The history and development of Go
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27.05.2017

The history and development of Go

Go is a strategic type of board game that can be played by two players pitted against each other. The game is known by the name of Weiqi in Chinese and Baduk in Korean. Since the game can be confused with the common English word go, it is often written with G capital or written as Goe.

The game has its origins in China and references have been made to the game in 5th century BC Chinese writings. The game has been popular in East Asia for a long time. The game is slowly gaining popularity in other parts of the world also.

Some people say that the game originated around 2258 BC in China during Emperor Yao’s rule. However, some people have their own theory that the game was originally begun by Chinese tribal warlords and generals who made use of stones to map put and also decide on attacking positions. The earliest evidence of the game in terms of written text was found in the historial annal Zuo Zhuan which was found in 4th century BC. It explains that the game evolved around 548 BC.
In China, Go was normally meant to be played by emperors while Xiangqi was played by the common people. The game is believed to have reached countries like Korea in 5th century AD. In 7th century AD, people in Japan also got accustomed to playing the game. By the end of the 13th century, common people in Japan began playing the game.

In 1603, Honinbo Go School for training in Go was started. Several Go schools emerged soon after. These schools taught the game in a very professional manner like teaching martial arts. Players were also ranked according to the martial arts system of ranking players. Though the game originated in China, it became more popular in Japan. Japan promoted state sponsorships to support and bring up budding players. There was competition amongst the different houses and clubs. There were three players who received the honor of being the “Go Sages” in those times. These players were Jowa, Dosaku and Shusaku who belonged to the Honinbo House.

The Go houses started to slowly lose their ground and disappear and then in 1924, the Japanese Go Association by the name of Nihon Kiin was formed. Two of the best players in those times were Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru who won the majority of the matches right up to 1930. The Japanese players continued to dominate the game for a long time. Also top players from China and Korea moved to Japan as the training provided in Japan was of high quality. The Korean Go Association was formed in 1944. The top players from China in those times were Nie Weiping and Ma Xiaochun.

Lee Chang-ho was the best player from Korea. There were some European champions as well like Alexandre Dinerchtein. There were several international titles that made their debut in 1989 which made it possible to compare the performance of players from different countries.
February 27, 2008, 3:47 pm


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