Go and Goal (2. Uniqueness)


For every two years, there is a winner of the Cup. Paul was merely one of them. But there is also uniqueness in his situation. All the winners were professionals, except Paul. He had no formal training in Go. And he was the first amateur to win the Cup.

So, he had no Go teachers? Not exactly, either. In high school, the two most favorite subjects of his were math and archeology. And his hobby was playing board games. In one summer, he participated in an archeology project, which required the students to travel to Asia, and particularly to the area where China used to be situated in the 21st century.

At night, they slept in farmers’ houses near the archeological site. Paul stayed in a house whose owner’s last name was Huang. It happened that one late afternoon a pack of wolves came to attack the house. Mr. Huang’s grandchild was playing in the yard, and did not run into the house in time. Paul courageously dashed out, holding a hoe, to chase away the wolves, and thus saved the child’s life. Out of gratitude, Huang knew that Paul might be interested in articles with archeological values, took out a book from the attic, and showed it to Paul.

The book, dated 1753 A. D., was bound in strings and written in Chinese. It was a thick volume illustrated with Go-game diagrams. The first page was signed with two Chinese characters, “Yue4 Tian1”.

In halting Esperanto, Huang explained to Paul that Yue4 Tian1 was Huang Long Shi’s scholarly nickname. The book was written by Huang Long Shi, who was considered as the number one Go player in Chinese history.

“Is this the original copy of the Go book, written by Yue Tian, and known by the world?” Paul asked.

“No, sir,” Huang shook his head, and continued to explain that the copy known by the world contained simple elementary stuff. This copy he was holding, by contrast, collected much more advanced thoughts, schemes, games, and problems.

“How good is your Go skill?” Huang asked Paul.

“Me? I am OK. I am a member of my school’s Go team.”

“Good, then you may understand this,” Huang pointed out a page to Paul, “Look at this group of black stones. One, two, three, four, five, six, it seems to have 6 eyes.” Then, when Huang turned to the next page, Paul saw that, with shrewd maneuvering, the white reduced them into one real eye, and one semi eye pending on the winning of a ko. The solution widened Paul’s two human eyes.

This copy had not been known to the world. It was privately passed down generation to generation within Huang’s descendants.

“I thought Mr. Huang Long Shi had not had a wife, nor did he have children,” Paul appeared quizzical.

“You are right,” Huang patted Paul’s shoulder, “but you must know that Mr. Xu, one of Long Shi’s pupils, and also Long Shi’s host for several years, introduced a few mistresses to Long Shi, out of hospitality, or out of jealousy, hard to say. So, Long Shi had a few so-called illegitimate children.”

Huang indicated to Paul that he would like to give the book to Paul, subject to a few conditions:

# (a) One day, he eventually should also pass down the book to an appropriate recipient.

# (b) Other than that recipient, do not reveal the book to anyone on earth.

# (c) Make good use of the Go-related knowledge imbedded in the book, thus secretly glorifying Long Shi.

# (d) Sincerely carry out the principles stated in the last few pages of the book.

Paul accepted the gift with many thanks. He also promised to abide by the 4 specified conditions, in particular, the 4th one….

    Previous essay   Next essay     List