An Ancient Game
Go is an ancient abstract board game, similar in nature to Chess, that has been played for nearly 3,000 years. It is considered to be the oldest game that is still played today. Go is a game about surrounding territory on a board, to score more points than your opponent. Two players take turns placing black and white stones on a board, that is divided into intersections on a grid. A player scores points by surrounding more intersections than their opponent. Most commonly, the board is 19 intersections by 19 intersections (19x19). However, beginners are often taught how to play on smaller boards, like 9x9, and even 13x13.
Go has very few rules, making it pretty simple to learn. However, the game has enormous complexity, taking a life-time to master! There is a tremendous amount of depth to the game. Go rewards patience, and forces you to compromise with the other player. Being good at Go is not about overwhelming your opponent, but playing solid, patient, and calmly. Territory in the game can shift quickly in the game from moment to moment, and requires a player to be flexible. Unlike in Chess, there is also a robust handicap system, that allows for players with skill gaps to play a fair and even game.
Why play Go?
Besides being a fun strategy game that has enough learning material to keep you busy for most of your life, what else about Go is so interesting? Beyond being just a game, there is a lot of philosophy and art surrounding Go.
Go is meant to be a beautiful game
Black and White stones being placed onto a board with infinite possibilities, ending up with a beautiful and unique game, that is the result of both you and your opponent’s decisions. The game was designed to be aesthetically pleasing. You’ll find that a good strategic shape, also ends up making shapes that look visually interesting. And even on a physical board, the radius of the stones are meant to be slightly larger than the distance between intersections. This causes the stones to not be able to sit perfectly on the intersections, creating randomness. Even if the moves on two different games are identical, the board will never look quite the same, making every game truly unique.
Go is often used as an analogy for life itself.
Many people have drawn analogies between Go and our life, and have derived a lot of meaning from the game. For example, here is a TEDx talk about Go being a guide to modern life. Some regard Go as such a universally fundamental game that there is a saying:
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.
Come Play With Us!
Go is a game like no other. There is millennia worth of culture and knowledge that exists from this game. It has stood the test of time as the most complex and deep strategy board game that is still being played. Choosing to put your first stone on the board groups you with the millions of others who have done the same, across all history. There are millions of people across the globe currently enjoying this beautiful game