Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/16

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viii
INTRODUCTION

progressed beyond the novice stage. The more it is played the more its beauties and opportunities for skill become apparent, and it may be unhesitatingly recommended to that part of the community, however small it may be, for whom games requiring skill and patience have an attraction.

It is natural to compare it with our Chess, and it may safely be said that Go has nothing to fear from the comparison. Indeed, it is not too much to say that it presents even greater opportunities for foresight and keen analysis.

The Japanese also play Chess, which they call “Shogi,” but it is slightly different from our Chess, and their game has not been so well developed.

Go, on the other hand, has been zealously played and scientifically developed for centuries, and as will appear more at length in the chapter on the History of the Game, it has, during part of this time, been recognized and fostered by the government. Until recently a systematic treatment of the game, such as we are accustomed to in our books on Chess, has been lacking in Japan. A copious literature had been produced, but it consisted mostly of collections of illustrative and annotated games, and the Go masters seem to have had a desire to make their marginal annotations as brief as possible, in order to compel the beginner to go to the master for instruction and to learn the game only by hard practice.

Chess and Go are both in a sense military games, but the military tactics that are represented in Chess are of a past age, in which the king himself entered the conflict — his fall generally meaning the loss of the battle — and in which the victory or defeat was brought about by the cour-