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論棋

過了二十八歲生日後﹐不知怎樣我忽然對下棋產生了興趣﹐大慨是步入中年的先兆﹐開始喜歡上老人家的活動。不計小孩子玩意的飛行波子黑白棋等﹐依靠技術足以登大雅之堂的﹐就只有中國象棋﹐國際象棋和圍棋三種了。三種棋我自小學就懂得基本的規則﹐但學了以後一直沒有人和我對奕﹐所以技術只停留在初學也不如的階段。這個夏天中機緣巧合下﹐我遇上了幾位嗜棋之友﹐於是正式踏上圍棋和國際象棋的棋盤之上。

我對中國象棋卻沒有太大的興趣﹐和另外兩者相較起來﹐中國象棋的棋子移動有過多的限制﹐下起來棋勢變化沒有那樣精彩。最重要還是關乎形象的問題﹐說起中國象棋﹐大多數人都會聯想到公園阿伯﹐蹲在路邊下棋的樣子﹐一點兒也不酷﹐老套得要命。

反觀談起國際象棋﹐人們就會聯想起冷靜沉著的大師﹐和深藍電腦作人機對戰的樣子。圍棋就更不用多說了﹐一套漫畫令中港日刮起了一股學圍棋的風氣﹐棋魂中光仔佐為塔矢亮等人﹐自免不了成為眾人模仿的對像。

在學習國際象棋和圍棋的兩個多月中﹐慢慢的我看到到兩者在性質差異。這差異可以說是源於下棋時﹐要運用的兩種完全不同的思考模式。

打個比喻說﹐國際象棋就好像一場戰役﹐兩隊軍隊在戰場上打仗﹐互相撕殺的拼過你死我亡。主要是以戰術的運用﹐看誰能吃掉對方更多的棋﹐把對方的主師將死。在中盤階段也有戰略的成份﹐但只是限於攻守方向的選擇﹐在一至兩輪攻防﹐戰局大至已經定決定。雙方一般共走四五十步﹐正式比賽時間大慨兩三小時左右﹐而一般自己對奕娛樂時﹐十五二十分鐘就足夠完成一局。

而圍棋則是好像一場戰爭﹐在棋盤上有不同的戰場﹐之間看似沒有直接關係﹐但個別戰場上的輸贏加在一起﹐就足以影響到最後的戰局﹐看誰能奪取最多的領土。戰術在圍棋的個別戰場中有肯定的作用﹐但戰略的運用才是圍棋的精要所在。如何平衡各戰場之間的軍勢﹐把兵力作最有效的運用﹐就是一門很深奧的學問了。所以棋圍中常有贏了戰役﹐輪了戰爭的情況發生。序盤和中盤階段相方撕殺不多﹐主要是發展自己的軍勢﹐和抑壓對手的軍勢。到了官子階段以戰術運用互摶﹐爭取一二子的空間優勢﹐往往能起到決定性的作用。圍棋很多時不走到最後一子﹐也不能知道鹿死誰手。下一局棋﹐雙方一般共走二百多子﹐正式比賽時間六七小時﹐歷史名局中有連戰十多天﹐棋手最後吐血身亡的記錄。就算是友誼式對奕﹐一局棋也要最少下一個多小時。

圍棋的棋局的變化比國際象棋更為複雜反覆。在國際象棋中﹐電腦已經能夠和最頂尖的大師一較高下﹐但在圍棋中﹐電腦只能夠達到在業餘級的水平﹐和職業棋手還有一大段距離。圍棋的矩則很簡單﹐只有兩個基本的下子限制。大慨越簡單變化就越大﹐電腦就越難以強行攻擊(brute force attack)去取勝。

下棋真的能陶治性情和鍛練一個人的思維﹐其中所學懂最重的﹐不是在棋盤中戰術或戰略的運用﹐而是下意識計算對手反應的習慣。古代人們沒有其他的消遣娛樂﹐下棋就是生活的一個部份。現代人有各式各樣多姿多彩的娛樂﹐下棋這個嗜好慢慢在年輕一代中失傳了。希望當年輕那一輩的人長大了﹐厭倦千篇一律的電玩遊戲後﹐會重捨古老而簡單﹐但幻變無止境的象棋和圍棋吧。

4 comments to 論棋

  • Interesting piece. While I sucked at “圍棋” but I had lots of fun playing it for many years when I was in high school.

    If my memory serves me, I was “brave” enough to enter the first ever “香港圍棋協會”公開賽 when most people didn’t have ranks yet. As my luck had it, I ended up competing against a guy that was a 三段! And of course, I got beaten the sh*t out by him. 🙂 But he was quite nice and tried to teach me a few things after we finished our game before his other matches.

    Have fun with 圍棋.

    P.S. Strictly speaking, “大慨越簡單變化就越大﹐電腦就越難以強行攻擊(brute force attack)去取勝。” is wrong.

    The rules might be simple but it is the extraordinary complexity the game evolve (you keep adding more and more and more stones onto the board and the possibilities exploding exponentially) that makes it a tough game for current computer systems to handle it well.

    In chess, pieces are removed as the game progress, thus reducing its complexity and possibilities.

    Just my 2 cents and I am often wrong.

  • Wow. You are brave. I only play “Go” with my friend who are as suck as me.

    Ar, the challenge to of computer playing “Go” is the shear size of the board. 2 to the power of 19×19 is a astronomical number. Chess rules limit how a piece can move, so it reduce the problem space. In Chess, the computer thinks in term of pieces, in Go the computer thinks in term of empty space. Computer is playing well in end game, because there ain’t much empty space left in the board, the problem space is limited. Computer is good at open game, because it’s pretty much memory of 定石. It is the middle game computer really struggling.

  • Ha ha, I had no idea my luck would got me a 三段 to play against. I think 金庸 was very into Go at the time and he was the honorary chairman of the club or something.

    I don’t know how S/W programmer design the “brain” (straight logic? neuronet ? etc) for Go program these days but I remember the early generation was so bad that the program try to “rescue” a tiny sure lost situation and messed up the whole board instead and locked itself to a sure-lost game!

    By the way, you can play against other human opponents online and that might be a lot of fun.

  • Yeah, 金庸 must be really into Go, otherwise he couldn’t write the Go games in 天龍八部

    There are open source Go program available on the net, you can download it and see how it works.

    I tried Panda net for a while, but it’s too time consuming to play Go, it takes a long time to finish a game.

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