Go is a game of strategy. Two players compete in acquiring territory by placing markers on a smooth wooden board with a simple grid drawn on it, usually 19 by 19 lines. Each player seeks to enclose territory with his markers (called ‘stones’), much like partitioning a field with sections of fencing. Further, each player may capture his opponent’s markers. The object of the game is to enclose the most territory, a simple goal the leads to the elegant and fascinating complexities of go.
A full size go board grid has 19 lines each way, forming a total of 361 points where the grid lines touch one another.
Each point on the board has lines extending from it. The very next point along a line is an adjacent point. Points are adjacent only along the lines. Any point along a diagonal is not adjacent. Each empty point adjacent to a stone is a liberty.
Once a stone is placed on a point it is never moved to another point. When a stone of the same color is placed on an adjacent point the two stones are connected. Once connected, stones form an inseparable unit. Thus a single stone, or any number of connected stones, make up a unit.
Placing stones so as to occupy ALL the liberties of an opposing unit results in NO liberties for that unit and the stones in that unit are captured.
Life & Death
In this Chapter we will now examine ‘safe’ enclosures, and some that are not safe.
Stones that retain one or more liberties but have no hope ultimately of keeping any liberties are said to
be dead as they stand or simply ‘dead’.
An empty point fully enclosed by one color is called an eye. A group of points fully enclosed by one color is also an eye. Stones live by shaping an enclosure of two eyes.
Ending / Scoring
There are four goals in Go: (1) Surround territory, (2) Reduce your opponent's territory, (3) Capture enemy stones, (4) Protect your own stones. The winner, on balance, is always the player who has accomplished these goals more efficiently.
Tying Up the Loose Ends
The game is ended by a pass of turn by each player in sequence. Saying ‘I pass’ means that you see no way to further any of the above goals. Passing presumes that all claimed territories are completely surrounded (all fence sections are in place), and no stones are in atari along the borders between opposing live groups.
First verify that all dame have been filled, (with extra stones, not prisoners). Remove from the board, as prisoners, all stones which are dead as they stand. Count each vacant point for the side that has surrounded it. Subtract from black's point count the black prisoners held by white. Do the same for white.
The Rule of Ko
The word ko means eternity. In go, ko refers to a common situation that would cause ‘stalemate’, an endless series of meaningless plays if there were no rule to cover this occurrence. As things stand here white's three stones at the top are cut off from the others. They appear to be dead as they stand, but - - -. It is white's turn and the black stone which is separating the upper white unit from the lower white stones, is in atari. This ko situation is of great importance to both sides.
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