Playing classic board games might be both entertaining and educational. Chess and Go (board game) offer a great possibility to develop one's mind in a fun way. By playing such games you can exercise your thinking power.
However, the objectives and stages aren't the same in these games. Let's have a look at the comparison of chess and Go from a deeper perspective.
In case you don't know anything about Go, check Go Game - the Most Basic Information.
Similarities and differences between classic board games - chess and Go
The recent TV series "The Queen's Gambit" tells a story about a talented young chess player. The series' director did a great job portraying the emotions accompanying important tournament matches and showing how players are analyzing positions in their heads. Both chess and Go are classic board games where the main action is happening in the players' minds. The power of imagination and precise analysis are the key to success in such games.
Goals - Go vs chess
Although both chess and Go are logic board games, they are very different from each other. In chess the goal is specifically to checkmate the opponent's king. Each player is trying to set up a sophisticated trap for the opponent. The game can be compared to one big complex battle.
On the other hand, in Go the goal is to take control over a bigger part of the board. The players need to constantly judge what is more valuable and if they can take a risk of going into a fight. Go can be compared to a constant negotiation between the two players.
Openings - Go vs chess
Another important difference between chess and Go is connected with the opening stage of the game. In chess the game starts from a fixed position of pieces. Over the years people have found the optimal opening variations. An important part of training in chess is learning these openings.
However, the Go matches start from an empty board. At every moment of the opening there are a lot of available good moves. Players start to think creatively already in the first moves of the game.
In Go there also exist some fixed variations (called joseki) which one could learn, but they are limited to a corner of the board. In the opening knowing a lot of joseki is less important than choosing the correct direction of play. The joseki choice always needs to be made according to the strategical plan the player has for the game.
Draws - Go vs chess
There is one more significant difference in both games - draws. It's much easier to draw a match of chess if the draw is your goal for that match, i.e. if a player plays with a very defensive style, it's much more difficult for the opponent to try to win such a match than if both players tried to win.
It might lead to a situation that a leader of a tournament can change their strategy for the final rounds. They do not need to try to win if they can draw.
The "draw strategy" might also lead to a "team work" in individual chess tournaments, i.e. if there are a few players fighting for the top positions and all but one are from the same country.
The players from the same country might choose a strategy that each of them will try to draw matches against the foreigner and try to win matches against themselves. This way, even if the foreigner is a bit stronger than each player from the other country, it might be more difficult for him/her to be placed first in that tournament.
In Go it is not possible to play like this, because the draws do not exist.
Positional judgment - Go vs chess
In chess, to estimate who is winning during a game, you can count the value of the remaining figures.
In Go, counting the score at the end of the game usually takes more time, because the board is bigger and it's necessary to count each surrounded point of territory and each captured stone.
But there are two more problems: almost always during a Go match the borders between the territories of the opponents aren't completely closed and even for the top players usually it's very difficult to estimate in terms of points the value of strength of groups (strong groups normally don't give much territory, but they are extremely helpful if trying to capture opponent's stones). It makes the positional judgment one of the most difficult parts of Go.
Location of the top players - Go vs "The Queen's Gambit" series
The action of "The Queen's Gambit" is happening in the '60s in the United States. Back then the level of chess in the U.S. wasn't on par with Europe. The top players were from the Soviet Union. That country had a well-developed chess organization providing a good environment for new players.
Competing with the Soviet players was a bit difficult for the main character as she couldn't find a strong teacher in her country. Neither could she train online.
In comparison, the top Go players come from Asia. Go is not so popular in Europe and America yet, but it is considered a national game in Korea, China and Japan. In each of these countries there are plenty of special academies, in which the kids are studying only Go. That's why there are so many strong players in the Far East.
Time spent for learning the rules
You can learn the rules of chess pretty quickly. You will find videos explaining them within 10 minutes.
In Go, however, there are no issues with various figures moving differently, stalemates or a possibility to turn a pawn into a queen. It shortens the time to explain the rules.
Have you learned the rules? Great! So, which game is for you - chess, Go or maybe both?