Seattle Wiki

Seattle Go Center Seventh Anniversary Tournament, 2002

The ancient game of Go is alive and well at the Seattle Go Center, upstairs on 45th Street NE, just east of I-5 in the University District.

The Go Center opened in September 1995 with the financial help of Iwamoto Kaoru 9-dan (1902-1999), one of the great Japanese go players of the 20th century. The opening of the center was especially welcome because the previous home of go in Seattle, the Last Exit on Brooklyn had moved to a new, smaller location on the Upper Ave and was already in its death throes.

Although the Go Center is a membership club (with daily, monthly, quarterly, or annual membership), the first few visits are free, and beginners (especially kids) are very welcome. The best drop-in time for beginners, young and old, is usually Tuesday evening, when people are reliably available to teach the game.

The rules of go are at least as simple as those of checkers: you can play an interesting game within minutes. The ramifications of the rules are complex: go is, in a mathematically well-defined way, several orders of magnitude more complex than chess.

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This tatami room is the most elegant part of the go center

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The Sunday, March 16, 2003 Seattle Times "Living" section had a long piece on the Go Center, "Go, go, go: Ancient game of strategy captures new generation of players" by Marc Ramirez. It's good on the human interest front, but riddled with factual errors, such as thinking that local player Chris Kirschner's (eminently respectable) 4-dan amateur rating is stronger than Iwamoto's 9-dan professional rating (a 9-dan would be stronger than a 4-dan even in the same rating system; the 9-dan professional rating is the strongest recognized rating in the game).