Published online November 30, 2016
Go (WeiQi) is a board game thousands of years old. Google’s AlphaGo software made news recently by defeating a world-class human player for the first time.
The Princeton Go Club was founded by math professor Ralph Fox in 1945. He brought Japanese professional players and Bell Labs scientists to visit, promoting the game for three decades until his untimely death in 1973. I joined in 1986. We hosted the fifth national U.S. Go Congress in 1989 and the regional N.J. Open tournament from 1990 to 2016. We were mentioned in the Office of Admission’s 2002 “Beginnings” video and in the 2011 Report on Campus Social & Residential Life.
The word is “inclusive,” a value Princeton claims to support. The club always taught anyone who showed interest, young or old, student or not. Its heterogeneous, eclectic nature was featured in the May 31, 2004, Princeton Weekly Bulletin.
The 9-year-old in that article’s photo is 7-Dan today (equivalent to a 7th-degree black belt in the martial arts). The gentleman he is playing still comes to the club – or did. Nonstudents (including alumni) now are barred by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students from participation. Students, alumni, and townspeople may no longer gather together around a common interest on today’s campus.
At the end of my freshman year, the FitzRandolph Gate was permanently opened “in a symbol of the University’s openness to the local and worldwide community,” according to the Princetoniana website. Set aside the personal humiliation of being told bluntly one is not welcome after 30 years of volunteer effort. The truly sad thing is seeing that gate swing shut again.