Mind Game 'Go' is Being Taught in Turkey

Mind Game 'Go' is Being Taught in Turkey
Mind Game 'Go' is Being Taught in Turkey

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The brain sport “Go” course at the Korean Cultural Center in Ankara attracts the attention of Far Eastern culture enthusiasts of all ages.

Dong Woo Cho, Director of the Korean Cultural Center affiliated with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Ankara, talked about the activities of the cultural center, Eren Kurter, who teaches the game course here, and the students who attended the course talked about their interest in this sport and their impressions of the lessons.

Eren Kurter, Vice President of the Turkish Go Players Association, who was introduced to Go when he was a student at Hacettepe University in 2005 and has been giving Go lessons since 2006, meets with his students once a week and teaches the intricacies of this sport.

In the course, students improve their playing techniques by trying to expand their own areas with 181 black and 180 white stones on the game board, while also trying to disrupt the opponent's areas.

“Five minutes to learn, a lifetime to master”

Kurter said that Go courses or lessons are given in universities as well as in secondary education and said, “Go is taught as an elective course at Hacettepe University. We also started at Atılım University recently. "It has become a credit course at universities," he said.

Emphasizing that there is no hierarchy in the game, Kurter said:

“We are trying to surround the largest area with black and white stones on a board with nineteen horizontal and nineteen vertical lines. So our goal is not to destroy the opponent or wipe them off the board. He will make a field, and I will make a field. “The one with just one point more space wins the game.”

It has been played for 4 thousand years

Kurter explained that the sport of Go dates back to ancient times:

“It has been played for approximately 4 thousand years and no two games are the same. Because there are so many possibilities on the board. There are more possibilities on a Go board than there are atoms in the universe. This makes the game a little exciting. The game never becomes routine, it is never the same.”

Stating that Go can be learned from the age of six, Kurter said: “You can learn all the rules in five minutes. The game only has one rule. That is life, the breathing points of the stones are open. Our goal is to pave an area with living stones. Then, there are tactics and strategies developed based on this in the game. You can learn from the age of 5-6 and play until you are 70. "It takes five minutes to learn the game, but a lifetime to master it," he said.

Emphasizing that Go is a reflection of life, Kurter said that people's characters are reflected on the Go board:

“It is actually possible to improve ourselves through practice and see our good and bad sides.”

“There is no hierarchy in the game”

Ali Akdağ, a 5th grade student who was one of the students of the course, said that he learned that there was such a course at the Korean Cultural Center from his mother's friend and that he has been attending the course for about 4 months.

Stating that the game is sometimes difficult and sometimes easy, Akdağ emphasized that the course varies depending on the players, but he enjoys playing it very much.

One of the students of the course, 20-year-old Seçil Yeşilırmak, a third-year student at Hacettepe University Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, is also the most successful female player of the "National Hacettepe University Go Tournament".

Yeşilırmak said that as soon as he learned that the Go course was opened while attending Korean classes at the Cultural Center, he immediately registered:

“When I first started playing Go, it seemed easy, I thought I could do it. Then the game tells you 'no, I'm not that easy'. “You have to constantly think and practice.”

Yeşilırmak stated that this sport is more enjoyable and more difficult than chess, to which it is often compared, and said, “Every piece is equal, but each piece gains importance depending on where you put it. "There is no hierarchy in the game," he said.

“The game helps you focus”

Elif Çeliker, one of the students of the course, said that she learned about the game Go when she came to the Cultural Center for Korean and cooking courses and that she was very impressed by the "AlfaGo" documentary she watched at the cultural center:

“In the documentary, I saw the world's most successful Go player fight against the computer and accept his loss with a trembling voice. "When he was upset, I realized how important the game was and I was curious about this game."

Stating that he normally has trouble focusing, Çeliker said, “While playing the game, you just adapt to the game and think about the moves. You don't have to think about anything else and this helps you focus. While playing the game, you start to think from different perspectives. Each stone means something. "If you make a wrong move, you can't take that move back," he said.

“It develops children's intelligence” 

Korean Cultural Center Director Dong Woo Cho said that Go sport is also known in Turkey and that they started giving lessons this year following their request to open a course.

“As you know, the game of Go or the sport of Go is very common in Japan, Korea and China. Go is taught at an early age in South Korea because it is so beneficial for children.”

Explaining their satisfaction with the interest shown by the Turks, Cho said that they will continue to open lessons as long as there is demand and the instructor is available:

“There are cafes where Go is played everywhere in my country. In addition, many Go lessons are given at the primary school level in Korea because it is an ideal game for the development of children's intelligence. We know that chess is very common in Turkey. “We see that interest in the game Go, like chess, is increasing.”

Source: AA 

Mind Game 'Go' is Being Taught in Turkey

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