I’ve read that Go, called baduk in Korea and wei chi in China, is the world’s oldest board-game. Although I’ve been playing for many years, it only gets increasingly interesting along the way.
At home I have a go table complete with stools created for me many years ago by our friend Ruth Arnold. The travel set shown in the picture stays with my friend Vox. I made that board from a piece of leather I bought at Capital Findings back in the 80s. At that time they had a place in a warehouse building on King Street West. There are also a pair of leather bags which I also made. Back then we played with stones I gathered from a beach. Although I picked the whitest and blackest stones I could find from the beach, more differentiation was needed so I spray painted them white and black. These days we use a set of glass stones.
Over the years a few people have asked me to teach them how to play, but most people back away from the game once they realize it takes some commitment to really learn to play. That’s one of the things I like about it. It’s not easy. In 2016, for the first time a computer was developed that could beat the strongest pro players. I’ll never get anywhere near that level in my lifetime. One good thing about the game is there is lots of room for players of all strengths and there is an excellent handicap system which enables weaker players to enjoy playing stronger players in a game either player might win.
Go is all about surrounding territory and that includes the life and death of groups of stones. In the game pictured, white got behind early after the white stones in the upper left were trapped behind enemy lines and killed. Although white has good potential in the bottom left and in the centre, black has good cash profit, some captured stones, and has some potential for points in the centre as well. An uphill battle for white.