Go (Weiqi) Chessboard Motifs

Among the pottery ware of the late primitive society unearthed near Yuanyang reservoir in Shuichang County of Gansu Province, there are lots of articles gracefully painted with black, red and multicolor stripes. The crisscross stripes form crosses similar to modern-day go chessboard, but there are only 10 to 12 lines, rather than the 19 lines of the chessboard. Archeologists called the patterns "go chessboard motifs".The motifs indicate that games similar to go-chess appeared in China in remote antiquity.

Go Chessboard Stone

It is said that Iron Crutch Li and Lv Dongbin, two of the Eight Immortals, used to play the game of go on Ma'an Mountain, where there remained immortals' footprints of more than one chi, the "go chessboard stone" and the "immortals' cave" etc.

Zither, Board Game, Calligraphy, and Painting

Collectively called "the four arts", zither, board game, calligraphy and painting are the four main skills advocated by and required of ancient Chinese refined scholars. The four arts were normally used to indicate a person's cultural accomplishment.
Called "yi" in ancient China, Weiqi is a strategic board game between two players respectively using black and white game pieces. With a history of over 3,000 years, the game can be regarded as the originator of all ancient chess games. The fantastic Weiqi embodies ancient Chinese philosophy and cultural profoundness and at the same time involves lots of flexible strategies.

According to ancient books, weiqi was invented by the legendary Chinese emperor Yao and his counselor Shun. This attribution indicates the incredibly early time the game originated. In the Spring and Autumn Period, people would use terms in weiqi like "ju qi bu ding" (meaning "holding a game piece but not sure what move to make") to describe vacillation in politics. It's quite clear how popular the game was at that time. Later, numerous talented weiqi players emerged in all dynasties and many emperors in ancient China were weiqi lovers, such as Cao Cao, Emperor Taizu of the Song dynasty and Zhu Yuanzhang. There were lots of interesting stories about weiqi in Chinese history. In the Yuan Dynasty, the famous book on weiqi Xuanxuan Qijing (The Classic of the Mystery of the Mysterious) came out. It was a glorious example of comprehensive weiqi works in ancient China.

The rules of weiqi are very simple but there's plenty of choice to move the game pieces, with countless variations of strategies. This is where the charm of the game lies. The time for one round of weiqi can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as a few days. In most cases, though, it takes one or two hours to finish one round.

Weiqi is a game that combines science, art and competition. It's perfect for intelligence boosting, personality cultivation and flexible strategy learning. It's no wonder the game has been popular for thousands of years and is gradually becoming an international cultural game.
As one of the four major arts (qin, weiqi, calligraphy and painting) of China, weiqi played a prominent role in ancient Chinese culture. During the process of exploring the perfect combination between the art of weiqi and human wisdom long time ago, the Chinese invented quite a few wise sayings and idioms, which have become the quintessence of human wisdom and experience. Handed down from thousands of years ago, these idioms have added much brilliance to the vast accumulation of ancient Chinese culture.

Dang Ju Zhe Mi, Pang Guan Zhe Qing
Lookers-on See More than the Players

"Dangjuzhe" refers to the one involved in Weiqi, and "pangguanzhe" refers to the lookers-on, or standers-by. The idiom means that a person involved in a certain thing may be messed up, while the lookers-on can see the situation clearly. Why? The truth is that the weiqi player usually focuses on the imminent outcome of the game, so that he may be bewildered by the change of the whole situation; however, the lookers-on would not be affected by the temporary victory or failure, thus they can survey the overall condition and take the whole game into consideration.

Ju Qi Bu Ding
Hesitate about What Move to Make

Holding the piece and not sure what move to make. It refers to be shilly-shally and unable to make up one's mind.

There is a story behind the idiom: During the Spring and Autumn Period, Ning Zhi, an official of the Wei State, launched a coup. He dispelled Lord Xian of Wei (the King) and put Gongsun Piao on the throne. Later Ning Zhi's son Ning Xi became the Prime Minister of the Wei State. In the mean time, Lord Xian was conspiring to overthrow the regime under the help of the Qi State. Lord Xian sent his man to negotiate with Ning Xi, promising that Ning Xi could hold the state power alone if the latter could assist him in resuming the throne. Ning Xi agreed after much hesitation. When an official named Taishu Wenzi heard about this, he said, "A weiqi player would not win over the opponent if he hesitates to make a move, let alone such an important event like choosing a king! Ning Xi will hit the skids in the future." Just as expected, Lord Xian killed Ning Xi after he resumed the throne.
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