How to Teach Go | Books about Go

The 9x9 Go Board

[Image: 9x9 Go board] A 9x9 Go board has 9 horizontal lines and 9 vertical lines, including the edges, or borders. You can play a stone anywhere that the lines touch, so there are 81 places to play on a 9x9 board.

It is strongly recommended that Go be taught on a 9x9 board and that beginners play several dozen games, at least, on a 9x9 board before moving on to a larger board. (The "standard" Go board is 19x19; games are also played on 13x13.)

The reason for this is that beginners will grasp the fundamentals of the game much faster if they play many games quickly. A full game played on the 9x9 board can easily be finished in 20 minutes or less. The capturing game takes about 5 minutes. (Children as young as 4 or 5 can learn to play.)

There are many things to learn about how the stones "operate," how they are captured and how they can survive. This knowledge is the foundation for the full game of Go. The better your foundation, the more potential you will have to become a strong Go player. So don't be in a hurry to move to the 19x19 board!

Make Your Own Board

You can easily make a 9x9 board yourself by drawing with a ruler and a black marker on stiff paper or cardboard. You can make it 8 inches by 8 inches, or 20 cm by 20 cm. If you want more accurate proportions, it should be about 7 inches (18 cm) wide and 7.5 inches (19 cm) high. The vertical lines should be 7/8 inch (2.25 cm) apart. The horizontal lines should be 15/16 inch (2.4 cm) apart.

You can use black and white buttons to play, or even pennies and nickels (U.S. and Canada). One player gets 40 black stones and the other player gets 40 white stones. (Black always goes first.) If you want to know more, see the quick tips page.

If you want to buy a Go set, see the American Go Association's list of distributors. You can even order sets online.


How to Teach GO by Mindy McAdams.

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