Go Night

I’ve been playing Go with Vox once a week more or less since some time in the 80s. I bet Vox could tell you precisely when we started. Initially it was chess, then a couple games of chess and a game of Go. Eventually, we dropped chess and started concentrating more seriously on Go. We’ve played thousands of games.

One of the beautiful things about the game is that the more you learn, the more possibilities and approaches seem to open up. It just gets more interesting.

For those who have never played, Go is a board game played on a 19X19 line grid with black and white stones. One player is black and the other white, and the players take turns placing stones on intersections of the grid, based on a simple set of rules. The grid is the world and the idea is to surround territory, more territory than your opponent does. Of course, your opponent has other ideas, and so along the way the players engage in battles to settle disputes over areas of the board.

Sometimes there are a few different battles going on at once and they’re related to one another in all kinds of complicated ways. The whole business can become mind-bending. Like most games and sports, it’s very important to work on the fundamentals. It’s also hugely important to make moves that seize the initiative and dictate the direction of the game. Again, your opponent is trying to do the same thing.

The board in the picture is a home-made leather job featuring stones I gathered on a beach many years ago.

If you’re considering learning the game, consider that it is something you will get better at over time. At first it will seem very challenging, but as you learn the concepts and begin to read different shapes and situations, you will start to gain confidence.

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