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The Traditional Board Game Series Leaflet #42: Go

player. ent skill levels can compete on by Damian Walker
(ii). A player also scores a more even terms by using a handi-
point for each enemy stone he has cap.
captured. 19. A handicap of between two
(iii). A player also scores a and nine stones allows the black
point for each prisoner he has sur- player to place that number of
rounded. Counting can be made stones in his first turn, rather than
easier by first taking all prisoners just one stone.
and placing them within their own 20. With a handicap of more
player’s territory instead. than nine stones, the first nine must
be placed on the marked intersec-
The Handicap
tions, the remainder being placed at
18. Two players of very differ- the player’s discretion.
Go is a popular game which has been very widely written about. Go literat-
ure is comparable to that of chess for the depth of its coverage. Some of the
more accessible accounts of go can be read in the following books.
Bell, R. C. Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, vol. 1,
pp. 99-111. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1979.
Bell, R. C. Discovering Old Board Games, pp. 55-59. Aylesbury:
Shire Publications Ltd., 1980.
Botermans, J. et al. The World of Games, pp. 140-142. New York:
Facts on File, Inc., 1989.
Murray, H. J. R. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess, pp. 89-
92. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1952.
Parlett, D. The Oxford History of Board Games, pp. 167-178. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1999.
Pritchard, D. Brain Games: the World’s Best Games for Two, pp. 73-
82. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd., 1982.
Copyright © Damian Walker 2011 -

Board Games at CYNINGSTAN

Traditional Board Game Series
(Second Edition)
4 Leaflet #42
The Traditional Board Game Series Leaflet #42: Go The Traditional Board Game Series Leaflet #42: Go

intersection beside a chain is known completely surrounded but which

INTRODUCTION & HISTORY as a liberty. A chain remains alive retains its liberty is known as a
Go was invented by the Chinese un- emperor’s court, but later spread to while it has at least one liberty. prisoner. It remains on the board
der the name of wei-ch’i, probably a wider section of the upper classes. 5. A liberty that lies within a but is removed at the end of play.
in the second millennium B.C. It A national academy was set up, as chain is called an eye. Two such 13. A situation can arise, called
was mentioned by Confucius in the well as private schools, and a stand- liberties in one chain make it im- ko, where a capture followed by a
6th century B.C. and was popular ardised grading system was created mune from capture (Illustration 1, recapture would create a repeated
during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618- as with martial arts. A). position (Illustration 1, D). Imme-
906). In the second century it The game declined briefly after 6. A stone must be placed diate recapture is not allowed; the
spread to Korea where it was called Japan’s seclusion and renewed con- somewhere it has at least one second player must make another
pa-tok, and in the fifth or sixth cen- tact with the west, but after being liberty, or it must adjoin a chain play before recapturing the stone.
tury it spread to Japan, where it is promoted to an even wider public of which retains at least one liberty (Il- 14. A position where two op-
called i-go or go. all classes, the game’s popularity lustration 1, C is not allowed for posing chains are so interlocked that
The Japanese took to the game revived and, since the second half white). neither player may attack his op-
very well, and became even better of the twentieth century, it has be- 7. There is no movement: once ponent without losing his own chain
players than the Chinese. At first it come increasingly popular in the placed, a stone stays where it is un- is called seki, or stalemate (Illustra-
was played only in and around the west also. less it is captured. tion 1, E). These are left on the
8. A player may opt to pass his board till the end of the game but
HOW TO PLAY turn instead of placing a stone. cannot be claimed as territory by
Go is played on the intersections of board begins the game empty, with either player.
Capturing Stones
a board of 19 lines by 19. There are the less able player using the black Ending the Game
markings on some pieces and begin- 9. A stone or chain is captured
of the intersec- ning the game. by surrounding it so it has no liber- 15. The game is over when
tions, to aid in ties. The group is removed from neither player can capture further
Placing the pieces the board and kept by the player territory, nor place further stones
playing with a
handicap (see 2. Players who has captured it (Illustration 1, that would affect the final outcome.
later). The first take it in turns to B for white). This is the case when both territor-
player has 181 place one of their 10. It is permissible to place a ies are in absolute contact.
black stones, while stones on an stone somewhere without liberties, 16. The end of the game is sig-
the other player empty intersec- if that move would make a capture nalled by both players passing their
has 180 white tion. that would immediately provide turn.
stones. 3. Two or those liberties (see rule 6). 17. The player who has cap-
more stones adja- 11. When stones are captured, tured the most territory wins the
Beginning the either player can occupy the empty game. Territory is counted thus:
cent to each other
Game points. (i). Each point of territory sur-
form a chain.
1. The go Illustration 1: go board, showing board
4. An empty 12. A stone or chain which is rounded gains one point for the
markings and various positions.

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