Go is a board game for two players. It is a game of pure skill, like chess. It is one of the world’s oldest games. It was invented in China at least 2500 years ago, and it may be closer to 4000 years old. It is played by about 25 million people all over the world, but is most popular in the Oriental countries of China, Japan, and Korea. The rules are very simple, and the game can be enjoyed by beginners. But it is probably the most difficult game in the world to master.
- Go is played on a board which is a square grid of vertical and horizontal lines. It is played by two players. Each player has a set of circular stones. One player (Black) has black stones, and the other (White) has white ones. Black plays first, and the players take turns. On each turn, a player may place a stone on any empty intersection of 2 lines (a point) on the board (except as noted in rules 3 and 4), or pass.
- Two points are adjacent if they are next to each other in a vertical or horizontal but not diagonal direction. Two stones of the same colour on adjacent points are connected and belong to the same string of stones. An empty point adjacent to a string of stones is a liberty of that string. When a stone is played that reduces one or more strings of the opponent’s stones to 0 liberties (in other words, when it surrounds opposing stones), those strings are captured and removed from the board.
- A stone may not be played if it will have 0 liberties and will not capture any of the opponent’s stones. (In other words, you may not capture your own stones.)
- A stone may not be played if it will make the board look exactly the same as it did earlier in the game. (Repetition is not allowed.)
- If the last move of each player was a pass, the game ends and scoring begins. Each player gets one point for every opponent’s stone that was captured, and one point for every empty point of territory. A group of connected empty points is territory if it is surrounded by stones of only that player’s colour. The player with the higher score wins.