The Game of Go

Weiqi 围棋 (also known as Go 囲碁 in Japan, or Baduk 바둑 in Korea) is a board game developed in China between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago. It is the oldest board game which is still played in its original form, using simple black and white stones on a grid.

One can learn the rules of Go in minutes, but it can take a lifetime to master the game.

Onegaishimasu (Formal Etiquette)

Onegaishimasu お願いします is the correct polite Japanese phrase to say to one's opponent before starting to play: o negai shimasu - "Please do your best", "Please have a good game", "if you please", or "I pray you..." Literally: "do me this favor"

Sensei's Library :

Chester Go Club History

We formed an AGA chapter in February 2007. Our club is in a small town in the midwestern US, and our membership is primarily composed of high school students. We became a school affiliated club in May 2007 for a reliable location to play. We started playing as a group online in June 2007 to aquire known ranks for handicaping games. Since that time we have been meeting in a computer lab and playing most of our weekly sessions online.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Our Computer Lab

Creating Equipment for a New Club

The fact that our club is primarily composed of high school students has several benefits. Each year there is an influx of new students to bring to the game. Occasionally some of our members take shop classes. We learned that this was a great way to acquire equipment for our group. In our first year a member of our group in a manufacturing class proposed a two-sided MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) Go board as a semester project. The class like the idea and built 30 units. They were constructed of 3/4 inch MDF which is sold in 4x8 foot sheets each of which capable of producing 12 boards. The grids were professionally silkscreened onto the boards by a local business during a field trip. With little to no labor cost, we were able to produce the boards for ~$6.00 each and sell them for $10.00 each. The boards were comparable in quality to the MDF boards found at many internet venders selling for $25.00 each. We even attempted to market our boards to one or more of the websites selling equipment. Since our boards had several less traditional modifications, they declined. The non-traditional modifications consisted of a caring handle, routed edges for protection, and a sealant finish to protect the board from moisture staining. The boards could have been produced in less time at less cost to the more traditional specifications. Live and learn.

1st Gen. Shop Class Produced Go Board (non-traditional, but highly functional)

1st Gen. Shop Class Produced Go Board (non-traditional, but highly functional)

Go Equipment for Beginners

When my wife and I started playing we knew nothing of Go equipment. We did not know what was traditional, modern, cheap, or desirable. We have enjoyed each of the sets that we purchased in their time. However, we have spent a bit of money on sets which we no longer play. The longer we have played our taste in equipment has evolved toward the traditional. Starting with the equipment we now wish to have would have been ludicrous. However, having fewer steps in our progression would have saved us quite a bit on money.

The following are the sets which we purchased and the issues we experienced with each.

First Purchase:
Chinese Size Table Board with Legs (hollow cavity board, 19” x 18” x 2.5”)
Mono-Convex Glass Stones (irregular dropped glass, 20mm x 8mm, plastic bowls included)
[The only issue we had with this set was the irregularity of the stones, and the board’s veneer coating started to come loose.]

Second Purchase:
MDF Chinese Size Table Board (aka medium density fiber board, 19” x 18” x 0.75”, play area)
Yunzi Bi-Convex Glass Stones Size 33 (21.5mm x 9.2mm, wood bowls included)
[The only issue we had with this set was the stones chipped/broke when accidently dropped from table height onto a tile floor in the restaurant where our club meets. The boards were created in our high school shop class.]

Third Purchase:
Spruce Chinese Size Table Board (19” x 18” x 1”)
Ing Bi-Convex Stones (plastic with lead core, 22mm x 10mm, plastic counting bowls included)
[The only issue we had with this set was we started wanting something nicer. We did purchase a set of wood bowls to hold the stones. This has become our traveling set.]

Fourth Purchase:
New Kaya Japanese Size Table Board (18.25” x 16.94” x 2.38”)
Bi-Convex Tsuki Grade Shell & Slate Stones (aka Moon Grade, 21.5mm x 11.3mm)

Based upon that progression of sets, I have come to the following recommendation.

Affordable Starter Go Set:
Wood Chinese Size Table Board (19” x 18” x 0.25”) ~ $7
Plastic Bi-Convex Stones (20.5mm x 7mm) ~ $8

Nice Starter Go Set:
Spruce Chinese Size Table Board (19” x 18” x 1”) ~ $64
Ing Bi-Convex Stones (plastic with lead core, 22mm x 10mm) ~ $25

Optional Bowls for Nice Starter Set:
Mahogani Wood Bowls (Large Size) ~ $45
Jujube Wood Bowls (Large Size, Three Wood Colors Available) ~ $59

Advanced Go Set:
Dependant upon development of taste through play and exposure to a variety of equipment.

Important Note About Stone Sizes

Not all stones are compatible with all boards. Traditional Chinese sets are larger than traditional Japanese sets. Therefore, Chinese size stones (22mm +) do not play easily on Japanese size boards. They will over-run the lines creating an unorganized look of play, which becomes congested as the game advances toward the center. Some vendors will explain that this is normal, and not a problem. I do not agree. Japanese size stones (22mm -) will comfortably play on either size board.

Recomended Reading (Beginners)

  • "The Way to Go" by Karl Baker (link to printable .pdf file)
  • "Learn to Play Go, Volume I" by Janice Kim
  • "Learn to Play Go, Volume II: The Way of the Moving Horse" by Janice Kim
  • "Learn to Play Go, Volume III: Dragon Style" by Janice Kim
  • "Learn to Play Go, Volume IV: Battle Strategies" by Janice Kim
  • "Learn to Play Go, Volume V: The Place of Memory" by Janice Kim

Recommended Reading (Intermediate)

  • "Go for Beginners" by Kaoru Iwamoto
  • "The Theory & Practice of Go" by Oscar Korschelt

Recommended Reading (Advanced)

  • "Modern Joseki and Fuseki, Vol. I: Parallel Fuseki" by Sakata Eio
  • "Modern Joseki and Fuseki, Vol. II: Diagonal Fuseki" by Sakata Eio
  • "The Middle Game of Go" by Sakata Eio
  • "Essential Joseki" by Naiwei Rue

Chester Go Club Shirts

Available at

Treasured Memories
918 State Street
Chester, Illinois 62233
(618) 826-2513

T-Shirt Front

T-Shirt Front

T-Shirt Back

T-Shirt Back

Polo Front Only

Polo Front Only

Friday, March 21, 2008

2008 Ing School Team Championship (1st Round)

Team 1
Jasper High School vs. Chester High School
(TX05 vs. IL01)
March 9th 5pm CST (5pm CST)
One win by forfeiture, three losses
Team Loss

1st Board
W - rubixlord7 [14k] vs. B - godude919 [11k?]
Winner: rubixlord7
2nd Board
B - Ganon0070 [14k?] vs. W - unclefestr [17k]
Winner: unclefestr by forfeit
3rd Board
W - DaDavid [?] vs. B - Fatman117 [17k]
Winner: DaDavid
4th Board
B - geou12 [20k] vs. W - Cotton91 [15k?]
Winner: geou12

Team 2
Chester High School vs. Jackson Junior High School
(IL02 vs. WV01)
March 2nd 5pm PST (7pm CST)
One win, one loss, two forfeitures
Team Loss (due to two forfeitures)

1st Board
W - Fish007 [17k] vs. B - asap [5k]
Winner: asap
2nd Board
B - Lloydy [?] vs. W - llamaprobe [24k]
Winner: Cheerios (sub for Lloydy)
3rd Board
W - Shinobi89 [15k?] vs. B - pigmy [?]
Winner: pigmy by forfeit
4th Board
B - Victoria [27k?] vs. W - soccerman [23k]
Winner: soccerman by forfeit

Team 3
Chester High School vs. Fern Hill Go Club
(IL03 vs. CN04)
March 9th 7pm EST (6pm CST)
Two wins, one loss, one forfeiture
Team Win

1st Board
W - steve67 [24k?] vs. B - khj9317 [21k?]
Winner: DenisKA (sub for steve67)
2nd Board
B - jwoodward [25k?] vs. W - gosnake [?]
Winner: gosnake by forfeit
3rd Board
W - shark628 [20k?] vs. B - Crazyfrog [25k?]
Winner: Crazyfrog
4th Board
B - fiend [?] vs. W - crazycat [?]
Winner: novak88 (sub for fiend)

All games played in the Sabaki Go Club room.
Ending Record: 3 and 4 with 1 additional win by forfeit (8 Games Played)

Fun with the SmartBoard

Fun with the SmartBoard