What is Go?


Go is a strategic board game, played on a Go board using black and white stones. The game is said to have its origin in China, about 4000 years ago. It quickly became a part of Chinese culture and spread to Japan, Korea and other countries. Not only was it enjoyed as pastime, it was also used as a training for generals.
Go is nowadays widespread in East Asia, but it gains increasing interest and popularity in other parts of the world. There are people who treat it as a hobby, but there are also Go instructors and professionals, for whom Go is the way to live. Even for them however, Go remains challenging, just as it is for software developers who struggle to teach computers to play this game at high level.

Why to play Go?

Traditional Japanese Go table and stonesTraditional Japanese Go table

1. To meet new people and make new friends

Go is a hobby that transcends age, sex and nationality differences. This means you can play and make friends with everyone! The players meet regularly in a Go club, various tournaments or Go Congresses. To find a club near your place, please check here.

Normally you do not need to know the game in order to visit the club. The rules are quite simple and the Go players are generally friendly and willing to explain them to any interested parties!

2. To develop yourself by thinking strategically and in a creative way

By playing Go you activate both sides of your brain, as you need to think logically, but also creatively as you might need to adjust your strategy. It teaches you to keep a flexible mind, increases your concentration and develops the sense of objective judgment.

3. To discover how simple rules can lead to complex game

In Go, as opposed to chess, all the pieces (stones) are placed in the same way. So it is quite easy to learn the basics. It is the huge number of possibilities and different strategies that make the game complex and interesting.

4. To climb to the top by playing in various tournaments

Each player, no matter how strong, can participate in Go tournaments (click here for the calendar). This practice may lead not only to fast improvement, but also to the national (or international) top!

5. For fun!

Even though the above mentioned aspects of Go make it sound serious, it still remains a game! This means it is a fun and enjoyable way of spending your time.

How to learn Go?

To get a basic idea how the game looks like and what it is about, you can start from watching our 1-minute movies.
There are several online learning tools. A popular one in 6 different languages, helpdesk and news is 321go.org.
You can start playing online immediately on a Go server.

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© European Go Cultural Centre 2016