Go is a Chinese board game, with origins that lie more than 3,000 years ago. It is immensely popular in Asia, where Japanese newspapers feature it in its own column. It is also known as Wei Ch’i in China and Baduk in Korea, becoming a popular game worldwide.

History of Go

Go is a very early and historic board game, being played in China over 3,000 years ago; the earliest references to the game are found as early as the 4th Century BC. It was, for a while, considered one of the four cultured arts. It was originally played on a 17×17 grid, but this quickly changed to the 19×19 grid which is still used today.

By the 7th century AD, the game of Go had already reached Korea and Japan. It slowly spread across the globe, with references to the game being found as early as the 16th Century in Europe. However, it did not take off in Europe until the 19th Century.  By the 1930s, various countries, including America and Germany, had their own Go Associations.

Interestingly, in 1996 a game of Go was played between a NASA Astronaut and a Japanese Astronaut in space.

Go Gameplay

Gameplay traditionally takes place on a board featuring a 19×19 grid. The game is for two players, which take turns placing stones at the intersecting points on the grid. A strong element of the game is that stones must have a ‘liberty’, or open intersection adjacent to them in the game. The opposing player may capture the other player’s stone by surrounding its four adjacent sides. If this occurs, the captured piece is removed.

Gameplay continues this way until no profitable moves can be made, wherein both players pass the turn. The player with the greater number of controlled or surrounded stones, taking the captured stones into account, is declared the winner.

As such, this game is rather tactical. Games of Go quickly divide into hotly contested zones on the board, with trades and counter attacks being common strategies.