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Go Proverbs


Go proverbs summarize wisdom in easy-to-remember phrases. The proverbs apply often and are regularly used in game comments. Still, one must always evaluate whether or not they apply in a particular situation. Often there’s more than one proverb which applies. Sometimes they are even contradictory. Therefore, one proverb says Don’t follow proverbs blindly. Common sense must still be used.

Not all of the proverbs listed here summarize traditional go wisdom. Some are of recent vintage, devised by amateurs. These are italicized.

Proverbs categorized

Proverbs for all situations

Life-and-death proverbs

Tactics proverbs

Strategy proverbs

Meta Proverbs

Modern proverbs

the following are proverbs contrived by amateurs or SL deshis

Other proverbs (that may apply to Go)

the following list has proverbs not devised for Go but may apply to it

  • Rice eaten in haste chokes.
  • If you want to catch a tiger, you have to go into a tiger’s cave.
  • Though the heavens fall, there will be a hole to escape through.
  • Butcher the donkey after it finished his job on the mill.
  • Distant water won’t help to put out a fire close at hand.
  • When you want to test the depths of a stream, don’t use both feet.
  • You can’t win a fight without attacking
  • It’s all in the mind
  • Fear stops the anxious
  • If you aim for something, you are turning away from it.
  • Spirit strengthens the hand of the just.
  • The fearful suffer a thousand deaths, the brave only one.
  • European proverbs applied to Go
  • How about some Latin Go Proverbs

Gollections and references

Traditional collections of go proverbs

  • The 10 Golden Rules of Go – famous Go proverbs called “Wei Qi Shi Jue” written during the Tang Dynasty (1,300 years ago)

Go proverbs in their original Asian languages

Military proverb collections


  • [ext] Go proverbs — at
  • [ext] Go proverbs — from (with Korean) (very good, funny enough, most of the proverbs link back to diagrams here on Senseis!)


(Source: © 2016 SL – Sensei’s Library | last edited by OscarBear on May 29, 2015 – 16:20)

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