Classic Go Games: Xu Xingyou vs Huang Longshi – The Games of Blood and Tears

This is a game from ancient China, between Huang Longshi and Xu Xingyou. It was played in the 17th century during the Qing dynasty.

Huang Longshi

Xu Xingyou vs Huang Longshi – The Games of Blood and Tears.

Huang Longshi is a famous Chinese Go master from those times and I’ve heard that Go Seigen said he was on par with Dosaku.

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

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.

Commented game record

Xu Xingyou vs Huang Longshi


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks !

  3. Enjoyed the game! Thank you for the review.

    Suggestion for the website: Have a list of games that will be reviewed after people have donated a certain amount. Maybe add a bar so we can see how much we need to donate until the game will be reviewed.

    I would love to see some dosaku games reviewed from a modern perspective.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful review., Mr younggil. I hope to you have the time to make another one as soon as posible. Huang had luck that you weren’t playing black…

  5. Peter Dijkema says:

    Great game, thank you for explaing, my friend!

  6. Great commentary. Hope to see more old games reviewed!

  7. Many thanks for this awesome game review!

  8. thank you! nice game. as Dosaku, Huang seems to have used deep stragtegic managing as well as crude strength. keep ’em coming!

  9. I had no idea just how bad a move like B92 really is, but it comes out rather nicely in your review. Very interesting review, thanks a lot!

  10. Thank you very much, Mr. Younggil!
    I think these comments are very useful for us amateurs.
    And fun of course:-)

  11. Anonymous says:

    what a game, thank you very much, hope to see dosaku games .

  12. SaiReanfu says:

    amazing game… Thank you very much, An Younggil! I want to see another review games Longshi!

  13. Dear Younggil,,

    At 51 White connects without giving atari first. As the option of cutting seems unlikely and the atari from outside gives central influence, why did Huang still leave both options open?

    Thanks a lot for the great commentary. I especially liked the phrase about “bullying did not change in a hundred years”.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Thanks for the good question!
      In the actual game, white moved the corner stone and lived later. If white atari there earlier, it would be hard for white to live in the corner.
      That’s why white doesn’t atari, but leave.

  14. Very nice work! thanks a lot! I havenยดt enjoyed a reading game since a long time.

    Kind regards,


  15. Yes, White played quite well. For me, mortal, this experience is kind of discouraging too: not being able to find the brillant moves is one thing, not seeing right away why the bad moves are bad makes me feel bad. It is this kind of game that shows this, thank you very much for pointing this out.

    Kind regards,

  16. Hurray! Thank you!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thanks. Enjoy reading your comments on the games…

  18. Hi is it possible to change the format for the sgf viewer, I much prefer the default on where there is much more room for the commentary text.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      It’s harder than it sounds to do that, because then we’d have to redesign our website to make it wider.

      • Thanks took me a while but I figured out ‘[link]’ downloads the sgf file, perhaps change that text to ‘[download sgf]’ ๐Ÿ™‚


  19. at move 90
    instead of
    This attachment looks a bit clumsy now, so it still would have been better to play at A, instead of exchanging A for B.

    I think it’s
    This attachment looks a bit clumsy now, so it still would have been better to play at A, instead of exchanging B for C.

  20. Valparaiso says:

    Great comment on this game! I hope to see top pro vs. young talent analysis next ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Do you know how to get original texts and materials of Go classics? I have been trying to, with little luck.


  22. Chen Zude 9p has done a series on every game of the Games of Blood and Tears. However, the Chinese commentary has no subtitles.

  23. Yosnai Chanatrutipan says:

    Thank , Great commentary. I learn a lot.