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Updated on January 24, 2015

The Facinating Game of GO.

The first time I had ever heard of the game of Go, was from my husband. He knew how to play the game. I believe he learned it in college. It is my goal, here, to introduce the game and share the terminology so that the game can better be appreciated in its true form. My source is from a Japanese author (book from 1960s) so the terminology is of Japanese. There are other sources whereby Chinese is used I am sure.

Go is an ancient board game with basically simple rules but capable of boggling many minds with ongoing strategies. Consisting of two players, the game is played on a wooden board, with a mark 19 x 19 grid (official size), with black and white stones (361 total stones 180 white, 181 black). Black starts first with players alternating having the black stones. The object to the game is to secure a greater portion of territory or your opponent's territory using defensive and offensive tactics. Stones are played on the intersecting lines not in the squares. Capture is not the objective but balance. This will lead to greater gain and eventually to wins. Judgment is what will give you those wins (be sure to watch at least the first video below).

It is believed that the game originated in China before the 3rd century B.C. (where unknown). It is very popular in Japan and quickly gaining serious support in Korea. According to the Wikipedia, 10 percent of all Korans (north and south) play Go.

Opening moves consist of making stone placement to establish territories or "Ji". Players proceed by avoiding the neutral points or "Da-me" and by connecting their own stones or "Tsunagi". In attempting to connect, players will try to "Kiri" or cut-off enemy stones. Player's stones may be connected on the vertical, horizontal and diagonal. The opponent tries to block or interrupt his challenger by placing his opponent's stones in check or "Atari". Capture or "Tori" is also an option.

Skill develops as one understand the "life and death" concepts of the game. Combination of stones leads to this "life and death" feature of the game. I will not attempt to describe a game, as there are many to be observed if one is serious in learning (see You Tube or various sites), and I do not wish to fringe upon someone's copyright. I have provided two videos in which to study how the game works.

The term eye or eyes come in to play. They are the open spaces in the groups that give this life or death; two eyes is living; one eye is death. Once again the first video can quickly and more easily explain the importance of how this all plays out in the game.

One comment, which I read during my research, stated an interesting point about this particular board game. It is referred to as a game that "builds" not "destroys". Many games involve setting up positions then attacking the enemy. With Go, the object is to create strong structures and, in the end, the winner is the one with the most acquired territory (as seen "counted" in the video) plus any captured stones or prisoners.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

On a small grid (9x9), yes, 19 x 19 maybe not.

The computer can beat a Go Master?

Go is a game that computers have trouble with traditionally. Played on a board with a grid of either nine by nine or 19 by 19 lines, the game pits two players against each other in an attempt to control territory using black and white stones. The player holding the black stones goes first, placing a stone at an intersection of two lines on the grid. The player holding the white stones goes next. The two players attempt to control territory on the board by surrounding their opponents stones with their own.

The game is tough for computers to play. Unlike games like chess and checkers, Go gets more complicated the longer the game lasts. In chess and checkers, you remove pieces during play as they're captured. In Go, you're placing more stones on the board until you move into an endgame. For this and other reasons, computer programs have had trouble keeping up with human players.

beat the computer

Make Your Own Board by David

I made my board using the dimensions at the Equipment Dimensions page at Senseis's Library, which says that the distance between the lines on the board should be 22 mm horizontally and 23.7 mm vertically. I decided to leave 14 mm around all four edges. This means that my 19 19 board is 18 22 + 2 14 = 424 mm by 18 23.7 + 2 14 = 454.6 mm. Use these formulas to make a board with different line or edge spacing or a board of a different size. (You may want to use a smaller line spacing if you bought a set of stones that are smaller than most.)

Continue Make Your Own Board

David's Go Page David The Board Maker's Go Page

Go Terminology

From; Go Game for Beginners by Haruko Kambayashi

Atari = making one move and effecting an encirclement of your opponent's piece; in check

Da-me = neutral point on the board

Da-me 0 utsu = to place one's stone in neutral

Eye (Me) = intersections where play may not take place; existing stones placed as liberties

Fuseki = a play game strategy in which to attempt to capture a certain area on the board

Hane-tsugi = often used around the edges of the board during later stage of the game so as to acquire territory

Hangan = half eye;

Hoshi = stars; prepositioned points (stars) on the board; total of 9

Ichigan = one eye, found in a group of stones

Iki = Alive; in a group with one or more "me" or "eye(s)" that could be captured

Ji = Territory or collective eyes

Jigo = a draw (tie)

Kake me = false eye

Kake-tsugi = hanging connection

Katsuro = a path to survival

Kiri = cutting off enemy stones

Ko = repetitious situation; a position in which both players are kept in alternating or capturing their opponent's stones

Liberties = open positions or available placements around a stone, once placed

Life/Death Groups = groups of stones either are alive or dead depending one the "eyes" based on placement of stones

Me (eye) = intersections where play may not take place

Nakade = play at the middle; a term applied to a particular formation where a group of stones appears to have enough eyes to be a live group and yet can be killed off by a single play on the part of the opponent.

Okigo = Handicap play; Okigo is the given name to a game in which a handicap is assigned to a player whereby a certain number of stones are placed on the board before the game begins.

Rank = in this case, lower ranking player

Ryo Atari = double check

Seki = local impasse

Shicho = "ladder" = situation a player finds himself in with no way out; formation of stones which occurs when a player tries to extricate his stones from check but still held constantly in check

Shini = a group with one eye surrounded; easy capture; it is dead or shini (term)

Stone = the object used to mark the board in game play; 181 black, 180 white

Takefu = connection that cannot be cut-off by your opponent

Teire = retouching. A procedure used at the end of the game to verify the actual winner

Utte-Gaeshi or "snap-back" = a technique of capture used, by sacrificing a stone, in which to gain an advantage of capturing your opponent's stones

Watari = method of making connection with your stones to use as a defensive tactic

Yose = a finishing touch; a time when the upper hand player can cause an upset

While the Baroque rules of chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go.

- Edward Lasker

Find Your Board Here

Not sure you want to buy the game. Try a book on the subject and see what you think.

Handicap Play

Did you know that Okigo is the given name to a game in which a handicap is assigned to a player whereby a certain number of stones are placed on the board before the game begins.

Link Along With Me

Go jargon from Wikipedia: Go

According to the USGO, there are more than 100 million active Go players.

Good For The Brain

A study of the effects of age on Go-playing[90] has shown that mental decline is milder with strong players than with weaker players. According to the review of Gobet and colleagues, the pattern of brain activity observed with techniques such as PET and fMRI does not show large differences between Go and chess. On the other hand, a study by Xiangchuan Chen et al.[91] showed greater activation in the right hemisphere among Go players than among chess players. There is some evidence to suggest a correlation between playing board games and reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.[92]

credit: Wikipedia

Part I - Tutorial

Part II Tutorial

Fun Go Facts

Chess is primarily a left brain game. Go actively stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain. See Mental Activity/ Discussion

Top go players can earn nearly one million US dollars a year. 2004 tops was Cho U, 9p from Japan who won $1.04 million US.

It is believed there are more possible game variations than atoms in the visible universe.

Credit: Senseis.xmp

The Go Master

Even made a movie about it!

Have you ever heard of the game Go? Do you play Go? What strategy board games do you enjoy?

May I Here From My Guests

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      6 years ago

      i love . go it is my favorite game I play in tournament and im trying to learn more about the practical parts of go like how it effects my brain. I think people should really try it, i dident have a teacher when i started out but after i leanred basics it really does seem like an easy game. Of course no for people who have never heard it thats why im trying to get my friends and family intrested in it. its a really fun and intresting game both culturally and mentally:)


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