They didn’t have dan ranks in China at that time, but Huang had the title ‘Guoshou’, which meant he was one of the strongest players (probably the strongest player) in China in those days.
In Korean, the word ‘Kuksu’ means the same thing as Guoshou, and that’s where the name for the modern Kuksu title match comes from.
Contributions to Go theory
It’s said that Huang made significant contributions to Go theory at the time, particularly in terms of using the strategies of over-concentration and amarigatachi (exhaustion of resources) against his opponents, and attacking on a large scale.
He was also very strong at reading and fighting, as you’ll see in this game.
Xu Xingyou was Huang’s student. He also became Guoshou later in his life, but at the time of this game he still hadn’t reached his full potential, whereas Huang was already nearing the end of his life.
Xu is also an important figure in the history of Go because he worked on a number of historical Go books and made sure that game records, commentaries and other important Go knowledge was passed on to future generations.
The Games of Blood and Tears
One day Huang told Xu that he could give him three stones, and this resulted in a series of famous games that became known as the Games of Blood and Tears.
This is one of those games.
Ancient Chinese Go
This is such an old game, and the explanations of the moves are from my (An Younggil 8p’s) point of view, based on modern Go theory.
Though I don’t want to underestimate their strength, some of their moves were very difficult for me to understand from a modern perspective.
Group tax and old Chinese rules
At the time when this game was played, they used the ancient Chinese rules, which required players to pay a ‘group tax’ of one point for every eye.
Because of that the players from this time placed more emphasis on cutting their opponent’s stones and connecting their own.
This might explain some of the differences in their style of play.
Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy this game, along with the commentary.