Best Free Computer Go



Go is a deeply fascinating Far Eastern board game with a long and distinguished history. Put simply, black and white stones look to surround each other and win space on a 19 x 19 board.

The rules of Go are remarkably simple, but the seriously large numbers of possible lines of play have kept Go software programmers largely in check, at least at the highest levels of play. And there's a whole world of strategy.

Curious? Hiroki Mori has made an excellent website introduction called The Interactive Way to Go which gently walks you through the basics to get you up and ready to play, on-board or online. And you'll find much more useful information at Sensai's Library and the American Go Association.


Rated Products


Play Go against your computer or online in a pleasant and reasonably intuitive interface

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Open source)
2D and 3D boards, adjustable board size and engine strength, play online or offline, etc.
Best to avoid changing audio; GnuGo engine must be installed separately.
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A Java-based Go client bundled with the powerful open source GnuGo engine

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Nice user interface, read and write the standard Smart Game Format (SGF) and XML based format. Play with included GnuGo or any other program supporting the Go modem protocol.
Java-based which some users may dislike.
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Play Go Against A computer Online

  • 361points.comAt you can play Capture Go (Atari-Go)—an enjoyable cut-down version of the full game of Go. In Capture Go the player who first manages to surround and capture the opponent's stones wins outright. The applet lets you choose the board size and computer playing style. Simple and fun and a great way to start to get to grips with the full game.


Computer Go Study Tools

Two freeware Go study programs recommended in the comments below are:
  • qGo v 1.54 (3.0 MB, Windows, Linux and Mac)
  • Stonebase v 4.77 (7.0 MB, Windows)

You may want to download some amateur or professional free Go game database archives in SGF format.

Want more? This review is intended only as a brief introductory guide to the wide repertoire of Go freeware and internet resources on offer. The British Go Association provides more good information on computer Go, including several freeware reviews.


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This software review is copy-edited by Jojo Yee. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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A more modern version (GoPanda 2.5) can be found at :