I think any discussion about the simplicity or elegance of the rules of go vs chess (and its variants) is ultimately subjective to some degree.
One way to consider it is to think of chess, shogi, xiangqi, and other variants as belonging to a family of related games. Each variant has to define several different pieces, their initial position, how they each move and capture, any special restrictions on movement (e.g., the palace and river in xiangqi), any special movements/captures (e.g., castling and en passant in chess), any other special moves (e.g., putting captures back on the board in shogi), etc. Thus, it seems that the family of chess of games is quite complex in having to define and decide upon many things.
The rules of go are another beast to consider, especially since there is no consensus on the definitive rules of go, but rather several closely related (but distinct) rulesets that result in very similar strategy. Some rulesets, such as New Zealand and Tromp-Taylor, are quite simple and elegant (in my opinion), while others, like Japanese and Ing, are very complicated.