94-year-old Milton Sack of Fayetteville was playing in his second-ever Go tournament. He’s pictured playing Syracuse resident Peter Day, who drove up from Columbia University.
SYRACUSE To the untrained eye, it looks something like chess or Chinese checkers.
However, people who play the game of Go know it can be more complicated than most other board games, says Richard Moseson, president of the Syracuse Go Club.
“It’s a very deep game, easy to learn how to play, but very hard to get good at,” he said.
Manlius Pebble Hill School was home to game Saturday as the Syracuse Go Club held its fifth annual “Salt City Go” tournament. The tournament had 27 participants this year and offered cash prizes to the top three placing finishers.
Jared Beck, of Ithaca, won the A division, with SUNY Upstate student Chang Kim finishing in second place. Syracuse resident Peter Wynn won the B division with a 4-0 record, and Eric Hookway, also of Syracuse, won the C division, also with a record of 4-0.
The Syracuse Go Club has been meeting since 2003 and has held this tournament since 2007, Moseson said.
Go is a board game played by two people who take turns placing black or white stones on the playing board in an attempt to surround the opponent’s territory. The game is immensely popular in China and other countries of Asia and is played by more people worldwide than chess, according to the American Go Association’s website.
In the United States, Go is relatively unknown.
Leslie Lamphere, of Groton, first heard about the game by reading “Hikaru No Go,” a manga comic book series in which characters play the game, and then learned to play online before joining the Syracuse club. The basic rules of the game are easy to learn, but learning advanced strategies and playing at an advanced level takes a lot more time, Lamphere said.
“Most people learn to play chess or games like that when they are young and it’s easier to learn and improve. With Go, a lot of us learned when we were adults, which can be hard,” she said.