Why Thousands Are Learning the Ancient Game Go This Week - Go Game Guru

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The board game Go made headlines back in June, when Google featured the Go master Honinbo Shusaku on its home page. Now it's going local, as Go aficionados in 20 different countries teach the game to thousands of people as part of 'Learn Go Week'.

The world's most powerful computers still haven't cracked it, but thousands of people in 20 countries are learning to play the board game "Go," as part of Learn Go Week. From September 13 to 21, Go players all over the world are introducing their local communities to the wonders of this ancient and intriguing board game.

Robin Williams and Einstein both enjoyed it, astronauts Daniel Barry and Koichi Wakata played it together in space, and Bill Gates dreamed of someday mastering it. The ancient board game Go has a surprisingly diverse list of devotees.

Now thousands of people around the world are learning the game from local Go experts, for free, as part of Learn Go Week. This global event is taking place from September 13 to September 21, with events scheduled all over the world throughout the week.

Go is a strategic board game for two players, similar to chess. However, unlike chess, the rules of Go are incredibly simple and anyone can learn to play in five minutes.

Despite this simplicity, Go is one of the last remaining board games in which computers are still no match for the best human players. In fact, while chess master Garry Kasparov was defeated by IBM's Deep Blue way back in 1997, Go still holds out as the last frontier in the man vs machine stakes – something which appeals to many of Go's fans.

The origins of the game are lost in the mists of time, but we know that it was invented in China at least 2,500 years ago and that it could be up to 4,000 years old. Long before there was such a thing as "brain training," playing Go was already recognized as an excellent way to strengthen the mind.

Recent scientific studies have confirmed this. In 2008, Korean researcher Baromi Kim found that children who learned Go at school performed significantly better on tests measuring intelligence, concentration, problem solving skills and patience than those who did not.

In another example, from 2002, Chinese neuroscientist Xiangchuan Chen measured the brain function of people who were playing Go and compared it to an identical study of chess players. Chen found that while chess players' brains were mostly activated in the left hemisphere, Go activated both sides of the brain equally, exercising more gray matter overall.

Based on these and other findings, schools in China have recently started introducing Go into their curriculum and other countries may follow soon.

“Go is played by millions of people throughout Asia, where there are even multiple TV channels dedicated exclusively to the game,” says Go Game Guru's David Ormerod.

“In contrast, it has a relatively short history in the West, so it's only now starting to become well known, but Learn Go Week gives people the opportunity find Go players in their local communities and learn from them,” Ormerod explains.

“Anyone who wants to learn can visit the Learn Go Week web page and find out what events are planned in their city,” he says.

Meanwhile, a group of Go players in Seoul will attempt to break a Guinness World Record on September 21, with 1004 people playing Go simultaneously.

More information about Learn Go Week events can be found at: https://gogameguru.com/learn-go-week-events/

Learn Go Week is a new global phenomenon, started by Go Game Guru in 2014, in collaboration with national Go organizations around the world, to introduce more people to the board game Go. Go Game Guru is the world's leading source of news and resources related to Go. It sells and distributes Go equipment worldwide and also provides free educational materials to the global Go community.

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