Hikaru no Go – German King

Summary: Tragedy hits Hikaru one by one, and all he has left is Go and memories. He will grow older, he will grow colder, but he will also take you by storm.

AN: Hi, this is my first Hikaru no Go story, I've have thought about writing one for a long time since I'm such a big fan of the series. So here it is! It's my hope that I will gain some inspiration from this so that I can finish my Harry Potter stories and maybe the one Naruto story I have one chapter for....But anyways, I WANT TO TRY TO MAKE THIS A EVERY-OTHER-DAY UPDATING STORY, so wish my luck! As you might already have figured out, English isn't my first language and I don't have a beta for this, so please bear with it until I get one. (You can of course be my beta if you want) ;D

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I don't own Hikaru no Go and the Go information I've gotten from Wikipedia :D


­Shindō Hikaru was seven when his mother left his father for another man, a German man whose name was Hansi or Kanzi, but that is either here or nor there. Hikaru didn't actually know how or why his mother left with a man other than his father, but he didn't like it. His father Shindō Misaō didn't smile anymore or tuck him in at night, and he hardly got home before it was dark nowadays. So Hikaru spent most of his days at his grandpa's house; it was fun over there, he could play Go with the old man and eat grandma's bake'n goods. And his grandpa often tucked him in when he slept over so he didn't care too much that he never saw his father on the weekdays.

Hikaru and his grandpa had started to play Go together when Hikaru was 6. Already then he slept over at his grandparents house often when his mom and dad were screaming at each other, throwing things around or slamming doors. And if his father didn't drive him over to them, then he would just hid under some blankets in his room and listen to music.

Hikaru hadn't wanted to play Go at first of course, it was such a old mans game, but all that had changed when he got a fun learning book on Go for kids from his grandma. She had made him promise to read it since grandpa was lonely and wanted someone to play with as he didn't compete anymore. Hikaru had been surprised that the old man was good enough to compete, so he opened the book with the idea that he wouldn't lose in a lame game to a old man. But as he read on the book got more and more interesting. There were life and death problems to solve and something called kō-battles and lots of smart things to learn. And if there was one thing Hikaru like then it was to feel smart, he was very smart actually, all his teachers told him so, so it must be correct. Though he didn't have too many friends because of that, but who cared about stupid people anyways? He had some older friends and they were much cooler then those dumb kids who just ran around doing nothing but getting dumber!

Anyways...from the book he learnt the basics of the game and he even learned about eyes, the suicide rule and seki, how for a group to be alive it needed to be able to create at least two eyes if threatened, how to use a ladder, a net and even the snapeback-thing – so his grandpa couldn't trick him with that!

With this winning information he challenged the old man to a game with cookies on the line. Both his grandma and grandpa smiled at him when he did so, but his grandpa looked really surprised too. Ha! He hadn't seen that one coming, not very observing of the old man, it would be an easy win then, the book had said that Go was a game of tactics, strategy and observation after all.

His grandpa brought out his traditional Japanese floor Goban, with glass goishi. He said the Goban was made of Hiba, and the kitani (goke) of turned wood. He also bragged about having a even nicer board made of Kaya and with rosewood bowls and shell stones, but he didn't use it often. Hikaru didn't know what he was talking about, but decided to read up on Go equipment later on so he didn't feel so clueless.

Just as they sat down before the board Hikaru's grandma came and gave them tea and a good luck kiss for Hikaru. Not that he needed it, but it was nice even though. Hikaru also tried to sit in Seiza, but his feet thought it was a bad idea so he would try again next time. He ended up on his bottom with crossed legs, but the old man didn't seem to mind.

The book he had read also talked about the traditional way to place a Go stone: One should first take a stone from the bowl, gripping it between the index and middle fingers, with the middle finger on top, and then placing it directly on the desired intersection. He tried to do just that, but that didn't go well either...it kind of pissed him of, but it was the first time he had tried it so he should rather suck it up and train secretly so he could shock his grandpa later on. It was also considered good form to take only one stone at a time as one decides where to play and try to strike the board firmly to produce a sharp click, but that would have to wait too.

"So, you want to play now do you? What brought this on?"

The old man was grinning, so Hikaru had to shot him down, it was only right. "Grandma came to me with a Go book and said I had to read it 'cause you were mopping around and lonely."

Shindō Heihachi made some weird facial expressions, but let that one slid, he was too happy that he could play Go with his grandchild. "Oh, what have you learnt form it though, do you know about Go-problems and the basics?"

"Of course! There's two players, Black and White, they take turns placing a stone of their colour on a vacant point of the grid. And Black moves first. I'll won't need a handicap, I'm sure I'll manage. Oh, and once you've place a stone you can't move it to a different point."

Hikaru explained proudly, at his grandpa's nod he continued, trying to remember exactly what the author had written."I also know about chains also called a group which are vertically and horizontally adjacent stones of the same colour that shares liberties. They commonly can't be subdivided, and in effect becomes a single larger stone...Eh, only stones connected to one another by the lines on the board creates a chain, not stones that are diagonally adjacent. Chains can be expanded by playing more stones on adjacent places or side by side by playing a stone on an point that is...adjacent to...eh..two or more chains of the same colour! AND if white plays a hand so that the black chain loses its last liberty, and it's captured and removed from the board!" Hikaru took a huge intake of breath as he said the last sentence, but was clearly glad and proud that he remembers so much of the rules.

"Wonderful! You have a fantastic memory. Now a vacant point adjacent to a stone is called a liberty for that stone. The chains you talked about share their liberties, and a chain of stones must have at least one liberty to remain on the board. When a chain is surrounded by opposing stones so that it has no liberties, it is captured and removed from the board. Is that clear?"

"Of course, I read about that too."

Heihachi just smiled at him and sipped his tea. "Of course. And you probably also know that most rules don't allow a player to play a stone in such a way that one of their own chains is left without liberties. But it doesn't apply if playing the new stone results in the capture of one or more of the opponent's stones. If so, the opponent's stones are captured first, leaving the newly played stone at least one liberty."

"I know about that one, it's the suicide rule isn't it?"

"Yes that is correct, the rule is said to prohibit suicide, since suicide is very rarely useful. But lets go on, do you know about the kō "eon"-rule?"

The two family members kept on discussing the rules of Go and sip tea until Hikaru lost his patience and wanted to try some Go problems. But yhe eldest Shindō first showed his grandchild several tactical constructs aimed at capturing stones. These were amongst the first things a player should learn after understanding the rules. Recognising the possibility that stones could be captured using these techniques was an important step forward.

The first of them was a ladder. A tactic where Black cannot escape unless the ladder connects to friendly stones further down the board. To capture stones in a ladder, a player uses a constant series of capture threats — called atari — to force the opponent into a zigzag pattern. Unless the pattern runs into friendly stones along the way, the stones in the ladder cannot avoid capture.

But Hikaru soon showed Heihachi that he knew about this too. So he decided to show his grandson the so-called ladder-breaker, a potential powerful strategic move. That earned him a few brownie-points from Hikaru, his old man wasn't so bad at this after all.

When his grandpa thought Hikaru was informed enough about Go rules (for now), he played out a easy problem for him to solve. After the young child had figured it out after just a few seconds, he played a slightly more difficult one. And so it went. Heihachi sat down stones and problems for Hikaru to solve, and the newbeginner noticed that the problems were getting more and more advanced. But he did manage to solve them all (except that weird one..), so after their third cup of tea he demanded a game so he could trash his grandpa! To that demand Heihachi just grinned and gave Hikaru the black bowl.