Game of go


Game of go
Originally from China, the game of go between two opponents who place alternately in black and white stones on an apron, called goban, trying to control the game by building "Territories". Each stone represents a soldier, soldiers surrounded become prisoners.

It is the oldest strategy game abstract combinatorial known. Despite his seniority, the game of go continues to enjoy great popularity in China, Korea and Japan. In the rest of the world where its discovery is recent, its reputation is also growing. Its success owes as much to the simplicity of its rules that the rich combinatorics and its strategic depth.

History go
The very long history of the place to go was largely in separate worlds and ended in China first, then Japan and finally in the West. Only since the end of the twentieth century that is beginning to unify go in the world.

Legend origins
According to Chinese tradition, it would be two dragons-called Hei Zi (black) and Bai-Zi (white) competing to see which of the two was the most powerful created the Weiqi (Chinese name of go) to tie. The gods then sent a third dragon observe the party and ordered him not to report back once it is over. Their rules were the same as ours today, except that the rule did not exist ko since, being immortal, they were infinitely patient. The Dragons play for thousands of years and each millennium, the gods send a new observer. Currently, five dragons watching the game and a sixth should be sent in a few years.

In historical terms, although the Weiqi is very old, dating its award more than 4 000 years of age require only legendary stories that there is no support but that many have taken for granted. Only certainty, the game was invented long before our era in China. His assignment to one or other of the legendary emperors Yao and Shun, everyone who used for the education of their son, has no historical basis. Nor another legend attributes the invention to a vassal, called U, which would have imagined, however, to distract its overlord during the reign of Gui Jie in the seventeenth century BC. AD

Some researchers see the Chinese art of divination Yi Jing many similarities to the Weiqi which could be the vehicle equipment.

First certificates
It is the first written references to a game that could go in the Annals of Spring and Autumn (between 722 and 481 BC.). Later, Confucius mentions in his talks go.

The game experienced a very strong development with the emergence of a system for grading players, go institutes and officials. The books are multiplying: collections of parts, theoretical writings, lists of players, etc.. The first go treaties are written at the end of the Han dynasty (early third century AD.). Go is then integrated with "three sacred arts (painting, music and calligraphy) used by the emperor and his courtiers, and this will last until the late nineteenth century.

In the late Hans and for the restoration of the empire by Sui in 589 AD. AD, the ruling classes in the fall idleness and turn to Taoism and go.

Thursday a Japanese
The Weiqi arrived in Korea in the fifth century and finally reached the Japanese archipelago where it is quickly adopted by the local aristocracy, very influenced by China. According to tradition, it is 735 that go was introduced in Japan but there are prohibitions go already enacted several decades earlier. In a decree of the empress Jitō promulgated in 701, the aristocracy claims the right to play. Buddhist monks, which banned music and games of chance to win the right to go play, not considered a game of chance. Reserved for the social elite, the game did not democratized in Japan before the twentieth century.

The practice is widespread among go samurai training as military strategy. At Kyoto, monks Nichiren (Japanese Buddhist sect) will be the founders of Honinbō, the first high school go which lasted until 1940.

In the fifteenth century, a simple change of rules will profoundly transform the practice of Thursday It abolished the rule of Zuoz which involves placing a stone in each of the four hoshi corner of goban and now begins the part with a goban completely empty. The Zuoz remain in force in China until the early twentieth century. In Japan, go is now free for unhindered theoretical explorations leading to the development of Fuseki and joseki.

Golden age of go
In the second half of the sixteenth century, the subject go is of great interest among lords who are fighting power. In 1578, the daimyo Oda Nobunaga invited the monk to Edo Nikki, a player known for the face. Impressed by the strength of Nikki, it gives him the title of Meijin (master) who later became one of the most prestigious ranks of the world's go. Nikkai was appointed instructor of Nobunaga Oda. A few years later, in 1582, it is an area in which appears a triple ko. The same evening, one of his comrades revolted, causing the Seppuku of Nobunaga Oda. Since then, the triple ko is considered a bad omen.

In 1590, Toyotomi Hideyoshi organized the first official tournament to designate the strongest player in the country. Honinbō Sansa (new name Nikki) won the first title. The other players are classified according to their rank according to the newly created dan.

With the unification of Japan by Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1603, go, supported by the military and the Tokugawa shogunate, is entering its classical period and has grown uninterrupted for more than two and a half centuries. Thanks to the protection of the shogun, the game becomes official status and becomes a government institution. The best player in the country is upgraded to godokoro, a kind of "Minister of go that direction over the entire administration of go professional. Three major new schools are emerging, Hayashi, Inoue and Yasui, who compete prominence to the prestigious Honinbō. They will compete to share the payments and posts richly endowed. An annual tournament (o-shiro-go) will bring together the two best players in the presence of the emperor and shogun.

In 1868, the Meiji Restoration put an end to this golden age. With the entry of Japan in the industrial era, the game loses its landmarks and its traditional feudal patrons and dark in a deep crisis. Several attempts to reorganize quickly aborted. In 1879, however, is based Hōensha, the first organization that manages to unite the world of go. After many vicissitudes, it will emerge in the Nihon Ki-in based on 20 May 1924. The first decisions of these organizations aim to democratize the go. With the regular coverage which is the object in some newspapers as the Daily Yomiuri, the game becomes very popular.

That is also when are the first issued regulations concerning the pace of play: in 1922, the total time available to each player is reduced to 16 hours. It was not uncommon at the time that part durata a week or more, some parts were broken up 20 times. Kawabata's novel, The Master, or go the tournament, featuring a famous confrontation Minoru Kitani, gives an example of the endless parties. The duration of the parties will be further reduced thereafter.

Go to the atomic age
Go continued its path despite all the difficulties inherent in the Second World War. An anecdote illustrates the rage to play professionals go. In spring 1945, Kaoru Iwamoto became Utaro Hashimoto challenger in the prestigious tournament Honinbō. Play Tokyo is unthinkable after the terrible bombings of March 1945, it was decided that the match would take place during the summer in Hiroshima.

The first part took place on 23 and 25 July 1945 despite the ban on playing players served by the local chief of police who feared for their safety. Their house was also mitraillea by the U.S. Air Force during the game. Furious to learn that violated his orders, the police formally them to play in the city. Opponents fell agree contest the second part of 4 to 6 August to Itsukaichi on the outskirts of Hiroshima. On the third day of the match, the players were a pause in the garden when they saw an explosion followed by the rapid formation of a huge "mushroom" and a violent gale which broke windows and toppled furniture and table Thursday as they were yose (end of the game after fighting), they replacerent position and finished the game. Hashimoto victory with five stones in advance.

It was only later in the day seeing that happen survivors of the first atomic bomb that the players understood the tragedy that they had miraculously escaped. The match ended in a nil result (3-3) in November 1945, under American occupation after the surrender of Japan.

Diffusion in the West
The discovery of go in Europe was extremely late. It was not until the seventeenth century the first warning mentions the game of go. The first written back to the translation, published in 1615 in Augsburg, the story of stay in China from Jesuit Matteo Ricci. Thereafter, references to go multiply across Europe but still in relatively short travel. It was not until 1710 that Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz wrote the first mathematical considerations on the go.

According to Franco Pratesi, the first descriptions of the game but were too brief to be able to play properly. Only in the late nineteenth century, the English sinologist Herbert Giles gave the first presentation uses rules of the game go and tips for beginners (such as use of goban 11x11, etc).

At the same time, the German Oskar Korschelt - who spent several years in Japan - published several articles and a book-chinesisch japanisch Das Spiel 'Go': ein of Concurrent Schach (1881) which will have a decisive impact on the discovery of go: the game will be his first developments, mainly in Germany (especially in Leipzig) and Austria-Hungary (Vienna and Graz). The first club was established in 1895 in Pola by officers of the Austro-Hungarian navy and the first review, Deutsche Go-Zeitung, was born in Vienna in 1909. Thereafter, the game takes root in Berlin with some famous players (Max Lange, a homonym of chess, Edward Lasker, Emanuel Lasker, etc). In August 1924, takes place in Munich on "First German Tournament.

Go modern
After World War II, go develops under the leadership of the Federation of Japan (Nihon Ki-in). In China, where he vegetarians for centuries, the game of go, after overcoming the crisis of the Cultural Revolution, has a spectacular revival since the 1980s and an unprecedented development. In the 1990s, it was the turn of Korea to take the stage with very strong players, like Lee Chang-ho then regarded as the best player in the world. Indeed, in the late 1990s, the top three Korean players are awarded, alone, nearly 50% of international securities. Japan, which ruled without sharing the world of go for centuries, has seen its supremacy rushed and now questioned every year. Through the go, the three countries of East Asia have found a new opportunity-Pacific-emptying their historical disputes.

In the rest of the world, interest in the game has steadily developed but at a slower pace, often through the diaspora of Chinese, Korean or Japanese. It was not until 1978 when a European obtain a professional and go for a 2000 Occidental obtain a rank of ninth dan. In Europe, the greatest professional player is currently the Chinese Fan Hui, arrived in France in 2000. Today there are over forty million players a million Europeans. The publication of manga Hikaru no Go, in the late 1990s, has rekindled interest in this game, especially among young people.

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