GO comes to Kent



Mimi Lohanimit, Campus News Reporter

As part of an annual series, Kent welcomed GO Master Kapyong Kwon and Mr. Joseph Choi, Vice Principal of the KIBA International School in Korea, along with a group of KIBA students, onto campus for a two day visit. 

GO is a strategy board game for two players that has origins in China. The goal of the game is to ‘win’ the most territory by using unlimited black or white stones to surround the area on a 19×19 board (371 points). 

Each player takes turns placing a stone on an intersection on the board, starting with the black-stoned player. When one’s stones are surrounded by opposing stones, their stones will be captured and removed from the board. 

The game continues as long as any player wants to make a move. When it ends, the points will be counted by the area that the player ‘owns’ and the opponent’s stones that the player captured. There are more than  a million of patterns that can be created on the GO board, and this excess of choice makes the game infinitesimally more complicated than similar strategy games.

However, GO is not as widespread in the US compared to other games like chess. In order to introduce this complex and fun game to potential players at Kent, Mr. Seughoon Lee, the father of Won Lee ’08 from Korea, donated several GO boards to the school. 

Mr. Lee also invited a master and students from KIBA (Kwonkapyong International Baduk Academy) to give a lesson at Kent each year. Baduk means GO in Korea, and this institution is one of the nation’s premier GO teaching centers, meaning that every year our guests are always extremely talented players. 

Dr. Nadire, who organizes this event, says that they have come here annually for seven years, holding twenty minute sessions in some classrooms and the dining hall for Kent students. 

Participants have learnt about basic rules and a few strategies. After the instruction, they got a chance to play the actual game on a 13×13 board (169 points) with other students. Once they feel comfortable playing GO, they can move to the real board, which has many more spots to place stones. 

All in all, the event was a great chance to learn and get advice from bona fide professionals. Thank you to Mr. Lee and the GO pros for sharing their culture with Kent, and allowing students to explore more about this marvelous game.