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Friday, November 11, 2005

Photo Friday (Vol. XLV) ['Go' edition]

When my dad was in the army during the Korean War, he he learned a Japanese board game called 'Go'.  I don't remember the details of where or how he learned it, but he enjoyed the game enough that he continued playing it long after he returned to the US and married my mother.

When we were kids, my dad taught my older sister and I to play both Chess and 'Go', but I can remember that I enjoyed 'Go' much more than I did chess.  Instead of one strategic battle going on (as in chess) 'Go' had multiple battles being waged across the board... many of which could spill over into one another creating new strategic possibilities.  And unlike chess, there were very few complicated rules to remember.  Each piece (stone) placed on the board had the same status as any other... a very egalitarian game as compared with the different powers assigned to the array of chess pieces.

I recently taught my older kids how to play 'Go'.  They are both quite good at chess, but they easily made the transition to 'Go' and have been paying me (and each other) ever since. 

I'm sure my dad will be very proud of the family tradition he started.

Here are a couple of pictures of Gilad contemplating a game against me:


If anyone is interested in learning the very easy rules of this game, there is a wonderful site called KGS that has a server on which people from all over the world can play 'Go' against one another.  The link to the interactive 5 minute tutorial on how to play can be found here.

The nice part about the KGS site is that you can find a game any time of day or night... and if you simply want to lurk and learn from watching others play you can do that as well.

I hope at least a few of you look into this... it would be nice to play a game against a treppenwitz reader some time. 

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by David Bogner on November 11, 2005 | Permalink


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It looks like my Pente board... I'll study up on the rules of GO and look for that challenge

Posted by: Ocean Guy | Nov 11, 2005 2:37:53 PM

i remember seeing the board around the house when I was a kid, but don't remember playing... i'll have to check out the rules so I can play when I come over.

Posted by: val | Nov 11, 2005 3:19:07 PM

funny that you mention this game. i just read a book called "the girl who played go" by shan sa about a chinese girl and a japanese soldier circa WWII and how their two lives intertwine with each other and with the game... the game is never described except as a strategy game, and no one i spoke to had ever heard of it, let alone was able to explain it. thank you!

Posted by: nikki | Nov 11, 2005 3:39:09 PM

Never mind the game, cute kid! Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Essie | Nov 11, 2005 3:45:06 PM

We played Pente when I was a kid, and my cousins played Go. As I recall, the only difference was that in Pente, scoring strings of stones had to be exactly five long. Thus the name.

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 11, 2005 4:21:46 PM

I played Go many many years ago.I'll have to check out that link as I'd definitely be willing to take you up on your offer.

Have a good Shabbos.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 11, 2005 4:22:54 PM

I love othello!Oh you say it's a different game? the only go game I know of is go fish....well I guess I'll have to learn it then. Good Shabbos.

Posted by: Jewish Blogmiester | Nov 11, 2005 6:36:25 PM

Now you're talking. I'll take a look.

I love chess too and would love to play any of the Bogners online.

Shabbat shalom.

BTW, I just learned the rules from the tutorial link you provided. It looks like black is winning in the game above.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 11, 2005 6:44:52 PM

Gilad look sjust like you, without the beard, of course.

Posted by: Alan T | Nov 11, 2005 8:53:16 PM

My only question is -- how is it that Yona doesn't dump over that board of tempting tiny pieces, and it's right at his level on that table??!!

Posted by: Olah Ima | Nov 12, 2005 7:08:27 PM

Ocean Guy... I've never played Pente so I can't comment on the similarities. Go check out the rules and take the 5 minute tutorial. I'd love top play you some time (there is even a screen next to the game which allows the two players to chat with one another (and with any on-lookers).

Val... Better practice up. The kids have caught on really fast and are already giving me a good game.

nikki... I haven't read the book, is it any good? The only book I ever read that mentioned 'GO' was 'Shibumi'.

Essie... You want him? :-)

Tanya... Like I told Ocean Guy, I am not familiar with Pente... but by your description it doesn't sound very similar. Check out the tutorial and let me know if you're up for a game.

Jack... Looking forward to it.

Jewish Blogmeister... Nope, not Othello, and not go fish either. Let me know when you are ready for a challenge.

Alan T... You seem to be the only one who thinks so. But then again, you're a doctor so you must be right. :-)

Olah Ima... We NEVER play when Yonah is awake because, as you said, the little pieces are irresistible.

Posted by: David | Nov 12, 2005 8:29:03 PM

BTW, here's a great Wikipedia entry on Go. And here's a site with a Java applet where you can play against the computer (on a 9x9 board). I was surprised to learn that computer Go is much less strong than computer chess (because Go is more complex) and the best Go players still beat the best programs. For that reason you probably won't find an applet that plays against you on a 19x19 board.

Thanks for providing me with my new addiction!

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Nov 13, 2005 6:42:41 AM

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