Go: The Game of Life

“This is not just a Mind Sport, this is the game of warriors and monks, emperors and hermits, philosophers and scientists, as old as writing and yet each time unique. This is Go, and you will not be disappointed.”

Peter Wendes, Zen Machine

Go has respect for the dignity of your opponent built in to the etiquette, and, when you make errors of judgement, the board is a safe place to fail. For a lot of very chaotic children, just taking turns is a trust exercise. Also, in Go you can be sure that your ideas are being considered seriously, since to underestimate even a weak opponent is to court disaster.

The Go board is a vast domain - 361 points of intersection - you only know just how big this is when you've tried it. You are free to play anywhere you like.

No two Go games are alike, or even similar. This alone makes Go unique. There are more Go games than there are atoms in the observable universe. A game on the full-size board has never (unless deliberately copied) been played before, and will never be played again. This puts special importance on the here and now, the unique encounter between two humans.

Go is very easy to handicap, and every handicap game is a teaching/learning encounter, without being off-puttingly 'academic'. Go players happily discuss the current situation - there are no hidden tricks to outwit your opponent, but endless creative possibilities.

Go has been valued for three or four thousand years for the insights it offers into life, business and battle strategy. It was one of the 'Four Accomplishments' - Poetry, Calligraphy, Music and Go which defined an educated person in China and Japan, and was regarded as a fast-track to high office in administration. The Samurai loved Go for its strategic uses - don't claim more than you can defend, waste resources on lost causes, underestimate your opponent etc. These are just as useful now as they ever were, and the current fashion for things oriental gives Go a 'street cred' which makes it very acceptable to disaffected teenagers.

© Copyright 2004, Giles Wendes