Chess Versus Go

Richard Bozulich is writing a series of essays on various go topics. The first is, The Interplay of Intuition and Brute-Force Analysis in the Game of Go. (http://www.usgo.org/news/2015/03/two-new-books-from-kiseido-and-bozuliuch-launches-online-series/)
The one with interest for the chess world is the second, Chess and Go: A Comparison. (http://www.usgo.org/news/2015/03/spring-sale-at-kiseido/)

“Richard Bozulich (born 1936) is an American author and publisher of go books in English and a college math professor. He co-founded the Ishi Press. Bozulich was born in Los Angeles, California. He attended UCLA and in 1966 graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in mathematics. Bozulich had worked his way through college by buying and selling highly technical used books and upon graduation decided to become a book publisher. He moved to Japan and in 1968 in partnership with Stuart Dowsey founded The Ishi Press, a book and magazine publishing company that primarily published books about the game of go. In 1982 Bozulich founded Kiseido Publishing Company. Richard Bozulich has written or published more than one hundred books and magazine and newspaper articles about the game of go. He is the world’s most prolific author of go materials in English.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bozulich)

He begins Chess and Go: A Comparison with, “Chess and go are games rich in both strategy and tactics. Because of the relatively small size of the chess board (64 squares), chess is considered to be more of a tactical game than a strategic one, in which gaining a material advantage is the all important first step to the eventual mating of the king. The small size of the chess board does not seem to be conducive to strategic ideas.

Go, on the other hand, with its enormous playing field of 361 points, is generally considered to be a game in which both strategy and tactics are equally represented.

For sure, there are a large number of principles that govern go strategy. With respect to tactics, there are at least 45 different kinds of tesujis that can be used to gain a tactical and, ultimately, a strategic advantage. Many of the strategic and tactical principles of go are encapsulated in a hundred or so go proverbs. In addition, there are a large number of other strategic principles which make up go theory and are instinctively understood by all strong players.

What about chess? What are the principles that guide a player to make sound strategic moves?

When I first started to investigate this, I didn’t expect to find too many strategic principles. I was sure that there would be many more chess ‘tesujis’. ((teh-soo-djee) (skillful play) (http://senseis.xmp.net/?GoTerms) To my surprise, I found more than 60 strategic chess principles, but only 13 chess tesujis.

In spite of the paucity (compared to go) of its tesujis, chess is still a game rich in tactical maneuvers that require deep and accurate analysis. However, due to the small size of the chess board, a small slip in reading is often catastrophic, whereas in go, small mistakes in reading are not necessarily fatal, as compensation can be obtained in other parts of the board.

In a game of chess, there is essentially one battle going on. Only one opening can be played and the opening chosen sets the strategic theme of the game. In go, each corner of the board can feature a different opening (joseki) each with its own strategic theme. Skirmishes also arise on the sides, so there are numerous battles going on simultaneously in different parts of the board, but they are all interconnected and coordinating them into one coherent strategy is what makes go a very difficult and profound game.

There are a number of strategic concepts that exist in go but not in chess. They are analogous to the ones used in decision-making situations in business, geo-politics, or in everyday life.” (http://www.magicofgo.com/roadmap9/chess%20and%20go.htm)

Richard then contrasts Go principles with the principles of Chess in the rest of this highly interesting and provocative look at the differences between the Royal game and Go.

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