Friday, March 2, 2012

"I want to try out my first game of Go..."

"...but no one I know plays and there is no one around!"  This is a big problem for new players who are just getting started with the game and want to get playing.  Go is not as well known of a game, especially in the West, but all hope is not lost!  The internet is magic, and you can play Go to your heart's content and find an opponent night or day.  There are lots of Chinese/Japanese/Korean servers like Tygem or Oro Baduk that have English language web clients, but the best English language Go server is KGS, which you can visit here.  KGS is user friendly, and you can be up and playing within a few minutes.  It might take awhile for a beginner to find another beginner, but there are usually hundreds of people logged in, making it a snap to find a partner.  Also, it's perfectly all right to ask someone who is much better than you for a game.  A lot of people on KGS love to teach, and love to have new Go players in the fold.  Don't be discouraged if you do not find someone immediately; it can take time, and if you don't have a solid rank, some people won't play you.

Online Go can reach it's limit, though, because of the lack of personal interaction.  I much prefer to play face to face with a real board, but that can be a luxury.  If you visit the American Go Association website, you can look and see if there is a club nearby.  It'll most likely be somewhere near a university, as many Go players are young college students.  Another great resource is a nifty website called Igo Local Net which you can use to find a partner.  You give your general location, and the computer will see if there are any Go players somewhere in your area, and alert you to new tournaments or functions.  It's usually interesting to find other Go players this way, and a great way to meet new friends that you already have a lot in common with.