Go On the Internet
Thousands of people from all over the world are playing go on the Internet right now! Many are playing on Chinese, Japanese and Korean servers, but several great English language options are listed below. Get a game, watch others play, find a teacher, kibitz, chat -- it's a great way to get acquainted with go, or fit in a quick game anytime, anywhere on the Internet.
Real Time Servers
Select an opponent, or use the "Automatch" feature in KGS and some other servers, and a board will appear. Watch your clock! Most servers require you to agree to one of several time control methods. The Canadian system, where players receive an initial time allotment and then must play x stones in y minutes, is often used. For instance, "1-10" would mean one minute of regular time, after which you must play ten stones per minute.
Internet Go Server (IGS): The "Mother of All Go Servers" began operations in 1992. You'll find up to 1500 players or more online at any time of the day or night. It's a wild and woolly place where pros amuse themselves under assumed names, top Asian matches are mirrored in real time, and there's always something exciting going on. IGS publishes its specifications, so various third-party "clients" are also available. Log in from your iPad/iPhone/iPod with Tetsuki.
KGS Go Server: KGS also attracts hundreds of players who log into dozens of separate "rooms" for clubs, events, lessons and language groups. You can even start your own public or private room! The KGS "client" (interface) supports advanced options for teachers. A great place to get a lesson from a stronger player. The client is cross-platform, using Java, and works on any of the major operating systems. There is no iOS app, but there is an Android client which can be bought.
Tygem Baduk Server: Operated by the Korean Amateur Baduk Associatiion, the sponsor of the American pro tournament.
go9dan.com: A browser-based online go platform that “aims to bring global go enthusiasts of all skill levels together,” go9dan.com launched in late 2012 with ten of the world’s top professionals set to play for $100,000 in prizes in the World Go League Invitational. The server’s features include the ability to observe and play multiple games, a teaching game auction, rated and unrated tournaments, and the opportunity to play against professional world go champions. There's no need to download a client in order to play, and no limit to the number of players allowed on the server.
Wbaduk: The Korean Amateur Association wants to promote baduk to the world. Lots of problems and lectures available.
Fly Or Die: You can also play chess, backgammon and other games, or try/buy dozens of fun computer games. FlyorDie donates 30% of every sale to the AGA, so buy your new games here!
Yahoo! Games: Another multi-gane server. Rooms have a capacity of 100 players. The Beginners' Room is often nearly full.
GoShrine:: Seems to attract small numbers of newer players and small-board enthusiasts.
The Worldwide Internet Go-Kaisho: Another site serving a smallish community of players.
A "Physical Go Server"
Igolocal:: "Think globally, play locally" is the motto of this unique site, created by Shodan Imports proprietor Chuck Thomas. Players mark their presence on a map and connect with each other for face-to-face play. Once you've registered, you get an e-mail every time a new players joins in your area.
Internet go, with its strict time limits, calls for constant, alert vigilance. Answer the phone and your time runs out. If you prefer a more moderate pace in a more casual atmosphere, here's another possibility. On these servers you log in, see your opponent's last move, respond, and move on. There's a special satisfaction in completing a game that takes several days or weeks. Play is more casual, and generally not rated, but it's best to have an idea of your rank when you sign up.