The board game played in China, Korea and Japan called ‘go’ is certainly the oldest board game in the world. It was mentioned in Chinese literature 3,000 years ago.
The game is one of territorial conquest played by two people on a board with 361 squares. The pieces are usually black and white stones. Stones can be placed anywhere by alternating players. The object is to encircle an empty space with entirely one color of stones. The winner has the most enclosed space.
One year when I was in Japan I wished to learn how to play Go. So I checked with friends about finding a teacher. I found one in Kobe, an ancient coastal trading city.
I went to the teacher’s home and he set out the board and showed me a few ideal early moves.
Then we played.
When we were finished putting all our stones on the board, he proceeded to count all the empty squares for each side. At which point it was clear to him and generally observed by me, that I had won.
The teacher became very disturbed. We would call him angry, except that the Japanese don’t get angry.
I think he thought I was a shill who was just trying to get a match with him and show off.
Actually it was my first game of Go. And my last.