Monday, May 14, 2012

Go, Man, Go!

Columbus Park is at the  lower end of Chinatown, just behind the New York City municipal complex of police buildings, jails, and courthouses. On weekends throughout the year the park is a space for social gatherings, Chinese opera performances, card games, and Go

Go is a Chinese board game that developed early in the first millennium CE and spread to Japan and Korea. There are variants of the basic game, which in its Japanese form uses a board of squares 19x19 and small checker-like pieces of black or white. The rules and basic idea of the game seem simple, but the strategy is quite complex (at least to my occidental mind). The version of the game played in the park uses a board (or cloth) comprising squares 8x8 and large pieces with chinese designations on them.

Saturday was a very sunny day, but the park is surrounded and filled with very tall trees which, when in full foliage, create a wonderful tapestry of light and shadows. I was attracted to one game in particular because the sun was streaming through the leaves to highlight the Go board, and the light was reflected back up to the player's face.

I was fascinated by the intense expression on the player's face, and the opinions reflected in the faces of his 'advisors' standing behind him.