Top-ranked Go players race to Tibet for promoting ancient board game

The Tibet Autonomous Region of China has witnessed a special contest combining the ancient board game Go and car rally, during which six Chinese top Go players, including world champion Ke Jie, not only played with each other but also acted as navigators for the rally racers along the Sichuan-Tibet highway.

The contest, from June 2 to 14, aimed to promote Go in Tibet and Ke Jie was crowned at the base camp of Mount Qomolangma.

"I always dream of coming to Tibet and have enjoyed the rally very much. The view here is gorgeous as painting," Ke said.

The six Go players faced off against each other at different locations, including the Potala Palace. They also visited a local primary school in Lulang county of Ningchi.

"We taught the pupils some basic rules of the game, and they got the hang of it in a short time. This contest benefits the popularization of Go, and I hope there will be more like-minded people, who can appreciate the beauty of the game," Ke said.

Tuo Jiaxi, another top Go player, said, "Only a few pupils here were familiar with Go. So the basic introduction was necessary. And we communicated better through the game."

The contest is fairly new in the country, and the arrival of top-ranked players is a big moment in promotion of Go in Tibet.

Ye Jiangchuan, a chess master and an official of China's General Administration of Sport, said that the contest is a unique mixture which can serve as a shining example for other sporting events.

In 2017, Lhasa, the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region, has seen more than 140 students learning in the city's Go school.