Grad student co-directs film about the game of Go

Two young Go players, Cole Pruitt and Will Lockhart, gambled that they would be able to make an audience feel that hidden intensity, tension — and even violence — when they decided to make a documentary film about Go.

The film, called “The Surrounding Game,” is now in post-production, said Pruitt, who is currently a graduate student in chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis.

Go belongs to the class of no-luck board games, along with chess and Othello. Two players attempt to enclose as much space as possible by placing black or white stones on the intersections of a 19-by-19 grid. The rules are simple enough that a child can learn them in minutes, but the game is also — paradoxically — complex enough that players must study for years to become professional Go players, a lifetime title accorded to only the strongest players.

Go, invented more than 2,500 years ago, is one of the four ancient Chinese arts, together with painting, calligraphy and music.

Today, Chinese and Korean students as young as 5 begin training in special Go schools with the aim of becoming a Go professional. To have a chance of going pro, they must abandon a high-school education and study nothing but Go for years on end. Among the game’s elite professionals, international tournaments offer hundred-thousand-dollar prizes and are simulcast on television.

Read the full story in The Source: Grad student co-directs film about the game of Go

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