Rule 1: Go is played on a board which is a square grid of vertical and horizontal lines. It is played by two players. Each player has a set of circular stones. One player (Black) has black stones, and the other (White) has white ones. Black plays first, and the players take turns. On each turn, a player may place a stone on any empty intersection of 2 lines (a point) on the board (except as noted in rules 3 and 4), or pass.
There are 3 standard sizes for Go boards, although any size could be
used. A standard full-size board has 19 lines in each direction, or 19x19=361
points. The board looks like this:
The nine small black dots are used when a handicap is given, and they
also act as landmarks and give the board a better appearance. But they play
no part in the rules of the game at all. For shorter games, a 13x13 board
is commonly used. Beginners usually play on a 9x9 board, which makes the
game even shorter. Note that the size of the board refers to the number
of lines in each direction, not the number of squares.
Here is a diagram which shows the first few moves of a game being played on a 9x9 board:
This is how games and moves are usually shown. The stones are numbered
to show the order in which they were played. Black first played stone number
1, then White played stone number 2, and so on. Note that the stones are
played on the intersections of the lines, not in the squares formed by the
lines. Stones may also be played on the edge of the board, or even in the
corners. Although either player may pass at any time, it is never a good
idea until the game is over. Passing is only used to end the game, which
is covered later.
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