Aug 13, 2014

The game of GO

I play the game of GO, or IGO as it is also called. It is played on a 19x19 board with black and white stones. The stones are alternately placed on the intersections of the lines. The object is to enclose territory or to capture enemy stones by completely surrounding them. At the end of the game, the open spaces and any captured stones are each worth one point and the one with the most points win. There is a handicapping system so that players of different strengths can effectively compete with each other. There is also a ranking system that goes from 35kyu up to 1kyu and then from shodan (1 dan) to 9 dan. My club keeps records and after each game your ranking is adjusted, maybe moving within a rank or rising or falling a complete rank. I am currently playing at  2kyu, but they club members are predicting that within a few months I will be able to battle my way up to 1kyu

The rules of GO are very simple. The usual listing has only 10 and I have seen them expressed with as little as 4. However, what happens is very complicated, but there are sequences of moves and ways of playing that can be studies and learned. I often study at home. One advantage of living in Japan is that there is an Igo Shogi Channel on cable TV. Shogi is a game that is similar to chess, but you can place captured pieces back on the board as your men. This picture shows a game that is being played on TV. They limit the thinking time to 30 seconds so it goes pretty fast. They have a commentator and another person who analyze the game as it is being played, discussing the merits and demerits of specific moves and describing the possibilities for future moves. I watch two or three games a week in addition to solving problems on my computer. Hopefully, this study will have help and I will actually be able to move up to 1kyu. My goal is to become a shodan, but I have a long way to go.

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