American Go E-Journal

Why Doesn’t the West Play Go?

Friday September 27, 2013

Why isn’t go more popular in the West? That question has preoccupied go author and scholar Peter Shotwell for decades. Shotwell’s recently published “appendix” on the subject — appended to his ongoing “Origins of Go” study — is entitled Why the West Plays Chess and the East Plays Go: How Classical Chinese and Ancient Western Grammars Shaped Different Strategies of War, Weiqi and Chess. Shotwell examines his idea that the presence or absence of abstract nouns, the verb “to be” and other linguistic features developed and shaped the philosophies and resulting different strategic thinking of early Greece and Classical China. He provides the historical background of how and why this happened and concludes with an examination of the Thirty-six Strategies that encapsulate the strategic yin thinking of Chinese generals like Sunzi (right) and weiqi players of the Han dynasty, along with a short discussion of the reasons for the fall of the Qin dynasty. The full article is 274 pages, or you can download a 16-page summarizes of the most significant findings here.

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