American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Leibniz calls go “ingenious and quite difficult”

Thursday June 11, 2015

“I easily believe that the magnitude of the Board and the quantity of pieces render this game quite ingenious and quite difficult,” wrote the 2015.06.06_Leibniz_WeiqiGerman polymath and philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz about go in 1710. Leibniz, in “Miscellanea Berolinensia” goes on to note “the singular principle” of go is not “the death of the enemy, but only to push him to the limits of the Table,” which, while not perhaps technically accurate, certainly gets at the heart of the game, though he goes on to draw the questionable conclusion that the game’s inventor “abhorrent of murder, wished to obtain a victory not soiled by blood.” Leibniz learned about go from the book “Christian Expedition among the Chinese,” by Nicolas Trigault, a missionary to China in 1600s.
graphic: from Miscellanea Berolinensia; thanks to Simon Guo for passing this along.

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting