The Game of GO explained...
GO, a westernised version of the Japanese name Igo, is also known as Baduk in Korea or WeiQi in China, and has been described as being like four Chess games going on together on the same board. GO like Chess is a challenge to a players analytical skills, though there is far more scope in GO for intuition.
Where Chess is a game of capturing prisoners (primarily the King), GO s priority is that of capturing territory. Prisoners are of secondary importance.
As with all truly great board games the basic rules are very simple to learn and therefore it is easy to play, but it takes many years to master (don't worry though, there are many books in English to help you learn and develop every facet of your game). As such, therefore, to start is simple - to progress is fascinating.
Although known as Go almost exclusively by players in the Western world, the name Baduk has increased in usage primarily because of its greater suitability than 'Go' as a search word on the internet.
The equipment is also interesting, with the boards and stones that go to make up sets ranging from simple and cheap through to luxurious and very expensive. Luxury boards can be made of woods prized for their style, colour, grain, resonance, etc. and stones made from slate and shell equally prized for the grain in particular. Accessories, bowls in particular, also contribute to the aura of the game though they play no real part in it.
In those countries where it is a traditional game, namely, China and Taiwan (WeiQi) , Japan (Igo) and Korea (Baduk), GO is taken far more seriously than is Chess or any similar game in the Western countries. Some indication of its popularity is that in Japan alone there are over 500 professional players, some of them very wealthy; China and Korea too have a growing band of professionals who like their Japanese equivalents appear in televised tournaments and enjoy the status of national heroes.
Major tournaments in these countries attract sponsorship from large companies and a following akin to big sporting events here such as Wimbledon, The FA Cup Final and Royal Ascot. There are perhaps 50 million GO players in the Far East and many more who dont play the game but still follow the game with keen interest.
In recent years Western games players have been discovering for themselves the reasons for this fanatical following. GO is now active throughout the whole of Europe, particularly France, Germany, The Netherlands and Eastern European countries. The UK is becoming a leading light with past European Champions to our name, and an array of over 50 GO Clubs up and down the country. The British Go Association, or BGA as it is usually called, administers the game here.
Here on this website there is a whole range of whole sets or separate boards and stones along with accessories and books for all tastes, budgets and playing standards.