In 1975 when the Auckland Go Society was formed an attempt was made by Rob Talbot to write down the rules of go without recourse to precedents. At the same time Ray Tomes discovered (invented) the Chinese method of counting and started using it in his own games. Some discussion ensued about the problem of life/death in counting led by Graeme Parmenter's "A plea for a fair trial for the bent four". Reference to some articles in Go World helped and in 1978 we agreed to adopt the Chinese rules of go as written in James Davies' article. Later these were decided to be not rigorous enough and the rules were rewritten using recursive definitions.
Some dissatisfaction was felt with the counting as some people preferred to use Japanese style counting. Also there is a difference in the score in some circumstances. There was an attempt to get around this by using Japanese style counting with pass stones for a year in 1986. This met with even more dissatisfaction and so the previous (chinese style) rules were restored and have been used until the present.
A komi of 5.5 was in use in 1985 and New Zealand tournaments consistently gave a higher percentage of games won by black. When we changed to Chinese style rules this increased as black gets a slight advantage over Japanese-style rules. The komi was increased to 6 in 1986. Later the komi was increased again to 7. Besides trying to even out the advantage of black playing first it was felt that perfect play should give a draw. Also we felt that some draws in tournaments were a good thing for the conduct of the tournament (requiring fewer tiebreaks). Probably a komi of 9 would be nearer the correct value but we are still a little conservative.
| The first record of people playing go in New Zealand is a series of articles published in a Dunedin Newspaper in 1902. Some chess players discovered Korschelt's book, translated it, made their own go equipment using marbles and boards with depressions, and taught themselves to play. the articles in the nespaper ran for more than a year but after that no record exists. Alas they had no lasting influence on the game here.
In the 60's and 70's there were groups of people playing among themselves. A club met at the University of Auckland from 1965 to 1968 and they arranged for the manufacture (and sale in shops) of go sets with square coloured stones. It required the arrival of Rob Talbot from England to bring a significant number of people together and to form the Auckland Go Society in 1975. the Auckland Go Society organised tournaments and arranged for the importation of plastic stones from Japan. There were two clubs in Auckland at this time.
A club was formed in Wellington in 1976 and a group of professional players led by Haruhiko Shirae visited the country. At the New Zealand Go Congress held in August that year it was decided to rename the Society to the New Zealand Go Society to include groups from the whole country.
The Otago University Go Club formed in 1977 with a small group of dedicated players. The second New Zealand Go Congress was held in Wellington. The first secondary schools go congress was also held in that year with 3 Auckland schools and one from Hamilton participating.
In 1978 the Dunedin Go Club formed with 10 regular players. A club was formed in Palmerston North and a match was played against the Wellington Go Club. A club was formed in Christchurch. The New Zealand Go Society adopted the Chinese rules of Go.
In 1979 New Zealand was represented at the first World Amateur Go Championships in Tokyo. Our representative, Graeme Parmenter, was a bit outclassed losing his first game in the knockout tournament. The first moves towards a national rating system were taking with the announcement of Ray Tomes' handicapping system. The first Go Fest was held in Christchurch. A Go Fest is a much less structured gathering of go players than a tournament.
In 1980 Graeme Parmenter was the first New Zealand Go Player to be promoted to 4 dan. No promotions have since been made to any higher rank.
In 5 years the New Zealand Go Society developed from a few isolated kyu strength go players to an organisation with 5 clubs, a regular supply of stones and books from Japan. The strongest New Zealand rank increased 1 stone per year during that time. The New Zealand Go Congress circulated around the country with strong attendance from outside the host city. This was an exciting time to be involved in a growing game.
The first regular go column ever to appear in a newspaper, anywhere in the world, was published in the Otago Witness, from February 1902 until March 1903! This startling discovery was made recently by Stephen Cardno, when he approached the Dunedin Public Library for information on go. The go column was a translation of the articles by O. Korschelt, published originally in a German magazine. The Otago Witness appeared every week, and beginning on February 5, 1902, a column on go was published alongside chess and draughts columns. The articles were initially translated by Mr John Mouat, chess editor of the Otago Witness, but the task seems to have been taken over by two players in the local chess club, Messers O. Balk and D. Forsyth. Of course, we can't verify that this was the earliest regular newspaper go column, but it is not an unreasonable claim, given that Japanese go was not a widely popular game at this time, and so may not have appeared in regular columns for readers. We make the claim inviting contradiction, and until a counter-example is produced, a New Zealand newspaper has the distinction of being the first in the world to run a regular go column.
Arthur Smith published a book in 1908 called 'The Game of Go', in which he states of Korschelt's articles on go "his work has not been translated". As we have shown, Mr Smith's statement was six years out of date, and we are pleased to be able to set the record straight. When Samuel King and George Leckie published their English translation of Korschelt in 1963 (The Theory and Practice of Go), they also appear to have been unaware that they had been preceded 60 years earlier by some games enthusiasts in the South Pacific!
It is not surprising that these later translators of Korschelt should have been unware of the Otago Witness go columns. Dunedin in 1902, although the centre of New Zealand commerce, was barely 50 years old as a city and only 40 years past the begining of the gold rush which gave it the wealth to raise a Victorian city in solid stone, the rival any in the Empire. It shows the innate appeal of the game that it should have made an appearance in the newpaper of a town which only a generation earlier could reasonably have been called a Gold-Rush town.
In one column the editor advises readers how they may construct a set, and suggests the use of marbles on a board which has depressions at each intersection to prevent the marbles from migrating! Perhaps somewhere in Dunedin, in a dusty attic, lies the earliest New Zealand Go set. Given the puns modern go players in New Zealand are subject to, imagine what these pioneers must have suffered. "Hey Forsyth! Any of you go players lost your marbles?!".
Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent.
The game was invented in ancient China more than 2,500 years ago, and is thus the oldest board game continuously played today. It was considered one of the four essential arts of the cultured aristocratic Chinese scholar caste in antiquity. The earliest written reference to the game is generally recognized as the historical annal Zuo Zhuan (c. 4th century BCE). The modern game of Go as we know it was formalized in Japan in the 15th century CE.
Despite its relatively simple rules, Go is very complex, even more so than chess, and possesses more possibilities than the total number of atoms in the visible universe. Compared to chess, Go has both a larger board with more scope for play and longer games, and, on average, many more alternatives to consider per move.
The playing pieces are called stones. One player uses the white stones and the other, black. The players take turns placing the stones on the vacant intersections (named "points") of a board with a 19×19 grid of lines. Beginners often play on smaller 9×9 and 13×13 boards, and archaeological evidence shows that the game was once played on a 17×17 grid. However, boards with a 19×19 grid had become standard by the time the game had reached what was then the Imperial Chinese Tributary State of Korea in the 5th century CE and later to what was then the Imperial Chinese Tributary State of Japan in the 7th century CE.
The objective of go—as the translation of its name implies—is to fully surround a larger total area of the board than the opponent.
Once placed on the board, stones may not be moved, but stones are removed from the board when "captured". Capture happens when a stone or group of stones is surrounded by opposing stones on all orthogonally-adjacent points. The game proceeds until neither player wishes to make another move; the game has no set ending conditions beyond this. When a game concludes, the territory is counted along with captured stones and komi (points added to the score of the player with the white stones as compensation for playing second) to determine the winner. Games may also be terminated by resignation.
As of mid-2008, there were well over 40 million Go players worldwide, the overwhelming majority of them living in East Asia. As of December 2015, the International Go Federation has a total of 75 member countries and four Association Membership organizations in multiple countries.
Go. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from
The New Zealand Go Society:
Key members of the NZGS:
Teru Yanagashi and Graeme Parmenter will also be invited to be part of the committee so they are aware of Go society business.
The NZGS committee has regular meetings at 8:30 pm on the first Thursday of each month.