Ancient mind game ‘Go’ becomes popular in Turkey
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey Go Players Association Chairman Eren Kurter said he first learned about the game in 2005 when he was a student at Ankara’s Hacettepe University. He has been teaching it since 2006 and comes together with his students once a week to teach the specifics of this ancient game.
In the game players have to try to widen their own fields with 181 black and 180 white stones, while trying to limit the fields of their rival.
“On a board with 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines, we try to encircle the biggest field with black and white stones. The goal is not to exterminate your rival. The goal is to create your own field. The one who has wider field wins the game,” Kurter said.
“It has been played for some 4,000 years and no game is the same as the next because there are many possibilities on the game board. The number of possibilities on the Go game board is greater than the atomic numbers in the universe. It makes the game exciting. The game is never routine. One game is never the same as the next game,” he added.
“You can learn all the rules in five minutes. Then you can develop more strategies. You can learn it at the age of 5 or 6 and play it until the age of 70. It takes five minutes to learn the game but a lifetime to master. People reflect their character on Go board. It is possible to improve our skills by practicing it and to see our good and bad sides,” Kurter said.
One of the students in the course, fifth grade student Ali Akdağ, 10, said he has been attending for nearly four months.
Hacettepe University student Seçil Yeşilırmak, 20, was the most successful female student at the most recent National Hacettepe University Go Tournament.
She said she started attending the course at the Korean Culture Center as soon as she learned about it. She also pointed to the importance of her interest in Korean culture when she was watching TV series and listening to music when she was a high school student.
“Go seemed very easy at first. But you soon learn that it is not that easy. You need to think and practice all the time,” Yeşilırmak said, adding that Go is more enjoyable and difficult than chess.
“Each stone is equal but each of them gains importance according to the place where you put it. There is no hierarchy in the game,” she said.
Korean Culture Center Director Dong Woo Cho said that Go is useful for children developing their skills.
“Go is very popular in Japan Korea and China. It is very useful for children and it is taught in South Korea at a very early age,” Cho added.
He said they are very pleased with Turks’ interest in the game and they will continue to open courses.
“In my country there are Go cafes everywhere. It is very ideal for children’s brain to develop. This is why children learn it at primary school. We know that chess is popular in Turkey and we see that interest in Go is also increasing in the country,” Cho said.