A little bit about Go:
Go is a fascinating strategic board game that originated in China more than 4,000 years ago. Also known as baduk, wei ch'i, weiqi, and igo, it is played today by millions of people, including thousands in the United States. In Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan, it is far more popular than chess is in the West, and professional players compete for large cash prizes. Its popularity in this country continues to grow.
A lifetime can be devoted to mastering the game, but the rules can be learned in minutes:
Two players alternate in placing black and white stones on a large (19x19 line) ruled board (although real games, albeit more tactical ones, are played on smaller 13x13 and 9x9 boards; even smaller ones are used for teaching the rules), with the aim of surrounding territory. Stones never move, and are only removed from the board if they are completely surrounded. The game rewards patience and balance over aggression and greed; the balance of influence and territory may shift many times in the course of a game, and players must be prepared to be flexible but resolute.
Like the Eastern martial arts, Go can teach concentration, balance, and discipline. Each person's style of play reflects their personality, and can serve as a medium for self-reflection.
Go combines beauty and intellectual challenge. "Good shape" (resulting from stones played efficiently in an effective geometry) is one of the highest compliments one can pay to a move in the game of go. In Asia, Go is often played on a traditional, carved wooden board, with black and white stones made from slate and clamshell, but good affordable equipment is also available. In either case, the patterns formed by the black and white stones are visually striking and can exercise an almost hypnotic attraction as one "sees" more and more in the constantly evolving positions.
The game appeals to many kinds of minds -- to musicians and artists, to mathematicians and computer programmers, to entrepreneurs and options traders. Children learn the game readily and can reach high levels of mastery at an early age.
Because Go lends itself to a uniquely reliable system of handicaps, players of widely disparate strengths can enjoy relatively even contests. The game can be a casual pastime for the idle hour -- or a way of life. Michael Redmond, the first Western player to have win status as a top-grade professional player in Asia, when asked why he had devoted his life to Go, replied, "Because I love the game."
We hope you will too.