Go - Online Guide

Starting The Game

With /join 2 players can join the game. With /start the game begins. Alternatively, you can use the Game Tool!

Object of the Game


The goal of the game is it to enclose more area than your opponent using stones.

The Interface


The players names are shown on the left of the board along with the number of stones captured. The Buttons TEACH, COORD and SAVE are used in Training Mode The buttons further down are used in the game and are described below.

Flow of the game

Setting Stones

The players alternate placing a stone to the board on any free intersection. (Exception: see suicide or Ko-rule).



The horizontal and vertical spaces next to a stone is called a liberty. A group of stones can also be said to have liberties. (e.g. stones connected to each other as in A-B and C-D-E).

Capturing Stones


If all the liberties are occupied by the opponent, then the surrounded stone or group of stones is 'captured' and removed from the board. If a stone or a group has only a liberty, then it is called Atari.

Nach dem Schlagen

The gameboard would look like this if white had fulfilled all the Atari.



It is illigal to place a stone so that it is completely enclosed, and has no liberties. Black may therefor not place a stone on any of the intersections marked with X in this diagram.

Question: May white plce a stone on the formation in the centre?


Yes, as this because this would capture all 8 black stones and after the play the stone would hae 4 freedoms.



If white captures a stone by plaving on A, black may not immediateely retaliate. This is called Ko where Atari is immediately developed for black.


Ko means that black may NOT immediately re-capture after the white played on A by playing on B, since the outcome would be a repetition of position. Black may however, later in the game, (after playing at least 1 other move) place on B and create his own Ko. Further info can be found under Strategic hints.


In Go you may at any time volunteer to 'Pass'. This then allows the other player to play on or also pass. If both players pass the game finishes.

End of the Game


When the game board has been completely developed and both players pass, the game ends.


After both players pass, the computer marks the nodes which are fully enclosed by one colour.


Once both players pass, dead stones can be removed by clicking on them. Dead stones are those which can be captured no matter what the owner of the stone does.

Gefangene entfernt

Once all dead stones are removed, click on the "Beenden" button to confirm.


While removing dead stones, accidental misclicks can be corrected using the undo button. If there is a disagreement among the players about the status of a group of stones, play may be continued by clicking on the "Weiterspielen" button. In that case, the first player to pass moves first, and play may continue to resolve the conflict.


A player may resign by clicking on the "Aufgeben" button. Resignation requires that at least 20 moves have been played, and the winner is arbitrarily assigned a winning score of 20 points



The areas for each player are scored. Every live stone and every surrounded grid intersection counts as one point. The number of captured and dead stones are also added. In even (non-handicap) games, white is given 6 points ("komi") to even out the first play advantage of black.

In the example, black has 7 points in the top right and white has 28 points. White has also already scored for 14 captured stones earlier in the game. The intersections E4 and F3 are neutral points therefore are not scored. The winner receives the difference of both values as the score, the loser scores zero points.

Game Options


There are 3 available boardsizes, 9x9, 13x13 and 19x19.
The standard in BSW is 9x9.


/option time 1..60 This sets a timer. The player whose time expires automatically resigns. Time stops if a player drops connection. If the time left drops below "x" seconds, then the remaining time is set to "x" once that player moves. "x" is determined by the following table:

time x
1-10 10
11-20 20
21-30 30
31-40 40
41-50 50
51-60 60

/option time 0 Turns the timer off.


Byo-yomi (秒読み) is an extended time control in two-player games, specifically Shogi and Go. The word is borrowed from Japanese and literally means "reading the seconds". A typical time control for amateur tournaments is "60 minutes + 30 seconds byo-yomi", which means that each player may make as many or as few moves as he chooses during his first 60 minutes of thinking time, but after the hour is exhausted, he must make each move in thirty seconds or less. To enforce byo-yomi, a third person or a game clock is necessary. In professional Go games, a player has several byo-yomi periods, for example five periods of one minute each. If a player makes his move within a one-minute period, he retains all five periods for his future moves. If a player oversteps one minute, he starts the following move in the second rather than the first byo-yomi period. In effect, the player has one minute per move plus four extra one-minute packets which may be arbitrarily distributed, e.g. four moves of two minutes each, or one move of five minutes, or any other combination. When analog game clocks are used to enforce byo-yomi, it is more convenient to assign additional time for a block of moves, rather than for each move. In Canadian byo-yomi, a player typically gets 5 minutes for 10 to 20 moves. The Internet Go Server (IGS) uses a similar system, but the byo-yomi time is variable and always covers 25 moves. Thus the time control "20 minutes + 15 minutes byoyomi" on IGS means that after the initial 20 minutes of thinking time are over, a player is granted 15 additional minutes, which may be spent however he chooses. If these minutes expire before he has made 25 more moves, he loses. If he makes 25 more moves in less than 15 minutes, he is granted another 15 minutes of byo-yomi, and so on indefinitely.


This sets the handicap. To even out differences in playing strength, the weaker player takes black and can set handicap stones onto predefined locations, giving him an advantage. In this case, white does not get the usual 6 point komi, but instead gets a komi equal to the number of handicap stones. A handicap of 1 denotes a normal game, but no komi for white. Handicap is usually adjusted as the weaker player starts winning often, for example three games in a row.


Komi is a Japanese go term adopted into English. In a game of Go, Black has the advantage of first move. In order to compensate for this, White can be given an agreed, set number of points before starting the game. These points are called komi. The English term "compensation points" or simply "compensation" is often used as a translation for komi, which is short for komidashi.[5] A typical value for komi is in the region of 6 points, but numerous different values have been used in practice - see below for details. To prevent a drawn game in the case of jigo, the komi is commonly set to a fractional value such as 5.5 (which is a succinct way of expressing "White gets 5 points compensation and wins in the case of jigo").

BSW will allow you to modify Komi from -6 to 9 points. In stones in principluit advant

Standard in the BSW is a Komi of 6 points.


There is more than one way to score in GO. BSW provides the Chinese and Japanese options. The Japanese method has been already described earlier on in this guide.

The Chinese version of scoring. At the end of the game, the winner is determined by counting stones and points. First all the dead stones of both sides are removed from the board. Then one side's living stones are counted, including the vacant points enclosed by those stones. Vacant points situated between both sides' living stones are shared equally. A vacant point counts as one stone. White may still be given a handicap ofr Komi.

Useful Links

There is a good website Lehrseite for Go, on which one can learn Go step by step interactively.