Strategy Game Go Description
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Strategy Game Go VideoGo Open Strategies
Although go is usually played on a 19x19 board, it can also be played on a 9x9 board, or any size board from 5x5 up.
Explaining the rules on a 9x9 board is convenient because the game is over quickly and the beginner can immediately grasp the flow of the game and how the score is counted.
We also recommend that you play your first games on a 9x9 board and, when you have mastered the rules, start playing on the 19x19 board.
An Example Game Figure 1, Black makes his first move on the point, after which White makes his move. Thereafter, both sides continue to alternate in making their moves.
With White 6, the territories of both sides are beginning to take shape. Black has stake out the right side and White has laid claim to the left side.
Once you have mapped out your territory, there are two basic strategies to choose from. One is to expand your own territory while reducing your opponent's territory.
The other is to invade the territory your opponent has mapped out. White must defend at 8 to block an incursion by Black into his territory on the left.
Next, Black reinforces his territory on the right with 9. It is now White's turn to expand his territory. He does this by first expanding his center with 10 and 12 in Figure 3, then expanding his upper left territory with Black must defend his top right territory with The moves from White 16 to Black 19 in Figure 4 are a common sequence.
The same kind of sequence is next played at the bottom from White 20 to Black By playing these moves, White is able to expand his territory while reducing Black's.
White 24 to White 26 in Figure 5 are the last moves of the game. It is now possible to determine the winner. In this case, counting the score is easy.
Black's territory here consists of all the vacant points he controls on the right side, while White's territory consists of all the vacant point he controls on the left.
If you count these points, you will find that Black has 28 points, while White has Therefore, Black wins by one point.
This was a very simple game and some of the rules did not arise. However, playing over this game will show you what Go is about.
The Rule of Capture An important rule of Go concerns the capturing of stones. We will first show you how stones are captured, then show how this occurs in a game.
Liberties The lone white stone in Diagram 3 has four liberties. If Black can occupy all four of these points, he captures the white stone.
Suppose, for example, that Black occupies three of these liberties in Diagram 5. The white stone would be in atari and Black would be able to capture it on his next move, that is with 1 in Diagram 6.
Black would then remove the white stone from the board and put it in his prisoner pile. The result of this capture is shown in Diagram 7. At the edge of the board a stone has only three liberties.
The white stone in Diagram 8 is on the edge of the board; that is on the first line. If Black occupies two of these liberties, as in Diagram 10, the white stone would be in atari.
Black captures this stone with 1 in Diagram The result of this capture is shown in Diagram A stone in the corner has only two liberties. The white stone in Diagram 13 is on the point.
If Black occupies one of these points, as in Diagram 15, the white stone would be in atari. The result is shown in Diagram It is also possible to capture two or more stones if you occupy all their liberties.
In Diagram 18, there are three positions in which two white stones are in atari. Black captures these stones with 1 in Diagram The results are shown in Diagram Any number of stones making up any kind of shape can be captured if all their liberties are occupied.
In Diagram 21, there are four different positions. Black 1 captures twelve stones in the upper left, four stones in the lower left, three stones in the upper right and three stones in the lower right.
When you capture stones in a game, you put them in your prisoner pile. Then, at the end of the game, these captured stones are placed inside your opponent's territory.
Let's look at a game to see how this actually works. After Black plays 3 in Figure 7, White makes an invasion inside Black's sphere of influence with 4.
White 10 ataris the black stone at 7. Therefore, black connects at 11 in Figure 8, but White ataris again at The marked stone cannot be rescued, so Black has to sacrifice it.
He plays his own atari with 13 in Figure 9. White then captures with 14 and Black ataris two white stones with Once played, a stone can never be moved and can be taken off the board only if it is captured.
When both players pass consecutively, the game ends  and is then scored. Vertically and horizontally adjacent stones of the same color form a chain also called a string or group ,  forming a discrete unit that cannot then be divided.
Chains may be expanded by placing additional stones on adjacent intersections, and can be connected together by placing a stone on an intersection that is adjacent to two or more chains of the same color.
A vacant point adjacent to a stone, along one of the grid lines of the board, is called a liberty for that stone.
When a chain is surrounded by opposing stones so that it has no liberties, it is captured and removed from the board. Players are not allowed to make a move that returns the game to the previous position.
This rule, called the ko rule , prevents unending repetition. If White were allowed to play on the marked intersection, that move would capture the black stone marked 1 and recreate the situation before Black made the move marked 1.
Allowing this could result in an unending cycle of captures by both players. The ko rule therefore prohibits White from playing at the marked intersection immediately.
Instead White must play elsewhere, or pass; Black can then end the ko by filling at the marked intersection, creating a five-stone black chain.
If White wants to continue the ko that specific repeating position , White tries to find a play elsewhere on the board that Black must answer; if Black answers, then White can retake the ko.
A repetition of such exchanges is called a ko fight. While the various rule-sets agree on the ko rule prohibiting returning the board to an immediately previous position, they deal in different ways with the relatively uncommon situation in which a player might recreate a past position that is further removed.
See Rules of Go: Repetition for further information. A player may not place a stone such that it or its group immediately has no liberties, unless doing so immediately deprives an enemy group of its final liberty.
In the latter case, the enemy group is captured, leaving the new stone with at least one liberty. The Ing and New Zealand rules do not have this rule,  and there a player might destroy one of its own groups—"commit suicide".
This play would only be useful in a limited set of situations involving a small interior space. Because Black has the advantage of playing the first move, the idea of awarding White some compensation came into being during the 20th century.
This is called komi , which gives white a 6. Two general types of scoring system are used, and players determine which to use before play.
Both systems almost always give the same result. Territory scoring counts the number of empty points a player's stones surround, together with the number of stones the player captured.
Area scoring counts the number of points a player's stones occupy and surround. It is associated with contemporary Chinese play and was probably established there during the Ming Dynasty in the 15th or 16th century.
After both players have passed consecutively, the stones that are still on the board but unable to avoid capture, called dead stones, are removed.
Area scoring including Chinese : A player's score is the number of stones that the player has on the board, plus the number of empty intersections surrounded by that player's stones.
Territory scoring including Japanese and Korean : In the course of the game, each player retains the stones they capture, termed prisoners.
Any dead stones removed at the end of the game become prisoners. The score is the number of empty points enclosed by a player's stones, plus the number of prisoners captured by that player.
If there is disagreement about which stones are dead, then under area scoring rules, the players simply resume play to resolve the matter.
The score is computed using the position after the next time the players pass consecutively. Under territory scoring, the rules are considerably more complex; however, in practice, players generally play on, and, once the status of each stone has been determined, return to the position at the time the first two consecutive passes occurred and remove the dead stones.
For further information, see Rules of Go. Given that the number of stones a player has on the board is directly related to the number of prisoners their opponent has taken, the resulting net score, that is the difference between Black's and White's scores, is identical under both rulesets unless the players have passed different numbers of times during the course of the game.
Thus, the net result given by the two scoring systems rarely differs by more than a point. While not actually mentioned in the rules of Go at least in simpler rule sets, such as those of New Zealand and the U.
Examples of eyes marked. The black groups at the top of the board are alive, as they have at least two eyes. The black groups at the bottom are dead as they only have one eye.
The point marked a is a false eye. When a group of stones is mostly surrounded and has no options to connect with friendly stones elsewhere, the status of the group is either alive , dead or unsettled.
A group of stones is said to be alive if it cannot be captured, even if the opponent is allowed to move first.
Conversely, a group of stones is said to be dead if it cannot avoid capture, even if the owner of the group is allowed the first move. Otherwise, the group is said to be unsettled: the defending player can make it alive or the opponent can kill it, depending on who gets to play first.
An " eye " is an empty point or group of points surrounded by one player's stones. If the eye is surrounded by Black stones, White cannot play there unless such a play would take Black's last liberty and capture the Black stones.
Such a move is forbidden according to the "suicide rule" in most rule sets, but even if not forbidden, such a move would be a useless suicide of a White stone.
If a Black group has two eyes, White can never capture it because White cannot remove both liberties simultaneously. If Black has only one eye, White can capture the Black group by playing in the single eye, removing Black's last liberty.
Such a move is not suicide because the Black stones are removed first. In the "Examples of eyes" diagram, all the circled points are eyes.
The two black groups in the upper corners are alive, as both have at least two eyes. The groups in the lower corners are dead, as both have only one eye.
The group in the lower left may seem to have two eyes, but the surrounded empty point marked a is not actually an eye.
White can play there and take a black stone. Such a point is often called a false eye. There is an exception to the requirement that a group must have two eyes to be alive, a situation called seki or mutual life.
Where different colored groups are adjacent and share liberties, the situation may reach a position when neither player wants to move first, because doing so would allow the opponent to capture; in such situations therefore both players' stones remain on the board in mutual life or "seki".
Neither player receives any points for those groups, but at least those groups themselves remain living, as opposed to being captured.
In the "Example of seki mutual life " diagram, the circled points are liberties shared by both a black and a white group.
Neither player wants to play on a circled point, because doing so would allow the opponent to capture. All the other groups in this example, both black and white, are alive with at least two eyes.
Seki can result from an attempt by one player to invade and kill a nearly settled group of the other player. In Go, tactics deal with immediate fighting between stones, capturing and saving stones, life, death and other issues localized to a specific part of the board.
Larger issues, not limited to only part of the board, are referred to as strategy , and are covered in their own section. There are several tactical constructs aimed at capturing stones.
Recognizing the possibility that stones can be captured using these techniques is an important step forward. A ladder. Black cannot escape unless the ladder connects to black stones further down the board that will intercept with the ladder.
The most basic technique is the ladder. Unless the pattern runs into friendly stones along the way, the stones in the ladder cannot avoid capture.
Experienced players recognize the futility of continuing the pattern and play elsewhere. The presence of a ladder on the board does give a player the option to play a stone in the path of the ladder, thereby threatening to rescue their stones, forcing a response.
Such a move is called a ladder breaker and may be a powerful strategic move. In the diagram, Black has the option of playing a ladder breaker.
Another technique to capture stones is the so-called net ,  also known by its Japanese name, geta. This refers to a move that loosely surrounds some stones, preventing their escape in all directions.
An example is given in the adjacent diagram. It is generally better to capture stones in a net than in a ladder, because a net does not depend on the condition that there are no opposing stones in the way, nor does it allow the opponent to play a strategic ladder breaker.
A snapback. Although Black can capture the white stone by playing at the circled point, the resulting shape for Black has only one liberty at 1 , thus White can then capture the three black stones by playing at 1 again snap back.
A third technique to capture stones is the snapback. An example can be seen on the right. As with the ladder, an experienced player does not play out such a sequence, recognizing the futility of capturing only to be captured back immediately.
One of the most important skills required for strong tactical play is the ability to read ahead. Some of the strongest players of the game can read up to 40 moves ahead even in complicated positions.
As explained in the scoring rules, some stone formations can never be captured and are said to be alive, while other stones may be in the position where they cannot avoid being captured and are said to be dead.
Much of the practice material available to players of the game comes in the form of life and death problems, also known as tsumego. Tsumego are considered an excellent way to train a player's ability at reading ahead,  and are available for all skill levels, some posing a challenge even to top players.
In situations when the Ko rule applies, a ko fight may occur. If the opponent does respond to the ko threat, the situation on the board has changed, and the prohibition on capturing the ko no longer applies.
Thus the player who made the ko threat may now recapture the ko. Their opponent is then in the same situation and can either play a ko threat as well, or concede the ko by simply playing elsewhere.
If a player concedes the ko, either because they do not think it important or because there are no moves left that could function as a ko threat, they have lost the ko, and their opponent may connect the ko.
Instead of responding to a ko threat, a player may also choose to ignore the threat and connect the ko. The choice of when to respond to a threat and when to ignore it is a subtle one, which requires a player to consider many factors, including how much is gained by connecting, how much is lost by not responding, how many possible ko threats both players have remaining, what the optimal order of playing them is, and what the size —points lost or gained—of each of the remaining threats is.
Frequently, the winner of the ko fight does not connect the ko but instead captures one of the chains that constituted their opponent's side of the ko.
Strategy deals with global influence, interaction between distant stones, keeping the whole board in mind during local fights, and other issues that involve the overall game.
It is therefore possible to allow a tactical loss when it confers a strategic advantage. Novices often start by randomly placing stones on the board, as if it were a game of chance.
An understanding of how stones connect for greater power develops, and then a few basic common opening sequences may be understood.
Learning the ways of life and death helps in a fundamental way to develop one's strategic understanding of weak groups. The strategy involved can become very abstract and complex.
High-level players spend years improving their understanding of strategy, and a novice may play many hundreds of games against opponents before being able to win regularly.
In the opening of the game, players usually play and gain territory in the corners of the board first, as the presence of two edges makes it easier for them to surround territory and establish their stones.
Players tend to play on or near the star point during the opening. Playing nearer to the edge does not produce enough territory to be efficient, and playing further from the edge does not safely secure the territory.
In the opening, players often play established sequences called joseki , which are locally balanced exchanges;  however, the joseki chosen should also produce a satisfactory result on a global scale.
It is generally advisable to keep a balance between territory and influence. Which of these gets precedence is often a matter of individual taste.
The middle phase of the game is the most combative, and usually lasts for more than moves. During the middlegame, the players invade each other's territories, and attack formations that lack the necessary two eyes for viability.
Such groups may be saved or sacrificed for something more significant on the board. However, matters may be more complex yet, with major trade-offs, apparently dead groups reviving, and skillful play to attack in such a way as to construct territories rather than kill.
The end of the middlegame and transition to the endgame is marked by a few features. Near the end of a game, play becomes divided into localized fights that do not affect each other,  with the exception of ko fights, where before the central area of the board related to all parts of it.
No large weak groups are still in serious danger. Moves can reasonably be attributed some definite value, such as 20 points or fewer, rather than simply being necessary to compete.
Both players set limited objectives in their plans, in making or destroying territory, capturing or saving stones.
These changing aspects of the game usually occur at much the same time, for strong players. In brief, the middlegame switches into the endgame when the concepts of strategy and influence need reassessment in terms of concrete final results on the board.
In China, Go was considered one of the four cultivated arts of the Chinese scholar gentleman , along with calligraphy , painting and playing the musical instrument guqin  In ancient times the rules of go were passed on verbally, rather than being written down.
Go was introduced to Korea sometime between the 5th and 7th centuries CE, and was popular among the higher classes. Sunjang baduk became the main variant played in Korea until the end of the 19th century, when the current version was reintroduced from Japan.
It became popular at the Japanese imperial court in the 8th century,  and among the general public by the 13th century.
In , Tokugawa Ieyasu re-established Japan's unified national government. Despite its widespread popularity in East Asia, Go has been slow to spread to the rest of the world.
Although there are some mentions of the game in western literature from the 16th century forward, Go did not start to become popular in the West until the end of the 19th century, when German scientist Oskar Korschelt wrote a treatise on the ancient Han Chinese game.
In , Edward Lasker learned the game while in Berlin. Two years later, in , the German Go Association was founded.
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.