The Wing Chun of Go

Recently, I got to give a fancy name to close fighting in Go and called it the Wing Chun of Go. This name was inspired in my game with Dennis recently, two games to be precise, where close fighting occurred, one stone touching the other and killing off liberties as they Go, and one mis-reading will mean the collapse of the entire group. This is very exciting Go.

Now of course those quite well versed in martial arts will rebuke me at this point and say that Wing Chun is not as simple as I said, Wing Chun is not the same thing as close fighting, although close fighting is one of its characteristics (those who at least have watched the movie IP MAN will know). Wing Chun is of course a lot more. Most of all, Wing Chun is about flexibility. Flexibility that give rise to strength, just like a bamboo. It is also about the balance of the body. Balance plus flexibility give rise to strength and speed.

So as in Go, in a close fighting situation, flexibility and balance is extremely important and one major factor in determining which player have better flexibility and balance can be seen through the shapes of the stones of the player. The understanding and knowledge of shape is one key factor in fighting and add on to more detailed and superior reading abilities, it can be determined which side will win the fight.

Detailed and superior reading ability can be cultivated and one of the blind spot that I realise is to read the lines of play based on a one way street, i.e. the player only reads what he/she thinks they want the results to be without careful consideration of the other options that the opponent has. This kind of wishful reading is very dangerous because the player did not consider the flexibility of the stones and will often then get big surprises when the opponent does not play along their wishful lines.

Another important thing in Go is the realisation of the “Plus/Minus” factor. In Go, one cannot gain everything (at least between players of equal strength). Here flexibility is important. Letting the opponent get something and one gets something in return is important. Being too rigid and stubborn will result in the player not getting anything at all.

A give and take attitude with a good splash of patience, flexibility and balance, backed by reasonably good reading and awareness of the ever changing stone configurations, should give one a good Wing Chun game. Haha.

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