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RULES OF PLAY
The players play alternately, and the weaker player has the black stones and plays first, unless a handicap has been given, in which case the player using the white stones has the first move. (In the olden times this was just reversed.) They place the stones on the vacant points of intersection on the board, or "Me," and they may place them wherever they please, with the single exception of the case called "Ko," which will be hereafter explained. When the stones are once played they are never moved again.
The object of the game of Go is to secure territory. Just as the object of the game of Chess is not to capture pieces, but to checkmate the adverse King, so in Go the ultimate object is not to capture the adversary's stones, but to so arrange matters that at the end of the game a player's stones will surround as much vacant space as possible. At the end of the game, however, before the amount of vacant space is calculated, the stones that have been taken are used to fill up the vacant spaces claimed by the adversary; that is to say, the captured black stones are used to fill up the spaces surrounded by the player having the white pieces, and vice versa, and the player who has the greatest amount of territory after the captured stones are used in this way, is the winner of the game. However, if the players, fearing each other, merely fence in parts of the board without regard to each other's play, a most uninteresting game results, and the Japanese call this by the contemptuous epithet "Ji dori go," or "ground taking Go." I have noticed that beginners in this country sometimes start to play in this way, and it is one of the many ways by which the play of a mere novice may be recognized. The best games arise when the players in their efforts to secure territory attack each other's stones or groups of stones, and we therefore must know how a stone can be taken.
A stone is taken when it is surrounded on four opposite sides as shown in Plate 2, Diagram 1. When it is taken it is removed from the board. It is not necessary that a stone should also be surrounded diagonally, which would make eight stones necessary in order to take one; neither do four stones placed on the adjacent diagonal intersections cause a stone to be taken: they do not directly attack the stone in the center at all. Plate 2, Diagram IV, shows this situation.
A stone which is placed on the edge of the board may be surrounded and captured by three stones, as shown in Plate 2, Diagram n, and if a stone is placed in the extreme corner of the board, it may be surrounded and taken by two stones, as shown in Plate 2, Diagram m.
In actual practice it seldom or never happens that a stone or group of stones is surrounded by the minimum number requisite under the rule, for in that case the player whose stones were threatened could generally manage to break through his adversary's line. It is almost always necessary to add helping stones to those that are strictly necessary in completing the capture. Plate 2, Diagram v, shows four stones which are surrounded with the minimum number of stones. Plate 2, Diagram VI, shows the same group with a couple of helping stones added, which would probably be found necessary in actual play.
It follows from this rule that stones which are on the same line parallel with the edges of the board are connected, and support each other, Plate 2, Diagram VII, while stones which are on the same diagonal line are not connected, and do not support each other, Plate 2, Diagram vm. In order to surround stones which are on the same line, and therefore connected, it is necessary to surround them all in order to take them, while stones which are arranged on a diagonal line, and therefore unconnected, may be taken one at a time. On Plate 2, Diagram m, if there were a stone placed at S 18, it would not be connected with the stone in the corner, and would not help it in any way. On the other hand, as has been said, it is not necessary to place a white stone on that point in order to complete the capture of the stone in the corner.
In order to capture a group or chain of stones containing vacant space, it must be completely surrounded inside and out; for instance, the black group shown on Plate 2, Diagram IX, while it has no hope of life if it is White's play is nevertheless not completely surrounded. In order to surround it, it is necessary to play on the three vacant intersections at M 11, N II, and O 11. The same group of stones is shown in Diagram x completely surrounded. (It may be said in passing that White must play at N 11 first or the black stones can defend themselves; we shall understand this better in a moment.)
In practice it often happens that a stone or group of