On Monday, July 17, 2017 The Surrounding Game, the first documentary about the game of Go in America, was screened in Tacoma at the Grand Cinema. South Sound Go Club presented the movie to an appreciative audience of Go enthusiasts and individuals seeking to learn more about the game.
Doors opened at 6:00 PM for South Sound Go members to meet and for moviegoers to share refreshments before watching the film. The audience responses to the film were animated; laughing with the film and voicing agreement with comments about the difficulty of improving at the game. The film expressed the simplicity of the rules but the complexity of play, making it one of the most difficult games to master. The Surrounding Game described the complexity in strategy and tactics, and the beauty of play to newcomers in the theater. Many have believed that the game of Go was so complex that no computer would be able to defeat a top professional player. We now know Alpha Go, a computer that thinks and learns, defeated a top human player in 2016.
The focus of the movie was on the first American Professional Promotion Tournament in 2012 and provided a narrative that humanized the story of Go. The story of Ben Lockhart and his friend Andy Liu, provided many scenes of humor and anxiety for the audience.
After the screening, many newcomers to Go stayed to learn how to play. Experienced players took the opportunity to launch into games with friends they had not seen in some time. The movie ended at 8:10 and audience members were still enjoying talking about the film and playing Go when I left at 10:15 PM.
If you have a chance to see a screening of The Surrounding Game, take the opportunity. The Surrounding Game is an excellent film that presents the beauty and challenge of the ancient game of Go.
The South Sound Go Club would like to thank their sponsors who have helped support the film and the club over the last few years. Thanks to Norm Cartwright from the Deschutes Brewery for providing support and refreshments, which added to the successful evening. To Doug Wheller II, Owner of TerraCrux Game Store for support of the film and providing a place to play on Sundays. Finally, thanks to Wheelock Library in the Proctor District for allowing the club to play on Tuesday evenings for the last three years.