Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
Go is a board game that was introduced into Japan in about 500 A.D. Go is remarkable for the utter simplicity of it's rules and the extreme complexity of it's play. *What do you need to play go. A Go board (''goban''): A Go board is a board with 19 horizontal and 19 verical lines. These form a grid of 361 intersections. Two sets of stones (''go-ishi''), one black and one white. The black stones number 181, and the white ones 180. * How do you play Go. The player with the black stones goes first and places one black stone at one of the intersections on the Go board. The player with the white stones, goes next and does the same. A stone, once placed, cannot be moved. Play continues like this until the game is over. * How to win a game of Go. Go is a game of capturing territory on the Go board. When a player completely surrounds an area of his oponent's stones on the Go board with his stones or has "eye" that territory belongs to him, and he may remove his opponent's stones that he has surrounded. A player's final score is the number of points on the board he has surrounded minus the number of stones he has lost to his oponent by capture. * It is traditional for players of unequal skill to use handicaps to equalize the game. * Go is a game involving a high level of stategy. Players must see the entire board as whole and act accordingly, to be successful. * Traditional Go Game Equipment Although one could play Go with a piece of carboard for a board and a bag of plastic chips, Go players pride themselves on their Go sets. The traditional Go board is solid wood and stands on it's own attached legs. Players sit on mats (''tatami'') on the floor to play. The stones come in matching solid wood pots and are made out of ivory (white) and slate (black) and are extremely smooth. There is even an art to putting down a Go stone, firmly and between two particular fingers. * Who plays Go? In Japan, Go is a national past time much like chess or bridge here. Some individuals devote their lives to play. On the other hand, the game of Go has such simple rules, that even children play with each other and parents. Go Masters to date have been all male. Americans play Go too. They invariably, with very few exceptions, play with a handicap again the Japanese.---- * How do I know this? My father played Go for his whole adult life at the Go Society in New York, of which he was a charter member, and, of course, taught his children how to play.