Go was originally developed in China about three to four thousand years ago. (It is also known as Wei Ch'i in China and Baduk in Korea).

I will now hard link some of the terms which pi has so generously provided:
Here is a glossary of common Japanese terms used in the game of Go. In Chinese the game is called Wei Qi (Wei Ch'i) (literally:"game of encirclement")


Aji (taste): Latent threats or possibilities existing in a situation.

Ajikeshi (aji erasure): A play which removes aji.

Aji ga warui (bad aji): A position which leaves aji for the opponent to use.

Aki-san-kaku (empty triangle): The shape of the three Black stones, the point 'a' being vacant. Generally bad shape, see guzumi.

Amarigatachi: A shape where a player may feel he has made good moves, when in fact he has accomplished little.

Ate (Atari): An immediate threat to capture; a single liberty remains. A verbal warning is often issued when placing an opponent into ate.

Atekomi (aim inside): Uncertain, but seems related to a peeping move.

Atsumi (thickness): Strong formation of stones facing the center or facing along a side.

Basami: Pincer.

  • ikken basami: 1-step pincer (on 3rd line); taka-basami (4th line)
  • niken basami: 2-step pincer (on 3rd line) " "
  • sangen basami: 3-step pincer (on 3rd line) " "

Bata-bata: See oiotoshi.

-bane, -basami, -biraki: See hane, hasami, hiraki.

Boshi (hat): A capping move.

Botsugi: A connection which forms a wall of three stones.

Byo-yomi: Extra count-down time after regular clock time has elapsed.

Chosei: Eternal life; a rare position involving repetitive capture.

Chubansen: The middle game.

Chu oshi gatchi: Early victory by a large margin.

Daidaigeima (very large knight's move): Four across and one vertically (or vice versa).

Dame (useless): A neutral point, territory for neither; a liberty.

Damezumari: Shortage of liberties.

Dan: Advanced grade.

Dango (dumpling shape): A solid mass of stones; a very inefficient shape. The Whites stones show this.

De (go between): A move which pushes between two enemy stones.

Degiri: A sequence of two moves which push and cut.

Fukure: Swell outward.

Furikawari: Exchange (of territories).

Fuseki: The opening moves of the game where influence and territory outlines are formed. (literally: 'spread out stones')

Geta (clog, like the shoe): A method of capturing a enemy stone; a net trap. The shape of the stones resembles a wooden clog.

Gote: Defensive play, loss of initiative. (Literally: 'lower hand')

Gote no sente: Gote move with sente potential.

Guru guru mawashi: "spinning around (into dango)". A series of attacks leading to a loose ladder and capture.

Guzumi: A good empty triangle.

Hai: Crawl.

Hamari: Fall into a trap.

Hamete: A trap.

Hana-tsuke: Nose attatchment.

Hane: A diagonal move played in contact with an enemy stone.

  • Hane-dashi: Outer hane.
  • Hane-kaeshi: Counter-hane.
  • Hane-komi: Hane between two stones.
  • Hane-tsuki: Belly attack.
  • Shita-hane: Hane underneath.

Hanami ko (flower-viewing ko): Ko where one player stands to lose a lot, but the other only a tiny amount. See ko.

Harazuke: Belly attack.

Hasami (pincer play): A play that attacks by preventing the opponent's extension down either side. (see Basami).

Hasami-tsuke: Pincer attatchment.

Hazama: Balance point.

Hazama-tobi: One point diagonal jump.

Hiki: Draw back.

Hikkuri-kaeshi: Self-reversing sequence.

Hiraki: 3rd or 4th line extension.

Honte: The proper move.

Horikomi (throw-in): A single stone played as a sacrifice.

Hoshi (star point): 4-4 point.

Ichigo-masu: Carpenter's square.

Igo: An alternative name for Go.

Ikken-tobi: One point extension.

Insei: Student professional.

Ippoji: One large area.

Ishi-no-shita: Under the stones; a tesuji.

Ishi: Stone.

Ji Dori Go: Derisive term for 'ground-taking go'.

Jigo: Drawn game (by equal territory).

Jingasa: Double empty triangle (4 in a "T").

Joseki (established stones): Known sequences of moves near the corner which result in near-equal positions for white and black.

Jun Kan Ko: A very rare position involving repetitive capture.

Kado: Angle.

Kageme: False eye.

Kakae: Grip.

Kakari (approach): A move that attacks a single enemy corner stone. Prevented by shimari.

Karami: Splitting.

Kata-sente: One-sided sente. Katatsuki (shoulder hit): A play on a diagonal of the opponent's stone.

Katatsugi: A solid connection.

Kake: Press down.

Kaketsugi (hanging connection): A open connection. An example is three stones surrounding an empty point. There is promise for forming an eye shape, but it can be attacked.

Katachi: The shape of the stones.

  • Sabaki: Quick development, light shape.
  • Karui: Single move basic to formation of flexible shape.
  • Omoi: Heavy, clumped shape.

Keima: Knight's move extension.

Keima-tsugi: Knight's move connection.

Keima-watari: Connection at edge of board by keima.

Keshi: Erasure.

Kikashi: A forcing move, usually made outside the main flow of play. Often answered, then ignored; to be used later in the game.

Kiri: Cut. Like a sword cut.

Kiri-chigae: Cross-cut.

Kiri-nobi: Cut then extend. Ko: Repetitive capture. (Literally: 'eternity')

Ko threat: Intervening move (that one hopes will force a reply) before a ko can be recaptured.

-komi: To go into.

Komi: Score adjustment usually penalizing black for playing first. Often 5.5 points.

Komoku (small point): 3-4 point.

Korigatachi (frozen shape): Inefficient or ugly shape.

Kosumi: A diagonal play next to one's own stone.

Kosumi-tsuke: A kosumi which is also a tsuke.

Kyu: Learner grade.

Magari (turn): A play which turns a group, forming a corner.

Mane Go: Mirror go. White playing symmetrically opposite black.

Mannen Ko (10,000 year ko): A special formation where whoever starts the attack must find the first ko-threat.

Me: Eye or point.

Me ari me nashi: A semeai in which one player has one eye.

Miai: Two points which accomplish the same result; if deprived of one, the other must be played.

Mochi-komi: Botched invasion.

Modori: Fall back.

Moku: Same as me.

Mokuhazushi (point-detatched): 3-5 point.

Motare: Roundabout attack.

Moyo: Large potential territory.

Mukai-komoku: Symmetrically opposite komoku played in fuseki.

Mushobu: Literally "no-win-loss". Abandoned game (due to triple ko or similar).

Nadare: Avalanche joseki.

Naka-de: Central placement.

Nakade: Unsettled eye shape.

Narabi: Adjacent extension from a non-contact point.

Nidan bane (double hane): Two sucessive hane plays by one player.

Nidan osae (double osae): Two sucessive blocks by one player.

Nigiri: Equivalent of coin-toss to decide who starts. One grabs a handful of stones; the other guesses odd or even.

Ni ren sei: Fuseki with two corner star points on one side of the board.

Nobi (Stretch): An extension away from an opponent's tsuke, cross-cut, etc.

Nobi-komi: Extend into the enemy's territory.

Nozoki: A peeping move which threatens to cut.

Nuki: Capture.

Nurui: Lukewarm.

Oba: Large fuseki point.

Ogeima (large knight's move): Three across and one vertically (or vice versa).

Oiotoshi: A method of capture where stones are sacrificed to destroy the enemy's eye shape.

Oki: Placement. Playing on a vital spot (to kill eyes).

Onadare: Large avalanche joseki.

Osae: A blocking move which prevents extension along a line.

Oshi: Push.

Oshi-tsubushi: Squashing move.

Oyose: Large end-game plays.

Ozaru: Monkey jump.

Pintsugi: Connect between.

Ponnuki: The shape of four stones after capturing one stone.

Ryo: Double.

Sabaki: Light play; disposable stones.

Sagari: To descend straight toward the edge of the board.

Sanba-garasu: 'Three crows'. 1. Three stones in a diagonal line. For example a corner enclosure by 5-3, 4-4, 3-5 points. 2. A group of three top players.

Sangen: Three point interval.

San ren sei: Fuseki with three star points on one side of the board.

San-san: 3-3 point.

Saru-suberi: Monkey jump.

Sashikomi: Insert.

Sei moku (Star points): Handicap points.

Seki: A situation where neither player may place the other in ate without placing himself in ate. Stalemate, with no territory awarded.

Seki-to (stone tower): Sacrifice of two stones at edge of board.

Semeai: Race to capture.

Sente: Threat forcing direct response, creates initiative. The right to choose where to play next. Opposite to gote. (Literally: 'first/leading move'.)

Shibori: Squeeze play.

Shicho: Ladder play.

Shicho-atari: Ladder breaker. A stone played in the path of a potential shicho, threatening to make it fail.

Shimari (corner enclosure): A two-stone corner formation. May not secure the corner, but attacker is at a disadvantage. Opposite of kakari.

  • Kogeima shimari (small knight's enclosure): The 3-4 and 5-3 points.
  • Ikken shimari (one-point enclosure): The 3-4 and 5-4 points.
  • Ogiema shimari (large knight's enclosure): The 3-4 and 6-3 points.

Shin fuseki: A revolutionary 1930's strategy. Now blended with traditional strategy to form the modern style.

Shinogi: Eye forming sequence (when under attack).

Shita-hane: Hane underneath.

Shita-tsuke: Attatch underneath.

Soto: Outwards.

Suberi: Sliding under.

Suji: Style; skillfulness.

Susoaki: Open skirt.

Sute ishi: Sacrifice stone.

Tachi: Extension adjacent to centre.

Taisha: A joseki arising from an ignored low kakari to 4-3 point.

Takamoku (high point): 4-5 point.

Take-fu: Bamboo joint.

Tasuki fuseki: Black playing the same in opposite corners.

Tedomari: The very last move (in a certain sequence of 'good moves').

Ten gen: The centre point of the board.

Tenuki: Ignoring opponent's last move to play elsewhere.

Te okure: Wasted move.

Tesuji (strong move): The best play in a local position; skillful tactical move.

Tetchu (iron pillar): Two stones placed in line vertically and near the edge.

Tewari diagram: Analysing by removing irrelevant stones.

Tobi: Jump.

  • Tobi-dashi: Jump out.
  • Tobi-komi: Jump into enemy space.
  • Tobi-magari: Jump at right angle.
  • Tobi-tsuke: Jumping attatchment.

Torazu San Moku: A very rare position in the corner, where either side may capture first, but would lose points to do so.

Tsugi: Connection.

Tsuke: Attatch. A play made in contact with an enemy stone, but not in contact with any friendly stones.

  • Tsuke-atari: Bang against (head-on).
  • Tsuke-giri: Attatch then cut.
  • Tsuke-kaeshi: Counter-attatch.
  • Tsuke-koshi: Attatch at keima waist.
  • Tsuke-nobi: Attatch and extend (handicap joseki).

Tsume: Extension preventing an enemy extension.

Tsume-go: Life and death problems.

Tsuppari: Slap against (sideways).

Uchi: Inwards.

Uchikaki: Sacrifice on first line to make an eye false.

Uchikomi: Invading enemy territory.

Uttegaeshi: Snap-back.

Warikomi: Wedge between two stones.

Wariuchi: A wedging move which has room for expansion in either direction.

Watari: To connect underneath.

Yose: End game.

Yose-ko: A ko of little value.

Yosu miru: Probe; to see opponent's response. May be sacrificed.

Yurumi: Loose.

Zoku-suji: False or vulgar style.

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