How to Play The Go Board Game | Instructions, Rules and Strategies

What is the Game Go?

Go board game dates backs 2,500 years ago and is believed to have originated in China. At one time, the game was used to determine the future of Tibet after a Buddhist ruler refused to go to war. It is a game of skill that resembles a Chess game, only that it has different rules and challenges the players’ analytical skills and intuition.

This territorial game has a grid of 19x19, though Go for beginners comprises smaller boards of 9x9 and 13x13. There is also a portable form of Go (called Flip it) that easy to bring on a trip.

People in the early centuries played on a 17x17 grid, but the 19x19 became the official game by the time it was introduced in Korea and Japan.

The game has playing pieces called ‘stones’ where one player uses the black stones, and the other uses the black ones.

The game kicks off with an empty board where participants take turns to place the stones on various vacant areas on the board. The black stones play first by being placed in the intersections of the lines, and once they have been placed on the board, they are not moved unless captured.

Capture happens when a stone is surrounded by opponent’s stones in all the adjacent positions. Players start the game by staking their claims on parts of the board they want to occupy. At the end of the game, the players count the vacant intersections on their territory and add it to the number of stones captured. The player with the larger total becomes the winner.

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Why Learn to Play Go?

The first reason players learn how to play the game is that it makes a great sport or hobby. The game brings out the different personalities of players while helping them balance defence and attack strategies.

Players also recognise their strength and weaknesses, and their ability to respond to changing situations promptly. Most players prefer this game to chess due to its ability to reward creativity and the fact that it does not need constant memorization and in-depth analysis of the player’s position.

How to Play Go

The objective of the game is for players to use the stones to form territories by occupying the vacant areas on the board.

At the beginning of the game, players should consider placing the stones near handicap markers, usually located in the corners of the board. This way, the player is at an advantage of gaining corner positions that help gain territory and are easy to defend.

Players should only play stones at the edge of the board as they are as easy to capture. Typically, the corner only needs two stones captured while side requires three stones. The open area, however, requires players to seize for stones.

If looking to occupy an open area, consider building off a stable structure. You get to protect your stones and create a broader base for subsequent moves.

Avoid placing your stones close to your opponent’s. You don’t want to allow them to gain more considerable influence when you are chasing stones.

Avoid placing your stones on your opponent’s territory. You are only providing them with free stones for capture. This strategy works when you are confident of capturing his stones.

Go Board Game Rules

The game starts with an empty board unless players agree to place a handicap.

Black should always make the first move towards the upper right corner.

White makes the second move towards the lower right corner.

A player makes a move when he places a stone on a vacant intersection on the board.

Players are allowed to pass their turns.

Two successive passes bring the game to an end.

The player who occupies the most extensive area wins.

The player’s area comprises of all the points he has surrounded A stone should be removed when the enemy occupies adjacent intersections.

Go Game Strategies to Win

Keep the Stones Connected

Connecting stones into large groups help players occupy territory fast. For example, a player can use two adjacent stones at the centre of the board to form a group of six to capture the opponent’s stone. Connecting stones make it easier to share liberties.

2. Gain Territory

It is an essential Go strategy for beginners. Experts cite it is more important than capturing your opponent’s stones. Players can gain territory by building walls around the empty intersections on the board.

3. Protect your Stones

Look for ways to protect your stones, and if you don’t have moves to your advantage, you can pass.

Keep in mind the more stones you have played, the more points you give to your opponents.

If you notice that your opponent is stronger than you and he happens to offer a handicap, accept it.