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An introduction to the game of Go

In another thread, someone asked:
sgwreviews wrote:
What kind of game is Go? Is it short for something?

"Go" is not short for anything, unless you count that it is just the English and Spanish name for what the Japanese call Igo. The original, Chinese name is Wei Chi, and the Korean name is Baduk.

It is one of the oldest board games, has rules that are generally simpler than those of Chess, but has strategy that is much deeper than that of Chess. If you have seen the movie A Beautiful Mind or the movie Pi, you have seen Go.

To give you an idea of the popularity and importance of Go:
  • Just as America has a "Golf Channel" on satellite TV, Korea has a "Go Channel."
  • China, Japan, and Korea each have professional Go players that compete in televised matches for prize amounts that are similar to those of PGA Golf tournaments.
  • Chess Master Edward Lasker said, "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."
  • When the Japanese wanted to promote the ancient game of Go among younger people, they produced the anime Hikaru no Go, which was successful not only in Japan, but in the U.S., as well, and has introduced a lot of people to the game.

The game is quite simple. It is played on a 19-by-19 line board, with pieces that are just black or white stones. One moves by placing a piece on any of the lines' intersections (not in the spaces as for Chess or Checkers). Thus, there are 361 possible playing positions (as opposed to just 64), and 90 possible opening moves (allowing for symmetry), as opposed to 20, for Chess or 4, for Checkers. After the first move, however, the number of move permutations greatly increases.

The object of the game is to surround more territory than your opponent. In the process, you may capture pieces, but that is not the primary focus of the game.

Once a piece is placed onto the board, it is never moved (unless being captured and removed by being completely surrounded on all orthagonally adjacent points). After this, there are a few additional rules, but they are very simple, with no special movement patterns for different pieces, so it is much easier to learn than Chess.

On the other hand, the strategy is much deeper than Chess strategy because of the much greater number of possible moves and the ways in which moves in one part of the board may, ultimately, have effects way over on the opposite side of the board - usually with 100 moves before the effects are felt.

The following sites give further information, or offer great opportunities to play Go online:
I like Sensei's Library for information about Go. You might want to add it to your list of links.
It's a wiki-like site with information for all levels of players.
hexkid wrote:
I like Sensei's Library for information about Go. You might want to add it to your list of links.
It's a wiki-like site with information for all levels of players.

Thanks. I've had it bookmarked for a few years, but omitted it, for now, to focus upon the more introductory information. Yes, SL has that but, sometimes, people like to have direct recommendations of links instead of poking around on a wiki, else I also would have included GoBase, as well.

Para los que hablan español, aquí están las reglas del Go en español.
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