Go comes to the Library Reference Desk

When two tigers fight, what is left is
one dead tiger and one wounded one.
-Chinese Proverb

Expand your horizons by learning Go. Expand your horizons by learning Go.

Go (Chinese: wéiqí, Japanese: igo, Korean: baduk, common meaning: “surrounding game”) is a board game that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. Go is widely understood to occupy the position in China, Japan, and Korea that chess does in the West.

Go and chess are both preeminently games of strategy, but the nature of play and the temperament required for success could hardly be more different: While the object of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s king, the object of Go is to control more territory on the board. Chess favors daring and calculation, Go patience and judgment.

It has become widely appreciated in the West that that some understanding and experience with Go can provide insights into the psychology and strategic thinking of countries where Go is part of the cultural heritage. Peter Shotwell, for example, writes that “Japanese executives learned to look at the national and international corporate worlds as Go boards and designed many of their strategies accordingly…One should try to win, but that had to involve allowing the opponent to win something too, because all-out fights might destroy both competitors.”*

The Library has placed a Go set on the Reference Desk that we hope will act as a catalyst for some of our patrons to learn about this rich and even beautiful game. Go will not only teach you another way of looking at strategy and success, but also provide an experience of one of the great arts of China, Japan, and Korea.

Intrigued? Check out this trailer for a forthcoming documentary about Go:


If you are interested in learning to play Go, contact Harold Henkel at 757-352-4198 or harohen@regent.edu for suggestions on getting started.

*Peter Shotwell, Go! More Than a Game, (Ruland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2003), xi.