GO In The West
BADUK In Korea
IGO In Japan
WEIQI In China

An update of Go, An Application of the Principles of War
© Craig R. Hutchinson, 10 April 2006

A Contest of
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

A Application with Many Principles.
A Language with Many Words.
A Action with Many Choices.
A Study with Many Patterns.
A Puzzle with Many Tricks.
A Trade with Many Values.
A Craft with Many Shapes.
A Dance with Many Steps.
A War with Many Battles.
A Art with Many Forms.
A Life with Many Ideas.
Enjoy Your Good Premises!

A Application of

The War Principles
Economy of Force
Unity of Command

The Military Situation Estimate
Situation and Courses of Action
Opposing Courses of Action

Just Organizing Skirmish Equalizing Key Initiatives
A joseki is a set of plays, or maneuvers,
that equally divides a section of the grid
using strategies and tactics.
You will discover the implied definitions and meanings
of some of the principles as you study
maneuvers and joseki in games and books.

With the development of the art of Go
in Western society over the last century,
translations of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Go books,
as well as Western Go Club Magazines,
have provided many valuable ideas and vocabulary
to help understand how to play and enjoy the art of Go.
It has been a struggle at times
for the translators and editors
to come up with the right words and concepts to use.
Here is another arrangement of Go vocabulary
to tickle your fancy.


What are the principles of war?
There are nine principles defined by the American War Colleges.

Objective - Direct all efforts toward a decisive obtainable goal
Offensive - Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative
Mass - Achieve superiority in combat power at the decisive place and time
Economy of Force - Allocate minimum essential combat power
Maneuver - Position resources to insure objective accomplishment
Simplicity - Prepare uncomplicated plans for thorough understanding
Surprise - Accomplish purpose before opponent reacts effectively
Security - Never permit opponent to acquire an extra advantage
Unity of Command - Unity of strategy and tactics by one commander

The nine principles sum up
to hitting an opponent
as quickly as you can,
as hard as you can,
where it hurts most,
when the opponent is not looking.

The principles constitute a collection
of commonsense ideas that must be understood in their entirety,
and not rigidly applied as dogma.
Normally, all nine principles complement each other
and are mutually dependent;
however, in some situations they can conflict.
Their application must be carefully measured in each situation.
More emphasis may be placed
on one or more principles in a given situation.

The principles are useful guidelines
for finding the solution of strategical and tactical Go problems
and determining how best to combine and apply
the elements of combat power.
In Go a player aims
to balance these principles
to successfully meet each specific situation.
These principles can be learned in a short time,
but an entire lifetime can be spent studying their application in Go.
The following table shows one way how the principles can be used.

DecidingAnalyzeTo Determine
WHATOBJECTIVEConnection, Life, Influence, Territory
WHEREMANEUVERUnit Disposition and Attack Directions
WHENSURPRISEWhere and When Actions Take Place
WHYOFFENSIVEDecisive Results and Keeping Action Freedom
HOWMASSEmploy Combat Power
ECONOMY OF FORCETask Organization
SECURITYMultiple Options
UNITY OF COMMANDControl Measures

The table is not intended to show a singular relationship
of the principles of war
to the solution of strategical and tactical problems.
It does show how the principles can be applied,
however, there are other relationships.
For example, in determining why a particular action should take place,
a player might apply the principle of surprise
for missions and tasks for some elements of the force.
Players can apply the principles
when their application is appropriate and necessary,
and are encouraged to keep the principles in perspective
as useful guidelines for the solution
of strategical and tactical problems.

The contrast between tactics and strategy is as follows:
Tactics is the art of using stones in battle,
strategy is the art of using battles to win the game.
In other words,
tactics is the art of establishing forms
and using finesse on the local battlefield;
Strategy is the art of bringing formations
to the battlefield in a favorable position.
One must keep in mind
the local field of battle is the province of tactics,
and the total grid is the province of strategy.
In comparing Go and Chess,
this delineation of strategy and tactics
can equate Go as a war, and Chess as a battle.

Mere knowledge and understanding of the principles of war
will not provide the solution to every problem in a game of Go.
The human elements
and evaluation skill
have a direct bearing on the outcome of any game
and are so vital to success that they deserve constant attention.
In the final analysis,
sound judgement and commonsense
are of vital importance for the successful application
of the principles to Go.

Through out the course of Go history
many ideas and theories have become recognized
as applicable to the successful prosecution of the game.
Great players in the past seldom recorded
philosophies of Go or the reasons for their successes.
It has remained for a succession of recent professional players
to formulate these ideas,
principally from analysis of the games of great players,
as well as their own.
They have produced, in recent years,
a mass of written material concerning the art of Go,
some of it seemingly contradictory
and subjective to extensive qualifications.
It is a characteristic of humanity
to seek to reduce complex considerations
to simple rules of action.
Players over the centuries have developed a plethora
of aphorisms, adages, and proverbs.
Currently the sciences and professionals
are evolving a multitude of
theorems, hypotheses, maxims, axioms, and laws
generally referred to as basic Go principles or Go theory.

Consequently, this work strives to organize the great mass
of professional experience, theory, maxims, and doctrine
within the framework of the principles of war.
But there is a significant difference between
the principles of science and the principles of war.
The former are generally based on concrete facts of nature
and therefore provide a reliable basis for conclusions.
In Go the facts attending the conduct of any two games
are frequently intangible,
never are completely the same,
and in each case require individual evaluation.
There are influences that always vary, such as
training, knowledge of your opponent,
traits and characteristics of players,
and the relative morale and inspiration of the participants.
Blind, rigid adherence to the principles and methods of the past
as set rules for the conduct of a Go game has often led to disaster.
The principles do serve as an aid to success for a player who,
through experience and study,
understands the mass of theory and historical examples
that lie behind the curt statement of each principle,
and who, through common sense and judgement,
can assess the influences of the prevailing grid conditions.
Some great players of the past
at times deliberately violated or disregarded certain Go maxims
and were successful in their games.
They did this, however,
only after seriously considering all factors concerned.

The principles of war can be regarded as
fundamental truths governing Go plays.
Their application for the planning and direction
of a Go game on the grid as a whole is called strategy;
their application in a local situation is called tactics.
They constitute a guide, and their use in specific circumstances
demands sound judgement and common sense.
Successive developments in basic forms
will continually influence the application of the principles,
but the principles themselves have been reaffirmed
by experience in every professional game to date,
and it appears unlikely that a new era will operate to nullify them.
These principles are often mutually dependent.
One therefore cannot be applied to the exclusion of all the others.
In other words these principles are interrelated and,
depending on the circumstances,
may tend to reinforce one another, or to be in conflict.
Consequently, the degree of application of any specific principle
will vary with the situation.

The number of stated principles of war
has varied from time to time and has differed among eras,
but the concepts embodied in any of the principles stated
are taught in all professional schools,
though with different emphasis and interpretation.
Those listed at any particular period
relate to the concepts which,
in the light of times,
merit emphasis over all other equally valid concepts.
The selection of the principles of war
which will comprise a particular list
is also influenced by the personal views of the current professors.

Gi77 Wei-Chi: The Chinese Game of War,
Giles, Temple Bar, London, 1877

Li18 A Japanese War Game,
Literary Digest, 1918

La42 Go: Japs Play Their National Game the Way They Fight Their Wars:
Edward Lasker, Life, 1942

Go57c The World of Ki,
John Goodell, 1957

Gr67a Go,
Maxtone Graham, Horizon, 1967

Us67 Jomini,
Clausewitz and Schlieffen,
USMA, Dept of Military Art and Engineering, 1967

Us69 Notes for the Course in The History of the Military Art,
USMA, Dept of History, 1969

Bo69 The Protracted Game,
A Wei-Chi Interpretation of Maoist Revolutionary Strategy,
Boorman, Oxfor Uni Pressm New York, 1969

Na72 The Strategic Concepts of Go,: Nagahara & Bozulich,
Ishi Press, Tokyo, 1972

Tz88 The Art of War, Sun Tzu,
Shambhala, Boston, 1988

Yu95 A Compendium of Trick Plays,
Yutopian Enterprises, Santa Monica, 1995

Xi96 The Thirty-six Stratagems Applied to Go,
Ma Xiaochun, Yutopian, Santa Monica, 1996


The principle of the objective
is that all efforts must be directed toward
a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable goal.
Every play of a stone has an objective.
The objective principle is the controlling,
and therefore, the most important Go principle.
Without an objective, and adherence to it,
the other principles become meaningless,
for there is no basis for their interpretation and application.
The objective gives us the "what";
the other principles are guides to the
"where, when, why, and how"
to attain the selected objective.

In the context of the Chinese rules,
the main objective in Go is to have
the higher total of points (stones and liberties)
on the grid at the end of the game.
To obtain the main objective
there are four major objectives that one must obtain.

one must be able to connect their stones to obtain more liberties.

Second, LIFE,
one must avoid losing all the liberties of their stones.

one must gain influence points.
(A vacant point is an influence point
if one can connect to the point.)

one must gain territory points.
(A vacant point is a territory point
if one can occupy the point at the end of the game.)

The major objectives of each play are
to threaten (attack) and/or succeed (defend)
to create (expand) and/or destroy (reduce)
connection (link),
life (base),
influence (wall),
and/or territory (frame).
Therefore each stone played
has one or more of the following 16 possible objectives
which contribute to attaining the main objective:

Threaten/Succeed to Create/Destroy
Connection TCC SCC TDC SDC

Each objective must contribute
directly, quickly, and economically
to the main objective.
The efficiency of a play is the number of objectives
it accomplishes and the associated point values.
To win the game
one must continually evaluate and find the play
that maximizes the total point value of the 16 objectives.

At the strategic level
the main objective
is expressed in terms of the four major objectives.
Strategy directs the development and use
of connection, life, influence, and territory
in order to have the greater total
of stones and liberties
at the end of the game.

A player must translate the major objectives
into tasks that will achieve a desired strategy.
For example, the following tasks that occur
in the three stages of a game
are derived from the four major objectives.

BeginningDeploy Links, Bases, Walls, Frames
MiddleReconnoiter, Connect, Expand, Separate,
Envelop, Block, Pursuit, Reduce, Penetrate,
Infiltrate, Invade, Exchange, Combat, Capture
EndFix and Close Frames

The tasks are achieved
by the deployment and effort of stone formations.
The player uses all necessary available means
(Stability, Firmness, Thickness, Efficiency, Balance, Economy of Force, etc.)
to achieve the objectives.

At the tactical level,
the major objectives are expressed
in terms of the 16 objectives,
and the derived tactics are organized into the following categories:
Foundation: Deploy Shapes and Points
Mobility: Link Lines for Connection,
Contention: Approach, Fight, Invade, Reduce, Escape
Capture: Separate, Envelope, Block, Pursue, Amputate, Life/Death

Failure to adhere to the objective principle
and allowing the means to become the end
can often lead to disastrous results.
For example, consider the maneuver
of a simultaneous attack on two large groups.
One will probably not capture either of them,
for attack (threatening) is one objective,
and capture (succeeding) quite another.
The real purpose of the simultaneous attack
is to take advantage of the influence
in the general situation and gain the opportunity
to obtain other objectives.
During the heat of battle,
deciding to try and capture one of the groups
will usually fail because
vulnerable attacking links
will be open for a counter attack.

Selection of one's objectives
is the first and most vital step
in the application of the principles of Go.
Each element of a formation,
for example: a
Joseki (Just Organizing Skirmish Equalizing Key Initiatives),
Fuseki (Functional Universal Strategy Equalizing Key Intents),
Shape (base, link, wall, frame),
Point (Vital, Prime, Key, Main, Pivot, Target, Chief),
and Stone (lowest echelon),
must have objectives.
The selection of objectives in a given position
is based on the available friendly and opponent formations
and their combat power (potential, possibilities).
While the major objectives may differ,
each one must contribute to the main objective.
The ability to read, evaluate, and understand
the possibilities in a given position
and the subsequent selection
of the best combination of objectives
is the most difficult part
of making a decision
and engenders the excitement and art of Go.


The principle of the offense
is that offensive action is necessary
to maintain freedom of action
and to achieve decisive results.
It permits a player
to secure and/or exercise the initiative and impose volition on an opponent,
to set the pace and determine the course of battle,
to exploit opponent weaknesses and rapidly changing situations,
and to meet unexpected developments.

To have the offense,
(Start Engaging New Tactical Effort (sente), first hand),
is to have the right to choose where to play next.
By taking the offense, you gain the initiative,
carry the fight to the opponent,
fight in the opponent's positions,
and seek decision on your terms.

The initiative allows
the choice of objectives and direction of attack,
the organization of attack formations,
the timing of action,
and the actual creation of opportunity.
With the initiative
comes high morale and an aggressive spirit.
It promotes confidence and the resultant vigorous action
which is essential to a successful battle.

Only by offensive action can decisive results be attained.
It facilitates the attainment of surprise,
restricts the opponent's ability to attack,
and enhances security.

Success or failure of the offense
is dependent in large measure
upon the action taken
to protect against hostile reaction.
The best security
is to keep an opponent so heavily involved
that the opponent has neither time nor means available
to endanger the success of the attack.
Security of the attacking formations is assured
by adequate reconnaissance and employment of suitable security forces.

Conversely a prolonged defense breeds unrest,
lowers morale, and creates a defeatist attitude.
The psychological effects are transmitted
to the respective bases and link contours
and influence their interest and energy
in the prosecution of the battle.
However, to assume the offense under conditions
which offer little chance of success
would be audacious.
Thus, a temporary defensive attitude may be enforced
while awaiting the build up of strength for the offense.

The defense should be adopted deliberately
only as a temporary expedient
to gain time while waiting for
an opportunity for the offense,
or for the purpose of economizing on a front
where a decision is not sought
in order to provide additional strength
for a decisive offense elsewhere.
But, even on the defense,
passiveness must be avoided,
and the opponent engaged aggressively
in limited objective attacks, raids, and counterattacks
to keep the opponent off balance,
frustrate the opponent's attack preparations,
and perhaps create a situation favorable
for resumption of the offense.

The principle of the offense is applied
in the defense by employing
concentration of formations on suitable targets,
and counter attacks.
Such actions also include limited objective attacks
to disrupt the opponent's
spoiling attacks,
and attacks
to gain more favorable terrain
for the conduct of the defense.
If forced into the defensive or retrograde action,
every opportunity must be sought
to seize the initiative and achieve decisive results
thru freedom of action.
Extended defensive operations
can at best merely forestall defeat.
Quick changes between defense and offense
may tend to obscure the dividing line
between the two types of combat.

Principal Tasks of Offensive Action
1. Fix your Opponent in Position
2. Maneuver in Order to Gain an Advantage
3. At the Decisive time, Deliver an Over-Whelming Destructive Attack
Fundamentals of Offensive Action
1. See the Battlefield
2. Concentrate Overwhelming Combat Power
3. Suppress Opponent's Defensive Plays
4. Shock, Overwhelm, and Destroy
5. Attack Deep into the Opponent's Rear
to Destroy Opponent's System of Defense
6. Provide Continuous Mobile Support
Designation of Forces
1. Reconnaissance
2. Main Attack
3. Supporting Attack
4. Reserve
5. Security
Types of Offensive Operations
1. Reconnaissance
2. Expansion to Contact
3. Hasty Attack
4. Coordinated Attack
5. Pursuit
6. Exploitation
7. Other Attacks: Raids, Diversions, Feints, Demonstrations, Spoiling


The principle of mass
is to achieve superiority in combat power.
The principle of mass implies
the coordinated concentration of formations
with adequate combat power at the proper time and place
to strike a decisive blow at an opponent.
The purpose of combat power
is the application of destructive force against opponent
frames (territory), walls (influence), links (mobility), and/or bases (life).
The destructive force which combat power can apply,
or threatens to apply, measures its superiority.

Superiority results from the synthesis
of the following Elements of Combat Power:
1. Objective Elements: Frames, Walls, Links, Bases.
2. Formation Elements: Shape, Direction, Mobility, Efficiency
3. Status Elements: Stable/Unstable, Light/Heavy, Firm/Frail,
Thick/Thin, Efficient/Inefficient
4. Power Elements: Balance, Coordination, Influence, Potential
5. Combat Elements: Attack, Intelligence, Flexibility, Life, Control
6. Player Elements: Evaluation Skill, Health, Morale, Resolution

Superiority of combat power
involves more than just superior numbers.
It is a measure of the overall effectiveness and efficiency of
the deployed formations
and their individual and combined elements of combat power.

There is danger of interpreting the principle of mass
as a guide to over concentrate available formations.
To concentrate unnecessarily strong groups for an attack,
when part could be employed more profitably elsewhere,
would be massing for the sake of attaining mass
rather than utilization of the concentration inherent in the principle.
Proper application of the principle of mass,
in conjunction with the other principles
may permit numerically inferior formations
to achieve decisive combat superiority.
To achieve concentration of combat power,
balance and strict economy in the number of stones employed
on secondary objectives is necessary.
For example, consider the...
Balance Power Element
1. Balance formations on third and fourth lines.
2. Balance opponent territorial border expansion by similar expansion.
3. Balance opponent influence with similar influence.
4. Balance a weak (unstable/thin/heavy) group
by making an opponent's group weak.
5. Balance a fleeing group by taking an opponent's group with you.
6. Balance weak links with opponent's weak links.
7. If you cannot keep a balance,
create an over-balance in another area to compensate.

The goal in applying strategy and tactics
is the development and application of a
relative superiority of combat power
(i.e. concentration of adequate formations at the critical time and place).
In applying strategy and tactics
the player must be able to determine
the relative combat power that exists between opposing formations
using the elements of combat power.
That determination highlights
the opponent's formation's potential strengths, on which can be capitalized,
and the opponent's potential weaknesses, which can be exploited,
to create a relative superiority of combat power.
To make that determination
the player must understand what combat power is
and how the five Combat Elements
(Attack, Intelligence, Flexibility, Life and Control)
contribute to and detract from it.

An attack is a threat to destroy an opponent's
frames, walls, links, and/or bases.

The destructive force embodied in combat power
is represented by the resulting attack of the employed formations.
Attacking power is based on strategy and tactics.
Strategy consists of deploying formations.
Tactics consists of constructing formations
and is made up of the following constructions
(foundation/contention, link/cut, life/death)
with their associated characteristic elements
of finesse
(Tactical Effort Skillfully Utilizing Just Implications (tesuji))
and deceit
(Harass Attack Mitigating Equal Tactical Efforts (hamete)).
A formation, with its associated characteristic elements,
has two distances which affect the application of its damaging effects:
first the attack range (the distance to which its existence will exert its influence)
and second, its radius of control
(the distance from the formation
within which control of points (territory) is produced).
The ability of a formation to deliver or support an attack
is a measure of its combat power.

A player's ability to employ attacking formations
is called a player's attack power.
It is the basic component of combat power
and the first combat function that a player must be able to perform.

Formations must be constructed
that deliver maximum combat power.
This requires knowledge of the opponent's formations
to determine where each formation must be deployed
to superimpose its effective attack range and radius of control
on the opponent's formations.
This requires obtaining detailed knowledge
of the opponent's formation, status, and power elements,
through reconnaissance (probes) and reading,
which establishes the requirement for intelligence
as another basic combat function a player must be able to perform.
Superior combat power results against opponent formations
only when one succeeds in finding the
Vital, Prime, Key, Main, Pivot, Target, and Chief Points
in the opponent formations.

The deployment of a formation
requires the capability for multiple plans
based on multiple attacks and objectives.
This combat function is known as flexibility.
Flexibility is defined as the capability of
constructing formations that permit them to attack in multiple directions
while retaining the ability to fulfill or change their primary objectives.
The flexibility available to a player
runs the gamut of attack objectives
to gain, maintain, threaten, and/or destroy
frames, walls, links, and/or bases.
The degree of flexibility possessed by a player's formations
will directly affect a player's ability to develop combat power
that will gain an advantage over an opponent.

Ultimately formations must be able to exist on the grid.
In addition to the game's primary objective,
this requirement evolves
from the time and distance factors involved
when two opposing units are approaching each other,
changing their respective objectives,
and expressing their combat power.
Hence, an additional factor bearing on combat power is life,
the effort required to sustain the formations on the grid.
Life evolves from the player's ability
to construct and maintain operating formations with a base.
The base's quality of life available to a formation
will directly affect its ability
to sustain the effective application of its combat power.

Control is the capability of deciding
which target will be attacked,
how and when they will be attacked,
and with which formations they will be attacked.
The activities include
planing and coordinating multiple attacks and objectives.
The quality of control exercised by a player
will directly affect the integration and effectiveness
of the attack, intelligence, flexibility, and life elements.

It should now be understood that combat power
is the total force comprised of destructive force
and the disruptive actions or countermeasures
that formations can apply to their opponents.

In assessing relative combat power,
one must reach a conclusion as to the overall general relationship,
to include strengths and weaknesses,
of your formations to those of your opponent
in terms of the elements of combat power.
The primary elements of combat power
that give a unit the capability of expressing destructive force
are the formation, status, and power elements.
Other elements that must be considered include
the player's ability to perform the functions of the combat elements,
the combat effectiveness of the player elements,
the influences of the environment,
the strategy and tactics employed,
and the full range of countermeasures
that units can apply to reduce the opponent's combat power.
These elements provide for the analysis of relative combat power
because they are the elements
in which significant strengths and weaknesses will be found.

In summary,
in applying the mass principle and its application of combat power,
one must keep in mind:
1. Where am I at: Beginning, Middle, End?
2. Where am I going: Objective, Strategy?
3. What am I doing: Objective, Tactics?


The principle of the economy of force is to allocate and employ
the minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.

This principle is a corollary to,
or the reciprocal of,
the principle of mass,
for it is a method of attaining mass.
The allocation to secondary efforts
of the minimum essential combat power
permits concentration
at the decisive place and time.
The basic idea inherent in economy of force
is not sparse conservation
but the employment of forces
in the most efficient and effective manner.
The principle helps determine
the relative size of the elements of formations,
to include their
expansion and efficiency
for attaining specific objectives
in each stage of the game.

Economy of force does not imply skimping,
but the measured allocation of available combat power
to the primary objectives
as well as to supporting objectives,
such as limited
forcing action,
or even retrograde action,
to insure sufficient combat power
at the point of decision.
The application of economy of force
permits concentration of forces
in strengths required
so that all forces
are used to the best advantage.
To accomplish multiple objectives
this includes consideration of the status elements
to include being
or efficient/inefficient,
as well as consideration
of the power elements
to include
and potential.

Over-concentration refers to a configuration of stones
where the stones are not used to their maximum efficiency.
An analysis of plays to include
play order and play removal
can help measure the economy of forces applied as well.
Some example configurations are the
big pup (extending two points) from a two-stone wall,
and large pup (extending three points) from a three-stone wall.

Finding the maneuvers and subsequent shapes
that attain the maximum number of objectives
with the least amount of plays
is the challenge
and what the art of Go is all about.


The principle of maneuver
is to position formations and their resources (combat power)
to insure the accomplishment of the objective.
In other words,
maneuver is the placement of combat power
to provide the necessary concentration (mass)
at the proper time and place
to attain the objective.
Maneuver in itself can produce no decisive results.
Like economy of force and mass,
it contributes to attaining superior combat power.
Properly employed,
it facilitates the application of the other principles:
Economy of Force,
and Command Unity.

The object of maneuver is to place formations
so that opposing formations are at a relative disadvantage
and thus achieve results that would otherwise be more costly
in terms of formations and tempo.
Skillful maneuver is what puts combat power
at the decisive point and time,
and can frequently overcome hostile superior numbers.
In addition,
it contributes materially in exploiting successes,
preserving freedom of action,
and reducing vulnerability.
Maneuver is the antithesis of permanence of location
and implies mobility
that avoids stereotyped patterns of operation.

This principle is not limited to the placement of stones alone;
but includes maneuver of their status elements:
and/or efficiency/inefficiency
as well as the power elements of
and potential.
In addition,
successful maneuver requires flexibility in objectives.
Thus in applying this principle,
all elements of a formation's combat power must be considered.

Mobility is essential in applying maneuver to establish
the concentration of formations required at the decisive point and time.
Mobility is achieved by improving lines of connection
and exploiting flexibility.
Formations with potential and balanced links
may be isolated for a long time,
and their continued existence
may well depend on their mobility.

Types of Strategical Maneuvers
Envelopment (Single, Double)
Frontal Attack (Block, Reduce, Invade)

Types of Tactical Maneuvers
Capture/Life and Death

A few Maneuver Maxims
1. Maneuver on lines which threaten multiple objectives/attacks.
2. Find the attacks that threaten to:
first create/destroy bases,
second create/destroy links,
third create/destroy walls,
and fourth create/destroy frames.
Defense is the last resort.
3. In applying a territory strategy the direction of attack is generally
first from the corner,
second from the side,
third from the center.
4. In applying an influence strategy the direction of attack is generally
first from the center,
second from the side,
third from the corner.
5. When establishing a base:
occupy an empty corner first,
enclose a corner second,
approach an opponent's corner third,
and extend from a corner fourth.
6. In the opening phase
the second line is the line of defeat,
the third line is the line of territory,
the fourth line is the line of influence.
7. In order to gain territory or establish a base of operations,
initially divide up the grid's third and fourth lines
in the order of corner/side.
8. In order to gain influence,
initially divide up the grid's third and fourth lines
in the order of side/corner.
9. The envelopment maneuver
initially attacks in the opposite direction of the main objective.
10. The penetration maneuver
splits and attacks two or more groups at the same time.
11. Attach to your opponents formations
when you want to strengthen or live within them.
12. The exchange maneuver trades/sacrifices
territory, influence, connection and/or life.
13. The pursuit maneuver drives your opponent's stones
in the direction of your strong stones,
not in the direction of your weak stones.
14. When using the invasion maneuver consider
sacrifice first, escape second, and life third.
15. The reconnaissance maneuver
uses a light, flexible, and mobile formation shape.


Simplicity is essential
if plans are to be executed effectively.
A simple plan is easier to execute than a complicated one
and thus more likely to succeed.
Simple plans facilitate
enhance control and coordination of combat power,
and permit continuous execution in the face of interruption.

Because of the complexities of Go,
simplicity takes on added significance.
The simple and flexible plan is paramount
when the entire balance of forces
may be altered in an instant
or a formation can be wiped out in a flash.
Operations must continue and opportunities must be exploited
in spite of missing formations or lack of mobility.
A plan,
simple to execute based on the best evaluation reading obtainable
is the key to simplicity.

Simplicity is also applied to
organization, methods, and means
to produce orderliness
in developing and understanding a theory for Go.

The principle of simplicity
is to prepare uncomplicated plans
to insure thorough understanding and execution.
Other factors being equal
the simplest plan is preferred.
All combined operations risk being upset by the opponent's reaction.
The opponent may launch a simpler attack,
requiring less time to prepare,
and gain the initiative.

Variable factors in Go
make even the most simple plan difficult to execute.
Often it is essential that plans include necessary complexities,
or intricate provisions based on contingencies.
Go is complex,
and slavish devotion to simplicity
would induce sterility of thought and stifling of imagination,
with consequent failure
to grasp the full potentialities and beauty of the game.
The games inherent complexities must be overcome
by continued study and training
in shapes evaluation reading and play direction
for fuseki, joseki, tesuji, sabaki, hamete,
and Honest Opulent Normal Tactical Efforts (honte).


The principle of Surprise
is to accomplish your purpose
before your opponent can react effectively.

Surprise is a most effective and powerful tool.
Its psychological effect frequently will result in complete demoralization.
Surprise must be accompanied by mass
for maximum exploitation of its results.
The attainment of surprise involves resourcefulness
and frequently the assumption of a calculated risk using finesse.
Like many of the other principles,
it is not sought solely for itself
but actually as a means to gain superiority.
It consists in striking the opponent
at a time or place or in a manner
for which the opponent is not prepared.
It is not imperative that the opponent be taken unawares;
the basic consideration is that when the opponent
becomes cognizant of the true state of affairs
it is too late to react effectively.
Surprise may be attained in a number of ways
by variation in tactics and methods of operation
and application of unexpected combat power.
Surprise can decisively shift the balance of combat power.
By surprise,
success out of proportion to the effort expended may be obtained.


Security is essential to the preservation of combat power.
Security does not allow your opponent to acquire an unexpected advantage
and with proper application
your opponent will be prevented from interfering with your freedom of action.

A player seeks to prevent surprise in potential combat power
(e.g. Able Jobs Inset (aji))
and preserve freedom of action through security
by maneuvering with multiple options and points of exchange.
If your opponent occupies one point
you can occupy the other
(e.g. Mutually Implied Alternate Intents (miai).
The prevention of surprise and the retention of freedom of action
are accomplished by calculated and continuous reading,
use of essential combat power and multiple options,
and suitable tactical formations and dispositions.
Security is a condition that results
from the establishment and maintenance of protective options and tactics
that insure a state of inviolability from hostile plays or influences.
Adequate security against surprise requires protection with
effective reconnaissance,
accurate evaluation,
and multiple options against identifiable opponent capabilities.

The offense enhances security
in that it keeps an opponent occupied
and limits an opponent's freedom of action.
This is accomplished by bold seizure and retention of the offense
(e.g. Start Engaging New Tactical Effort (sente))
which reduces an opponent's capability to interfere.

Since the risk of inadequate reconnaissance and reading is inherent in Go,
application of the security principle
does not justify undue caution and the avoidance of a calculated finesse
(e.g. (Harass Attack Mitigating Equal Tactical Efforts (hamete)).
Under the pressure of opponent influence
when your opponent has the power to destroy a force of almost any size,
forces must be dispersed lightly
(e.g. Strong Agile Beneficial Astute Kinetic Implants (sabaki))
and their vulnerability to attack reduced.
However, lightness, potential, and multiple options
must be balanced with mobility to avoid defeat.
Bold planning and execution founded on secure bases and walls
provide the best formula for success in Go.


In every game there should be unity of effort
under one responsible commander within the player.
Unity of command provides the means
to achieve the highly essential unity of effort
required in Go operations.
Unity of effort requires that all elements of a force
work harmoniously toward a common goal
and implies the development and cooperation
of the full combat power of the available forces.
Cooperation and the spirit of team play
help to further unity of effort,
but history shows that it can be guaranteed only
by placing the forces to be engaged in an operation
under one commander
with full authority to direct and control
the active strategy and tactics
of subordinate commanders and their forces.
For example when employing a joseki, who is the commander?
The book it came from or the player employing the joseki.

The player is the fundamental commander in Go and remains constant.
Go severely tests
the physical endurance and moral stamina
of the individual player.
Strong players,
inculcated with a proper sense of duty,
a conscious pride in the unit,
and a feeling of mutual obligation to their comrades in the group,
can dominate the demoralizing influences of battle
far better than those imbued only with fear of punishment or disgrace.
Patriotism and loyalty coupled with the knowledge of, and a firm belief in,
the principles under which the game is being fought are essential.

A leader must have
superior knowledge,
evaluation skills,
will power,
moral and physical courage,
and selflessness.
A bold and determined leader
will apply formations
no matter how difficult the situation,
always aware of the great responsibility imposed.

The combat value of a unit
is determined in great measure
by the command qualities
of its leaders and members,
and by its will (potential) to fight.
Superior combat value
will offset numerical inferiority.
Superior leadership
combined with superior combat value of units equipped
with superior combat potential
constitutes a sure basis for success in battle.


The situation estimate
is an orderly thought process
for considering factors that have a bearing
on the possible courses of action in a combat situation
and for analyzing and comparing those courses of actions
to identity the best one.
In the process of completing the situation estimate,
the leader selectively applies the strategical and tactical doctrines
developed for the particular kinds of configurations
with which the leader is working, with appropriate consideration of the principles of war.

The objective of applying the principles of war
and military situation estimate to a game of Go
is to provide one path for understanding how to play.
There are many ways, metaphors, and analogies
for progressing in learning how to play Go well
and hopefully the military path
will tickle your progress in a positive direction of understanding.

In one sense Go is a language
and we are learning the language of Go.
As in learning any language,
it takes time and practice
for the necessary repetitions to take effect
and become a permanent part of our subconsciousness
as well as consciousness.

There are many excellent books and articles
that have been published on Go in the Occidental languages since 1870.
And thanks to Richard Bozulich's Ishi Press and James Davies support,
as well as the Nihon Ki-in in the 1960s and 1970s
and Kiseido, Samarkand, Yutopian, Slate & Shell,
and the Internet in the 1990's and 2000's
as well as the many established Go clubs and their publications,
there is ample material available
for one to progress as far as they desire.

In the military approach for conducting operations
there are three questions that are continually being asked and answered.

1. What is the mission? - Where am I going? 2. What is the situation and courses of action? - Where am I at? 3. What is the analysis of the opposing courses of action and decision? - What am I doing?

Where am I going? - Where am I at? - What am I doing?
Providing the answers for the
Situation and Courses of Action,
Opposing Courses of Action,
and Decision
can help our progress in learning how to play Go
as well as in playing Go.

Instruction and practice for solving
(reading out and evaluating)
strategical and tactical problems
are presented in the many available Go books
which include most of the strategical and tactical doctrine
that has been developed for Go.
Being able to understand the distribution of Go stones on the grid
and evaluate the many variations
to determine the answers to the three questions is the key.
The intent of using the military situation estimate
is to help tickle and organize your thoughts and progress
in developing and applying your understanding and reading skills.


What is the Mission? Where am I going?
In a nutshell this mission statement
is an update of the Objective principle.

In playing Go one must keep in mind what the objective is.
The objective is to have at the end of the contest
a larger total of stones and liberties on the grid than your opponent
(Chinese scoring).
To accomplish this objective,
there are primary and secondary strategical and tactical missions
in the beginning, middle, and end stage of the contest
for each stone placed on the grid.

In the beginning stage
Bases, Links, and Walls are constructed
with one of three primary strategical missions:
1 - Territory;
2 - Influence;
3 - Territory/Influence Combined.
Is the deployment of your stones
into Bases, Links, and Walls
for immediate territory
or for influence
to acquire territory during the middle stage?
The initial points selected for occupation in the corners
and their relationship with points in other corners and sides
should be consistent with your chosen overall grid strategy.
The Nihon Ki-in's Fuseki Small Encyclopedia
published in English by Yutopian Enterprises,
will help you understand the relationships
of the corner points in the opening stage
for initial territory and influence strategies.

In the beginning stage
there are a number of primary tactical missions
for creating the Bases, Links, Walls and Frames: Threaten or Succeed to locally Establish for your stones
or Destroy for your opponent's stones:
1 - Liberties/Life;
2 - Mobility/Connection;
3 - Potential/Influence;
4 - Borders/Territory.
The subsequent tactics applied
in the joseki chosen in each of the corners or sides
should be consistent with the chosen
beginning stage strategy of
territory, influence, or territory/influence combined.
In addition to the other Joseki books currently published in English,
the Nihon Ki-in's
Star Point Joseki Handbook
and Even Game Joseki Handbook
published in English by Yutopian Enterprises
will help you develop your corner tactical knowledge.

In the beginning stage there are a number
of secondary strategical and tactical missions
for the constructed Bases, Links, and Walls.
The secondary strategical missions include:
Reconnaissance, Frontal Assault, and Exchange.

The secondary tactical missions include:
1. Building a Base or Wall
with their associated Influence and Potential missions;
2. Insuring Mobility
with its associated Lines of Connection and Linking missions;
3. Contention with its associated Approach missions;
4. Freedom/Capture
with its associated threats for Blocking, Cutting, and Life/Death missions.

The middle stage primary strategical missions are
maintaining life and mobility,
using influence and potential to gain or expand your territory
and/or destroy or reduce your opponents territory.
In other words, Defending/Invading or Expanding/Reducing areas,
and Freedom/Capture of stones.

In the middle stage the player now has the influence and potential
deriving from the initial bases, links, and walls to work with,
and the primary tactical missions
are essentially the same as in the beginning stage:
Using existing formations and their associated influence
(strength, potential, power, pressure, force)
to continue to Threaten or Succeed to Create or Destroy
1 - Liberties and Connection;
2 - Life and Mobility;
3 - Walls and Potential;
4 - Influence and Territory.

The secondary strategical missions are:
Reconnaissance, Frontal Assault
(Block, Reduce, Invade (Sacrifice, Escape, Connect, Capture Race, Live)),
Envelopment, Penetration, Pursuit, Infiltration, Exchange, Sacrifice, Defense.

The secondary tactical missions are:
1. Building more Formations (Bases, Links, Walls, Frames)
with their associated Influence and Potential missions;
2. Insuring Mobility
with its associated Lines for Connection and Linking missions;
3. Contention with its associated
Approach, Fighting, Invasion, Reduction, Escape,
Forcing (potential elimination) and Defense missions;
4. Capture
with its associated Blocking, Cutting, and Life/Death missions.

The end stage primary strategical mission
is to fix and close the borders of the stone frame formations
by maintaining life and connection,
and using influence/potential
on a much smaller scale to gain or expand your territory
and/or destroy or reduce your opponent's territory.

In the end stage
the primary tactical missions to accomplish the strategical missions
are essentially the same as the middle stage but on a much smaller scale:
Again using existing formations
and their associated influence and potential
to threaten or succeed to defend or destroy
1 - Liberties and Connection;
2 - Life and Mobility;
3 - Walls and Potential;
4 - Influence, and Territory.

The end stage secondary strategical missions
are similar to the middle stage
but are employed on a much smaller scale
serving to fix and close the territorial borders.

The end stage secondary tactical missions
to fix and close the territorial borders
are the same as in the middle stage
and also are employed on a much smaller scale.

What is potential (Able Jobs Inset (aji))?
The shape of strings of stones (connected stones)
and their number of liberties
is potential for life or death.
The shape of groups of stones
and the possible cuts in their links
is potential for life or death.
Recognizing and understanding the options in the potential
is a key element in the art of Go.

The art of Go
is to deploy your formations
creating influence and potential
with multiple options and flexibility
for using the influence and potential
to threaten, or succeed to defend, or destroy:
1 - Liberties and Connection;
2 - Life and Mobility;
3 - Walls and Potential;
4 - Influence, and Territory.

When you look at stone formations on the grid,
you need to be able to recognize and understand
their influence and potential
in addition to their missions,
and that is no easy task.
In addition to playing stronger opponents
it takes practice,
and practice,
and more practice
in the study of
openings, joseki, tesuji, and life/death problems
to learn to read many plays ahead.

Fortunately today there are now many books available
as well as internet sites to help us along.
To help strengthen your evaluation skills
read and study the proverbs in
The Nihon Ki-in's Handbook of Proverbs
published in English by Yutopian Enterprises.

The mission of each play is to
threaten or succeed to create or destroy
Life, Connection, Influence, or Territory.
The objective is to find and occupy the point on the grid at each turn
that combines as many of the implied and accomplished
strategical and tactical missions as possible
for maximizing the possible score in each of the
beginning, middle, and end stages.


Here is an outline to help tickle your fancy for analyzing Go situations and courses of action. A plays purpose is a function of multiple attacks that threaten or succeed to create or destroy and/or expand or reduce basic connection links, life bases, influence walls, and/or territory frames.

Situation and Courses of Action
(Where am I At)

-- a. Considerations affecting possible courses of action
-- -- i. Characteristics of the area of operation
-- -- -- (1) Game Strategy
-- -- -- -- (a) Closed vs Open
-- -- -- -- (b) Territory vs Influence
-- -- -- (2) Grid Strategy
-- -- -- -- (a) Opening
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Fuseki
-- -- -- -- -- -- 1) Empty Corners
-- -- -- -- -- -- 2) Enclose or Approach
-- -- -- -- -- -- 3) Extension
-- -- -- -- -- -- 4) Checking Extension
-- -- -- -- -- -- 5) Jump or Reduction
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Joseki
-- -- -- -- (b) Middle
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Surround
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Expand
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Reduction
-- -- -- -- -- -- 1) Maintain Territory Balance
-- -- -- -- -- -- 2) Limiting Moyo
-- -- -- -- -- -- 3) Probing opponent's response
-- -- -- -- -- -- 4) Expand Moyo
-- -- -- -- -- -- 5) Invasion Foothold
-- -- -- -- -- -- 6) Mutual Reduction
-- -- -- -- -- -- 7) Building Center Territory
-- -- -- -- -- -- 8) Aim at opponent shape defects
-- -- -- -- -- -- 9) Maintain Influence Balance
-- -- -- -- -- -- 10) Reinforce weak stones
-- -- -- -- -- -- 11) Attack preparations
-- -- -- -- -- -- 12) Leave weak group for attack (Shibori)
-- -- -- -- -- (iv) Invade
-- -- -- -- -- (v) Joseki
-- -- -- -- (c) End
-- -- -- -- -- (i) 2nd line
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) 1st line
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Joseki
-- -- -- (3) Corner - Side - Center
-- -- -- -- (a) Time
-- -- -- -- (b) Place
-- -- -- -- (c) Overall Position
-- -- ii. Opponent Situation/Own Situation
-- -- -- (1) Disposition
-- -- -- -- (a) Bases
-- -- -- -- (b) Walls
-- -- -- -- (c) Influence
-- -- -- -- (d) Territory
-- -- -- (2) Composition/Formation
-- -- -- -- (a) Shape
-- -- -- -- (b) Links
-- -- -- -- (c) Potential
-- -- -- -- (d) Framework
-- -- -- (3) Strength
-- -- -- -- (a) Status
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Stable/Unstable
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Thick/Thin
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Light/Heavy
-- -- -- -- -- (iv) Efficient/Inefficient
-- -- -- -- (b) Points of exchange (Miai)
-- -- -- -- (c) Ko threats
-- -- -- (4) Peculiarities and Weaknesses
-- -- -- -- (a) Play order (Tewari)
-- -- -- -- (b) Inefficiency
-- -- -- (5) Recent/Present Significant Activities
-- -- -- (6) Relative Combat Power
-- -- -- (7) Score
-- -- -- (8) Numerical Strength
-- -- -- -- (a) Stones
-- -- -- -- (b) Liberties
-- -- -- -- (c) Ko threats
-- -- -- (9) Links
-- -- -- (10) Points of exchange (Miai)
-- -- -- (11) Balance
-- -- -- (12) Coordination
-- -- -- (13) Influence
-- -- -- (14) Potential
-- -- -- (15) Harmony
-- -- iii. Players
-- -- -- (1) Health
-- -- -- (2) Moral
-- -- -- (3) Training
-- -- -- (4) Knowledge
-- -- -- (5) Resolution
-- -- -- (6) Evaluation Skill
-- b. Opponent Capabilities/Own Capabilities
-- -- i. Why attack (Offensive) to gain
-- -- -- (1) Bases (Life)
-- -- -- (2) Links (Connection)
-- -- -- (3) Influence
-- -- -- (4) Territory
-- -- -- (5) Aji
-- -- -- (6) Sente
-- -- -- (7) Points of exchange (Miai)
-- -- ii. What to attack
-- -- -- (1) Liberty, Eye
-- -- -- (2) Link, Connection
-- -- -- (3) Wall, Border
-- -- -- (4) Points, Territory
-- -- iii. Where to attack
-- -- -- (1) Direction
-- -- -- (2) Strategical Maneuvers
-- -- -- -- (a) Reconnaissance
-- -- -- -- (b) Frontal
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Block
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Invade
-- -- -- -- -- -- 1) Sacrifice
-- -- -- -- -- -- 2) Escape
-- -- -- -- -- -- 3) Connect
-- -- -- -- -- -- 4) Live
-- -- -- -- -- -- 5) Semeai
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Reduce
-- -- -- -- (c) Envelopment
-- -- -- -- (d) Penetration
-- -- -- -- (e) Pursuit
-- -- -- -- (f) Infiltration
-- -- -- -- (g) Exchange (Furikawari)
-- -- -- (3) Tactical Maneuvers
-- -- -- -- (a) Foundation/Base
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Deployment
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Shape
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Potential
-- -- -- -- -- (iv) Contention
-- -- -- -- -- (v) Approach
-- -- -- -- -- (vi) Fighting
-- -- -- -- -- (vii) Invasion
-- -- -- -- -- (viii) Reduction
-- -- -- -- -- (ix) Escape
-- -- -- -- (b) Connection
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Strings (Connected Stones)
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Chains (Linked Stones)
-- -- -- -- (c) Capture
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Blocking
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Amputate
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Life & Death
-- -- -- -- (d) Forcing/Fixing
-- -- -- -- (e) Tesuji
-- -- -- -- -- (i) Attachment
-- -- -- -- -- (ii) Liberty Shortage
-- -- -- -- -- (iii) Placement
-- -- -- -- -- (iv) Snap Back
-- -- -- -- -- (v) Spiral Ladder
-- -- -- -- -- (vi) Under the Stones
-- -- -- -- (f) Finesse/Tricks
-- -- iv. How to Attack
-- -- -- (1) Direct
-- -- -- (2) Roundabout
-- -- -- (3) Multiple
-- -- -- (4) Flexibility (Sabaki)
-- -- -- (5) Exchange (Sacrifice)
-- -- -- (6) Forcing (Kikashi)
-- -- -- (7) Multiple Options (Miai)
-- -- -- (8) Play order (Tewari)
-- -- -- (9) Mass
-- -- -- (10) Economy of Force
-- -- -- (11) Security
-- -- -- (12) Simplicity
-- -- v. When to Attack (Surprise)
-- -- vi. Defense Last Resort


Here is an outline to help tickle your fancy
for analyzing Go opposing courses of action.
The objective of a play is to create multiple attacks
that threaten or succeed
to create or destroy and/or expand or reduce
basic connection links, life bases,
influence walls, and/or territory frames.

The ultimate objective of attacking
is not to capture your opponent's stones,
but to threaten them in order to secure influence and/or territory.
Here is an outline to help determine what course of action to follow.

Opposing Courses of Action
(What am I doing)

-- a. Eliminate possible opponent courses of action or capability that:
-- -- i. Affects all courses of action
-- -- ii. No effect regardless of the course of action
-- -- iii. Provides no means of choosing between courses of action
-- b. Analyze each course of action against each retained opponent course of action or capability. (In summary this is strategical and tactical evaluation reading, which reflects your knowledge and understanding of the Go stone shapes and skill in using their possibilities, i.e. the language and art of go.)
-- c. Comparison of your own courses of action.
-- -- i. Capability
-- -- -- (1) Multiple Threats
-- -- -- (2) Sente/Gote
-- -- -- (3) Profit/Influence
-- -- -- (4) Flexible/Inflexible
-- -- -- (5) Future possibilities
-- -- ii. Advantages/disadvantages
-- -- -- (1) Thick/Thin
-- -- -- (2) Light/Heavy
-- -- -- (3) Stable/Unstable
-- -- -- (4) Settled/Unsettled
-- -- -- (5) Strong/Weak
-- -- -- (6) Efficient/Inefficient
-- d. Decision

contact Hutch
Phone: 703-698-9811
E-mail: crhutch@erols.com
Net: http://users.erols.com/crhutch/go.html