Overview of Go

Go is a very ancient oriental game for two players. In Korea, it has been called the game of noblemen. It has extremely simple rules that can be learned by a child of six, but its strategy and tactics are so rich that it takes a lifetime to master. It has a handicapping system that allows players of widely differing strengths to enjoy playing together with equal prospects of winning.

Go is played on a board marked with a grid of lines, using a set of black and white lens-shaped pieces called stones, which are placed on the intersections of the grid lines. For the UK Go Challenge, the grid consists of 13 horizontal and 13 vertical lines. Other common board sizes you are likely to see are 19x19 and 9x9.

Traditional Go boards are made from thick cuts of fine woods, and the stones are made from slate, clam shells, jade and other beautiful materials. More affordable equipment made from modern materials is readily available in the UK.

One player plays the white stones and the other the black ones. The game starts with the board completely empty, and the players take turns to place a stone on an unoccupied intersection of the grid. They have two aims:

As the board fills up, there will be fewer and fewer places worth playing. If the players cannot see anywhere they want to play, they can pass instead. When they both pass, one immediately after the other, the game comes to an end. To work out the result, each player scores a point for each empty intersection inside his territories, and a point for each prisoner he has captured. The player who has more points is the winner.

Go - An Introduction, by Andreas Fecke, presents the rules in a form that will be understood and enjoyed by children. We have also provided a more conventional rules definition for readers who prefer this style.

Back to UK Go Challenge Last update: 11th November 2004