Go

From 1d4chan
Go: Short for "Go Fuck Yourself"

Go is the best game in the (known) world. It was created in the dawn of time by somebody in China under the name Wei Qi. It was exported to Japan in the seventh century as Go, and then to western devils in the 19th and 20th century under the same name. It is also known in Korea as Baduk. Combine the names together and you get the origin of the phrase "Go baduk (fuck) yourself," which is a traditional statement made by the loser to the victor.

Go is far behind Chess in AI. While the highest level chess players can be defeated by AI, AI for Go struggles even with major handicaps. This is because when the game is played on a standard full sized board, there are far more possible games than in chess, and so even a supercomputer will struggle to find a good strategy through brute force and we have yet to come up with a more efficient AI that works well. So far, only less popular variants with a much smaller board have been solved, and it's possible that larger versions of the game will never be solved.

Though it may never be solved, our machine overlords have reached our level. Athena DeepMind derived AlphaGo program defeated a Go Grandmaster 4-1.

About the game[edit]

Go is a strategy board game involving two players: One goes first, the other loses.

Go is a strategy board game involving two players, Black and White. The players take turns placing stones of their own color on the intersections of a grid; common sizes for this grid are 19x19, 13x13, and 9x9 intersections.

Stones are captured by surrounding them. A stone is surrounded when it is not possible to trace a line along the playing grid from the intersection on which the stone sits to an empty intersection, optionally passing through intersections containing stones of the same color. If, after removing captured stones, the stone just played is itself surrounded, the move is suicide and illegal in most rulesets.

To prevent certain deadlock situations, it is illegal to move such that your opponent's move is undone; otherwise the players could reach a situation in which they endlessly repeat the same two positions. In some rulesets it is illegal to recreate any previous position. A situation in which this rule applies is called ko. A typical game can have multiple of these ko-threats. To circumvent a ko-threat, the player must place a stone somewhere else and after that he may continue the ko-situation on his next turn; or ignore it completely and let his opponent take the ko.


If a player believes they cannot improve their position, they pass instead of placing a stone. Once both players pass, they score the game by counting the intersections surrounded by their stones, and then either adding the number of their stones still on the board, or subtracting the number of their stones captured by their opponent, depending on the ruleset.

To offset Black's advantage of moving first, White receives compensation points, typically 6.5 or 7.5 depending on ruleset. The half point is to prevent draws.

Your late game will look like this. (btw, we shit you not, this is actually a traditional way for a loser to quit a game of Go)

If the two players are of unmatched skill levels, White can grant Black the use of handicap stones; in effect, Black places 2 or more stones on the board as her first move, then White makes his (it's traditional to refer to the two players using differing pronouns) first move. In this case the compensation points are only 0.5.

As you might have noticed, Go is a game of absolute strategy where luck has no sway on the course of the game. A player of a year's worth of experience will find playing against someone who has played a month after understanding the basics, even with handicap stones on their side, is akin to going to the playground with a lead pipe and beating up the youngest child with it. There is absolutely no thrill in it (except for some), and you feel bad for poor Timothy.

Also, the entire professional history of the game can be accurately summarized as slowly realizing just how good it is to go first and giving White more and more pity points to compensate; inevitably no amount has proven quite enough.

Gomoku[edit]

Sometimes hyphenated (go-moku), this is a much simpler strategy game played on a go board. Players take turns placing stones and trying to get five in a row. Perfectly fun if you're not in the mood for the more involved game, though calling it go is a misnomer. White has a much greater advantage in this game than with Go, so after enough practice white always wins, and the game becomes pointless. People have tried to add rules to the game to balance it, with some degree of success (Renju is one of the better attempts).

Pente, created in the 70's, is gomoku with rules for capturing opponent's stones. It still favors the first player. Again, variant rules exist to try and balance the game.

How to Suck Less at Go[edit]

Whenever you play Go against an online opponent, there's no evidence that they aren't a big tiddy anime girl. Change my mind.

Go is a fucking old game and most of the people who play it know it inside and out. As if that wasn't scary enough, most of them are Asian. You're going to get your dick pushed in when you start, no matter what you do. If you get tired of losing as a beginner and don't know what you're doing wrong, here's a couple of things to think about while playing.

Following these tips won't let you suddenly start winning games, but they will help make your losses less embarrassing.

  • Start out the game by making "big" moves. Your first stones should be placed to give you control of lots of territory. The first four moves of almost all high level Go games begin with taking the four corners. Though don't put your stone on the actual corner itself, put it a couple lines out so you can turn that space into points later.
  • Don't let your opponent split up your stones. Most of the time when a group of your stones is taken it's because your opponent split them up earlier on.
  • By extension, if you see an opportunity to split up your opponent's stones, go for it. Divide and conquer is the fundamental tactic of Go.
  • Don't hand control of the game's momentum over to your opponent. Ideally, every move you make should either be so big that your opponent has to respond or threaten your opponent so badly they have to respond. In reality, your opponent is going to be trying to do the same thing to you, so you'll have to spend a lot of time defending yourself. But when you do have the opportunity to pressure your opponent, try and find a new way to break their knees every move.
  • Don't get tunnel vision. Getting control of one corner is good; great even. It's a lot of points. But if your opponent gets the other three corners while you secure your one you'll lose and lose badly.
  • If your opponent is focusing too much on one area of the board, that's good for you. Don't be afraid to play away if you have better options in other parts of the board. Sometimes your opponent was hyper-focused for a good reason and they knew or noticed something you didn't, but sometimes you've realized something they haven't too.
  • If you ever find yourself without a clue for what move you should play, there's a great trick to find a good move that almost always works. Put yourself in your opponent's shoes and ask yourself what move you would make if you were your opponent right now. Your opponent's best move is usually your best move too.
Everything you need to know, but were too gwai-lo to ask.
  • If you can only remember one of these tips, remember this one: Never give up. Go doesn't end until you agree to let it end. When a Go player realizes they're losing against a beginner and can't possibly win, but currently have a point lead, they'll usually do a horrifically dirty trick; they'll propose to end the game then and there. A lot of beginners will accept because they don't understand the game or the point scoring rules enough to realize that they have a win on the board if they just stick it out. Don't fall for it. Remember: when your opponent proposes to end the game, they just passed their turn. Even if your situation is bad, you just got a free move. One free move is huge in Go; it can easily turn a whole game around if you use it right. If your opponent is really stubborn they might pass two or three times in a row. No matter how bad the board is or how bad you are at Go, with enough free moves you can turn almost any situation around. And if your situation actually was so bad that you couldn't have changed it, you still don't lose anything by trying. Losing by one point and losing by thirty points are the same thing in Go. Persevering to the bitter end is also the best way to get better at the game. In short: never surrender in Go unless you're absolutely certain you have zero chance of victory.

External links[edit]

Board Games
Classics: Backgammon - Chess - Go - Tafl - Tic-Tac-Toe
Ameritrash: Arkham Horror - Axis & Allies - Battleship - Betrayal at House on the Hill - Car Wars
Clue/Cluedo - Cosmic Encounter - Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Dungeon!
Firefly: The Game - HeroQuest - Monopoly - Mousetrap - Snakes and Ladders - Risk
Talisman - Trivial Pursuit
Eurogames: Agricola - Carcassonne - The Duke - Settlers of Catan - Small World - Stratego - Ticket to Ride
Pure Evil: Diplomacy - Dune (aka Rex: Final Days of an Empire) - Monopoly - The Duke
Others: Icehouse - Shadow Hunters - Twilight Imperium - Wingspan