In the West we use a number of Japanese terms for some of the technical concepts involved in playing Go, for historic reasons. Only a few of them are important to know when playing. Sensei's Library
provides more information about these and the Chinese and Korean equivalents.
TEN VERY COMMON GO TERMS, for which there is no exact English word
Atari Dame Go Gote Hane
Ko Komi Moyo Seki Sente
TEN MORE COMMONLY USED GO TERMS, for which (ditto)
Dango Fuseki Joseki Kakari Miai
Ponnuki Shimari Tenuki Tesuji
FIVE COMMON GO TOURNAMENT TERMS
Byo-yomi Dan Komi Kyu Nigiri
Latent threats or possibilities existing in a situation.
Ajikeshi (aji erasure):
A play which removes aji.
Aji ga warui (bad aji):
A position which leaves aji for the opponent to use.
Aki-san-kaku (empty triangle):
The shape of the three Black stones, the elbow point being
vacant. Generally bad shape, see guzumi.
Play where one feels one has made good moves, when in
fact one has accomplished little.
An immediate threat to capture; a single liberty
remains. A verbal warning is often issued when placing
an opponent into ate.
Atekomi (aim inside):
Uncertain, but seems related to a peeping move.
Strong formation of stones facing the center or facing
along a side.
Basami: Pincer (same as hasami).
ikken basami: 1-step pincer (on 3rd line); taka-basami (4th line)
nikken basami: 2-step pincer (on 3rd line) " "
sangen basami: 3-step pincer (on 3rd line) " "
A tesuji connection.
-bane, -basami, -biraki
See hane, hasami, hiraki.
A capping move.
Botsugi: A connection which forms a wall of three stones.
Byo-yomi: Extra count-down time after regular clock time has elapsed.
Chosen: Eternal life; a rare position involving repetitive capture.
The middle game.
Daidaigeima (very large knight's move):
Four across and one vertically (or vice versa).
A neutral point, territory for neither; a liberty.
Shortage of liberties.
Dan: Advanced grade.
Dango (dumpling shape):
A solid mass of stones; a very inefficient shape.
De (go between):
A move which pushes between two enemy stones.
Degiri: A sequence of two moves which push and cut.
Fukure: Swell outward.
Exchange (of territories).
Fuseki: The opening moves of the game where influence and territory
outlines are formed (literally: 'no stones').
A method of capturing an enemy stone; a net trap. The
shape of the stones resembles a wooden clog.
Gote: Defensive play, loss of initiative (literally: 'lower hand').
Gote no sente:
Gote move with sente potential.
Guru guru mawashi:
"spinning around (into dango)". A series of attacks
leading to a loose ladder and capture.
Guzumi: A good empty triangle.
Hamari: Fall into a trap.
Hamete: A trap.
Hane: A diagonal move played in contact with an enemy stone.
Hane-dashi: Outer hane.
Hane-komi: Hane between two stones.
Hane-tsuki: Belly attack.
Shita-hane: Hane underneath.
Hanami ko ('flower-viewing ko'):
Ko where one player stands to lose a lot, but the other
only a tiny amount.
Hasami (pincer play):
A play that attacks by preventing the opponent's extension
down either side (see Basami).
Hazama: Balance point.
One point diagonal jump.
Hiki: Draw back.
Hiraki: 3rd or 4th line extension.
Honte: The proper move.
A single stone played as a sacrifice.
Hoshi: ('star point') the 4-4 point.
Ichi ban: A win by ten points or less.
Igo: An alternative name for Go.
One point extension.
Insei: Student professional.
Ippoji: One large area.
Under the stones (a particular tesuji).
Ji Dori Go:
Derisive term for 'ground-taking go'.
Jigo: Drawn game (by equal territory).
Jingasa: Double empty triangle (4 in a "T").
Joseki (established stones):
Known sequences of moves near the corner which result
in near-equal positions for white and black.
Jun Kan Ko:
A very rare position involving repetitive capture.
Kagame: False eye.
A move that attacks a single enemy corner stone.
Prevented by shimari.
Katatsuki (shoulder hit):
A play on a diagonal of the opponent's stone.
A solid connection.
Kake: Press down.
Kaketsugi (hanging connection):
A open connection. An example is three stones surrounding
an empty point. Promise for eye shape, but can be attacked.
Katachi: The shape of the stones.
Sabaki: Quick development, light shape.
Karui: Single move basic to formation of flexible shape.
Omoi: Heavy, clumped shape.
Keima: Knight's move extension.
Knight's move connection.
Connection at edge of board by keima.
Kikashi: A forcing move, usually made outside the main
flow of play. Often answered, then ignored, to be used
later in the game.
Cut then extend.
Ko: Repetitive capture (literally 'eternity')
Intervening move (that one hopes will force a reply)
before a ko can be recaptured.
-komi: To go into.
Komi: Score adjustment usually penalising black for playing
first. Often 6.5 points.
Komoku: ('small point') 3-4 point.
Inefficient or ugly shape.
Kosumi: A diagonal play next to one's own stone.
A kosumi which is also a tsuke.
Kyu: Learner grade.
Leg: Term used by James Davies for a jogged end of a group.
Weak leg refers to a diagonal extension.
A play which turns a group, forming a corner.
Mane Go: Mirror go. White playing symmetrically opposite black.
"10,000 year ko" (a special formation where whoever
starts the attack must find the first ko-threat).
Me: Eye or point.
Me ari me nashi:
A semeai in which one player has one eye.
Miai: Two points which accomplish the same result; if
deprived of one, the other must be played.
Modori: Fall back.
Moku: Same as 'me'.
Motare: Roundabout attack.
Moyo: Large potential territory.
Symmetrically opposite komoku played in fuseki.
Mushobu: Literally "no-win-loss".
Abandoned game (due to triple ko or similar).
Nadare: Avalanche joseki.
Naka-de: Central placement.
Nakade: Unsettled eye shape.
Naka oshi gatchi:
Early victory by a large margin.
Narabi: Adjacent extension from a non-contact point.
Nidan bane (double hane):
Two successive hane plays by one player.
Nidan osae (double osae):
Two successive blocks by one player.
Nigiri: Equivalent of coin-toss to decide who starts. One grabs
a handful of stones; the other guesses odd or even.
Ni ren sei:
Fuseki with two adjacent star points.
An extension away from an opponent's tsuke, cross-cut, etc.
Nobi-komi:Extend into the enemy's territory.
Nozoki: A peeping move which threatens to cut.
Oba: Large fuseki point.
Ogeima (large knight's move):
Three across and one vertically (or vice versa).
Oiotoshi: A method of capture where stones are sacrificed to destroy
the enemy's eye shape. (Literally "robber's attack)
Oki: Placement. Playing on a vital spot (to kill eyes).
Onadare: Large avalanche joseki.
Osae: A blocking move which prevents extension along a line.
Oyose: Large end-game plays.
Ozaru: Monkey jump.
Pintsugi: Connect between.
Ponnuki: Space between four stones after capture.
Sabaki: Light play; disposable stones.
Sagari: To descend straight toward the edge of the board.
'Three crows'. Corner enclosure by 5-3, 4-4, 3-5 points.
Sangen: Three point interval.
San ren sei:
Fuseki with three adjacent star points.
San-san: 3-3 point.
Sei moku (Star points):
Seki: A situation where neither player may place the other in
ate without placing himself in ate. Stalemate, with no
Seki-to: "Stone tower". Sacrifice of two stones at edge of board.
Semeai: Race to capture.
Sente: Threat forcing direct response, creates initiative.
The right to choose where to play next.
Opposite to gote (literally: 'upper hand').
Shibori: Squeeze play.
Shicho: Ladder play.
Ladder breaker. A stone played in the path of a
potential shicho, threatening to make it fail.
Shimari (corner enclosure):
A two-stone corner formation. May not secure the
corner, but attacker is at a disadvantage. Opposite of
Kogeima shimari (small knight's enclosure):
The 3-4 and 5-3 points.
Ikken shimari (one-point enclosure):
The 3-4 and 5-4 points.
Ogeima shimari (large knight's enclosure):
The 3-4 and 6-3 points.
A revolutionary 1930's strategy. Now blended with
traditional strategy to form the modern style.
Shinogi: Eye-forming sequence.
Suberi: Sliding under.
Suji: Style; skilfulness.
Susoaki: Open skirt.
Tachi: Extension adjacent to centre.
Taisha: A joseki arising from an ignored low kakari to 4-3 point.
Takamoku: ('high point') 4-5 point.
Take-fu: Bamboo joint.
Black playing the same in opposite corners.
The last valuable end-game points.
Ten gen: The centre point of the board.
Tenuki: Ignoring opponent's last move to play elsewhere.
Te okure: Wasted move.
Tesuji ('strong hand'):
The best play in a local position; skilful tactical move.
Tetchu (steel post):
Two stones placed in line vertically and near the edge.
Analysing by removing irrelevant stones.
Tobi-dashi: Jump out.
Tobi-komi: Jump into enemy space.
Tobi-magari: Jump at right angle.
Tobi-tsuke: Jumping attachment.
Torazu San Moku:
A very rare position in the corner, where either side
may capture first, but would lose points to do so.
Tsuke: Attach. A play made in contact with an enemy stone,
but not in contact with any friendly stones.
Tsuke-atari: Bang against (head-on).
Tsuke-giri: Attach then cut.
Tsuke-koshi: Attach at keima waist.
Tsuke-nobi: Attach and extend (handicap joseki).
Tsume: Extension preventing an enemy extension.
Tsume-go: Life and death problems.
Tsuppari: Slap against (sideways).
Uchikaki: Sacrifice on first line to make an eye false.
Uchikomi: Playing to invade enemy territory.
Warikomi: Wedge between two stones.
Wariuchi: A wedging move which has room for expansion in either
Watari: To connect underneath.
Wei Chi: The Chinese name for Go (literally: "game of encirclement").
Yose: End game.
Yose-ko: A ko of little value.
Probe; to see opponent's response. May be sacrificed.
False or vulgar style.
Last updated Fri Nov 20 2015. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.