Main stream board size

So I was thinking about how go years ago was played on a 17x17 board. That was the original go board size for high dan play right? (I am almost positive maybe I am wrong). Now we use 19x19 boards. I wonder if there is ever a possibility that the go world just up and drops 19x19 and changes to 21x21 in 1000 years or something.


My humble and completely uneducated opinion is that 21x21 or bigger boards are the future :joy:

And I add another question, are AI’s (AlphaZero, LeelaZero,…) as efficient in larger boards?? [and how hard are they to generalize to those sizes?]

Never mind bigger boards. The future of Go is Cube Go or Escherion Go.

Like a toddler learning to walk, we need to learn to let go of the edge!


I think the reason is because 19x19 has almost an exact balance between available points under the 3rd line and above the 4th line, making territory and influence roughly equal.

Any other board size creates a much greater imbalance between the two.


That is really interesting I actually didn’t know this. I wonder if that is why we decided to change to 19x19 for modern go. I wonder if the reason “why” is documented anywhere.

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I think you are giving the human species too much credit. I’ll put my money on the change being connected to the close proximity between the number of points on the board and the number of days in a year.


From my research into the precursor of Go, the honest answer I can say is I don’t know. However we also need to realize that like the evolution in biology, the evaluation of Go weren’t linear. It’s not a simple one game progressively evolved into the next version, but branching into many variations and some of them survived for various reasons.

From the documents survived today, I am pretty certain that 17x17 and 19x19 boards co-existed between the Han Dynasty and before the Tang Dynasty. And not just board-size, but other rules from ko, to fixed placement stones, to even possibility the scoring methods were also varied. Even smaller board size like 13x13 15x15 existed during or even after this time period, and there were evidence that not just Go were played on them. It is fairly easy for different rules and boards to diverse and be kept in ancient time when communications are difficult (especially during divides when wars separate different regions)