The Going Insurrection | Chess

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an anonymously published pamphlet seeking to draw lessons from Go theory to apply to anarchist anti-capitalist revolt, once available from the now-defunct zinelibrary.info
Transcript
   ntroduction The game of Go srcinated in China or Tibet at least 3500 years ago, and in its simplicity and complexity, it remains the greatest strategic game that exists. Part of its interest is that it is quite abstract, ust stones on a grid, and so it lends itself !ell to interpretation. The most ob ious analogy for the game is !ar, but Go is not chess, !here the pieces ha e military names and are lined up facing each other, ma#ing the !ar analogy inescapable. $n fact, in many !ays, the traditional image of !ar as opposing nation states ad ancing on each other is not applicable to Go. The lines are not so clearly dra!n, and rather than starting !ith a full army that gets pic#ed apart, the Go board begins empty and the players create the geography of the game together. Through its simplicity, Go can become a metaphor for thin#ing about conflict and struggle more generally. $n modern %orth &merican society, conflict is e ery!here, and o er!helmingly it is a one'sided battle constantly !aged by the economic and political elites against e eryone else. This conflict is isible in the spread of security cameras and other technologies of sur eillance( in the gro!th of prisons and the expansion of police forces( in the ongoing !ars of occupation !aged by imperialist nations to secure access to resources( in the ongoing coloni)ation carried out against $ndigenous Peoples to undercut their resistance and steal their territories( in the threat of being fired or e icted if !e aren*t subser ient enough( in the mass media that teaches us to submit( and in our relationships !here !e exploit each other, mirroring the systems of domination !e !ere raised to  identify !ith. &s an anarchist, $ see# to see this society for !hat it is+ a permanent state of !ar. &nd $ see# to oin into that conflict to attac# the systems of domination and create territories !here ne! #inds of relations and affinities become possible. $n this, $ ha e found the game of Go to be a aluable tool for reflection on ho! to s#illfully fight bac#. The purpose of this text is to apply some strategic concepts of Go to anarchist resistance.$ ha e been playing Go for more than fi e years, and ha e reached the ran# of  #yu in online play. This le el, !ith the #yu ran#s almost behind me but loo#ing out o er the !ide gulf to shodan, is enough to truly appreciate ho! little $ really #no! about Go. $t is not my purpose to spea# authoritati ely about Go or e en to teach the game here - there are many excellent resources a ailable, and $*d suggest starting at ensei*s /ibrary, senseis.xmp.net or at gogameguru.com. $f you do not #no! ho! to play Go, $ hope you !ill still find this text enoyable, but to really understand it, you definitely need to learn Go and play a fe! games. The diagrams and analysis in this boo# rely hea ily on resources produced by stronger players, professionals !here er possible, and $ ha e simply tried to curate and interpret them. $ do offer my o!n analysis of positions and do use examples from my o!n games, but those instances !ill be clearly indicated. $n my examples of struggle, $ ha e tried to use examples as local and as recent as possible, so there is a lot of discussion of the ongoing campaign against nbridge*s /ine 1 pipeline that !ould mo e Tar ands oil through outhern 2ntario.This text is di ided into three parts. irst, continuing from the paragraphs abo e, $ !ill offer my reasons for !hy $ feel Go is useful in strategi)ing for ho! to confront po!er. $n the second section, $ !ill offer a series of pro erbs from the rich body of Go lore that apply as !ell to social struggle as to the  game 4there are also some anarchist sayings that can be mirrored on the Go board. inally, !e !ill loo# at ho! to fight in handicap games, !here one player begins !ith a material ad antage and the other player has to use special techniques to catch up. Go is a system for describing struggle &bo e, $ !rote Go*s po!er in ma#ing analogies !ith conflict comes from its simplicity and complexity. 6y simplicity, $ mean that Go has ery fe! rules and the equipment is uncomplicated - ust stones and a grid. This simplicity comes !ith a certain abstractness - Go resists being forced into any single interpretation. Go is so simple that it can be learned in about ten minutes, but it is so complex that e en the most po!erful computers in the !orld still cannot match the strongest amateur players 4and the professional le els remain totally out of reach. $t has been said that there are more possible games of Go than there are subatomic particles in the isible uni erse - its potentials are ama)ingly ast. Go is also a non')ero'sum game, !hich means that the outcome is not simply !in7lose, li#e chess.  ery game of Go ends in a score, !ith each player ha ing a certain number of points, and the game is considered to be !on by the player !ith the most points. 8o!e er, the score precedes the idea of ictory, so in interpreting the game, !e can set aside the binary idea of !in7lose and consider the outcomes in other !ays. or instance, an insurgent force stealing 95 points a!ay in a high handicap game could be thought of as a ictory of sorts.  en if blac#  Illustration 1: An endgame position. The obvious move is to atari (reduce to one liberty) the two stones in the top left, but does better techniue offer us a better outcome!
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