Go (Japanese: 囲碁), Weiqi (Chinese: 圍棋), Baduk (Korean: 바둑)
“The surrounding game” is the oldest board game still played in its original form. Based on archaeological evidence, we believe the game to have originated in China some 2,300 years ago; and some mythic sources suggest that it’s even older.
“Just one game,” they said. That was yesterday.
Like Chess (and unlike Bridge), Go is a “complete knowledge” game, meaning that nothing is hidden from the players. Both players can see the status of the whole board, and there is no element of luck (though human psychology can play a role, of course).
Unlike Chess, a game of Go starts with the board empty. The players take turns placing their stones, and gradually their strategic territories are sketched out. Ferocious tactical fighting may spill from one part of the board to another in the mid-game, and can lead to astounding reversals. The endgame rewards sustained focus and attention to detail. The game is complete when both players agree there is no further advantage to be gained. The surrounded territories are counted, and whoever has more is the winner.
A minute to learn; a lifetime to master.
The rules of Go are simple and few; yet from them, vast complexity emerges. It is calculated that the number of possible games exceeds the number of atoms in the known universe.
If intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go.
Go was the last “complete knowledge” game where humans were eclipsed by computers. Until the Google Deep Mind / AlphaGo artificial intelligence revolution of 2015-2016, no computer was strong enough to seriously challenge the best human players.
Go is enjoyed by players from all walks of life. Come play with us! If you don’t know how to play, that’s ok, because we love to teach newcomers.
- Sundays, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM, at Terracrux Games, 760 Commerce St., Tacoma WA 98402
- Tuesdays, 5:00 PM – 7:30 PM, at Wheelock Branch, Tacoma Public Library, 3722 N. 26th St., Tacoma WA 98407
Some Go resources:
- The Interactive Way to Go is a great online tutorial on how to play
- The Wikipedia article on Go gives a good overview
- A Pictorial History of the Game of Go and The Origins of Go showcase archaeological evidence of Go’s antiquity, and Shotwell’s The Game of Go: Speculations on its Origins and Symbolism in Ancient China hypothesizes about how Weiqi may have come into being
- Sensei’s Library, Life in 19×19, and reddit/r/baduk are online communities of Go players, and are great resources
- Some channels on YouTube and Twitch have great Go content
- A few of the many national and international Go organizations:
- A few of the many places to play Go online:
- A few of the many places to purchase Go sets and publications:
- Yellow Mountain Imports has Go sets
- Kiseido has Go sets and Go books
- Yutopian has Go sets and Go books
- Slate and Shell will be selling its books electronically through SmartGo Books as of August 2017
- Also try local game stores like Terracrux, and Asian markets (near South Sound Go Club, Boo Han Market, H Mart, Paldo World, and Uwajimaya are known to stock Go boards and stones — for the first 3, show them the Korean characters, 바둑, or be prepared to search the aisles for a while; at Uwajimaya, it’s a little easier to find the games, and the Kinokuniya bookstore usually has a few Go titles on the shelves)
- Amazon and EBay usually have Go sets and books on offer
- There is a rich software ecosystem supporting Go players: