Free, Useful Resources For Go Players
I was talking with someone on KGS recently who was interested in improving. As I mentioned all the different free, online resources I knew of, I was surprised at how few of them the new player had heard about. It occurred to me there must be many other Go players out there who simply aren’t aware of what’s available to them. In this article I will list some of the lesser- and not-so-lesser-known resources and websites that are both very helpful and free for you to use.
First and foremost comes KGS – if you haven’t started playing on this free online Go server yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. When I started playing Go I actually played at the (rather frustrating) Yahoo! Games server for a month before I discovered KGS.
There are lots of opportunities to improve your game on KGS:
- Josh Allen, a 5-dan known as Battousai on KGS gives a publicly funded (by donation) lecture every second Wednesday at 17:00 Pacific time in The Enclave room (under Rooms > Room List > Social from the KGS menu). These are free to attend and are very insightful. He also uploads games and lectures to a Youtube channel. You can keep these lessons going by donating here.
- Lance, a 6-dan known as Shygost on KGS also gives publicly funded lectures. These usually happen on Saturdays at 10:00 am Pacific time in his room LGD (under Rooms > Room List > Lessons from the KGS menu) – with one or two week’s prior notice. Check the room for the schedule! Lance is a great teacher with an interesting approach to explaining things in his lectures.
- The Advanced Study Room is a free league-format competition for serious players looking to improve. It’s a great chance to meet stronger players and get your league games reviewed!
- Although not free, a $5/month KGS Plus subscription is more than worth its value. Check it out!
Life in 19×19 is another website it seems many people – stronger players and beginners alike – have never visited before. It’s a great community for discussing anything about Go. You can play and watch turn-based “Malkovich” games (where the players post a move along with their own thoughts for observers to see), and post your own games for analysis. L19 replaced GoDiscussions when they started having server problems.
Up next is Sensei’s Library, a wiki-style Go encyclopedia with over 20,000 pages on virtually any Go topic. It’s a great place to quickly look up a board pattern you’re unfamiliar with.
Associated with Sensei’s Library are GoProblems.com, a website with thousands of free tsumego you can (try to) solve, the Go Teaching Ladder where you can request a review of your games by stronger players, and Josekipedia – a collaborative website for looking up Joseki sequences. EidoGo is another great website with a Joseki Tutor and a Professional Game Database.
If you’re using a Mac you may want to try out the free Go Dashboard Widget available which lets you play quick 9×9 games against your computer.
This article is just the tip of the iceberg of all the Go gems available. There are plenty of free resources here on All About Go, and a links page with more useful websites. What are your favourite online Go resources? Write a comment below or contact us and this article will be expanded.