The Game of Go


Go is an ancient two player strategy game. It's played with black and white "stones" on a board of 19 lines by 19 lines. Here's Mindy's introduction to the game. I could go on to describe the history and culture of the game, give my favorite statement of the rules, display pictures of go players and equipment, etc., but the fact is that there are so many excellent and comprehensive go web pages out there, like Jan's and Ken's, that it would be utterly redundant. Instead, here are a few pieces of go information that don't exist elsewhere:

How to improve at go

Maybe one thing that I can contribute to what's out there on the web about go is my ideas on how to study and improve at the game. Idea being that becasue I made fast progress when I was learning, I must have done something right.

Computer Go

Making a program that plays go well is hard. I have been doing work on this problem since 1992, mostly in collaboration with Dr. Tamir Klinger, recently of NYU's Courant Institute. More information about our work and computer go is available.

Go Ranks

Go has a unique ranking system. I've written up a description of the ranking and handicap system, and some comments on the professional ranks, international ranks, etc.

Me & Go

My interest in the game began when I was 15 (much to the detriment of my academic Permanent Record, I'm afraid). I played and studied go more or less to the exclusion of all else from that time until I was 19, when I returned from Japan, where I had somehow ended up, living in the house of a go master, studying to become a professional player. All I can say is that it seemed like the natural thing to do at the time.

Details of my go career are available for those who care (and for those who don't care but are sort of masochistic, I suppose).

Learning Go

Some great introductory go books are Learn to Play Go (by Janice Kim, published by Good Move Press) and The Magic of Go (by Cho Chikun, published by Ishi Press).

If you've read such a book, got through the online introduction to go on Mindy's page (link above), or even if you didn't, you may be ready to try playing. A great way to get your feet wet (especially for the shy) is to play against a computer program. David Fotland's program Igowin (for Win32), is available for free (DOWNLOAD), and is a great place to start. If you can learn enough to beat this program on even terms, you'll be plenty ready for the society of human go players.