Weiqi Versus Chess

Using a universally relevant metaphor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to US president Jimmy Carter, wrote in The Grand Chessboard (1997): “Eurasia is the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played.” China’s New Silk Road strategy certainly integrates the importance of Eurasia but it also neutralizes the US pivot to Asia by enveloping it in a move which is broader both in space and in time: an approach inspired by the intelligence of Weiqi has outwitted the calculation of a chess player.

The chronicle by Japanese writer Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972) of an intense intellectual duel, translated in English as The Master of Go, contributed to the popularity of the game in the West, but Weiqi is a product of the Chinese civilization and spread over time in the educated circles of Northeast Asia. Kawabata, who viewed the Master as one of his favorite creations, knew that for China the game of “abundant spiritual powers encompassed the principles of nature and the universe of human life,” and that the Chinese had named it “the diversion of the immortals.”

In imperial China, Weiqi had the status of an art whose practice had educational, moral and intellectual purposes. In a Chinese version of the scholastic quadrivium, the mandarins had to master four arts, known as qin, qi, shu and hua. It was expected of the literati to be able to play the guqin (qin), a seven-stringed zither, but also to write calligraphy (shu) and demonstrate talent at brush-painting (hua).

The second artistic skill, qi, is a reference to Weiqi, a strategy game played by two individuals who alternately place black and white stones on the vacant intersections of a grid. The winner is the one who can control, after a series of encirclements, more territory than his opponent; one can translate Weiqi (围棋) as “the board game of encirclement” or “the surrounding game.”

For centuries, literati have been fascinated by the contrast between the extreme simplicity of the rules and the almost infinite combinations allowed by their execution.

Traditionally, the game was conceptualized in relation to a vision of the world. In the early 11th-century Classic of Weiqi in Thirteen Sections, arguably the most remarkable essay on the topic, the author uses notions of Chinese philosophy to introduce the game’s material objects: the stones “are divided between black and white, on the yin/yang model… the board is a square and tranquil, the pieces are round and active.” In the Classic of Weiqi, the famous Book of Changes (Yi Jing), which presents the cosmology of Chinese antiquity, is quoted several times.

The game, “a small Tao,” was so popular that it generated obsessive attitude. Addiction to Weiqi was considered by the Chinese philosopher Mencius (372-289BC) one of the five types of unfilial behavior. Through the centuries, the game remained an important element of the Chinese society. Ming dynasty painter Qian Gu (1508-1578) realized an exquisite masterpiece when, in a mood of ease and poise, he portrayed A Weiqi Game at the Bamboo Pavilion, where the breeze, water and young maidens revolve around the circulations of black and white stones. One of the famous set of 12 screen paintings from the Emperor Yongzheng period (1678-1735) portrays an elegant and refined lady sitting by a Weiqi board.


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15 must-read books by tech CEOs that will give you a peek inside their brilliant minds

Tech CEOs are some of the smartest people in the world.

And a lot of them want to share their ideas with anybody who will listen.

We’ve put together 15 of the best books written by current and former tech CEOs that will give you a peek inside their fabulous minds.

Peter Thiel – “Zero to One”

Marc Benioff – “Behind the Cloud”

Andy Grove – “Only the Paranoid Survive”

Ben Horowitz – “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”

Lou Gerstner – “Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?”

Chris Anderson – “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More”

Ed Catmull – “Creativity, Inc.”

Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg – “How Google Works”

Mark Cuban – “How to Win at the Sport of Business”

Reid Hoffman – “The Startup of You”

Bill Gates – “The Road Ahead”

Tony Hsieh – “Delivering Happiness”

Michael Dell – “Direct from Dell”

David Packard – “The HP Way”

Maynard Webb – “Rebooting Work”


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Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome.

If there was ever a story that made suicide a reasonable option, or gave anyone an excuse to say that life was meaningless — I think it would be this one. Yet having been lowered into the pits of humanity, Victor Frankl emerged an optimist. His reasoning was that even in the most terrible circumstances, people still have the freedom to choose how they see their circumstances and create meaning out of them… what the ancient Stoics referred to as the “last freedom.” The evil of torture is not so much the physical torment, but the active attempt to extinguish freedom.

The book has three main parts:

  1. Experiences in a concentration camp – a theoretical essay
  2. Logotherapy in a nutshell
  3.  The case for a tragic optimism

In my opinion, this book is way (way!) more than just another pump-up book about motivation — Man’s Search for Meaning is an intellectual masterpiece that inspires you to take control over your psychology, thus taking control of your life.

He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.

Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.

Link to Amazon page


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