The game of Go, called Weiqi ( 围棋 ) in China, I-Go ( 囲碁 ) in Japan and Baduk ( 바둑 ) in Korea, is an East Asian board game for two persons and with over 4.000 years it is the oldest board game in the world. It originally comes from China and found its way to Japan about 1300 years ago. Since then, the ancient Chinese form of Wei-qi has been developed by the Japanese into the form of Go that is mainly known today. Even today, Go or Wei-qi are still very popular in Japan and China, you can hardly find a newspaper or magazine without a column about the game. The game is also popular in Korea under the name ‘Baduk’. Go is also played outside of China, Japan and Korea. Worldwide, the number of Go players exceeds several millions.

The Go Rules in Short

  • Rule 1: Two players take turns placing a stone of their colour on a free intersection of the board, starting with black. The stone or the chain of stones to which this stone belongs must have at least one liberty, i.e. a horizontally or vertically adjacent free intersection. Alternatively, the players may give up their move and pass. A stone that has already been placed is not moved. Both players try to surround more free intersection (area) for themselves than the opposing player.

  • Rule 2: If an opponent’s stone or chain of stones loses its last liberty as a result of a move, that stone or chain of stones is removed from the board and kept until the game is finished.

  • Rule 3: If a stone was captured by the opponent in the last move and if the stone that the opponent has set to hit could be hit back immediately, so that the identical board position as before the opponent’s move is created, then exactly this move is not allowed, in order to prevent endless hitting back and forth.

  • The coutning: The game ends as soon as both players pass one after the other and agree on the end of the game. All stones in the opponent’s area that could be catured are now removed from the board as prisoners. Each captured stone and each surrounded area point counts one point. The winner is the player with more points. In case of a tie, the game ends in a draw.

  • An interactive course can help you to understand the rules in datail.
  • We offer a game manual, which can also be downloaded as a free PDF.

In Europe there are more than 100.000 Go players. On almost every weekend a Go tournament is held in a European city. In addition, European championships take place every year. Beginners are welcome guests at the many regular Go game evenings. There you can get the rules explained and try to get to know the game better. More informations and links to your national Go federation can be found on the website of the European Go Federation.