Thursday, March 23, 2006

What's that game you play? Sudoku?

Cartoon courtesy of KoFight Club


"What's that game you play? Sudoku?"
"No, it's Go."
"Well, you did say it was some Asian game and that it uses a grid. Sudoku was invented in Japan, you know."
"No. Magic Squares were, technically, invented by the Arabs centuries ago in a form know as wafq. The current form you play was invented by Dell in New York."

That conversation took place with a coworker at my office.

When my brother came to have me prepare his taxes, he referred to my goban as a "Sudoku board".

Go is so unknown outside of East Asia that many of us have had a difficult time explaining the game. I once chatted with a fellow who doesn't even risk bringing it up in light conversation unless the other person is Chinese, Japanese or Korean. Such is the obscurity that some of us humorously endure.

I've decided to explore your frustrations with my Spring 2006 Poll which is now posted to the right. Given the variety of experiences most people have, multiple responses are allowed for this poll and a results table is shown below it.

I've listed the more common games that people confuse Go with, but you may have your own bizarre story to share in the comments section.

Results of the Winter 2005 poll

The Winter 2005 Poll asked if you were planning on buying a goban in 2006. Here's a tabulation of your responses.

My thanks to everyone who responded. Roughly 63% of you are in the market for a new goban this year and it's likely that some of you have already acquired one. Another 23% don't need one while the remaining 14% have too many boards.

This chart helps show the breakout of the responses.

More Go videos on Google

Petronius found three teaching videos on Google Video (along with the video montage created by the Warriors Go Academy). You can follow the link to try them out.


At 2:41 PM, March 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there. I don't really know how I found your blog, but I thought I'd let you know about my organization, Club Go at Hampshire College (Amherst, MA). We have weekly meetings and lessons and also produce a weekly comic, which we post in all of the Hampshire dormitories. You can see our past comics here and feel free to distribute or use them however you like. Great blog!


At 2:43 PM, March 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah, I just figured it out. I found your blog through your recent post on the "go" LiveJournal Group. My LJ id is Noggie.


At 2:53 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello Drew! A number of readers are in your area so they'll be happy to find another Go club.

Best Regards,
- ChiyoDad

At 4:39 AM, March 24, 2006, Blogger JMP said...

I was at club once when we were still playing at a Barnes and Noble when someone walked up and asked what game we were playing and I said "go". He looked at me strangely and said "what?". I repeated "go" a little more clearly and he said "OK" and started walking away looking a bit offended. Then I realized that he thought I was telling him to go away! So then I called out "the name of the game is Go" and it clicked in his head. He didn't return though.

At 6:43 AM, March 24, 2006, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello JMP! The misunderstanding was unfortunate but I must say the incident was rather funny!

It should serve as a precaution to other Go players who encounter enquiring minds.

Best Regards,
- ChiyoDad

At 3:24 PM, March 24, 2006, Anonymous Leonard Dragomir said...

... there are more videos on YouTube:

"Japanese game of GO"
- slideshow, another personal production :-)


"Hikaru no GO - Boom in Japan"
- BBC news story
by Randy Schmidt.

Let me know how you like them.

At 6:25 PM, March 24, 2006, Anonymous Iceman said...

Hilarious! I guess I haven’t paid too much attention to what people have called the game. I’ll start playing in public (even if against myself) and see what kind of response I get. I remember the frustration at university when I asked every Japanese student I could find if they played. They would light up at having found an American player. Only after we would try to set up a meeting to play did it became clear that they thought I was talking about golf. : p “Old man’s game!” was the response when I drew a grid and circles. After I asked tens of individuals with the same response, I gave up.

Excellent videos Leonard! Thanks. JMP! Cool 19x19. I was wondering how to make a full-sized. Thanks.

At 3:15 AM, March 25, 2006, Anonymous XCMeijin said...

Since i'm chinese, i usually start by answering "Wei qi" with proper mandarin pronounciation (I'm actually Honk Kong, cantonese; mandarin not my thing). After they ask for a translation, i say "it means literally 'surrounging chess' but the more common name is 'Go', which is based on the japanese name for it".

Then i offer then a game and proceed to kick their posteriors. :D


At 12:28 PM, March 25, 2006, Blogger Let's Go said...

In my Go club it's common that older ladies walk on by and tell us how pretty these tiny little stones are -_-'.

And one time I was reading a Tesuji-Book at school (don't get this wrong, i had a coffee-break ^^) I was asked why I read a chess book -_-'

It is actually quite troublesome. And after you explain them that Go is a game that already exists for thousands of years they mostly say "oh" and and go away -_-


At 2:52 AM, April 12, 2006, Blogger russ said...

Disassemblance has a comic strip in the same spirit. :)

At 5:07 PM, April 30, 2007, Blogger Dustin said...

I read books at school all the time, no one has ever said anything yet. But three years ago in 5th grade I would play with one of my friends at school, being how I was then if anyone asked I just replied "A game".


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