Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/18

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INTRODUCTION

hand, these considerations are balanced by the greater number of combinations and by the greater number of places on the board where conflicts take place. As a rule it may be said that two average players of about equal strength will find more pleasure in Go than in Chess, for in Chess it is almost certain that the first of two such players who loses a piece will lose the game, and further play is mostly an unsuccessful struggle against certain defeat. In Go, on the other hand, a severe loss does not by any means entail the loss of the game, for the player temporarily worsted can betake himself to another portion of the field where, for the most part unaffected by the reverse already suffered, he may gain a compensating advantage.

A peculiar charm of Go lies in the fact that through the so-called “Ko” an apparently severe loss may often be made a means of securing a decisive advantage in another portion of the board. A game is so much the more interesting the oftener the opportunities for victory or defeat change, and in Chess these chances do not change often, seldom more than twice. In Go, on the other hand, they change much more frequently, and sometimes just at the end of the game, perhaps in the last moments, an almost certain defeat may by some clever move be changed into a victory.

There is another respect in which Go is distinctly superior to Chess. That is in the system of handicapping. When handicaps are given in Chess, the whole opening is more or less spoiled, and the scale of handicaps, from the Bishop’s Pawn to Queen’s Rook, is not very accurate; and in one variation of the Muzio gambit, so far from being a handicap, it is really an advantage to the first player to give