The History of Go: From Ancient China to Modern Times

Are you ready to dive into the fascinating world of Go? This ancient board game has been played for over 2,500 years and has captivated players from all over the world. In this article, we'll take a journey through the history of Go, from its origins in China to its modern-day popularity.

Origins in China

Go, also known as Weiqi in China, is believed to have originated in China during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE). The game was initially played on a board with 17x17 intersections, but later evolved to the standard 19x19 board that is used today.

Go was initially used as a tool for military strategy, with generals using the game to train their troops in strategic thinking and planning. However, it soon became a popular pastime among the Chinese elite, with the game being played in the imperial court and among scholars.

Spread to Japan and Korea

Go spread to Japan in the 7th century CE, where it became known as Igo. The game was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks who had traveled to China to study. The Japanese quickly fell in love with the game and it became a popular pastime among the samurai class.

In Korea, Go was introduced in the 5th century CE and became known as Baduk. The game was initially played on a 17x17 board, but later evolved to the standard 19x19 board.

Go in the West

Go was first introduced to the West in the late 19th century, when Westerners began traveling to Japan and Korea. However, the game did not gain widespread popularity until the 20th century.

In the 1950s, Go was introduced to the United States by a group of Japanese Go players who had immigrated to the country. The game slowly gained popularity among American players, with the American Go Association being founded in 1935.

Modern-Day Popularity

Today, Go is played by millions of people around the world. The game has gained a large following in Asia, with professional players in China, Japan, and Korea earning large salaries and competing in international tournaments.

In the West, Go has gained a dedicated following among enthusiasts who appreciate the game's complexity and strategic depth. The game has also gained popularity among computer scientists, who have developed powerful AI programs that can play Go at a professional level.


The history of Go is a fascinating journey through time, from its origins in ancient China to its modern-day popularity around the world. This ancient board game has captivated players for over 2,500 years and shows no signs of slowing down. Whether you're a seasoned player or a beginner, there's always something new to discover in the world of Go. So why not give it a try and see what all the fuss is about?

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