Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Wait, what is Go? Should I try it out?"

Go might appear daunting at first.  To newcomers it can seem like it would take a lot of effort just to master the basics of the game.  It's estimated that there are 10^174 number of possible board configurations; a staggering number.  Go has a few simple rules, so it is easy to learn how to play, and plus, there are a great many reasons to pick it up as a hobby.  MRI scans have revealed that playing Go stimulates both the left and right sides of the brain, unlike chess which simply stimulates one side.  The left side is associated with processing logic and reason, while the right side of the brain is linked to abstract and visual reasoning.  Go works out both parts of your brain, as you will need to have excellent visual reasoning skill coupled with intuitive reasoning.  Playing Go might also help guard against Alzheimer's disease and dementia, as people who play strategy games regularly have a lower occurrence of these illnesses. 

Go is a wonderful hobby for children to develop their intellect and gain discipline.  Dr. Akira Tano, a Japanese educational researcher, once said that playing Go was "the best way for children to develop their innate intellectual abilities."  Children who play Go tend to do better in the sciences and math.  In Japan, studies have shown that children who play Go have better powers of concentration and excel in a variety of subjects, possibly attributable to the fact that Go uses many different parts of the brain.  Besides all this, though, Go is a rewarding activity for children and good clean fun.  Go is being integrated into school systems across the U.S. in the form of after school clubs and classes.  What about adults?  Go strategy is applicable in many situations and there have been several books written about how the tactics you learn in the game apply to the board room.  Even if you are not looking to climb to the top of the business world, Go is great to make new acquaintances and tap into a diverse world of people from all over the world.  There are players in almost every country, so that you'll be able to find a Go club that speaks your language!