American Go E-Journal

Pandanet-IGS Announces New Client

Wednesday August 3, 2011

Next February, IGS (the Internet Go Server) will be twenty years old. In those two decades, IGS has gone through many major changes, especially since it was acquired by Pandanet. These days, in addition to hosting hundreds of players at any hour of the day or night,  IGS simulcasts many major tournaments, attracting as many as 1,500 online observers, hosts two of its own online events (The Pandanet Cup and the Cho Chikun Tournament.)  On Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Go Congress, nearly forty Congress attendees gathered for a presentation from Pandanet-IGS on the latest upgrade.IGS President Hiroko Taki (in E-Journal hat and Pandanet t-shirt in photo) and Pandanet staffers Hidekazu Hirai and Keiko Sota , who had traveled from Japan announce that PandaGo, a new, improved, Java-based client, was released in April. They also noted that a client, Tetsuki,  is available for the iPod/iPhone/iPad, a feature not currently available from KGS, the other server prominently used by Western players. Click here or here to view a Tetsuki video that Mr. Hirai and Ms.Sota presented.  A client for the Android is scheduled to roll out in November. A general discussion of IGS followed; players were especially interested in the ranking system. AGA International Liaison Thomas Hsiang explained that the system is extremely transparent, and is explained at length here. It’s a conservative system, moving slowly through a large numbers of grades – each level is split in half, so for instance a 3K must earn their way to 3K+ before advancing to 2K. Grades tend to run about 3 ranks below AGA ratings. Attendees were also interested to know how IGS handles the problem of “escapers.” Mr. Hirai responded that players who log off their games forfeit within five minutes. A bug that currently boots iPhone users offline when their phone rings is being fixed. With 75,000 active users, Pandanet-IGS hopes to attract more interest from Western players and urged online players to take the new clients out for a test drive, and write to with comments and suggestions.
– Roy Laird; photo by Phil Straus