We-ch’i or I-Go

Origins of the Game of Go.

Originating in China, possibly as early as 2000 BC, the game of We-ch’i is more commonly known by its Japanese name of I-Go. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) books dedicated to the subject were published and mentions were made in writings around 625 BC. The game eventually spread to Korea where it is known as Pa-tok and then went on to Japan where it became a very popular court game around the sixth century AD. Samurai warriors embraced the game and by the 13th century they carried I-Go with them to the battlefields.

Go has spread slowly to the West and began to become popular in the German and Austro-Hungarian empires in the late 19th century where it was described as “intellectually as exhilarating as Chess, and, in its methods very superior to Draughts”.

There are several theories about the origin of the game ranging from Emperor Yao having it designed to engross his son to warlords and generals using stones to locate positions.

Compulsory in Japanese Military Academies.

Japanese military academies made learning to play Go compulsory during the 16th century and that practice continued until the end of the shogun. Go, today is still played regularly by approximately 27 million people, mostly in East Asia.

Go Equipment.

Go is played with 2 players, 360 ( 180 white and 181 black) stones and a board with a grid with 19 horizontal lines and 19 vertical lines. Originally the stones were rounds of dense white shell and black slate. Shell and slate stones are still available today and can cost up to $8,000 for a set.

Boards were about 12 1/2 feet square with feet so that players could sit comfortably cross legged on the floor. Boards were hollowed out on the underside so that the stones made a strong click. A board carved from rock dating from the Han Dynasty is the oldest surviving piece of Go equipment.

The best boards are made of Miyazaki kaya and can cost more than $20,000.

You can play Go today with either very expensive, moderate or economical equipment.

Play Chess On Your Kindle.

February 23, 2011 · No Comments.

Chess – A Classic Game on Kindle.

Have you tried playing chess on your Kindle yet? I sincerely recommend it. Chess (A Classic Game for Kindle) by Oak Systems Leisure Software can now be downloaded onto your Kindle for only $2.99. Wireless needs to be turned on in order load the game but not necessary for playing. You can choose to play with a friend or against the Kindle selecting a number of options:

Level of Play – 1 to 10 with 10 being the most advanced Color of chess pieces – select black or white Time – Set a time limit or choose not to have a time restriction Name – You can change player name.

A detailed set of easy to understand instructions is included as well as a section on How to Play Chess.

Some very nice features are:

Graphics are clear. A list of the last 4 moves is on the bottom of the board. Pieces taken off the board are on a box at the bottom of the board. Kindle lets you know when a piece is in check. Kindle even lets you take back a move.

Bottom line—this is a great buy. If you play chess, have a Kindle and can afford $2.99 then this is definitely the app for you.

Eco-Friendly Board Games for Fun and Education.

February 9, 2011 · No Comments.

Wildlife Conservation Collection.

Terra Toys presents the Wildlife Conservation Collection, an eco-friendly assortment of classic board games and puzzles made from sustainable FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified materials. Approximately 5% from all sales are donated to the World Wildlife Fund to aid their global conservation efforts.

Fun for all the Family.

These beautifully designed games depict endangered habitats and species. Among the games are Congo Basin Chess, Amazon Birds Backgammon, Cheetah Dominoes, Elephant and Tigers Checkers, Borneo & Sumatra Ludo, Salamanders & Ladders, Amur Chinese Checkers, Turtle Tic-tac-toe, Panda Tumbling Tower, Madagascar 4-in a row and Crane Pick-up sticks. All of the boards and each of the pieces are beautifully illustrated and will delight any child. While these games are recommended for children from 4 to 12 years old, these are the perfect games for all the family to enjoy together during quiet evenings at home.

Each game presents a new challenge involving strategy and teamwork and transports the players to a new and endangered habitat that is under threat and action is need to protect it. Who will be able to save the giant panda, the Siberian Crane, the Sumatran tigers or any other fascinating animal in danger of disappearing? Children will have fun learning about these animals, their habitats, conservation and social responsibility.

From Cardboard to Cyberspace.

January 27, 2011 · No Comments.

Is a Board Game Still a Board Game?

Classic board games have gone hi-tech. How about the nomenclature? Do we still call then “board games” IGames for the iPhone and the iPad? Mini board games? Electronic board games? Personal board games? What ever we call them, our classic board games that we have played with from childhood have reappeared in new 21st century garb. They’re fun and they’re portable. They give you something to do beside chewing your finger nails while stagnating in long queues at theaters, clubs, restaurants, airports, etc. Your iGames entertain you during boring meetings and lectures. Board games have migrated to PC’s, smart phones and to all the mini electronics that nudge each other to be the “fairest in the land”.

From Commodore 64 to NES.

Chess games, Sargon and Battle Chess, for the PC have been around since the early days of the microcomputer (ancestor of the PC). Both games have been rewritten for the electronic media and can be downloaded here: Sargon 5 – Battle Chess. You can play against another person or against the computer. Battle Chess has been immensely popular with its violent 3D animation and blood curdling sounds converting the chess board into a virtual bloody battlefield. Battle Chess was originally played on the Commodore 64 but now has migrated to Nintendo (NES).

Early computer chess programs designed for mainframes could usually be won by a human chess player. As computers grew smaller and faster they also became smarter and can now defeat even the strongest chess players. Affordable electronic chess games, made by many companies such as Saitek, Mephisto, Excabibur, Fidelity and others, come in models for strong chess players and tutorials for the beginner. These chess computers are small enough to carry in a purse or pocket and are the ideal game for both travel and home.

Saitek Expert Electronic Travel Chess Computer.

Care and Feeding of Board Games.

January 11, 2011 · No Comments.

Games Are For Playing.

Are you a board game maven? Have you collected a load of games over the years? There are two main kinds of games collectors.

Which kind are you? Do your games jump out at you from the top shelve of your hall closet where you have stuffed them? Do your old games have to make room for the new as you shove them on the shelf? Or are the lucky guy (or gal) who has a game closet or a game room with each box carefully and lovingly placed in its special spot? Games are like your pet dog who loves to be taken out and played with. This is healthy for both you and Fido. Same goes for your games. Don’t leave them to rot and mold in your closet. Take them out, dust them off and invite your friends and neighbors over for a game. This is a great way to get to know your neighbors and make new friends. And your games will be much happier and you will have fun.

Board games come in all sorts of containers from cardboard cylinders and flat boxes, leather cases and exquisite presentation boxes. Most of your games probably live in cardboard boxes that were carefully put stowed away on a shelf or in a drawer. After time the boxes begin to show wear and their minor battle scars are healed with scotch tape while the more serious damaged corners begin to sport the more durable masking tape. Games are happiest when housed in a solid container with all its parts intact and not leaking out. Think about it. How would you feel? You take care of your games and they will return the favor by giving you many hours of pleasure. The following YouTube video presents a solution for those games (especially childrens’ games) with disintegrating cardboard boxes.

Classic Board Games – Strategy Board Games for Health and Happiness.

December 16, 2010 · No Comments.

Strategy Board Games for Health and Happiness.

Are you one of the one billion persons who have played Monopoly? If so you know how much fun it is to have oodles of cash and the power to buy railroads, exclusive properties and to get out of jail free. Some players even cheat by robbing the bank and adding to their finances when no one is looking. (No names will be mentioned here but you know who you are.) You can even cheat on Monopoly for IPad. So while board games have become modernized, cheaters remain the same — vintage or not. Strategy board games are fun for young and old, cheaters and honest players and they come with many other benefits as well.

Classic Board Games are not only fun but they have the added advantage of being good for mental health, stimulating childrens’ thinking skills and helping to slow down memory loss in the elderly. Young and old, family and friends can all play classic board games together. It’s one way that the generations can communicate with each on a equal footing. Children learn to think logically and have fun doing it no matter if they win or lose. Family game nights can bring members closer together and have a great time together while saving loads of money. Going out on the town these days can be a costly affair while staying home for a well planned game night costs little and gains much.

Origins of Chess.

December 8, 2010 · No Comments.

From India about 600 AD.

Chess is believed to be how ancient kings amused themselves when they did not have any current war to wage. After all, that is what a king was supposed to do so they battled it out on the chessboard until they could get the next good war going. The first chess games or games similar to chess probably originated in Northern India about 600 AD and later traveled to Europe by way of China and Persia. The early game was based on Indian armies and was called Chaturanga or Chess of the Two Kingdoms. There were no queens in this game — only kings. Original chess pieces represented, elephants, chariots, cavalry and foot soldiers and lead by the king and his advisers, the mantri. Earliest chess moves may have been determined by a throw of the dice and most likely were discontinued because dice represented gambling which was against the Hindu religion.

Eventually the game went through many changes and arrived in Europe where it underwent even more changes until the end of the 15th century. The rajah became the king, the mantri the queen, foot soldiers the pawns, the chariots the rooks, the elephants the bishops, and the cavalry the knights. Chess rules are universal and have remained the same over the last 5 or so centuries.

Each side of a chess game consists of 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights and 8 pawns. Standard chess sets for tournament play is the Staunton chess set shown below.

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