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Strategize and make time for the fun of Go


n Portland tournament open to all fans of ancient Chinese board game

by: STAFF PHOTO: BARB RANDALL - Peter Drake, a mathematical science professor at Lewis & Clark, is the organizer of the Portland Go Tournament this weekend at the college.

Lewis & Clark College will host the Portland Go Tournament on Saturday and Sunday and the public is encouraged to come and participate or watch the action.

Tournament organizer Peter Drake, a math and computer science professor at the college, describes Go as the oldest strategic game in the world.

“It’s a strategic game like backgammon, chess, checkers and Othello,” said Drake. “It was invented 3,000 to 4,000 years ago in China, supposedly by an emperor as a way to teach his son about military strategy.”

Go is a two-person game played on a board lined with 19 spaces across and 19 spaces down. One player uses white stones or markers and the other black; they take turns adding stones to the board.

“The object is to surround as much territory as possible,” said Drake. “One of the challenges is to see how much you can get away with. Go tends to attract people involved in math and computer science.”

He said it is a deep-thinking game with sections of play developing in many areas of the board. Most games are played within an hour but professional Go games may allow up to 10 hours per player.

Drake has played for more than 30 years and the game has been an object of research for him since 2002. He says one of the practical applications of the strategies of the game is designing transportation systems.

The Portland Go Tournament is open to players of all levels, including those who have never played before. Players with less experience are given advantages at the beginning of the game.

“You can expect some exciting, close games no matter your rank,” said Drake.

The tournament will take place in Albany rooms 212 and 220 on campus. Registration is free for those 22 and younger; all others pay $25. All players must be either AGA members ($10 for youth or $30) or pay a one-tournament membership fee of $10. Register online at goclubs.org or with cash or check on the day of the tournament.

The Lewis & Clark Go Club meets Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the Trail room in Templeton Student Center on campus. All are welcome to join. To learn more, contact Drake at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..