Go, known as 碁 in Japanese, wéiqí in Chinese and baduk in Korean, is an ancient board game for two players that originated in China more than 2,000 years ago. The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules.
Once placed on the board, stones cannot be moved elsewhere, unless they are surrounded and captured by the opponent’s stones. The object of the game is to secure (surround) a larger portion of the board than the opponent. When a game concludes, the controlled spaces are counted to determine which portion is the largest, as exact territory size is not easily apparent during play. Games may also be won by resignation, if for example one side has suffered a severe tactical loss (too many stones captured, etc.).
Placing stones close together helps them support each other and avoid capture; on the other hand, placing stones far apart creates influence across more of the board. Part of the strategic difficulty of the game stems from finding a balance between such conflicting interests.
Players strive to serve both defensive and offensive purposes and choose between tactical urgency and strategic plans. At its basis, the game is one of simple logic, while in advanced play the game involves complex heuristics and tactical analysis.”
Essentially two players, black and white, place stones on the 19×19 grid (or smaller, like 9×9) and try to surround (meet at all sides) an area of the board. At the end of the game (A filled board, or no more possible moves to make) the area is counted and the player with the larger area wins. With relatively simple “rules” the game appeals to casual players or advanced players. With more advance/difficult games requiring highly strategical moves based on well thought tactics. Games are best played on a board but because of the relatively underground status of Go it might be hard to find people who play or want to play it. The internet comes in handy here with plenty of online Go servers to play people on.
Black moves first
All pieces must be placed on an empty intersection (dot)
Stones cannot be moved after being placed down
Stone(s) must be completely* surrounded to be captured
You cannot make a move that will return the board to a previous
state. This prevents endless repetition.
The two most important formations to know are:
Chain: A Chain is any connection of vertical or horizontal stones (of the same colour). When a chain is being shadowed by the opposing colour with 1 or more stones than the initial chain, the end result is inevitably death since the first colour won’t be able to outrun the second. This is called a ladder.
Eyes: are a connected group of one (or more) empty intersections entirely surrounded by a chain or chains of stones of one color. Eyes are important, as a group of stones with at least two cannot be captured (It’s suicide to place in 1 eye which is forbidden, and to surround a stone you need to fill the second eye, which in of itself is impossible).
If you get caught in a ladder, cut your losses and move elsewhere.
At a more advance level you can learn how to turn it around on the
opponent but for now, it’s a waste of stones and territory.
Don’t try to get “revenge”. If the opponent takes 5 pieces don’t
think you need to take 10 in a big fancy move to get back at him.
Take your time. Don’t skip things and look at every piece
Don’t think you’re smart. You may well be, but too often when a
beginner thinks they have a genius plan going on, they tend to ignore
or at least not put as much thought into surrounding moves simply to
keep with the plan. Before you know it you can’t carry your plan out,
and your opponent is halfway through his.
http://www.dragongoserver.net/ (Personal Favorite)
http://www.pandanet.co.jp/English/ (Old school, popular and hosts many Pro players, Personal Favorite)
About the author:
Bbvoncrumb runs Nihongoforum http://www.nihongoforum.com/ is a place people use to learn about Japan/Japanese (From Articles on the front page, updated daily-ish). There’s a forum for discussion on Anime/Manga/Music/Drama/Movies and you can Ask/Discuss/USE Japanese there. There’s a blog section for people who want to motivate themselves and a newly set up store that sells cheap
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