I used to play regularly on KGS but have been inactive for several years. I am frustrated by the Catch-22 of the KGS system: in order to play rated games, you must have a solid rating. Solid ratings come from playing many rated games.

Does anyone have advice for an enthusiast who wants to play competitively online? Where should I go and how do I establish a rank?

  • These are two separate questions: 1) How to establish a rank on KGS 2) Where to play online. I suggest you split this into two questions. Nov 9, 2011 at 17:30
  • My comment about KGS is a complaint, not a question. I intended it as context for my real question: where to play Go online and how to establish a rank on that suggested server.
    – user18197
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:18
  • I've tried creating a new KGS account and its new (to me) AutoMatch system seems reasonable.
    – user18197
    Nov 9, 2011 at 19:28

13 Answers 13




IMO the best server for lower level games.

  • It as an active English speaking community
  • Ranking system is relatively meaningful, even in the lower ranks
  • Many features in the client, such as game reviews
  • please split it up ;)
    – mafu
    Nov 10, 2011 at 10:49

Dragon Go Server (DGS)

For turn-based playing I highly recommend Dragon Go Server, where I play all the time, too.

  • Simple and clean interface
  • Private notes (very handy if you are playing lots of turn-based go games at once)
  • There is a client for Android and iOS and a Windows notifier
  • "Fine" rating (kyu/dan level with +- 50%) with "proper komi feature" to fine tune komi based on fine rating.
  • Its rating graph (shows rating reliability, has a Games/Time switch on X axis)

I know Gōng Yuán Chéng already included a link to Turn-based go servers on the Sensei's Library, and DGS is the first on that list, but DGS should have its own special place on this list.

More on DGS here: http://senseis.xmp.net/?DragonGoServer

  • It's fine to add this as a separate answer. DGS is a major Go server and deserves it's own place in the list.
    – mafu
    Nov 10, 2011 at 23:51
  • I am a huge fan of DGS for turn based games, though there is a major difference between the turn based interfaces and a somewhat more realtime interface in KGS. Dec 28, 2011 at 21:59



IGS has a lot of players, but going up the rank ladder can also be quite time consuming. Anyway, if you have an idea about your rank, you can set it up when you sing up.

Their english resources have been enhanced in the last year, with a social web and a new Java-based client that's actually quite usable (including an opponent search function). Games tend to be serious and it lacks the communication facilities that you can find on KGS, but it's a good place to learn and it also has quite strong players.

There are some robots on the ranked games room to help you get a rank if you start at BC level (beginner class).



online-go.com is an excellent server if you're interested in turn-based go. The best thing about the site is the tournament system. There are five annual tournaments with multiple rounds in each category - even games, handicap games, and 9x9. Some tournaments require you to win your group to advance, and some allow all players to advance, and then be matched up according to number of wins.



The GoShrine is a good alternative to other servers:

  • No download/install needed
  • No Java/Flash requirement
  • Play in the browser simply
  • Levels similar to those on kgs
  • Possibility to play bots as well

It's where I play when I use my Android tablet.

One disadvantage is there are too few players online at all time.

And of course you can review the links on these pages

  • Nice! didn't know about this one
    – hasen j
    Nov 12, 2011 at 5:31



One of the most popular Korean servers and well known in the West for its large player base. It was difficult to sign up to Tygem years ago, but they recently introduced an English client and website, solving this issue.

Players range from super weak to super strong (several top pros play on Tygem). Their style tends to be more agressive. There are noticeably many sandbaggers and the ranking system isn't optimal in the weaker ranks.




DashN is a Korean go server with an English interface. It is also known as DashBaduk or Dash & Dot. DashN and wBaduk are the only major Korean Go servers that offer clients with an English interface.

The common belief is that this is the place to play fighting games. Tactics seem to also suggest a strong emphasis on territorial reduction. (Sensei's)


WBaduk / CyberOro


Similar properties compared to Tygem. But I haven't played much there.


Yahoo Games

I'm surprised no one's mentioned that Yahoo has Go - there's consistently around 100~200 people on. It's a good place for English beginners to play, and there's even some higher-rated players if you're up for a challenge.




Great turn-based GO server. It's completely web-based so you don't need to download anything.



Sometimes I play here You can play on browser without registration, the only one requirement is java...

Actually I do not know if it's good, but for a fast match it works well...


If you can get a beta key (they give out 200 every time the counter runs down on their site) kaya.gs is a good site. They're working on doing everything that KGS does wrong right. I've played a few games there and I must say, its very cool.

You should give it a try or look on their FAQ if you have a minute.



List of both Real Time Servers, as well as Turn-Based Servers (which I heard are recommended for beginners because of no time-limit). Some of the sites mentioned in answers here might be found on this list.

I haven't really tried many of the sites mentioned on the list, because I'm just beginning my adventure with Go. So I can't recommend any of the available links for now.