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Go Board Game Navigation menu VideoRules of Go - Part 1
World War II put a stop to most Go activity, since it was a game coming from Japan, but after the war, Go continued to spread.
Both astronauts were awarded honorary dan ranks by the Nihon Ki-in. In Go, rank indicates a player's skill in the game.
Traditionally, ranks are measured using kyu and dan grades,  a system also adopted by many martial arts. More recently, mathematical rating systems similar to the Elo rating system have been introduced.
Dan grades abbreviated d are considered master grades, and increase from 1st dan to 7th dan. First dan equals a black belt in eastern martial arts using this system.
The difference among each amateur rank is one handicap stone. For example, if a 5k plays a game with a 1k, the 5k would need a handicap of four stones to even the odds.
Top-level amateur players sometimes defeat professionals in tournament play. These ranks are separate from amateur ranks. Tournament and match rules deal with factors that may influence the game but are not part of the actual rules of play.
Such rules may differ between events. Rules that influence the game include: the setting of compensation points komi , handicap, and time control parameters.
Rules that do not generally influence the game are: the tournament system, pairing strategies, and placement criteria.
Common tournament systems used in Go include the McMahon system ,  Swiss system , league systems and the knockout system. Tournaments may combine multiple systems; many professional Go tournaments use a combination of the league and knockout systems.
A game of Go may be timed using a game clock. Formal time controls were introduced into the professional game during the s and were controversial.
Go tournaments use a number of different time control systems. All common systems envisage a single main period of time for each player for the game, but they vary on the protocols for continuation in overtime after a player has finished that time allowance.
The top professional Go matches have timekeepers so that the players do not have to press their own clocks. Two widely used variants of the byoyomi system are: .
Go games are recorded with a simple coordinate system. This is comparable to algebraic chess notation , except that Go stones do not move and thus require only one coordinate per turn.
Coordinate systems include purely numerical point , hybrid K3 , and purely alphabetical. The Japanese word kifu is sometimes used to refer to a game record.
In Unicode, Go stones can be represented with black and white circles from the block Geometric Shapes :. The block Miscellaneous Symbols includes "Go markers"  that were likely meant for mathematical research of Go:  .
A Go professional is a professional player of the game of Go. Although the game was developed in China, the establishment of the Four Go houses by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the start of the 17th century shifted the focus of the Go world to Japan.
State sponsorship, allowing players to dedicate themselves full-time to study of the game, and fierce competition between individual houses resulted in a significant increase in the level of play.
During this period, the best player of his generation was given the prestigious title Meijin master and the post of Godokoro minister of Go.
Of special note are the players who were dubbed Kisei Go Sage. After the end of the Tokugawa shogunate and the Meiji Restoration period, the Go houses slowly disappeared, and in , the Nihon Ki-in Japanese Go Association was formed.
Top players from this period often played newspaper-sponsored matches of 2—10 games. For much of the 20th century, Go continued to be dominated by players trained in Japan.
After his return to Korea, the Hanguk Kiwon Korea Baduk Association was formed and caused the level of play in South Korea to rise significantly in the second half of the 20th century.
With the advent of major international titles from onward, it became possible to compare the level of players from different countries more accurately.
His disciple Lee Chang-ho was the dominant player in international Go competitions for more than a decade spanning much of s and early s; he is also credited with groundbreaking works on the endgame.
As of [update] , Japan lags behind in the international Go scene. Historically, more men than women have played Go. Special tournaments for women exist, but until recently, men and women did not compete together at the highest levels; however, the creation of new, open tournaments and the rise of strong female players, most notably Rui Naiwei , have in recent years highlighted the strength and competitiveness of emerging female players.
The level in other countries has traditionally been much lower, except for some players who had preparatory professional training in East Asia.
A famous player of the s was Edward Lasker. In , Manfred Wimmer became the first Westerner to receive a professional player's certificate from an East Asian professional Go association.
It is possible to play Go with a simple paper board and coins, plastic tokens, or white beans and coffee beans for the stones; or even by drawing the stones on the board and erasing them when captured.
More popular midrange equipment includes cardstock, a laminated particle board , or wood boards with stones of plastic or glass.
More expensive traditional materials are still used by many players. The most expensive Go sets have black stones carved from slate and white stones carved from translucent white shells, played on boards carved in a single piece from the trunk of a tree.
Chinese boards are slightly larger, as a traditional Chinese Go stone is slightly larger to match. The board is not square; there is a ratio in length to width, because with a perfectly square board, from the player's viewing angle the perspective creates a foreshortening of the board.
The added length compensates for this. More recently, the related California Torreya Torreya californica has been prized for its light color and pale rings as well as its reduced expense and more readily available stock.
The natural resources of Japan have been unable to keep up with the enormous demand for the slow-growing Kaya trees; both T.
Other, less expensive woods often used to make quality table boards in both Chinese and Japanese dimensions include Hiba Thujopsis dolabrata , Katsura Cercidiphyllum japonicum , Kauri Agathis , and Shin Kaya various varieties of spruce , commonly from Alaska, Siberia and China's Yunnan Province.
However it may happen, especially in beginners' games, that many back-and-forth captures empty the bowls before the end of the game: in that case an exchange of prisoners allows the game to continue.
Traditional Japanese stones are double-convex, and made of clamshell white and slate black. In China, the game is traditionally played with single-convex stones  made of a composite called Yunzi.
The material comes from Yunnan Province and is made by sintering a proprietary and trade-secret mixture of mineral compounds derived from the local stone.
This process dates to the Tang Dynasty and, after the knowledge was lost in the s during the Chinese Civil War , was rediscovered in the s by the now state-run Yunzi company.
The term yunzi can also refer to a single-convex stone made of any material; however, most English-language Go suppliers specify Yunzi as a material and single-convex as a shape to avoid confusion, as stones made of Yunzi are also available in double-convex while synthetic stones can be either shape.
Traditional stones are made so that black stones are slightly larger in diameter than white; this is to compensate for the optical illusion created by contrasting colors that would make equal-sized white stones appear larger on the board than black stones.
The bowls for the stones are shaped like a flattened sphere with a level underside. Chinese bowls are slightly larger, and a little more rounded, a style known generally as Go Seigen ; Japanese Kitani bowls tend to have a shape closer to that of the bowl of a snifter glass, such as for brandy.
The bowls are usually made of turned wood. Mulberry is the traditional material for Japanese bowls, but is very expensive; wood from the Chinese jujube date tree, which has a lighter color it is often stained and slightly more visible grain pattern, is a common substitute for rosewood, and traditional for Go Seigen-style bowls.
Other traditional materials used for making Chinese bowls include lacquered wood, ceramics , stone and woven straw or rattan. The names of the bowl shapes, Go Seigen and Kitani , were introduced in the last quarter of the 20th century by the professional player Janice Kim as homage to two 20th-century professional Go players by the same names, of Chinese and Japanese nationality, respectively, who are referred to as the "Fathers of modern Go".
The traditional way to place a Go stone is to first take one from the bowl, gripping it between the index and middle fingers, with the middle finger on top, and then placing it directly on the desired intersection.
It is considered respectful towards White for Black to place the first stone of the game in the upper right-hand corner. It is considered poor manners to run one's fingers through one's bowl of unplayed stones, as the sound, however soothing to the player doing this, can be disturbing to one's opponent.
Similarly, clacking a stone against another stone, the board, or the table or floor is also discouraged.
However, it is permissible to emphasize select moves by striking the board more firmly than normal, thus producing a sharp clack. Additionally, hovering one's arm over the board usually when deciding where to play is also considered rude as it obstructs the opponent's view of the board.
Apart from the points above it also points to the need to remain calm and honorable, in maintaining posture, and knowing the key specialised terms, such as titles of common formations.
Generally speaking, much attention is paid to the etiquette of playing, as much as to winning or actual game technique.
In combinatorial game theory terms, Go is a zero-sum , perfect-information , partisan , deterministic strategy game , putting it in the same class as chess, draughts checkers , and Reversi Othello ; however it differs from these in its game play.
Although the rules are simple, the practical strategy is complex. The game emphasizes the importance of balance on multiple levels and has internal tensions.
To secure an area of the board, it is good to play moves close together; however, to cover the largest area, one needs to spread out, perhaps leaving weaknesses that can be exploited.
Playing too low close to the edge secures insufficient territory and influence, yet playing too high far from the edge allows the opponent to invade.
It has been claimed that Go is the most complex game in the world due to its vast number of variations in individual games.
Decisions in one part of the board may be influenced by an apparently unrelated situation in a distant part of the board.
Plays made early in the game can shape the nature of conflict a hundred moves later. The game complexity of Go is such that describing even elementary strategy fills many introductory books.
In fact, numerical estimates show that the number of possible games of Go far exceeds the number of atoms in the observable universe.
Research of go endgame by John H. Conway led to the invention of the surreal numbers. Go long posed a daunting challenge to computer programmers , putting forward "difficult decision-making tasks, an intractable search space, and an optimal solution so complex it appears infeasible to directly approximate using a policy or value function".
Many in the field of artificial intelligence consider Go to require more elements that mimic human thought than chess.
The reasons why computer programs had not played Go at the professional dan level prior to include: . As an illustration, the greatest handicap normally given to a weaker opponent is 9 stones.
It was not until August that a computer won a game against a professional level player at this handicap. It was the Mogo program, which scored this first victory in an exhibition game played during the US Go Congress.
In March , Google next challenged Lee Sedol , a 9 dan considered the top player in the world in the early 21st century,  to a five-game match.
Leading up to the game, Lee Sedol and other top professionals were confident that he would win;  however, AlphaGo defeated Lee in four of the five games.
In October , DeepMind announced a significantly stronger version called AlphaGo Zero which beat the previous version by games to 0. An abundance of software is available to support players of the game.
This includes programs that can be used to view or edit game records and diagrams, programs that allow the user to search for patterns in the games of strong players, and programs that allow users to play against each other over the Internet.
Some web servers [ citation needed ] provide graphical aids like maps, to aid learning during play. These graphical aids may suggest possible next moves, indicate areas of influence, highlight vital stones under attack and mark stones in atari or about to be captured.
There are several file formats used to store game records, the most popular of which is SGF, short for Smart Game Format.
Programs used for editing game records allow the user to record not only the moves, but also variations, commentary and further information on the game.
Electronic databases can be used to study life and death situations, joseki , fuseki and games by a particular player. Programs are available that give players pattern searching options, which allow players to research positions by searching for high-level games in which similar situations occur.
Internet-based Go servers allow access to competition with players all over the world, for real-time and turn-based games. China's salami slicing strategy is considered a manifestation of Go game.
Other books have used Go as a theme or minor plot device. The manga Japanese comic book and anime series Hikaru no Go , released in Japan in , had a large impact in popularizing Go among young players, both in Japan and—as translations were released—abroad.
Despite this Go still features heavily in her character's personality. Go has also been featured in a number of television series.
Starz 's science fiction thriller Counterpart , for instance, is rich in references the opening itself featuring developments on a Go board , including applications of the game's metaphors, a book about life and death being displayed, and Go matches, accurately played, relevant to the plot.
The corporation and brand Atari was named after the Go term. Unlike chess, the number of potential moves is so great that even modern computers cannot beat most professional human players.
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Privacy Statement. The Game of Go. Official Club. See System Requirements. Available on PC Mobile device Hub. A weaker player may be given an advantage of anything up to nine stones.
These are placed on the board in lieu of Black's first turn. Once all the handicap stones have been placed in position it is White's turn to play.
Through the grading system, any two players can easily establish the difference in their strength, and therefore how many stones the weaker player should take in order to compensate for this difference.
Since a player's grade is measured in terms of stones, the number of stones for the handicap is simply the difference in grade between the two players.
There is an established pattern for the placement of handicap stones, shown by the dots which are marked on any Go board. This is shown in Diagram 15 Black is facing the board from the bottom , for each of 1 to 9 stones handicap.
Diagram Black has a natural advantage in playing first. So in games between players of the same strength, it is usual to compensate White for the disadvantage of playing second by adding points to White's score.
These points are called komi. From experience the value of playing first is about 7 points, so this is the normal size of komi.
In tournaments, komi is often set at 7. A few simple rules These images show boards at different sizes - the dots are the handicap points see below The rules A game of Go starts with an empty board.
Diagram 1 At the end of the game, the players count one point for each vacant point inside their own territory, and one point for every stone they have captured.
White's territory is 17 points, so White wins the game by one point. Capturing stones and counting liberties The empty points which are horizontally and vertically adjacent to a stone, or a solidly connected string of stones, are known as liberties.
An isolated stone or solidly connected string of stones is captured when all of its liberties are occupied by enemy stones. Diagram 2 Diagram 3 Diagram 4 Diagram 2 shows three isolated white stones with their liberties marked by crosses.
Diagram 5 Strings Stones occupying adjacent points constitute a solidly connected string. Diagram 6 Diagram 7 Capturing strings As far as capturing is concerned, a string of stones is treated as a single unit.
A player may not self-capture, that is play a stone into a position where it would have no liberties or form part of a string which would thereby have no liberties, unless, as a result, one or more of the stones surrounding it is captured.
Diagram 8 Diagram 9 Diagram 10 Life and death and the concept of eyes In Diagram 9 , White was able to play at i and j because these plays result in the capture of the adjacent black stones.
Any string or group of stones which has two or more eyes is permanently safe from capture and is referred to as a live string or live group.
Conversely, a string of stones which is unable to make two eyes, and is cut off and surrounded by live enemy strings, is called a dead string since it is hopeless and unable to avoid eventual capture.
Diagram 12 The ko rule At the top of Diagram 12 , Black can capture a stone by playing at r. Diagram 14 Seki - a kind of local stalemate Usually a string which cannot make two eyes will die unless one of the surrounding enemy strings also lacks two eyes.
Go game and the modern computer software challenge. The board game go has been in the news worldwide because a Go game master champion played a computer, with the computer winning more matches than the champion.
Since each move opens up numerous possibilities the computer can make the necessary calculations it would take for a favorable outcome faster than a human.
Learn more about Go the Board Game.