“Go can’t be played by one person, you need two. One genius can’t give birth to a great game, you need to equally blessed players, two. When two finally come together the hand of god becomes one step closer”

~ Kuwabara-Sensei (Hikaru no Go, Chapter 140)

Lee Sedol (left) and Lee Chang-ho

Lee Sedol (left) and Lee Chang-ho

It’s true that Go requires two players. In a Go-club or in the internet you will meet countless people that share the same interest. However sometimes a certain bond is created, a special connection between two players, rivalry.

In clubs you will often see how certain players challenge one another more often than others. So where does that urge to win against one certain person come from? Is it just the simple need to demonstrate superiority? Do we want our Go to be acknowledged by that player? Do we seek a goal that motivates us, makes us want to become stronger?

I very much like the idea of a friendly rival, the kind you can have tea with while wageing a viseral war of stones with. A certain tension between the two that gives you a sense of nastalgia when the board comes out, with memorys of near wins a tough beats. All the different types of games you have played together.
A bond if you will, through watching and forcing each other to grow stronger.

~ Tom Waits (GoDiscussions.com)

As for myself, I found it very helpful to set goals. Chasing behind players that were much stronger gives you a certain drive and changes your attitude towards the game. It becomes more competitive, you start to look above instead of being content with what you are. It can also be very depressing sometimes if you realize that your progress just doesn’t come as quickly as expected.

Do you have a rival? How does that express itself in the way you play? Post your opinions in the comments