Monday 22 October 2018

It's all Go in chess circles these days . . .

Alan O'Keeffe

A FORMER chess champion has admitted "subverting" his chess club by persuading them to switch to an ancient oriental board game.

Former Leinster senior chess champion John Gibson (52) said 98pc of the members of his Dublin club have switched to playing the 4,000-year-old Chinese game, Go and most of them rarely touch a chess board anymore.

As secretary of the Irish Go Association, he has helped organise the European Go Championships, which begin in Dublin today. More than 400 players from 28 countries will compete.

"Go is a game which deals with overall strategic concepts rather than the fine calculations which predominate in chess," said Mr Gibson, an interior designer from Terenure.

Black and white stones are placed on a board much bigger than a chessboard. "The position of each piece affects other pieces a bit like the moon affecting the tides. It is more subtle and complex than chess, yet it is easier to learn," he said.

"While chess players pass their peak by 35, the best Go players participate into their nineties. Go players keep on improving a bit like bridge players," he said.

His old club was named the Collegian Chess Club when he introduced the game in the 1970s. It is now called The Collegian Chess and Go Club and meets at the Pembroke pub, Pembroke Street, on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Brendan Supple, managing director of Fujitsu Siemens Computers in Ireland, said his company was delighted to sponsor the European Championships.

Most of the games will take place at the Teachers' Club, Parnell Square.

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