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How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners

How to Play Go Game or Weiqi: A Simple and Clear Guide for Beginners

Go, also known as Weiqi, Wei Chi, or Baduk, is a strategic board game that has been played for centuries in China, Japan, and Korea. It is a game of skill and strategy that requires both intuition and complex calculations. The objective of the game is to control more territory than the opponent by placing stones on the board and capturing the opponent’s stones.

To play Go, players must first set up the board, which usually consists of a 19×19 grid of lines, as seen from this Yellow Mountain board set (our favorite by the way). The board is usually made of wood or plastic, and the stones are typically made of glass or plastic. One player takes the black stones, and the other takes the white stones. The game begins with an empty board, and the players take turns placing their stones on the intersections of the lines. The game continues until both players agree that it is over, or until one player resigns.

Learning how to play Go can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It requires patience, practice, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. With the right approach and a bit of determination, anyone can become a skilled Go player! In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to play Go, including the basic rules, strategies, and gameplay.

Understanding the Basic Rules of Go

Go is a board game that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. It is played on a board with a grid of 19 lines by 19 lines. There are other board variations too for wei qi; you can have 13×13 board, 9×9 board, 7×7 board to the smallest board, 5×5 board. For beginners, you can consider getting a double-sided board like this one so you can enjoy both 9×9 and 13×13 weiqi game. The game is played between two players who take turns placing black and white stones on the intersections of the lines.

The game’s objective is to occupy more territory than the opponent. The game ends when both players agree to end it or when there are no more legal moves left. The player with the most territory at the end of the game wins.

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Go / Weiqi Basic Rules

Here are the weiqi rules or basic rules of Go:

  1. Players take turns placing stones on the board.
  2. Stones can be placed on any unoccupied intersection of lines.
  3. Once a stone is placed, the position is fixed and must not be moved.
  4. Stones of the same colour that are adjacent to each other form a group.
  5. A group of stones is captured and removed from the board when all the intersections around it are occupied by the opponent’s stones.
  6. Suicide moves are not allowed. A suicide move is a move that would result in the player’s own stones being captured without capturing any of the opponent’s stones.
  7. Ko rule: A player cannot make a move that would recreate the previous board position. This is to prevent an endless cycle of capture and recapture.


At the end of the game, players count the number of intersections they have surrounded with their stones and the number of stones they have captured. Each intersection and captured stone is worth one point. The player with the most points wins.

It is important to note that the game is not won by the player who captures the most stones. Capturing stones is a means to an end, which is to control more territorial space than the opponent.

Understanding the basic rules of Go or wei qi rules is essential to playing the game. Once players have a good grasp of the rules, they can start to develop mind sport strategies and tactics to outmanoeuvre their opponent.

The Go Game Board and Stones

The Go Board

The Go board is a square board with a grid of 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines, creating 361 intersections. The lines on the board are referred to as “Hoshi” or “stars,” and they are used to help players with the placement of their stones. The board is usually made of wood, but other materials such as plastic or glass can also be used.

Goban, Yellow Mountain Go Wooden Board Wood Go Set - How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners - The Gamerian Gaming Blog

The Go Stones

The Go stones are round, flat discs that are used to play the game. They are usually made of glass, plastic, or a type of slate and clamshell composite. The stones come in two colours: black and white. Black stones are used by one player, and white stones are used by the other player.

The stones are placed on the intersections of the lines on the board. Each player takes turns placing their stones on the board until the game ends. The stones can be captured by the opponent if they are surrounded on all sides, and they are removed from the board.

The size of the stones and board may vary depending on the level of play and the location where the game is being played. For example, a smaller board with fewer intersections (9×9 or 13×13) may be used for beginners or for faster-paced games.

Overall, the Go board and stones are essential components of the game Go. The board provides a playing field for the stones, and the stones are used to create strategic moves and capture the opponent’s stones.

How to Start a Go or Weiqi Game

Starting a game of Go or Weiqi is a simple process that requires only a few basic steps. Here’s what you need to know how to play go or weiqi for beginners:

Step 1: Set up the board

The first step in starting a game of Go or Weiqi is to set up the board. The standard board is a 19×19 grid of intersecting lines, although smaller sizes are also available for shorter games or beginners. The board can be made of various materials, including wood, plastic, or even cardboard.

Step 2: Determine Black or White

Black and white stones in wooden bowls on a go weiqi board - How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners - The Gamerian Gaming Blog

In the game of Go or Weiqi, the decision of which player plays as Black or White is traditionally determined by chance when both players are of equal strength. This process is called nigiri, where one player randomly selects a handful of white stones, and the other player places one or two black stones on the board to indicate even or odd. 

The total number of stones is then counted, and if it is an even number, the player who placed the black stones will play as White, while the other player will play as Black. However, if it is an odd number, the player who placed the black stones will play as Black, and the other player will play as White.

Step 3: Place the stones

A hand placing a black stone on a go board - How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners - The Gamerian Gaming Blog

Once the board is set up, the players take turns placing their stones on the intersections of the lines. The player using black stones makes the first move, followed by the player using white stones. Stones must be placed at the intersection of vertical and horizontal lines, and once a stone is placed, it cannot be moved unless it is captured.

Step 4: Follow the rules

Go or Weiqi has a few basic rules that players must follow. The primary objective of the game is to encircle as much territory as possible while capturing the opponent’s stones. Stones can be captured by surrounding them on all sides, and the winner is the player with the greatest amount of territory and captured stones at the end of the game.

Step 5: Play to the end

Go or Weiqi is a game that requires players to think strategically and plan their moves carefully. The game can last for several hours, and it is important to play to the end even if one player appears to be winning. In some cases, the outcome of the game may not be clear until the very end, so it is important to stay focused and keep playing until the final move is made.

By following these simple steps, anyone can start playing Go or Weiqi and enjoy the challenge and excitement of this ancient mind sport game.

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Playing the Game Go

To play Go, players take turns placing stones on the intersections of the board. The objective of the game is to control more space or territorial land than the opponent by surrounding empty areas with stones. Here are the basic steps to playing Go:

Placing the Stones

Players take turns placing their stones on the intersections of the board. Black always goes first. The stones are placed on the points where the lines on the board intersect. The stones can be placed horizontally or vertically, but not diagonally. Once a stone is placed, it cannot be moved, but it can be captured.

Capturing Stones

A stone is captured when it is surrounded on all sides by the opponent’s stones. When a stone is captured, it is removed from the board and placed in the capturing player’s territory. The captured stones are counted as points at the end of the game.

Territory and Scoring

View from the top of a go game weiqi game - How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners - The Gamerian Gaming Blog

The goal of the game is to control more territory than the opponent. Territory is defined as empty points surrounded by a player’s stones. To count territory, players add up the number of empty points they have surrounded with their stones and the number of captured stones they have taken from the opponent. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

To ensure that both players have equal opportunities to control territory, the board is divided into nine areas called “star points.” These points are marked by small dots on the board. The player who controls the most star points at the end of the game is awarded an additional point.

In conclusion, Go is a game of strategy and skill that requires careful planning and execution. By following the basic rules and strategies outlined above, players can become proficient at the game and enjoy hours of challenging gameplay.

Weiqi or Go Strategies and Tactics

Basic Go Strategies

To succeed in Go, players need to develop a basic understanding of the game’s fundamental strategies. These strategies include:

  • Territory control: Players must aim to control as much of the board as possible. They can do this by placing stones in key positions that block their opponent’s access to certain areas of the board.
  • Influence: Players should aim to build a strong influence over the board. They can do this by placing stones in strategic positions that allow them to control large areas of the board.
  • Group formation: Players must work to form groups of stones that are connected to one another. These groups can be used to control territory and to defend against attacks from the opponent.

By mastering these basic strategies, players can gain a strong foundation for more advanced tactics.

Advanced Go Tactics

Once players have a solid grasp of the game’s basic strategies, they can begin to develop more advanced tactics. These tactics include:

  • Ko fights: Ko fights occur when both players are trying to capture the same stone repeatedly. Players must be able to recognise when a Ko fight is taking place and respond appropriately.
  • Sente and gote: Sente refers to moves that force the opponent to respond, while gote refers to moves that allow the opponent to take the initiative. Players must aim to play as many sente moves as possible while avoiding gote moves.
  • Life and death: Players must be able to identify when a group of stones is alive or dead. They can do this by understanding the concept of “liberties”, which refers to the number of empty spaces surrounding a group of stones.

By using these advanced tactics, players can gain a significant advantage over their opponents. However, it is important to remember that Go is a complex game, and success requires a deep understanding of both the basic strategies and the advanced tactics.

Etiquette of Playing Go or Weiqi

When playing Go, it is important to follow certain etiquette and rules to ensure a fair and respectful game. It is also worth noting that polite manners and good etiquette are very much emphasized in the game. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Respect Your Opponent

It is important to show respect to your opponent before, during, and after the game. This includes greeting them before the game, thanking them for the game afterwards, and refraining from any unsportsmanlike behaviour during the game. Additionally, players should not touch their opponent’s stones without permission and should avoid distracting or disturbing their opponent during their turn.

2. Proper Stone Placement

Players should take care to place their stones on the board properly. Stones should be placed in the centre of the intersection, not on the lines, and should be placed gently to avoid disturbing other stones on the board. Players should also refrain from hovering their hand over the board while considering their move, as this can be distracting to their opponent.

3. Timing

Players should be mindful of the time limit for the game and should take care to make their moves in a timely manner. If a player takes too long to make a move, their opponent may request a time extension or a forfeit. Additionally, players should avoid distracting their opponent by making unnecessary noises or movements during the game.

4. Resignation

A group of senior citizens happily playing weiqi or go game, two elderly men having a handshake after the go game - How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners - The Gamerian Gaming Blog

If a player believes they cannot win the game, it is customary to resign rather than playing until the end. This shows respect for the opponent’s time and skill and allows the game to end gracefully. Players should not, however, resign prematurely or without good reason.

By following these etiquette guidelines, players can ensure a fair and respectful game of Go. Remember, the ultimate goal of the game is to have fun and improve your skills, not to win at all costs.

Understanding Go Rankings

In the game of Go, players are ranked according to their skill level. There are two types of rankings: Dan and Kyu. Dan is the higher level, and Kyu is the lower level.

Dan Ranking

Dan ranking is used to measure the skill level of advanced players. The ranking system starts at 1 Dan and goes up to 9 Dan. Players who are ranked 1 Dan are considered to be advanced, while those who are ranked 9 Dan are considered to be the best in the world.

Kyu Ranking

Kyu ranking is used to measure the skill level of beginners and intermediate players. The ranking system starts at 30 Kyu and goes up to 1 Kyu. Players who are ranked 30 Kyu are considered to be beginners, while those who are ranked 1 Kyu are considered to be intermediate players.

Promotion and Demotion

Players can be promoted or demoted based on their performance. If a player wins enough games, they can be promoted to a higher rank. If they lose too many games, they can be demoted to a lower rank.

Professional Rankings

Professional players have their own ranking system, which is separate from the amateur ranking system. The professional ranking system starts at 1 Dan and goes up to 9 Dan, just like the amateur ranking system.

Understanding the ranking system is important for players who want to improve their skills and compete at higher levels. By knowing their rank, players can find opponents who are at a similar skill level and challenge themselves to improve.

Resources for Further Learning

For those who want to continue learning and improving their Go game skills, there are a variety of resources available. Here are some of the best resources for learning Go:


There are many books available on Go that cover a range of topics, from basic rules and strategy to advanced techniques. Some popular titles include:

Online Tutorials

There are several online tutorials available for those who prefer to learn at their own pace. Some of the best resources include:

  • Online Go Server (OGS) – A popular online platform for playing and learning Go. It offers a variety of features, including AI reviews, puzzles, and teaching games with stronger players.
  • Sensei’s Library: This is a community-driven wiki that offers a wealth of information on Go strategy, tactics, and history.
  • Guo Juan’s Internet Go School – An online Go school run by professional player Guo Juan. It offers a variety of courses for players of all levels, as well as individual lessons and game reviews.


For those who prefer to learn through visual media, there are several video resources available. Some popular options include:

  • Dwyrin’s Go Videos: This YouTube channel offers a range of videos on Go strategy and tactics, as well as game reviews and commentary.
  • Go Pro Yeonwoo: This YouTube channel features Go games and commentary by professional player Yeonwoo Cho.
  • BadukMovies: This channel offers a range of video resources, including game reviews, lectures, and interviews with professional players.


Of course, the best way to improve at Go is through practice. There are several online sites available for finding opponents to play against, including:

  • KGS Go Server: This is one of the largest and most popular Go servers, with players from all over the world.
  • OGS: This is a free, open-source Go server that offers a range of features, including game analysis and a ranking system.
  • Tygem: This is a popular Go server in Korea, with a large number of professional players and high-level games.
  • Fox Weiqi – This is a China-based Weiqi server that supports kyu to professional rank players. It is one of the most popular Weiqi servers in the world and offers a partially-translated English client. It is known for its user-friendly interface and strong player base.
  • Dragon Go Server (DGS) – This is a turn-based Weiqi server that allows players to play games at their own pace. It offers a range of game formats, including live games and correspondence games. It also has a strong player base and offers a variety of features, including game reviews and a ranking system.

Overall, there are many resources available for those who want to learn and improve at Go. Whether you prefer books, online tutorials, videos, or practice games, there is something for everyone. Want to play the game on Steam? Check out Just Go!

Just Go Steam Game - How to Play Go Game or Weiqi for Beginners - The Gamerian Gaming Blog

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to learn to play Go?

Go is a relatively simple game to learn, but it can take some time to master. The rules are straightforward, and the game is easy to set up and play. However, the strategic depth of the game means that it can take years to become truly proficient.

What is the objective of Go game?

The objective of Go is to control more territory on the board than your opponent. Players do this by placing stones on the board and surrounding their opponent’s stones to capture them.

Is Go game good for brain?

Go has been shown to have many cognitive benefits, including improving memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. Hailed as a mind sport, it is often recommended as a way to keep the mind sharp and active.

Is Go more difficult than chess?

Go and chess are both complex games, but they require different skills and strategies. Go is often considered to be more difficult than chess due to its larger board and more open-ended gameplay.

Why is Go not as popular as chess?

Go is less popular than chess in many parts of the world, but it has a dedicated following in East Asia. One reason for its relative lack of popularity is that it can be harder for beginners to understand the strategic concepts involved in the game.

How long does a game of Go take?

The length of a game of Go can vary depending on the skill level of the players, but most games take between 30 minutes and two hours to complete.

How do you win in Go?

To win in Go, players must control more territory on the board than their opponent. This is done by strategically placing stones to surround and capture their opponent’s stones.

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