Go Terms

Japanese Name Description
Aji Aji means leftover possibilities in one's shape. Bad aji typically means that there is a defect in your shape that, under the right circumstances, can be very painful and makes you lose stones or territory. Good aji means that there are a lot of good moves that are possible for you in the future under the right conditions.
Furikawari A fancy Japanese term meaning to trade territory with your opponent. Basically, let's say you control one part of the board and your opponent controls another. You both play moves that hands over control of territory. You do this when the exchange benefits you.
Gosei Gosei literally means 'Go Saint' and is a title match in Japan where professional players go head to head to capture the title.
Gote Gote is the opposite of sente. A gote move is a move your opponent does not have to respond to. You'll also sometimes here "This sequence is gote for Black" which would mean the sequence will end, and then White will have the initiative.
Hane This move is where you reduce the liberties of a stone to two by bending around it. Example: Black hanes White.
Honinbo In ancient Japan there were 4 major houses that would compete against each other to see who was the best. The Honinbo house was the strongest house and then later it became a title a Go player could win if they won the Honinbo title match. The person you see in this picture is Honinbo Shusaku, a very famous Go player who lived in Japan during the 1800s. He was a young prodigy at the game and was heralded as the strongest player for many years.
Kisei Literally translates to 'Go Sage' and is yet another title that was given to professional Go players in ancient times if they were really good. Nowadays, professional Go players can earn it if they win the Kisei title match. '
Komi Black gets the advantage because he goes first, so, to make up for this, White gets a few points at the beginning of the game called Komi. Komi can be anywhere from 5 points to 7 points, and it changes depending on the size of the board. For an even 19 x 19 game, komi will most likely be 6.5 points.
Kosumi The kosumi is when you play a stone diagonal from one of your own stones. It was used in the opening a lot in the 1800s and is the signature move of Honinbo Shusaku, an ancient Go player.
Meijin Meijin is a title that was given to the strongest Go player of the four ancient Go houses in Japan. Even after the Go houses went away, the Meijin is the title given to the player who wins the Meijin title match where you face off against the best players in Japan.
Miai Miai is a two way street, where there are two points on the board that are equal in value. Basically, if one player gets one point, the other player will nab the other. Miai is especially important in life and death to make sure a group lives no matter what your opponent does.
Moyo A moyo is a framework where you create an outline for the territory you would like to make. Your opponent is not going to let you turn your entire framework into territory, so they will most likely invade, or they may reduce. It just depends.
Nigiri At the beginning of the game, to decide who goes first, one player grabs a handful of stones. The other player guesses if the stones are even or odd. If that player guesses correctly, they can choose what color they want.
Oza Oza is yet another title given to professional Japanese Go players. The O in Oza means king, and the za refers to a throne, so if you're the Oza, you're basically the king on his throne.
Seki Seki is mutual life, where both groups live by sharing liberties. Neither player can reduce the other players liberties to zero without reducing their own liberties to zero. Think of it like a stalemate.
Semeai Semeai is just a fancy word for "Capturing Race" where two groups of enemy stones are locked in a liberty race to see who can capture the other first.
Sente To take the initiative. Sente can be used in a few different ways. "Playing a move in sente" means to play a move that your opponent must respond to, or else there will be negative consequences for them. To take sente means to leave the part of the board where the action has been happening and take the initiative elsewhere.
Tengen Tengen means the 'axis of the heavens' which is a fancy way of saying the middle of the board. The star point in the middle of the board is called Tengen. Fun fact, it's also the name of a title you can get if you are a professional Go player and win the Tengen title match.