Game of strategy making a comeback
During her preschool and kindergarten years, Zhu Ruitian, like most of her peers in Chinese cities and towns, took extracurricular classes to learn English, piano, fencing and the abstract strategic board game Go.
But since she began elementary school two years ago, the second-grader has had less time and interest in taking so many classes.
In addition to taking extracurricular lessons in English, which is considered a must-have language to remain competitive among her peers, Go is now the only other activity the 8-year-old devotes her spare time to.
The ancient board game was chosen in preference to piano and fencing because Zhu's mother, surnamed Chen, believes it can stimulate the mind and help develop her daughter's reasoning ability.
"Of course, above all, it is because Ruitian loves it," Chen said.
"I think that compared with other hobbies, it is more engaging as it requires two people to play, which is good for an only child like Ruitian. Moreover, the internet allows her to play anytime and anywhere, which is quite a blessing."
Go, known as weiqi in Chinese, involves black or white stones being placed in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player's pieces. Despite having relatively simple rules, it is a complex game.