PETALING JAYA: From Thursday, the Malaysian public can witness a showcase of the world's oldest strategy board game when it hosts the 31st World Youth Go Championship from Aug 13-19, thanks to the Malaysia Weiqi Association.
"We are very excited to organise this prestigious event at the Mines Resort and Golf Club. Many top professional players today are past winners," project director Ho Hock Doong told The Star.
The championship will see 24 participants from 14 countries and territories - namely Germany, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, China, Korea, Japan, Taipei, Thailand, Spain, Singapore, Romania, Canada and Malaysia - competing in the Under-12 and Under-16 categories.
Admission to the international event, which is sponsored by the Ing Chang-Ki Wei-Ch'i Educational Foundation, is free of charge.
"Organising the event puts Malaysia on the world Go map. This makes it easier for us to get funding and assistance, such as professional teachers and equipment, from major international Go institutions like the Korea Baduk Association," Ho added.
Known as Weiqi in China, where it was invented over 2,500 years ago, the game is called Go in Japan, the country largely responsible for the game's popularity.
Go's appearances in popular culture include the Oscar-winning movie A Beautiful Mind and Tron: Legacy, as well as The Master of Go, a novel by Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata.
A firm favourite in East Asia, the game is fast gaining popularity in Europe and the United States, with more than 60 million players worldwide.
The opening ceremony, which will be officiated by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary-general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, will be held at 10.30am on Aug 14 at the Mines Wellness Hotel.
For more information, visit wygc2014.weiqi.org.my