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Most of these proverbs were collected by S.Coffin and he kindly gave me permission to publish the list. Some of these proverbs were merged into the Internet Go Dictionary.

The aphorisms by Pierre Audouard appeared between 1994 and 1995 in the French Go Review under the title "Some words about Go", and signed by Jean de Laveline (pseudonym of Pierre Audouard) and were translated by Tom Keel.

By default the proverbs are shown in a predefined order Alternatively, you can have them shuffled (the order is randomized) or ordered by author.


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  • Beginner's games are surprising, often incoherent and incomprehensible. When you improve, your game gains in consistency but flirts with stupidity: you become satisfied with truisms and mechanical movements, you try to obtain a feeling for clearness and style the easy way.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Territory is a closed space where time no longer exists. The transformation around it slowly alter it, and sometimes it cracks open like a rotten egg at the least shock.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • You can hide nothing on the goban.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Everything would seem to be possible in go. Like pulling a rabbit, by a magical move, out of a hat.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • (Any move that follows the rules is legal). Possibilities differ according to strength.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • The ax's handle rots while the mind lives to the rhythm of the stones.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • You must incessantly question yourself about this time and this space.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • If black doesn't pile up enough errors to lose, then it will soon be time to lower the handicap.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Sometimes an idiotic stone loafs about the goban.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Very few good moves are played.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • There is a time and a space which are the same in all go games: the alternating of black and white, and the intersections.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • This time and this space have certain properties, and for a long time, to progress means to become familiar with them.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Josekis are not fixed, definitive things. They indicate the moments when everything can change.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Learning josekis by heart is useless if you don't try departing from them.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • To do or not to do something is not determined by what is done in general, any more than by what is necessary. Doing or not doing something is determined by what you want, and to want in go is to want to win.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Nothing requires doing this or that, but necessity exists.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Contesting, destabilizing, and threatening are sources of transformation.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Balance is not what players strive for, and if it does arise, it is in spite of them.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • It is difficult to know exactly what you are doing.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • You must always consider the circumstances. Nothing is identical, yet things repeat.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • There is a time for doing things.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Go is not a blocking game, it's a game of action.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Every move brings change.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • There are players who don't accept exchanges: they play many moves that perpetuate a previous state of the game.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Error is one of the sources of transformation.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • You have to like to win, and to learn to recognize the errors that gave you the victory.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Does white await black's errors? Certainly, in two ways: either he makes clean, clear, dangerous moves; or he makes confusing, twisted moves that are just as dangerous. The adequate answers are always difficult to find.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • The possibility or impossibility of an event results logically from the rules.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • From the way the players perceive what can happen and what shouldn't happen springs what happens.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • The nature of a game comes from what is played, but it's the sensitivity to the possible and the impossible that gives it value.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • There are possible things, impossible things, and things that happen. Sometimes things happen that were impossible.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • The game plays itself, the players don't control it.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Go is a game of chance where the strong player is he who renders circumstances favorable with tricks.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • One is never aware enough of the violence in go.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • (A shicho works or doesn't work, but sometimes you don't see it, you don't play it). The possible and the impossible are visible and invisible. What happens is always what you see, what is played.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Everything happens on a grid-engraved board with black and white pieces, but if that's all you see then you don't know Go.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • In the sound of the stone your can hear its purpose.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • Territory really exists only in the end.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • There are players who clack down ridiculous moves. Certain others place their moves with crisp, dry contact, like bones cracking. Still others drop their stones with a soft sound.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • To emphasize the lack of determination in his moves, one speaks of chance.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • There are lines, like roots, that plunge into the stone and shatter it.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • The intersection is rarely neutral.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • The stone in the bowl is idiotic.
    Audouard, Pierre
  • If you cannot succeed, then die gloriously
    Chinese proverb
  • More haste less speed.
    Fairbairn, John
  • Always remember, keep the balance (between territory and influence)
  • Go is essentially a form of harmony. Go in the 21st century will have to be go of the 'harmony of the six points - the four quarters, the above and the below.' As in life we will need to view the whole rather than the part. Japanese go has focused too heavily on the local (joseki) rather than the whole for 300 years. The reason the Chinese and Koreans are overtaking the Japanese is that they are closer to achieving this whole-board view.
    Go Seigen, 9p, 1994
  • If White takes all four corners, Black should resign; if Black takes all four corners, Black should also resign.
    Kent, David
  • Make a fist before striking
    Kim, Jay H.
  • In opponents' sphere of influence, avoid sharp conflict, don't move too deep
    Otake Hideo, 9p
  • When your opponent is thick, you must also become thick.
    Otake Hideo, 9p
  • Proverbs do not apply to White.
    Sand, Tero
  • In an unreasonable situation, an unreasonable move is reasonable
  • When in doubt, remove the enemy stones from the board.
    Taylor, Bill
  • Turn, turn, turn!
    Taylor, Bill
  • The weak player fears ko, the strong player seeks it.
    Taylor, Bill
  • Keep your own stones connected, and your opponent's apart.
    Taylor, Bill
  • Don't reduce your own liberties.
    Taylor, Bill
  • Don't defend - extend!
    Taylor, Bill
  • Grab the 4th point of the bamboo joint.
    Taylor, Bill
  • A knight's move near the edge of the board cannot be cut.
    Taylor, Bill
  • 5 lines for extension in front of shimari
    Yang Yilun, 7p
  • To invade, need 20 points in open area; otherwise, keshi is best.
    Yang Yilun, 7p
  • Sacrifice small to take large  --  anonymous
  • Corner, side, centre  --  anonymous
  • Don't make territory near thickness  --  anonymous
  • Five groups might live but the sixth will die  --  anonymous
  • Keep away from thickness  --  anonymous
  • Extend one hand from the cross-cut  --  anonymous
  • Win the stones, lose the game  --  anonymous
  • Take the cutting stone on the second line  --  anonymous
  • Stop on second, extend on third  --  anonymous
  • If you don't know ladders, don't play go  --  anonymous
  • The rectangular six is normally alive  --  anonymous
  • The second line is the line of defeat, the third line is the line of territory, and the fourth line is the line of influence  --  anonymous
  • Don't peep at cutting points  --  anonymous
  • Attach to the strongest stone in a pincer  --  anonymous
  • Good moves and bad moves are bedfellows  --  anonymous
  • The strong player plays straight, the weak diagonally  --  anonymous
  • Knight's moves win running battles  --  anonymous
  • When your opponent has two weak groups, attack them both at once  --  anonymous
  • The enemy's vital point is your own  --  anonymous
  • If you plan to live inside enemy territory, play directly against his stones  --  anonymous
  • To reduce an opponent's large prospective territory, strike at the shoulder  --  anonymous
  • Pon-nuki is worth thirty points  --  anonymous
  • One point in the center is worth ten in the corner  --  anonymous
  • Add one stone, then sacrifice both  --  anonymous
  • The saki bottle shape is negative  --  anonymous
  • Strike at the waist of the knight's move  --  anonymous
  • If you lose by one point, take a rest  --  anonymous
  • Groups mustn't float  --  anonymous
  • Fill in a semiai from the outside  --  anonymous
  • There is no territory in the centre  --  anonymous
  • 2-1 is the vital point in the corner  --  anonymous
  • Win the early ko to win the game  --  anonymous
  • Atari, atari is vulgar play  --  anonymous
  • With only one group, you will win  --  anonymous
  • Each step in a ladder is worth 7 points  --  anonymous
  • Sacrifice for shape  --  anonymous
  • Attack two weak groups simultaneously  --  anonymous
  • From a cross-cut, extend  --  anonymous
  • Use the Knight's move to attack, the 1-point jump to defend  --  anonymous
  • With less than 15 stones in danger, tenuki  --  anonymous
  • Do not fear furikawari  --  anonymous
  • Don't be greedy!  --  anonymous
  • If you have won four corners, resign  --  anonymous
  • When in a winning position, keep the game simple; Make it complex only when losing  --  anonymous
  • Use a wall to attack, not to make territory  --  anonymous
  • One big eye kills one small eye  --  anonymous
  • Seek small gains but incur big losses  --  anonymous
  • Don't disturb symmetry  --  anonymous
  • Connect with good shape  --  anonymous
  • Big groups never die  --  anonymous
  • Ikken tobi is never wrong  --  anonymous
  • A meijin needs no joseki  --  anonymous
  • Avoid the plate connection  --  anonymous
  • Empty triangles are bad  --  anonymous
  • Keep inessential ataris till the end  --  anonymous
  • Strange things happen at the one-two points  --  anonymous
  • The L-group is dead  --  anonymous
  • Don't make dango's  --  anonymous
  • Know the eye-stealing tesuji  --  anonymous
  • Eyes win semiais  --  anonymous
  • Learn to play under the stones  --  anonymous
  • Don't overlook the edge of the board  --  anonymous
  • There is damezumari at the bamboo joint  --  anonymous
  • Sacrifice and squeeze  --  anonymous
  • In the corner, five stones in a row on the third line are alive  --  anonymous
  • Conservative and slow will win. Believe it!  --  anonymous
  • Thickness? Ladders always work! [or don't work if it belongs to your opponent!]  --  anonymous
  • Be a little patient. Keshi works!  --  anonymous
  • Don't play on dame points, but guarantee connections  --  anonymous
  • Grab the shape points as kikashi  --  anonymous
  • Five liberties for tactical stability  --  anonymous
  • Dead group? Always win ko fights!  --  anonymous
  • Make your own groups strong first, then attack  --  anonymous
  • If you have lost four corners, resign  --  anonymous
  • For rectangular six in the corner, dame is necessary  --  anonymous
  • On the third line, four die, six live  --  anonymous
  • On the second line six die, eight live  --  anonymous
  • The book says don't fight (The pen is mightier than the sword). But what else can be expected from a book (written by a pen)?  --  anonymous
  • White is always trying to kill a bigger group than black is trying to save  --  anonymous
  • Hane? Extend! Make it a habit  --  anonymous
  • Do not make moves that strengthen your opponent!  --  anonymous
  • Keep sente in the opening. A premature attack loses sente  --  anonymous
  • Play slow, win slow; play fast, lose fast  --  anonymous
  • Don't try to enclose an open skirt  --  anonymous
  • When you study joseki, you lose two stones in strength  --  anonymous
  • Keshi is worth as much as an invasion!  --  anonymous
  • Only amateurs try to come up with fancy moves  --  anonymous
  • Don't get surrounded! Ever!  --  anonymous
  • The simplest move is the best move  --  anonymous
  • Defend weak groups, not strong groups  --  anonymous
  • Grab the border point between two moyos  --  anonymous
  • Don't count territory held by only one eye!  --  anonymous
  • If one player chooses influence, the other player may choose territory, and vice versa  --  anonymous
  • Six eyes in a rectangle are alive  --  anonymous
  • Don't play in direct contact with the opponent's stone caught in your squeeze-play  --  anonymous
  • Don't make a play adjacent to a cutting-point  --  anonymous
  • Beware of the clumsy double contact  --  anonymous
  • If your stone is capped, play the knight's move  --  anonymous
  • At the head of three stones in a row, play hane  --  anonymous
  • The comb formation is alive  --  anonymous
  • Capture what you cut off  --  anonymous
  • Never try to cut bamboo joints  --  anonymous
  • The monkey jump is worth eight points  --  anonymous
  • The poor player plays the opponent's game for him  --  anonymous
  • Beware of going back to patch up your plays  --  anonymous
  • Answer the keima with a kosumi  --  anonymous
  • If you have one stone on the third line, add another, then abandon both of them  --  anonymous
  • At the head of two stones in a row, play hane  --  anonymous
  • Shoulder connections, hanging connections, and knight's move connections  --  anonymous
  • Don't make compact groups of stones  --  anonymous
  • Strange things happen at the one-two points  --  anonymous
  • If there is no stone on the handicap point, the carpenter's square is dead  --  anonymous
  • The carpenter's square becomes ko  --  anonymous
  • For the comb formation in the corner, dame is necessary  --  anonymous
  • If a formation is symmetrical, play at the center  --  anonymous
  • There is death in the hane  --  anonymous
  • Learn the eye-stealing tesuji  --  anonymous
  • Against three in a row, play right in the center  --  anonymous
  • If there is a ko inside a semeai, capture it on the final play  --  anonymous
  • Don't make empty triangles  --  anonymous
  • The semeai where only one player has an eye is a fight over nothing  --  anonymous
  • There are times when even a fight over nothing means something  --  anonymous
  • A basic: Don't push too hard.
  • In the opening, when you don't know what to play, make a shimari.
  • There is a thin line between thick and slow.
  • Those who are good at winning, don't usually fight.
    zhang, 1078 AD
  • Those who are good at making shape don't usually fight.
    zhang, 1078 AD
  • Fighting must not be the key to go, it should be reserved as your last resource.
    zhong-pu liu, 1078 AD
  • Never be too sure about your plan, and always doubt your ability to kill your opponent's stones.
    zhong-pu liu, 1078 AD

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