President Obama presented Chinese dictator Hu with a go set that included an American-made goban; jade stones donated by Feng Yun of the 9th dan, a former women's world champion and member of the China National Weiqi Team who is now a United States citizen; and glass bowls made by a West Coast blower.
The message is unmistakable: the US can best the Chinese at their own game by virtue of its resources, ingenuity, freedom, and transparency. Unlike either the Asian or European varieties of chess, the subtler and nobler game called weiqi in Chinese is not a game of total victory. A brilliant move in chess may require analysis and creativity, but its significance becomes quickly clear. The importance of a strategically decisive move in Go may not be obvious until much later. Chinese foreign policy is certainly cognizant of that, but perhaps Obama plays international Go at an even higher level. I shall be very happy if and when the time comes to eat my hat on yesterday's post.