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Cultural Demonstration and Lecture: GO

Go gameplay

This year for the first time ever the Japanese Garden will host the Oregon State Go Championship. Visitors to the Garden will be able to (quietly) observe the games in progress.

Go is both the simplest game in the world and at the same time the deepest. A few simple rules underlie virtually infinite possibilities. To a mathematician it is the very definition of elegance. Go is a traditional art deeply embedded in Japanese politics, history, culture and literature.

A display of Ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) Giclee, with Go as their theme, will be on display in the Yanai Classroom.  Doug Cable will be available to discuss the prints with interested Garden guests.

Go is more than a game, as many players see it as an analogy for life, an exercise in abstract thinking, or a beautiful art in which black and white dance in a delicate balance across the board.

Learn about the origins and cultural history of Go, and learn to play this 5000 year old game of skill.


The Go presentations will be located at the Cathy Rudd Cultural Corner. The Oregon Go Championship competition will be in the Yanai Classroom.  Guests viewing the playing room are asked to be extremely quiet so as not to disturb or distract the contestants.

About Peter Freedman

Go gameplay

Peter Freedman, of Portland, OR, has been named the AGF Teacher of the Year, winning a free trip to the US GO Congress in NYC.  Freedman, who has been active in the Portland area for decades, has focused his primary activities on youth Go in recent years. Freedman and Fritz Balwit (2011 AGF Teacher of the Year) had tried to establish Go clubs in schools for many years, but they were short-lived and drew minimal numbers.

“I approached several school chess coaches about the idea of morphing their programs into chess and go clubs, and now there are over 100 children in these clubs, spread over five  schools, I teach Go and Fritz teaches chess in most schools,” Freedman told the Journal.  “The students can play only chess; play only Go; or, switch between chess and Go each month.  New students must play a month of Go before they decide on their option. There is a segment of our culture that knows, appreciates and respects chess, while only a few know of Go. Yet, many of us were chess players before we were Go players.  It seems like a nice path.  We need a new motto: chess is our friend, not our enemy.”

Speaking about Go, Freedman said, “Being a philosopher, I think of the game as deep, truth hidden within the Go board to be discoverer by inquiry and the testing of theories.”