About the symbol

Here are the names for Go and they way they write them in the countries where the strongest players are.

Chinese Chinese characters for Wei-ch'i Wei-ch'i
Japanese Japanese characters for Igo Igo
Korean Korean characters for Baduk Baduk

Chinese is written using characters that come from pictures. There are thousands of them! The Japanese adopted the Chinese characters a long time ago. They've changed many of them a bit since then.

The Chinese ch'i character and the Japanese go character are a bit similar, aren't they? The both have the part, but the Chinese put a tree symbol on its left, while the Japanese put a stone symbol underneath.

tree symbol is a small form of the character for a tree, and stone symbol is a small version of the character for a stone. Apparently, the hat-like thing at the top of stone symbol is a hill and the square at the bottom is a stone that rolled down it!

So these Chinese and Japanese characters remind us of the wood of the Go board and the stone of the Go stones. The first character in each name means "surround", so they are calling Go the "surrounding game".

Korean writing is quite different. They use Chinese characters sometimes, for example in people's names, but mostly they use their own writing called Hangul. Hangul uses sounds, not pictures. Each block is a syllable, and is made up of smaller parts which stand for the sounds. Here are the ones in "baduk".

Korean p or b (p or b) + Korean a (a) = Korean pa (ba)
Korean t or t (t or d) + Korean u (u) + Korean k (k) = Korean duk (duk)

Oh, by the way, baduk rhymes with took, not with duck!

Back to UK Go Challenge Last update: 11th November 2004