Ok, that photo must have elicited some head-scratching from a lot of you. It’s the invitational poster for the 1st Philippine Baduk Open Competition that was held last Dec. 10 at the Gold Loop Tower in Ortigas. I just found out about this since one of my Korean friends mentioned it to me.
I used to play Baduk a lot on my dad’s mobilephone but I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. I rarely won and the few times that I did, I didn’t even know how I did it. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy watching people who are actually good playing this. Too bad I was busy with all the December parties and the last minute Christmas shopping.
Anyway, since I’m supposed to be introducing you all to Korean culture – Baduk 바둑 is actually the Korean version of the Chinese game “Weiqi”. Yes, there is also a Japanese version called “Go” but this was developed years after the Koreans adopted the Chinese game. This was introduced to Korea back in the 5th and 7th century and was much in vogue among the aristocracy. Later on, a Korean adaptation of the game called Sunjang Baduk became popular.
I cannot even begin to explain how to play Baduk or Sunjang Baduk because of its slight intricacy. Just think of it as chess made more complicated but less dramatic with the playing pieces. There are those who claim that it’s like playing four games of chess at the same time. Basically, the objective of Baduk is to have more territory than your opponent. Imagine it as a non-digital version of Starcraft and you’ll get my point. Just like in chess, each player will have either black or white pieces (or stones to be exact). Black always makes the first move. The stones are placed on the intersection in a grid formed from 19 by 19 lines. Stones that are placed on the board cannot be moved unless they are surrounded by the opponent and captured as prisoners.
What makes Baduk interesting is that one can be very aggressive and try to capture as many pieces as possible (by surrounding them) or by being strategically crafty and just putting your stones where you can get more territory. But being aggressive like me, doesn’t always mean you’ll win. The objective is to win territory and not to have the most number of prisoners after all.
Still scratching your head? You can find out more about the game by visiting the official website of the Korean Baduk Association.
Thanks to Arirang Town Philippines (ATPh) for the photo.