It used to be, that the only way that English language speakers could develop their Go skills was by either playing stronger players in a club (still one of the best ways to learn) or by studying the relatively small number of books and magazines that had been translated or published in English. However over the past twenty years or so, as in all areas of life, the explosion of the internet has transformed the Go scene for enthusiasts all over the world.
These internet resources range from Go servers where you can play ‘live games’ online through to ‘Tsumego’ sites, where you attempt animated Go problems in order improve life and death reading skills. There are also many thousands of information pages on all aspects of the game along with Online Go Schools and YouTube channels.
The links on the page, represent only a small proportion of what is out there, but do represent the links and resources that I have found most useful over the years and find myself repeatedly recommending to students.
live game sites
There are many sites out there where you can play Go, but my favourite three for English language players are:
Pandanet used to be known at the Internet Go Server and is one of the oldest online sites. It serves players from around the world. Is free to join and play and is my favourite game server. It has clients for PC and Mac and also Apps for mobile devices.
Management and maintenance of KGS was recently taken over by the American Go Association. It has a very nice interface and good reviewing tools. The stones also make a satisfying ‘thunk’ when you click on the board!
OGS (Online Go Server) is more recent that the either Pandanet or KGS but has rapidly become my favourite site for teaching students. The site supports both ‘live’ and ‘correspondence’ games and the reviewing tools are excellent. It is also very easy to set up a private room, for you club or just as a group of friends.
tsumego or GO problem sites
These sites or apps have graded ‘life and death’ Go problems where you can practice and improve your reading skills. My two favourites are:
GoProblems.com has a huge database of problems and if you register will keep a track of your skill.
Black to Play is really easy to navigate. It keeps track of your ranking and feeds you problems that are a challenge for your level.
BadukPop is an App that you can get on the App Store for IOS or GooglePlay for Android. If you like Japanese/Korean style graphics, you will like this.
There are hundreds of these, but the biggest and the best Go internet resource site is Sensei’s Library. The format looks a little dated these days, but the information is second to none, from a dictionary of Go terms, to biographies of famous players from history.
Again there are many hundreds of these and so I am going to recommend only three or four, that I think are particularly useful for new players or which present information in a unique way.
Nick Sibicky teaches the Monday night Double-digit Kyu class at the Seattle Go Centre. For the past few years he has had a camera at the back of the room and so you his lessons. Nick is a great teacher and a passionate Go enthusiast. His is now up to something like video #394, so I would recommend starting with his earlier ones.
Sunday Go Lessons is put up by a player called Jonathan Hop. Aside from being an excellent teacher, Jonathan also speaks Japanese and so has subtitled many of the Japanese Professional Go Association (NHK) Televised Tournaments. For this work alone, Jonathan should be in this list.
Weiqi Master was put up by a guy called Chris Rafferty. Although he seems not to have posted a new video for over five years now, his archive is excellent. Each of his videos focuses on a specific sequence of moves or part of the game and they are all between five and ten minutes long which fits perfectly with the philosophy of ten minutes to Go!
My final recommendation is Go Commentary. Although the site contains some teaching information, the real jewel is his commentaries on classic Go games – particularly his ‘Greatest Games Ever Played‘ series. These are a master class in how to present and illuminate a Go record for a new audience. You may not get it all on the first viewing by they are worth returning to as your skill develops.
online GO schools
There now a good number of online Go Schools, where you can watch lectures on different aspects of Go, and study and follow example moves and training exercises. I can’t recommend all of these, but for over ten years now, I have studied at Go Juan’s Internet Go School. I find that her approach to teaching, and the site’s combination of pre-recorded lectures, with a simple training system has really helped to improve my performance on the board.
And that’s it for now. I may add to this list in the future and I have embedded links to other relevant information elsewhere in the site. Have fun and see you across a Goban soon.