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What does Go teach?


All the games teach something, and all are, in some way, "imago mundi", symbol of reality. But perhaps none becomes such a perfect metaphor of human life as Go. As an old proverb says, if you consider it as a simple amusement, Go is only a game, but if you consider it as something more than a game, Go is much more than a game. And, in fact, Go is a polysemic structure that has many different approach levels. It is, in some way, a machine that teaches us to think, but also teaches us to behave in life and know ourselves.

Each game represents a project that we have to carry out and that we have to contrast with reality, which is the opponent. And in this fight against difficulties that the opponent represents, there will be unexpected qualities. It is not enough to be intelligent, it is necessary to be cautious, constant, to be able to value the situation justly in every movement. It is not only intelligence which is concerned, as if it were a mathematic problem, there are also other emotional and psychological factors. We could say that in the development of each game the basic features of every individual are overt, its personality, its virtues, and its faults.

Learning to play Go means learning not to make mistakes. When one loses a game, it is not because the opponent has played specially well, but because we have played badly. The opponent has only done what is correct: punish our mistakes and take advantage of our weaknesses. In the game, as in life, we have learnt to act correctly, to do what is needed to do. And that without any dogmatism, because, in the dialectic structure, which Go is, "good" and "bad" are not absolute categories. A move is not good or bad itself; it is adequate or inadequate in relation with its surroundings.

But, apart from this mirror function, the deepest Go level has also valuable philosophical implications. In fact, the game also represents the fight between black and white (the old "ying-yang" of Taoists) and it is therefore presented as a theoretic model, as an abstract representation of the internal laws of reality. Unlike other games, in Go, "absolute victories" are never possible. At the end of the game, the board is not "white" or "black"; it is white and black. White will prevail over black, or black over white, but the totalitarian utopia of "sweeping away the opponent from the board", of making him disappear is not possible. It is as if the game would make us see the double structure of reality and the strategy of its behaviour: life is composed of white and black, bad and good, light and darkness, truth and lies, pleasure and pain…

As Mr. Antonio Machado said:

"The best among the good ones

is that one who knows that everything in life

is a matter of measure:

a little bit more, something less"

Go is then a constant lesson of balance, stress and harmony of the adversaries. It teaches us to be as careful as bold, as ambitious as modest. It teaches us to be persistent in the development of a project, but also teaches us to be able to change the strategy on time, not to go on fighting for something which is lost, and at the same time, not to give up the fight until the last hope is exhausted.


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The Andalusian GO Association try the divulgation of GO, a game regarded by the Japanese as one of the arts to cultivate and also teaches how to live.


We are based in La Carbonería, Céspedes Street 21A in the heart of the city of Seville. We meet on Saturdays at 19:30.

In internet we can play in the sala andaluza (nationals rooms) of KGS Go Server.

KGS Go Server

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