Go

Go (weiqi, baduk) is a board logic game played on a board, which consists of 19 vertical and 19 horizontal lines. This strategic game, somewhat reminiscent of the well-known checkers, involves two players with 180 stones at their disposal, which are placed on the board during the game. The goal of the game is to surround the stones of the enemy, while capturing as much territory as possible. It is about this fun that there is a saying: "Renju is the occupation of commoners, chess is the lot of warriors, go is the game of the Gods."

Some historians claim that go was invented by the mathematicians of Central Asia around the 3rd millennium BC, from India it came to China. In China itself, there is a slightly different opinion. According to some legends, the honor of inventing go belongs to the first rulers of the Celestial Empire Yao and Shun (XXVI-XXIII centuries BC). Other sources claim that the game was invented by Prince Wu (who is also considered the author of hieroglyphic writing and playing cards). According to the researchers, Go most fully reflects the cosmology of the ancient Chinese, who saw in everything the confrontation of two principles (yin and yang).

In China, this popular game was called "Weytsy" (translated from Chinese "wei" - "surround", "tie", "tsy" - "wooden chips", "root", "base"). There is another, philosophical version of the translation of the term "Weytsy" - "world order", "binding the world." Somewhat later (about the middle of the 1st millennium AD) the game came to Japan, where it was slightly modified and received a different name - Go or I-Go (translated from Japanese "and" - "surround", "go" - " shell "," stone "), as well as syudan -" sign language ". There is another name for this game - baduk (translated from Korean - "grid").

The game of go came to Europe not so long ago - at the end of the 19th century, and for some time was called "round-up checkers", but this name, as not reflecting the essence of this game, was abolished. The first tutorial on the game of Go, written by the German engineer Korschelt, was published in 1908. Ex-world chess champion Emmanuel Lasker, as well as the famous chess player Edward Lasker, who created a club of go fans in Germany and wrote the book "Go and Go-Moku", made a lot of efforts to spread Go in Europe. It is he who is considered the founder of American go. After World War II, go is developing quite actively in Europe - clubs of fans of this game and national associations appear in many countries. In 1956, the European Go Federation was created (now uniting federations of 22 countries), since 1957 annual European Championships have been held. In 1979, the personal world championship among amateurs was held for the first time, in 1982 the International Go Federation was formed.

As in many other board games, there are three stages in go:
Initial stage (fuseki) - at this stage, players, placing the most important first stones on the board, delimit spheres of influence. Traditionally, the opponents first fix in the corners, spread their influence to the sides, and only after that move to the center of the board. Intuition and the ability to "feel the position and direction" are of great importance at this stage, that is, to perceive the whole picture of the arrangement of stones on the goban in a holistic manner and to predict how this or that move will affect the game in the future.
Mid Game (Tuban) - the battle is most often fought in the center of the board. Players try to maintain their zones of control while trying to capture enemy territory and stones. The course of this stage of the game is more predictable and largely depends on how the fuseki was played.
The final stage (yose) - the players complete the design of the territory, strive to earn as many points as possible. At this stage, accurate calculation is most important. It is generally accepted that the true skill of the player is most clearly manifested in the yose.

There are several options for playing go:
Atari-go is a simplified version used most often for teaching young children. Conducted on a board of 9x9 lines.
Rengo is a team game played over the same board. Several players play on each side, making moves in turn. A variation is paired go (the team consists of two people).
Playing with the same color - both players play with stones of the same color, while they must remember to whom which stones belonged.
Blind game - the players (or one of them) play the game without looking at the board.

Go's qualification system was adopted almost a thousand years ago. In Japan in the 8th century, this game was equated with exercises on musical instruments, and the commoners had the right to play only on unplaned boards, using simple pebbles. Further, for 300 years, only representatives of the imperial court could play go, therefore, there could be no question of any qualification levels. In the XII century, the game spread throughout the country and became available to all segments of the population, and for a high level of skill it was possible to receive a monetary reward, title or promotion. But only in 1603, when the State Go Academy was officially established, which was headed by Honinbo Sanxia, ​​a qualification system was adopted, according to which the player receives a certain rank - dan (from the lowest first to ninth). The strongest player in the country is awarded the title "meijin" (translated from Japanese as "virtuoso", "master", "chosen one"), and over the past 300 years only 9 people have been awarded this title.

The main thing in Go, as in any game, is to win. It should be noted that the Chinese treated this game as a special philosophy, while the Japanese considered go to be one of the art forms. The classical theory of the game of that time envisaged the principle of assessing the aesthetics of a position composed of harmoniously placed stones. One of the commandments of go says: "Do not strive to win, but strive to play a beautiful game." A professional was obliged to play "beautifully" - after all, it was "katachi" ("beautiful forms"), as it turned out, that are the most effective in this game.

The field for playing Go has a 19x19 line pattern. Indeed, a standard goban (board) is a rectangular field lined with exactly the above number of vertical and horizontal lines. However, for short informal games, training, etc. can use boards of smaller sizes, most often 9x9 or 13x13, less often - 11x11, 15x15, 17x17 lines. In addition, on some Internet servers, players are offered to play a game on non-standard boards of a rather large size (37x37 lines).

To play go, 360 biconvex stones are used, equally divided between white and black. The complete set for the game contains 361 stones - 180 white and 181 black. On sale you can also find sets of 320 stones (160 of each color). The shape of the stones may differ slightly - stones in the Japanese tradition are biconvex (lenticular), while for the Chinese, flat-convex stones are more characteristic.

As in chess, the player who has the white stones at his disposal starts the game. No, in Go, unlike chess, Black is the first to move. There is even a compensation ("komi") for the owner of the white stones for the fact that he moves second - at the end of the game he gets a certain number of points.

If a player makes a wrong move, he can move. Completely erroneous opinion. The stone from which the hand was taken away cannot be moved. If the player does this, he will be automatically defeated. The stones placed on the board can be removed from it only if they are captured by the enemy.

You cannot make a move as a result of which your own group of stones loses the point of freedom. This is true, but there is an exception to this rule. A "suicidal" move is possible when, as a result, the opponent's group is also deprived of liberties (points of freedom), captured and removed from the board.

The color of the stones for the players is assigned in advance. Indeed, in official tournaments, the schedule is drawn up so that each player plays an equal number of games with black and white. If there are opponents of unequal strength in the game, the strongest plays white. To select the color of stones in an equal lot, use nigiri (traditional selection procedure). The oldest player in terms of age (position) takes several white stones, the second tries to guess whether the opponent has an even or odd number of stones. If he thinks that the opponent has an even number of stones, he takes two black stones, an odd one - one. The players then place stones on the goban at the same time. If the second player guesses correctly, he plays black (or chooses a color himself), if not, he plays white. In team play, nigiri is done only on the first board. The colors on the third and all odd boards are the same as on the first, and on the second and all even ones - the opposite colors.

The rules and scoring system for go are standardized. In general, the sets of rules are indeed very similar, the differences are only in the interpretation, wording or the degree of detail of the presentation. However, in some cases, the differences are quite significant. For example, the Japanese rules of go used in Japan, Korea, the United States and Europe, as well as those used in most competitions, are characterized by excessive complexity and lack of clarity in defining certain aspects of the game. Chinese, used in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, are considered the most ancient and count points not by territory and captive stones, like the Japanese, but by territory and "living" stones. New Zealand rules, Inga rules (created by Taiwanese millionaire Ying Changqi, founder of the Inga foundation), differing in scoring by territory and the number of stones in the opponents' bowls, taking into account stones removed from the board, as well as Tromp-Taylor rules applied for computer go and AGA rules ( American Go Association), which allow players to choose the scoring method, are in many ways similar to the Chinese. The most striking difference from the traditional rules of the game is the Tibetan version, which is used extremely rarely.

By learning the various josaki variations described in the textbooks, the player can easily achieve success. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. The go literature does describe many typical corner play positions. However, it should be noted that the description contains information only about the local arrangement of stones in one of the corners, while the general position on the board is not taken into account. And if this or that position in one situation can really become a guarantee of a future victory, with a different arrangement of stones on the board, it is quite capable of working into the opponent's hands. Therefore, at the initial levels, players are advised not to study various options for josaki, but to play more, developing logic, intuition, the ability to assess the location of stones on the board as a whole, etc. Only after reaching a basic level of mastery, the player can begin to study josaki, but even in this case, one should not "memorize" the various options, but try to understand the idea underlying them.

Creating computer programs for playing Go is difficult. It really is. Of all the board games, th is the hardest to "computerize". If, for example, chess programs sometimes beat the strongest chess players, even an experienced amateur can easily beat a Go program. The reason for this state of affairs is the large number of variations of moves (for comparison: in chess there are 20 different moves of the initial position, in go - 55) and the difficulty of assessing the quality of a particular position.

Only highly intelligent people can play Go. Not necessary. For this game, intuition, combinatorial thinking, the ability to visualize a potentially possible sequence of moves and their effectiveness, as well as the ability to retain in memory many small details that are important for creating an overall picture of the game are more important.

Go is a strategic game. Indeed, the strategic aspects matter, but only in the case when two opponents of equal strength converged behind the goban, equally deeply calculating the possible options for the moves. In other cases, the winner is the player who is able to calculate more options for moves than his opponent.

It's hard to become a really strong player without a teacher. This is not entirely true. The teacher, of course, can teach a certain style of play, but in order to become stronger, the player must compete with stronger opponents, gaining experience.

There is a science of go. In fact, go is closer to art than science. Many books have indeed been published about this game, but it should be borne in mind that they only describe certain aspects of the game, specific situations in a single place on the board (there is no indication of the location of stones on the entire board as a whole). Many of the recommendations on how to play Go are just ideas (often expressed in the form of laconic sayings), not laws or axioms common to many areas of science.

Since ancient times, go has been considered a "male" game, because women play it much worse than men. No, this fun was enjoyed by both men and women. During the Edo period, the art of playing Go was a popular pastime at court, and was also part of the skills that geisha had to master. However, there are not so many professional female players, both in ancient times and today. It should be borne in mind that the level of skill of women is by no means inferior to male players.

The longest game consists of 361 moves - this is the number of points on the goban. The longest game of go was played on December 20 and 21, 1950, with the players playing 411 moves. The reason that the number of moves exceeds the number of points on the board is the situation of ko struggle (prohibition of a move, which can lead to a position previously encountered in the game), when moves to some points were made several times.

A child playing Go will grow up to be an intellectual. According to experts, go really has a positive effect on the intellectual development of children - in the process of playing, they better reveal innate abilities, volumetric vision, intuition, the ability to concentrate, analyze the situation on the board and mentally model possible options for its further development. The child transfers all the above skills and abilities to everyday life. According to scientists, it is most advisable to teach children 4-5 years old to play Go - it is at this age that the thinking processes are most flexible, therefore, the possibility of a positive impact on them is optimal.

A person with a stroke will not be able to play Go. The postponed stroke will not be an obstacle to the game, but the player will still experience some inconvenience. At the same time, much depends on the degree of brain damage and on which particular hemisphere is affected more. According to research, a stroke in the right hemisphere (which is responsible for intuition, musical ability, and the ability to recognize complex images) makes it difficult for the player to build a strategy in the initial stage. The middle and the end of the game are not particularly difficult. If the left hemisphere (which controls linguistic and logical abilities) is affected, the player builds fuseki with ease, but in the middle and at the end he cannot demonstrate a high-class game.

Go (Y-Go) is also referred to simply as I. Indeed, some authors consider these terms interchangeable, but this is not entirely true. In ancient China, there was a strategic art Yi (translated from Chinese - "education, training"), designed to educate the heirs of the imperial dynasty. In the days of Confucius, the hieroglyph Yi was used to denote a special strategic game designed to prepare a commander of the highest rank.The Weiss game, which, having got to Japan, was called I-Go, carries only part of the knowledge taught to the young emperor through the art of I. Therefore, I-Go is related to I, as a part with a whole. In addition, there is another direction of I art - Strategic Go, which differs from modern Go and Weiss in that it brings to the fore not the sports-competitive, but the strategic component of the game.

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