks of the [Chinese lunar] calendar. The balance of yin and yang is the model for the equal division of the 360 stones into black and white. -- from The Classic of Go , by Chang Nui (Published between 1049 and 1054)

Some Quotes From Over Two Thousand Years of Go History Some examples of what has been said about go throughout history, especially in China. Compiled by Peter Shotwell.