Wei Qi, the Chinese Game of Go

storm on the horizon

The game wei qi is very popular in China and you can often find people playing the game with sticks and stones in one of China’s many parks. It’s said that Mao Tse Tung used to play and reportedly used the game’s strategies in his military campaigns. It is called go in Japan.

The rules are simple: two players with different coloured stones take it in turn to place their stones on the intersections of the board in an attempt to fence off their opponents stones by creating a fence-like structure. The object is to capture the most territory as represented by the intersections on the board.

The picture here was taken in Zhongshan Park in Dalian in Liaoning Province. The parks are where people go for illegal gambling, and as I wandered around I spotted three rather dark looking characters grouped around a make-shift game board drawn in chalk on a picnic table. The man on the left in the black leather jacket invited me to play. As my knowledge of the Chinese language was quite limited, I had to just sit and watch several games in order to get a grasp of the rules. When I thought I had it worked out I indicated that I would like to play. And guess what? I beat him! He stood up slowly, with a very straight face and I thought he was mad at me but he stretched out his hand and shook mine. I lived to tell the tale. Next time I will remember to place a bet first.

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Pyjama Man

Man in Pyjamas Crossing the Road

Man in Pyjamas Crossing the Road

When I was in China in 2007, I lived in Dalian on the east coast. There was a large hospital near my appartment and it was a common site to see someone on the bus or walking along the road wearing his pyjamas. The Chinese are a very pragmatic race, and when someone leaves hospital, they just go back home in the pyjamas they are wearing; why bother with the hassle of putting on your clothes before going out in the world? Of course the Chinese see nothing odd or amusing in it.