Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/17

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ix
INTRODUCTION

age of single noblemen rather than through the fighting of the common soldiers.

Go, on the other hand, is not merely a picture of a single battle like Chess, but of a whole campaign of a modern kind, in which the strategical movements of the masses in the end decide the victory. Battles occur in various parts of the board, and sometimes several are going on at the game time. Strong positions are besieged and captured, and whole armies are cut off from their line of communications and are taken prisoners unless they can fortify themselves in impregnable positions, and a far-reaching strategy alone assures the victory.

It is difficult to say which of the two games gives more pleasure. The combinations in Go suffer in comparison with those of Chess by reason of a certain monotony, because there are no pieces having different movements, and because the stones are not moved again after once being placed on the board. Also to a beginner the play, especially in the beginning of the game, seems vague; there are so many points on which the stones may be played, and the amount of territory obtainable by one move or the other seems hopelessly indefinite. This objection is more apparent than real, and as one’s knowledge of the game grows, it becomes apparent that the first stones must be played with great care, and that there are certain definite, advantageous positions, which limit the player in his choice of moves, just as the recognized Chess openings guide our play in that game. Stones so played in the opening are called “Joseki” by the Japanese. Nevertheless, I think that in the early part of the game the play is somewhat indefinite for any player of ordinary skill. On the other