How did ancient Chinese distill spirits?

As early as 3000 years ago, ancient Chinese created a raw material called distiller’s yeast, which could be used to make a very fragrant spirit with a lingering aftertaste. For thousands of years, distiller’s yeast has been a part of the recipe for Chinese spirits. Today, very few Chinese people know how their ancestors distilled this liquor.

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Weiqi in Chinese Culture

Weiqi is the Chinese name for the classic board game usually known in English as Go (from the Japanese igo). The game has a long history in China, certainly predating Chess in any of its versions. It has never been as popular in terms of mass support as xiangqi (Chinese Chess), which continues to be the game particularly of the overseas Chinese; but it was always favoured by the scholar class. In recent years professional players have emerged in China able to challenge the top Japanese masters, and from about 1970 onwards a corresponding public interest in weiqi has grown in mainland China; there are also some professionals in Taiwan.

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History of Weiqi

Nobody knows for sure when Weiqi (Go) was invented. According to the legend, Emperor Yao (2357-2255 B.C.) invented Weiqi to enlighten his son Dan Zhu. It was also recorded that Shun’s son Shang Jun was not bright and Shun (2255-2205 B.C.) invented Weiqi to teach him. The Encyclopedia Britannica records that it was invented in China in 2306 B.C. (Encyclopedia Americana, 2300 B.C.).

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Common Go/Weiqi Terms

A list of commonly used Go/weiqi Terms.

Weiqi/Go Board

  • Aji — A weakness that is left behind in the opponent’s position. Typically it can be exploited in more than one way.
  • Atari — The state of a stone or unit that has only one liberty.
  • Capturing race — See Semeai.
  • Chain — A group of stones that are directly adjacent along the lines of the board. Also string.
  • Connection — Joining stones along the lines of the board, or making it possible for them to be joined, even if the opponent plays first.
  • Cut — A move which separates two or more of a player’s stones by occupying a point adjacent to them.
  • Dame — 1) An empty point adjacent to a stone; 2) a neutral point between the established Black and White positions.
  • Damezumari — Inability to play at a tactically desirable point due to lack of dame.
  • Death — A group is dead when its owner cannot, playing first with correct play, make it live with two eyes or in seki or make a ko for life, given accurate play by the opponent.

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How to Play Go (Weiqi) – Lesson 10 (End)

Lesson 10: Capturing Races

10.1 Introduction

A capturing race occurs when black surrounds a white group, but is itself partially or wholly surrounded by white, and neither surrounded group is alive by itself. The idea of the capturing race is actually implicitly brought out in many of the earlier lessons, especially in section 2.4, titled “Seki”. Generally, there are three possible outcomes from a capturing race:

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How to Play Go (Weiqi) – Lesson 9

Lesson 9: Basic Endgame Techniques

9.1 Ending A Game

The endgame refers to the part of the game whereby the game is about to be concluded. It is usually a rather tedious process, with both players trying to make their territories more defined, and this part of the game can actually determine which player is the winner. Both players will try to grab the bits and pieces of small territories, attempt to increase their own territory while decreasing their opponent’s territory.

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How to Play Go (Weiqi) – Lesson 8

Lesson 8: Basic Connecting Techniques

8.1 Connecting Solidly

Recall in Lesson 4 on Connecting And Cutting, it is emphasized that it is generally a good idea to keep your stones connected. Of course, if the situation warrants it, you may consider to sever the connection of your opponent’s groups so that the battle is advantageous to you.
This lesson will introduce the various basic techniques of connecting. We shall start off with the most fundamental form, which is connecting solidly.

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How to Play Go (Weiqi) – Lesson 7

Lesson 7: Basic Capturing Techniques

7.1 Atari Techniques

Many times you try to atari a group, but your opponent simply adds another stone to it and avoids capture, right? However, under some circumstances, you can make use of the surrounding stones you have, and atari your opponent’s stones so that they have to run smack into your surrounding stones, and bingo! You have all of them captured in your network of stones.

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How to Play Go (Weiqi) – Lesson 6

Lesson 6: Multiple-Space Eyes

6.1 Two-Space Eyes

In this lesson, we shall investigate the status (i.e. whether a group is living or dead) of groups that has an eye with two or more spaces (and no other eyes) when surrounded. Important: the multiple-space eyes introduced in this lesson are groups with all its stones solidly connected in a chain – eyes with cutting points may have results differing from those given in this lesson.

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How to Play Go (Weiqi) – Lesson 1

Lesson 1: Introduction to Go

1.1. About the game Go

Go is an ancient game originated from China, with a definite history of over 3000 years, although there are historians who say that the game was invented more than 4000 years ago. The Chinese call the game Weiqi. Other names for Go include Baduk (Korean), Igo (Japanese) and Goe (Taiwanese). This game is getting increasingly popular around the world, especially in Asian, European and American countries, with many worldwide competitions being held.

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