Go (game)

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Go (Japanese:碁?), known in Chinese as weiqi (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: wéiqí; Wade-Giles: wei ch'i) and in Korean as baduk (hangul: 바둑), is an ancient board game for two players that is noted for being rich in strategy despite its simple rules.

The game is played by two players who alternately place black and white stones on the vacant intersections of a grid of 19×19 lines. Once placed on the board, stones cannot be moved elsewhere, unless they are surrounded and captured by the opponent's stones. The object of the game is to control (surround) a larger portion of the board than the opponent.

Placing stones close together helps them support each other and avoid capture; groups of stones must have at least two liberties (open points) to be "alive." On the other hand, placing stones far apart creates influence across more of the board. Part of the strategic difficulty of the game stems from finding a balance between such conflicting interests. Players strive to serve both defensive and offensive purposes and choose between tactical urgency and strategic plans. At its basis, the game is one of simple logic, while in advanced play the game involves complex heuristics and tactical analysis.

Go originated in ancient China more than 2,500 years ago. Although it is not known exactly when the game was invented, by the 3rd century BC it was already a popular pastime, as indicated by a reference to the game in the Analects of Confucius. Archaeological evidence shows that the early game was played on a board with a 17×17 grid, but by the time that the game spread to Korea and Japan in about the 7th century, boards with a 19×19 grid had become standard.

The game is most popular in East Asia. A conservative estimate places the number of Go players worldwide at approximately 27 million.[2] Go reached the West through Japan, which is why it is commonly known internationally by its Japanese name.[nb 1]

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