In this article, I present reviews of the most popular Go servers to play online.
There is no doubt that process playing Go on a real board is very pleasant and entertaining for most players.
But not all of us have an opportunity to play like that, so most of us choose to play Go online.
There are many servers where you can enjoy playing the game, but here I list the best ones in my opinion.
Why you should play Go online
Of course, playing Go on a real board is an extraordinary experience, but playing online has it’s own advantages too:
- You can play anytime, anywhere
- You don’t need to buy Go equipment
- The server keeps track of the games and progress
- You don’t need to have a friend who also plays Go
- Opportunity to make new friends
- You play different types of players
Internet Go Server – IGS
IGS, also known as Pandanet, is one of the first Go servers that appeared on the internet. From that time, it has become very popular among Go lovers.
In order to play on IGS, you have to download and install their client.
This server is often the host of online tournaments held worldwide that consists of European Team Champs, AGA City League, and Latin American League.
In many people’s opinion, IGS has the best user interface among all other online servers. The visuals are very nice looking and the overall atmosphere is really good.
Also, the cool thing is that they have a mobile client for Android and IOS, where you can enjoy playing Go online for free!
Online Go Server – OGS
OGS is currently the most popular website of Go according to Alexa rank.
OGS runs in any modern browser. No installation of any other program and/or client is needed. Mobile version is supported as well so you can enjoy playing Go online from anywhere anytime.
Features include analysis and review options, demo boards, regular sitewide and group tournaments, Tsumego (Go puzzles) compilations created by users, and much more.
The user interface of OGS is really good. Everything is made so that a new user doesn’t get distracted.
The server also offers to play against bots with different levels.
Other functions include:
- Great game review system
- Ability to change board and stone visuals
- Group chat
- Forum page
- Recently added AI review option that analyzes your game and shows recommendations
- correspondence games
- 9×9 and 13×13 board options
The most amazing thing about this server is that it’s absolutely free! There are no ads, premium features or subscriptions. Although players donate some money to let the website run without ads.
In order to start playing Go at OGS, you have to visit their website and follow the instructions.
Tygem is a Go server based in Korea. It is the place where lots of professionals love to play.
The strongest AI Alphago was trained from matches played in Tygem in order to improve.
To play online on this server, you need to download their client and install it on your PC. To do that follow the instructions.
Also, Tygem has an App for IOS, where you can enjoy playing Go online and solving Tsumego problems.
The cool thing about this server is that there are lots of players online anytime, so you won’t have a problem finding an opponent.
The interface of the client is pretty normal, so you won’t get any discomfort whatsoever.
Another thing I want to mention is that Tygem has really bad review system, so after you finish the game, I recommend to download the GIB (similar to SGF) file and review the game with other editors.
Kiseido Go Server – KGS
KGS is another great server with a lot of players and options. Currently, the server is owned by American Go Foundation.
As of active players, sadly, the numbers are decreasing over time. Probably one of the main reasons is the rise of OGS and other competitors.
KGS has paid “plus”, where you get access to lectures and game reviews by professional players.
The server is very popular with its review system. KGS offers many different options to review a game at a high level. Also, the automatic score estimator is near perfect.
The server also supports different board sizes (9×9, 13×13), which is really good to enjoy playing Go online.
Although KGS has an android app, I don’t recommend trying it, because the UI is not so good.
Wbaduk is probably the most famous one among all Go servers in the world. There are more than 20,000 players online at any given time.
The biggest advantage of this server is that it frequently features live games from professional players
Similar to other servers (excluding OGS) you’ll also need to download their client. As far as I know, this process seems very confusing for some newbies, so I’m linking the instructions for registering and installing.
Wbaduk also has an active website where they’re trying to deliver news about Go in the English language.
The biggest downside of Wbaduk is the score estimation issue at the end of the game, where a player can easily try to cheat the results and system won’t try to correct it.
That’s all folks, the best servers to play Go online. I hope you enjoyed the article. If so, please share it with your friends and comment on your thoughts about it.