Home > Go..educational


July 11th, 2007 at 09:35 pm

Go is a very old game that my father taught me when I was very young. I never mastered even the simplest level, but I did recall fun times with my father.

Now my dad is a Grandpa, and he is trying to teach the new generation better. GMC received a set of stones and board and book last month and promptly learned to beat his momma. My skills have not improved much over the years.

So far I seem to hold my own if he has no handicap, but something about being 5 leads him to think he aught to have one.

Grandpa directed us to

Text is IGoWin and Link is
IGoWin a free download mini game of Go. So long as I have a 5 stone handicap I can win, once I start losing that the computer soundly thrashes me (GMC too, so it isn't just my pathetic skills)

Though the computer game is nice (and smarter than I) the board and stones are a bit more fun, something about having cool black and white 'stones' to shuffle thru your fingers as you await your next turn beats watching a computer beep at you any day.

JC and UE quickly discovered the fun and now UE knows the colors black and white and sorts beautifully. JC plays a simple 'capture the stone game' which she still has never won against me (though she beat her big bro once)

So what is so educational about taking turns plunking stones on a board?

- Keeping score, score is the total of empty area surrounded, which is either a counting skill, or a multiplying skill (if you have a rectangle of 3 points high by 4 across you get 12 points, 3*12) or adding (if you have an irregular shape, 9 from a square plus 3 odd balls)

Scoring also involves simple geometry the end game you can rearrange a messy looking territory into a nice neat rectangle for counting so long as you keep the area the same.

Not to mention negative numbers. Each stone of your own that gets captured is used to fill in your final territory, making it essentially a negative point. ( 'dead stones' are also negative points)

- Logic, and thinking ahead, and all that other stuff, the same reasons why people like to teach kids chess. Only go can be taught in under 5 minutes, no need to remember a bunch of different piece rules. (not that it is easier to master, just quicker to know the rules of). Not to mention a go board and set of stones can take up less space.

- Sportsmanship...there isn't much luck involved, a good player will win over a less experienced player every time. Bit frustrating if you are used to being 'let win' but good for you. Handicaps are the 'leveler' a good player gives free spots on the board to the weaker player before the start of the game. Which brings up a hidden point of knowing your own weaknesses...and not letting them stop you.

A Go board and stones have many other uses besides playing Go.

- Geometry is fun to explore by letting a kid make shapes on the board with several stones...How many different shapes can you make with 20 stones? Or patterns, black white black white is basic, how about BL,WH, BL,BL,WH,WH, BL,BL,...?

- Division and multiplication, addition and subtraction with stones is simple to see on the grid board. (of course area, you don't have to play a game to practice area)

- If your bowls are opaque (as in you can't see thru them) you can practice the principle of one more/one less. Show your child 5 and count them. place 5 in/under the bowl, then remove one, and ask how many are left. for a younger child they will most likely want to count (use your hand if your bowls are clear) Continue removing one down to zero, then work you way back up.

- Or use the stones to make letters, with or without the grid (a grid will help children recognize that letters need uniform proportion)

- Binary/ use the two colors and try to write the date with stones (eg today is the bl,bl,bl/bl,wh,bl,bl), using the stones instead of 1's and 0's makes the whole number for number a bit less confusing (just keep the system constant, black is always 1 for example) Or you could write your age, or years of scouting, schooling, or favorite number.

5 Responses to “Go..educational”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    Go is a very popular game in Asia, and I remember my father having a fairly decent Go set.

    Chinese chess is great too. And 5-in-a-row.

  2. princessperky Says:

    I don't think I ever played Chinese chess, played Chinese checkers, and I want to get a set to teach the kids.

  3. Broken Arrow Says:

    Hmm. Chinese chess is similar in concept to regular chess, except they're round tiles with chinese characters on it. It's a good thinking game once you get the hang of it, like regular chess. The Japanese have their own version called Shogi, but I've never played it.

    Text is Here's a picture of a typical Chinese chess set and Link is
    Here's a picture of a typical Chinese chess set.

  4. nanamom Says:

    Glad to hear "building fences" is alive and well still. Another cool thing about go is timing it, just like chess (you use the same clock) you can set a time for a game to be played (tournaments do that)

  5. princessperky Says:

    cool picture looks neat.

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