The origins of go are shrouded in the mists of ancient Chinese history, but the game is thought to have originated at least 2500 – 4000 years ago. It is the oldest game still played in its original form.
Some say that the board, with ten points out from the center in all directions, may have originally served as a forerunner to the abacus. Others think it may have been a fortune-telling device, with black and white stones representing yin and yang. A prominent legend holds that the sage king-Yao created the game to teach his rebellious son discipline.
By 400-300 B.C., Chinese scholars such as Confucius were writing about wei-chi (a Chinese name for the game) to illustrate correct thinking about filial piety and human nature. By the 1600’s it had become one of the “Four Accomplishments” (along with calligraphy, painting, and playing the lute) that must be mastered by the Chinese gentleman. This kind of sanctified thinking about the game has inspired people to play for millennia.
Wei-chi, also written as wei-ch’i or weiqi, entered Korean and Japanese culture through trade and other contact between countries in the first millennium A.D. In ancient Chinese art, noblemen (and noblewomen!) can occasionally be found playing go
It also turns out that flipping a table out of frustration isn’t a new occurrence…….