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Let's "Go!": Ancient Chinese Game Board part1

Ancient Chinese and Japanese "Go" game: territorial conquest, subtle strategy, deep reflection and exquisite style

This game is truly fascinating: not only did it appear in the mists of time (more than 2,500 years ago), the rules of it are deceptively simple (to surround the larger area and capture more "stones" than your opponent), and the terminology of the game is epic and profound in scope (Life vs. Death - your stone group can be either "alive", "dead" or "unsettled") - but also it is a game without a set ending - it will continue for as long as your opponent is willing to fight and not throws down the towel.

Interestingly, this is a "no-chance" game, i.e. there is no dice or any other provision for intervention of chance. Everything is premeditated, everyone begins with an empty board and with no limitations, all moves are visible to all players, and (similar to chess) you can only blame yourself for your faulty strategy and subsequent loss.

"While the Baroque rules of chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go." -- Edward Lasker, chess grandmaster

The "go" boards traditionally used in this game are no less fascinating. Today we are going to see the most profound examples, full of ancient wisdom and delicate craftmanship - the full range of styles, from the most ancient ones, to fancy electronic boards from the 1980s.

The following go-board (or, "goban"), which comes together with the "Mr. Kuroki's Go-Cart" to lift it off the floor, displays perhaps the most interesting way of playing - smacking your stone pieces (with a satisfying click) on a very thick slab of wood... And not just any wood, but the beautiful ancient Kaya wood, some slices being 500 years old. These slabs are patiently dried for more than 15 years and display perfectly the wood grain and tightly-packed tree-rings of considerable age.

Playing on these ancient wooden boards is like placing your bets on a solid foundation of unyielding, impersonal time! Truly a perfect arrangement.

"The board must be square, for it signifies the Earth, and its right angles signify uprightness. The pieces of the two sides are yellow and black; this difference signifies the yin and the yang... scattered in groups all over the board, they represent the heavenly bodies." -- Pan Ku, 1st century historian

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