Different Sized Boards

    Keywords: Variant, Equipment

Table of contents

The game of go is usually played on a board with two orthogonal sets of 19 lines. Such a board is said to have a size of 19x19. It is certainly possible to play Go on a board of any desired size, so long as one can find a way to represent the board and has enough stones to fill it. Most computer go programs allow one to choose the board size. Some programs allow boards which are rectangular, such as a 13x19 board, while others require the board to be square. One can also take a typical 19x19 goban from the real world and shrink it to a smaller size using various techniques to mask out the nonessential lines.

This section is dedicated to exploring the implications on play of different sized boards that have existed historically, traditionally and experimentally, as well as any related culture.

Different sizes

(up to) 2x2: Results of games up to 2x2 [ext] http://web.archive.org/web/20080509132201/http://www.brooklyngoclub.org/jc/go2by2.html

Commonly used to introduce the game using capture go.
smallest square board where white can create a 'normal' living group if black plays optimal.
The smallest undecided board with an odd number of lines (Proofs?! --RobertJasiek).
Popular for fast and instructive games.
Uncommon board size.
Also popular.
Popular in China many years ago. And still used. I bought a set in 2003 with plastic stones and 15x15 paper board. Chinese play gomoku on these; I've never seen one used for go. 15x15 was also promoted briefly by the Nihon Kiin for the purpose of promoting the game amongst junior players.
Currently used in Tibetan go. In ancient China it was the mainstream size before Jin Dynasty (265 AD - 420 AD), and was thoroughly replaced by the 19x19 board during Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907AD) [ext] source.
The default size in the current era. The earliest 19x19 board appeared during Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 AD), and became mainstream size during Southern & Northern Dynasties (420 AD - 589 AD) [ext] source. Why19x19

See also Interesting board sizes and Small Board Go.

Unusual properties

Even-sized boards
Why not?
Small boards
17x17 and smaller.
Large boards
21x21 and beyond.
Rectangular boards
19x13 and others.
Narrow Boards
2xN and others.
Linear boards


Unusual gobans
Boards with holes, strange shapes and other weirdness.
How to shrink a goban
Techniques to turn a standard board into a smaller one.

The biggest goban

Possible rule set for non-standard boards


Different Sized Boards last edited by TheBigH on February 1, 2016 - 13:34
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