Weiqi/Go

My Weiqi/Go lessons site: http://mwagolessons.wordpress.com/

While the Baroque rules of chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go. – Emanuel Lasker, chess world champion

Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts — line and circle, wood and stone, black and white — combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination. – Iwamoto Kaoru, 9-dan professional Go player and former Honinbo title holder

Those interested in impressing others with their intelligence play chess. Those who would settle for being chic play backgammon. Those who wish to become individuals of quality take up Go.
– Microcomputer Executive and an expert player, when asked to compare Go with other games

The above are the three very popular quotes used to describe what Go is. Maybe a little bombastic but I do believe that it is true. I have played Go for about 5 years now and this game of strategy totally intrigues me. I have played International Chess and Chinese Chess before but these two doesn’t even come close to Go, in my opinion. Over the 5 years (with about a 2 year break in between where I have stopped studying Go for various reasons), my skill level is okay, having represented Malaysia in international tournaments and coming soon, will be part of the Men’s team in the coming World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) which will be held in Beijing this coming October 08. The WMSG is part of the Olympic movement and this is the 1st one, with participation from all the top players in the world, both professional and amateur players.

What is Go?

Go is an ancient game that originated in China, with a definite history of over 3000 years, although there are historians who say that the game was invented more than 4000 years ago. Its name comes from the Japanese name Igo, which means “surrounding boardgame”.

In this game, each player tries to exert more influence on territory than her opponent, using threats of death, capture, or isolation. Although at heart an abstract strategy game, Go has variously been said to be a symbolic representation of war, colonization, settling a frontier, capturing market share, having a debate or a lively discussion in a specialized language, and probably many other concrete situations. Go has always been one of the most played games in the world. Worldwide competitions can make a top player a millionaire.

Some facts about Go:

* Go is the oldest game in the world still played in its original form. Some estimates are as high as 4000 years, but certainly 2500-3000.

* Go is the second most played game in the world, behind Xiangqi (Chinese Chess).

* Go is called Igo in Japan, Baduk in Korea, and Wei-qi in China.

* Top go players can earn nearly one million US dollars a year. 2004 tops was Cho U, 9p from Japan who won $1.04 million US.

* Go is simple enough for a 4 year old to learn, but too complex for a computer to beat a human who is a strong beginner.

* It is believed there are more possible game variations than atoms in the visible universe.

* Just like the Golf channel in the US; Japan, China, and Korea all have cable TV channels devoted entirely to Go.

* Go players take their game seriously. You can purchase what is basically a 42cm x 45cm x 18cm (17″x17″x7″) square block of wood for $127,000 US.

* Chess is primarily a left brain game. Go actively stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain.

To learn more about Go, here are the other websites available:

The Way To Go

The Fun Way to Learn Go

The Interactive Way To Go

Sensei Library

Some books that I can recommend:

Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game, by Cho Chikun.

The Second Book of Go, by Richard Bozulich.

Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go

Graded Go Problems for Beginners

You can buy the books online at the following shops:

Kiseido (www.kiseido.com)

Slate and Shell (www.slateandshell.com)

The above two are my favourite online Go book shops.

(1) Taken from the Sensei Library

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8 responses to “Weiqi/Go

  1. Hi!

    Just came across your blog and find it fascinating. A bean counter huh, me too! :)

    Anyway, just dropped by to say hello and wonder how you got started playing Go. I am interested but really don’t have any idea where to start.

    Did you play against the computer or starting going to play with real people in associations?

    Any good introductory books (just one) out of the many you recommended in your post?

  2. fallingstones

    Hi Avatar, really great to have met you here and a fellow bean counter at that ;-)

    I started to really get to play Go after getting inspired by this anime called Hikaru no Go although I am aware of the existence of this game many years before. Since watching Hikaru, I joined the Malaysian Go club at the Japan club and picked up the game.

    I started playing with real people but later also played online although I really don’t like to play online. Currently, I limit my online games to simply passing time or to test some ideas, plus also socialising and keeping in touch with other Go players.

    Do you live in KL? If yes, then please do come to the Japan club. We are there every Saturday from 3pm to 8pm and on Sundays, 3pm to 7pm. Saturday is the real day and Sunday do not get many people coming. You can also check out the Malaysian Weiqi Association website for events.

    Re Go books, I will recommend Cho Chikun’s Complete Introduction book although nowadays a lot of information can be found online. I would stake it to say that if you have gone through the online website, the best book to start is actually the Graded Go Problems for Beginners volume 1.

    Hope to meet you in real life soon ;-)

  3. Thanks for replying. Err, I’d like to come but a bit shy-lar, since I know NIL about Go (ok make that 0.1%, after reading your blog).

    Still sounds interesting. Where’s the addresss of the Japan club? Hope you can send it to me via e-mail or post it here.

    Thanks for the tip. Going to check those books your recommended :)

  4. fallingstones

    Oh, please do come. There are a lot of people there too who are also starting to learn. The Japan club is in Taman Seputeh, within 5 minutes walking distance from Mid Valley City. No 2 Jalan 1/86 off Jalan Seputeh, Taman Seputeh. If you wish to come, please do give me a call. My e-mail is hdoong at yahoo dot com, I will reply with my phone number. Hope to see you there! ;-)

  5. Great. It’s not difficult for met to get there. I’ll drop by in mid August. Need to read up and practice the basic Go skills first. I’ll drop an email to you as suggested.

    Cheers :)

  6. I’m remember reading this article back when I was getting introduced to the game. I’ve been having a ton of fun since, and I’m working on putting together my own server.

  7. jasmine

    Hi, do you have a facebook account? Could I use your information for my research of weiqi for my assignment. please and thank you.

  8. fallingstones

    Hi Jasmine. Yes I do but I only add friends I know. Anyway, you are welcome to use any materials for your research. Just mention the source is from this site. THanks!!

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