This article is from the Go FAQ, by Morten PAHLE email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
The game which is the subject of this newsgroup is known under several
names: Go, Goe, Igo, Wei-qi, Wei-chi, Baduk.. to name a few.
For the purpose of this FAQ, the name Go will be used.
Apart from the fact that it is the name which is used the most in the
'western' world, it is also the shortest and easiest to spell ;-).
Go is a game of tactics and strategy which is played by two players.
Players take turns at placing their markers ('stones') on an initially
empty board ('goban'), following simple rules. The objective of the
game is to place your stones so that they control the largest part of
the goban. Although the stones, once placed, do not move, groups of
stones 'move'; groups are attacked, defend themselves, are killed,
connect, encircle and dominate. Several fights may combine into larger
fights, but in the end a win by one point is worth as much as a win by
A game of go can last anywhere from a quarter of an hour (fast
'blitz') to several days (large championship matches). Playing in
clubs or on the net, a game typically lasts roughly one hour.
Beginning to play Go tends to have an addictive effect on people: the
more you play, the more you want to play and the more aware you become
that there is still a lot left to learn.