2 min read

Sente and Gote

Sente and Gote

The concepts of sente and gote are important in higher-level Go strategy.

A player whose moves compel the opponent to respond in a local position is said to have sente (先手), meaning the player has the initiative; the opponent is said to have gote (後手). Sente means ‘preceding move’ (lit: ‘before hand’), whereas gote means ‘succeeding move’ (lit: after hand').

One player attacks in sente; the other defends in gote. In most games, the player who is able to maintain sente controls the flow of the game and therefore has a significant advantage. A player usually accepts gote in order to defend a weak position or to achieve a local advantage such as securing territory.

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