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A game of Go.

Go is a board game, called I-Go in Japanese, Wei-chi in Chinese and Baduk in Korean. It is played on a board, with pieces of two colors (black and white) called stones. Players take turns placing a stone of their color on intersections of the 19x19 square grid. A normal Go board has 19 rows and columns of lines. Sometimes Go is played on smaller 9x9 or 13x13 boards instead of 19x19. Rules are simple, but they vary slightly.

Stones do not move after they are placed, but they may be captured and removed from the board. Stones that are directly connected by lines form a chain or army, and share the same life (or death). The lines also connect to empty points, and a chain (or single stone) lives as long as it is connected to an empty space, also called a "liberty". Stones with no liberties (no access to empty space) are captured.

The goal of this game is to have more points when the game ends by placing pieces around the board to surround areas. You can place stones on any clear intersection you want, as long it isn't taken off right after, or the board looks the same all over as it did before. The second rule is called Ko (eternity) and is one of the things that is often changed between rule sets. At the end of each game each player's space (territory), prisoners or stones (depending on the rule set) are counted to see who has more points.

Its original Chinese name is "围棋" (= wei qi or wei chi). It is also popular in Japan, and its common name "Go" comes from Japanese. In Korea the game is called "baduk". In these three countries the game is an important part of the culture, like chess is in many western countries.

Go and chess are both board games and strategy games, though both may be used as gambling games as well. They share a tenuous connection to the art of war, though this is most obvious in chess, which was a war game in origin. They both have no luck or secret information, unlike some other classic games like backgammon (dice are rolled) or poker and other card games which also have secret information.

There are many places to play Go on the Internet, as well as local clubs and national organizations in many countries around the world.

History[change | change source]

Go was invented in China but the specific time is not known. The historian of board games, H.J.R. Murray, said:

Its age is often exaggerated; contemporary references to it only become frequent under the Song dynasty in China (AD 960–1279). It is significant that Chao Wu King, who lived between 970 and 1127, records how he enlarged the existing Chinese chessboard by dividing it lengthwise and across to produce a board of 19x19 points on which [the game] is now played. The game spread to Korea and Japan, where the first masters whose names has been recorded flourished between 1465–1500.

— H.J.R. Murray, [1]

References[change | change source]

  1. Murray H.J.R. 1951. The history of board games other than chess.p89–90 Oxford.

Other websites[change | change source]