It is said Go was first played by a Chinese emperor who wanted to teach his son tactics, strategy and concentration. In ancient China, Go was a required course for the intellectuals as one of the Four Arts, along with music, painting, and poetry. In 7 BC it was taken to Japan, where Go’s popularity kept alive as the passion for it spread to all levels of society. By the 18th century Go had attained a status equal to that of the famed tea ceremony. To the current, Go campaign has been spread all over the world. China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea are most prosperous; Western countries tend to become increasingly popular; And South-East Asia is developing
The game is played by two players who alternately place black and white stones (playing pieces, now usually made of glass or plastic) on the vacant intersections of a grid of 19×19 lines. The black stone player always goes first. Both players strike the stones of his opponent by surrounding these with his own stones to control a larger portion of the board. You cannot move a stone once it is placed except that it is captured, the result of being completely surrounded by stones of the opposing color. If a group of stones has two or more separate interior areas (called "eyes"), it will never be captured. Otherwise if only a single eye, they are captured and the dead stones are removed from play. Placing stones close together helps them support each other and avoid capture, placing stones far apart creates influence across more of the board. Part of the strategic difficulty of the game stems from finding a balance between such conflicting interests.
It has been claimed that Go is the most complex game in the world due to the huge number of possibilities. Anticipating the next four moves of each possible play (two of its own and two of its opponent’s), it would have to consider more than 320 billion (3.2*10^11) possible combinations. In fact, numerical estimates show that the number of possible games of Go far exceeds the number of atoms in the known universe. With the existing technology, it is still a game that computers cannot beat us at.
Although basically an abstract strategy game, Go has widely been said to be a symbolic representative of war, colonization, settling a frontier, business contest, debating or a lively discussion, and probably many other concrete situations. It is really a game not difficult to learn, however it takes a lifetime to master.