Learn Overview

This page contains a variety of links on learning go. Suitable for anyone wanting to learn and improve or as a resource for teaching others the game. Once you're ready to take it to the next level, you can find a teacher among the AGA-certified go professionals and other go professionals in the United States and abroad.

This page is a recent collection of a variety of pages throughout this site. We'll be organizing these links shortly. Until then, you may browse the links on learning go appropriate for many different levels.

On This Page

Absolute Beginners
Reinforce the Basics
Sites You Should Know
After you know the rules
Commented Games for Beginners
Game Analysis
Online Group Lessons
Videos
Software
Rules
The Next Level

Absolute Beginners

A few easy ways to learn go from the very beginning.

Reinforce the Basics

These sites assume that you are a complete newcomer to the game of go. Each tells the story and describes the game in its own way. We hope you will find one that intrigues you.

Also, see our handouts section for some short, printable introductions to the game.

The Way to Go: In addition to starting at the beginning, this little booklet has taught basic strategy to thousands of players for more than thirty years. A brief but complete introduction.

Introductory Comic Book Download and print out Andreas Fecke's cartoon introducing Mr. and Mrs. Chesspiece to the game.

Video Tutorial: Goshawk Heron's three-part (four video) YouTube-based video is worth watching.

Introduction to Go: A Flashmedia presentation by Mindy McAdams.

PandaNet (IGS) Introduction to Go: The Internet Go Server offers a nice basic description of the rules.

A Beginner's Introduction to Go: Basic information from John Bate, a Canadian player.

Introduction to the Game of Go: From the British Go Association's website.

Tutorial on the Rules of Go: The rules demonstrated on a 5x5 board.

The Fun Way to Learn Go: A colorful, lively tutorial in English from the Japan Go Association.

Tel's Go Notes: "Tel" likes to teach online, and has compiled this sort of FAQ for beginners. Tel plays at about a 4-5K level.

Sites You Should Know

Great go web pages are plentiful online, but they can be hard to find. The listed below contain an unbelievable wealth of information and resources. They will show you some of what's available.

Community

LifeIn19x19: A moderated forum to discuss all matters related to go.

Sensei's Library: A huge, communally maintained archive of nearly 3000 pages on every conceivable go-related topic.

Game Records

GoBase: Game records from top pro tournaments, historical essays, instructional articles, collections of corner sequences, full-board openings, and much more!

Game Records from the British Go Journal: Sgf files based on material from the magazine.

Byheartgo: Another good way to progress is to study professional games. Download up to 42,000 pro game records, as well as pdfs of many problem books.

GoGameGuru: A user-friendly site with instruction, commented games and more.

Go Problems

GoProblems.com: Solving problems is a good way to get stronger. Thousands are available here, sorted by type and skill level.

GoChild: Sign in and enjoy 30,000+ puzzles right away.

Although the following two sites are more about the culture and history of go, they are nonetheless good beginner sites to whet your appetite for more. See even more on our History and Culture page.

A bit of History and Culture

The IGS Art Gallery: Learn more about go as a rich cultural presence in Asian life through more than 100 Japanese and Chinese classic works of art featuring a go theme, fully curated with the history and significance of each piece.

New In Go: A collection of more than 80 articles on a wide range of offbeat subjects -- everything from a six-group seki to how people without arms play go. Written and compiled by John Fairbairn and T. Mark Hall, the authors of the GoGoD Encyclopedia and Database.

After you know the rules

In addition to the following links, there are many English-language books available for learning almost anything you want about go.

River Mountain Go Volume One and Volume Two Oliver Richman developed this material while teaching Go to children in the classroom, now available for download, nearly 200 pages of clear basic instruction organized in book form with clear easy-to-read diagrams.

Concepts In Go Twelve page discussion of basic concepts by Ian Davis.

200 Go Puzzles for Beginners Paul Smith created this set of 200 problems for the British Go Association. Intended for absolute beginners, they present basic knowledge in three levels of 11 sheets that address specific themes for organized study. Smith takes nothing for granted -- we're so sure you can solve them, we didn't even include the answers! (Write to agf@usgo.org if you're not sure about something.) The American Go Foundation is grateful to Paul and the BGA for allowing us to make them available online for the first time.

Shape Up! Teach Yourself Go author Charles Matthews offers his thoughts on the hard-to-grasp concept of good shape.

Improve Fast At Go Go For Kids author Milton Bradley (no relation to the game company) wrote this freely accessible workbook to help beginners make it to the SDK (single-digit kyu) range.

  • How to Play Against the Stronger Player Volumes 1 and 2: This popular Japanese "Super Go" series helps players to improve their handicap go. Translated and produced by Steve Bretherick and John Stephenson of the Wings Go Club, Volume 1 and Volume 2 are now available for download in English at no charge. The AGA is grateful to the Japan Go Association for making this possible.

Improve your play by studying pro games, solving problems, and learning strategic and tactical concepts from these sites.

The Magic of Go: 428 articles written by Richard Bozulich and Rob Van Ziejst for the Yomiuri Shimbun, the world's largest newspaper (13 million readers).

Problem of the Week: Minoru Hirada has been posting two new problems per week -- one elementary, one intermediate -- since 1996. The archive of more than 800 problems is also available for review. Myron Souris also selects a weekly problem that is posted on the AGA's home page.

Problem of the Month: The 100+ problems Steve Bailey published between 1996 and 2005 are more advanced. Archive of problems posted since 1996 available for review.

Shape Up!: An easy-to-read introduction to the elusive concept of "shape."

Go Teaching Ladder: A sort of game analysis co-op -- analyze games for weaker players and yours will be analyzed in turn.

GoKifu Find and download specific sgfs of games between top pros.

Kogo's Joseki Dictionary: Gary Odom of Portland, Oregon created this free database.

My Friday Night Files: Jan Van Rongen offers a huge archive of over 1500 Cho Chikun game records in sgf format, along with other collections, including all the pro games used in the Hikaru No Go anime.

Guanzi Pu (Sensei's Library) is a classic Chinese problem collection from 1660 of 1473 problems. It is one of the Problem Collections that is considered high dan / pro level. Although it may be the easiest of those. Some problems are easy at the beginning, but ramps up.
A PDF with multiple problem per page, but doesn't include the solutions, typeset by pwaldron.
An PDF (ebook) version includes all 1473-problems (plus a few extras) and answers from p2501 on L19. PDF (ebook) with problems at the end

Commented Games for Beginners

Download four commented 9x9 game records and an "ideal" 19x19 game, all created by American master teacher Yi-lun Yang 8-dan with new players in mind. In sgf, a standard format that most game review software can read.

Download Game 1

Download Game 2

Download Game 3

Download Game 4

Download 19x19 GOGAME, a complete move-by-move commentary on an "ideal" game, also by Mr. Yang.

Game Analysis

  • Go on Go: The legendary Go Seigen offers detailed analysis of some of his famous games, and other historical matchups. This book was made available for download by the Wings Go Club. The AGA is grateful to the Japan Go Association for making this possible.

Online Group Lessons

These online group lessons often include access to additional videos, reviewing of your games by the group leaders, and group lectures. Be sure to check them out before you commit!

Guo Juan's Internet Go School - a library of over 900 lectures written by professional-level teachers covering all aspects of Go with more recorded each week. Go lessons delivered over the internet both group classes and private lessons from the Amsterdam-based author of The World of Chinese Go.

Nordic Go Academy - led by three strong european amateurs (6-7-dans). A go school on KGS for 7 kyu to 5 dan players that operates on a monthly basis. Our students play weekly league matches against each other, all of which get reviewed in high quality by our top level amateur teachers. In addition to the league games & reviews, we hold 12 lectures a month, arrange a tsumego competition and provide specialized coaching.

Yunguseng Dojang - The 100% Internet-based program is operated by Current European 1st-rank player In-seong Hwang 8 Dan

Videos

Video Go Tutorial: Part I (8m), Part II, (10m), Part IIIA (9m), and Part IIIB (9m). Total running time just over half an hour.

GoeBasics: a 15-minute video.

YouTube - users that produce Go videos fairly regularly (updated Dec 2013)

Twitch.tv - a website for game broadcasts.

Software

Give a beginner a perpetual opponent! Igowin, a 9X9 freeware version of Many Faces of Go, plays a decent small-board game.

Dariush 3D -- Free Download for Beginners Animated avatars race a cross the board to place their stones in this lively piece of freeware, which plays both "AtariGo" (Capture Go) and Go on a 9x9 board, offering three levels of expertise. Developed specifically to appeal to children. Dariush, another free download that plays 19X19, is also available.

The AGA Starter CD: The ultimate toolkit for beginners -- more than 300 MB of software, pdfs, game records and more! Perfect for the novice with limited Internet access. Get a copy through your chapter, or download and make your own CD for distribution to your friends. This "AGA Starter CD" is a great introduction to Go and the AGA, but is showing it's age just a little bit. You can download the Zip file, and burn a CD to take into a limited-internet environment. Please send your request to webmaster@usgo.org.

Go Software: Software that plays against you, helps you study, and more.

Rules

With the long history of go, there have been a wide variety of rulesets, both documented and undocumented. The study of rulesets is a tool for learning, playing, and research.

Rules of Go contains a complete set of links to rule-related information and commentary. At least six rule sets are in use today in various parts of the world, but don't worry. You don't have to learn them all. In fact, if you know how to play, you don't even have to know which rules you use! Just so you and your partner agree beforehand on a few issues like komi, handicap, and whether territory is vacant spaces only or stones and spaces.

The Next Level

Take your go knowledge to the next level by perusing the following links across this site:
Books: Find many English-language books in our detailed AGA Annotated Bibliography.
Professionals and Teachers: find teachers, additional resources from go professionals.
Tournaments: find workshops and lectures from professionals at many organized go tournaments.
Become a pro: Do you think you have what it takes? The AGA now certifies Go Professionals in the United States and Canada. Can you become one?
Clubs: find or start a go club and meet people in your area.
Go Organizations and People: find more information from people and organizations around the web
Internet Go Servers: Thousands of people are playing on the Internet right now! Here's how to join them.