The Mind Sport of Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players invented in China more than 3,000 years ago and is regarded as one of the oldest that has been continuously played to the present day. The aim is to surround more territory than your opponent played on a grid of black lines, usually 19x19. The game pieces are also called stones, and these are played on the lines’ intersections. One player will have white stones, while the other has the black. Of the 19x19 grid lines, there are 361 vacant points for the players to place their stones on. Players take turns and once all the stones have been placed on the board, they may not be moved. The object of each player is to ‘capture’ the opponent’s stones by surrounding them on all orthogonally-adjacent points. This continues until neither player wishes to make another move. The winner is determined by counting the surrounding territory of each player including the captured stones. The player with white stones plays second and therefore receives added points as compensation. These added points are known as komi. Despite Go having relatively simple rules, it is still very complex as a mind sport. If one compares it to Chess, the board is larger, there are many more moves to consider, and the game generally lasts longer. Go is most popular in East Asia and from a survey done in 2016, 46 million people worldwide know how to play it, while over 26 million are actively playing.
Go was invented in China and made its way to Japan about 1,500 years ago via Korea. It became very popular during the Edo period (1603-1868). There was even State support during this period for professional players, leading to great advances in the sport on skill and theory levels and laying the platform for further modernization of the game. During the Meiji period (1868-1912) many westerners visiting Japan learnt the game and took this knowledge back to Europe and America to teach others. This all lead to greater westernization of the sport and the emergence of newer Go organisations. The International Go Federation (IGF) is the world governing body with over 75 members at present. The first World Amateur Go Championship was hosted by Tokyo in 1979 with only 15 countries participating. By 1982 this number had increased to 29 and these nations became the initial members of IGF, which was officially founded in March 1982. The responsibilities for IGF is to continue to focus on worldwide growth to increase membership and to maintain standards within its current members. IGF determine a standardized set of rules with the purpose to simplify the management of regional and world championships. Go is a mind sport and is recognized by the International Mind Sports Association.