In the popular historical romance drama, General and I, Bai Ping Ting (Angelababy) and Chu Bei Jie (Wallace Chung) are two lovers who are also adversaries on opposing sides. In a very exciting scene, the two opponents end up playing an amazing Go board game "blind" — with the game board sight unseen. The incredible challenge for the drama team is deciding on how to present the game to the viewers. The result is so fascinating that even if you haven't been watching the drama, you should watch the clip here because it truly stands on its own.

(Spoilers Alert)

Although Bai Ping Ting and Chu Bei Jie have already fallen in love, the couple must overcome many difficulties and obstacles before they reach their "happy ending."

In episode 52, Bai Ping Ting goes to a gambling house to seek help, and she is challenged by the proprietress, Thirteenth Lady Yan, to play a round of Go game. Unbeknownst to her, Chu Bei Jie is the one secretly in charge of the gambling house, using it to build strength and reserve to prepare to rise against a brutal enemy. Furthermore, Chu Bei Ji believes that Bai Ping Ting is dead.

Thirteenth Lady Yan knows that Bai Ping Ting is smart, so she asks Chu Bei Jie to be the other player. Of course, she also stipulates to the two "blind" players who play without a game board that neither can step out of their respective room or forfeit the match. (Can we say this is a double-blind game since neither player even knows who the other one is?) The stakes are high and stacked against Bai Ping Ting because Thirteen Lady Yan by now sees Bai Ping Ting as her competitor for Chu Bei Jie's love.

In their fascinating joust, the two players gradually recognize the opponent's style and signature moves.

The scene is particularly special because it was not as highlighted in the original novel. Viewers can see a battle on a game board so effectively and vividly presented by the fierce match from the two "blind" opponents, because the drama's director took extra effort to film the scene. Also for the benefit of the viewers, we get some helpful commentaries from the audience inside the gambling house while the Ninja-like fighters battle on the simulated Go board.

It took the production team 3 days and 2 nights to film the sequence. The director knew he wasn't satisfied with just showing the two leading stars to present the scene. He invited three Go game experts to play a game first and took notes to fine-tune the scene. He also lined up martial arts stuntmen to play as the game pieces to bring the match to life.

Actor Wallace Chung was actively involved because he and the director had previously filmed a chess-playing scene in another martial arts drama, The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (2013).

A little side note about the Go board game: In the drama, the actors actually say "play chess" in Chinese because the Chinese word "chess" (棋) can refer to many different board games.

There are two major ancient board games in China. One is Xiang Qi (象棋), that is similar to but different from the Western chess. The other is Wei Qi (圍棋), literally meaning "encircling game." Wei Qi was invented in China around 2,500 years ago and is called Baduk in Korea, Go in Japan, and most Westerners know the game as Go. The word Wei (圍), meaning "to surround," gives hint to the highly complex strategies and clear mind required to surround and capture more territories than the opponent. It truly is a game of war.

If you haven't watched the drama, let me give you a hint: The leading couple have a happy ending!


General and I - 孤芳不自赏

Starring Angela Yeung (Angelababy) and Wallace Chung

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Isn't that game scene riveting?

Do you play Go or other games? 

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