In an early episode of Hikaru no Go Akira Toya comments that Hikaru must be a beginner because he's holding his stones incorrectly. In the show, it is shown that real Go players use a grip that only uses their index and ring fingers. Is this true in the real world? And if so, what exactly is the advantage of this grip? It seems to me that not using your thumb would be more likely to lead to dropping a stone accidentally, so I'm having trouble seeing why it would be used.

Hikaru holding stone

  • 2
    this, boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/5497/… and to make such intense sound when placing a stone :)
    – Darjeeling
    Nov 14, 2016 at 8:51
  • 1
    I think they also grip the pieces like this when playing shogi. Both are board games popular (?) in japan and uses small pieces.
    – Unihedron
    Nov 15, 2016 at 11:25
  • IIRC when I learned Go, I was taught that this was the "correct" grip, but I don't know the reason behind it.
    – Maroon
    Nov 22, 2016 at 4:00

1 Answer 1


It is the proper way, and is used by most (if not all?) very strong go players (and many beginners as well!).

It allows you to easily place a stone in the middle of many others without touching them, and same to pick one up (when stones are captured you need to remove them from the goban (the playing board)).

In addition to this practical effect, pros and strong amateurs have a very gracious way to handle stones using this finger placement. You can see examples by seeing professional players on the net. I recommend Japanese players, as the whole ceremonial is quite precise, but also in the anime Hikaru No Go (especially Saï).

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