KGS First Time User Experience

    Keywords: Software, Online Go

Welcome to the Kiseido Go Server! As a guest you will have all of the abilities of a full user, but your account and your games will not be saved. Please register this account to make it permanent! To register, select the "Register" option of the "User" menu. It is completely free of charge.

(English) new user message

The intention of this page is to collect the experiences of people who just joined KGS quickly and easily, while it's still fresh. Any other feedback should be entered in KGS Wishlist or KGS Bugs. Advice and help in KGS User's Guide. If you have some experience with KGS, then please don't spam this list with wishes - that's what the KGS Wishlist is for.

Please write your experiences under a headline containing your KGS name and the date you joined.

Violaine March 04 2015

Very nice go place Help pages very useful

My only wish would be to have a switch for a full screen-full size go board? from the top to the bottom of my screen to enjoy the most! (no title , names of players, window bar... all put at the side instead)

Long life to kgs!

Timluc0428 March 12 2014


I recently started playing online go on a different server only because they had an app for my iPad. I thought I was satisfied but decided to try KGS just because I saw a few Youtube videos of lectures, and read that KGS was great for finding someone to play teaching game, or a game review.

I played my first game against a human last night (had played a couple bots to get a feel for the client) and lost. I was going to just review the game on my own but my opponent suggested asking for someone to review it.

Within a couple of minutes of request "death101" offered his opinion. by around move 20 his internet time was running out (must have been in a net cafe) but I learned a lot from the little bit. Then I asked in KTL room for another reviewer and immediately had "BrokenTree?" offer his help.

Both reviewers were extremely patient in explanation, had a perfect balance of not too simple but not too technical.

I felt like by the end of the review I had my first GO friends. I don't know if this is normal for KGS, but I'm pretty impressed. I was already addicted to GO, now even more so!!!

Glorat2012 December 29 2012

Registered my account and tried to play my first ever game.

I got automatched against "kyugo" - I don't know if that was even a bot. Automatch granted my opponent 3 stones despite me being a rank beginner. Also, I got pulled into a "fast" game when in retrospect a slow game would be better so I could think. Needless to say, I got completely hammered! Not the best introduction to the game... I haven't decided whether to have another go yet

Riverdeep1 December 26 2011

hi ...I am trying to play my friend at go. we are both on the same pc. I request a feature that lets us both log in as guests from one that the loggin allows multiple users or can someone add to the help file the method for doing so. thankyou.

Bruschkov on KGS - September 15, 2010

I've been on the server for a week now which is how long I play Go altogether. So far I stick to 9x9 games. I have met very friendly people so far, who were willing to play me and give me intense reviews of my stupid mistakes although they didn't gain anything from it. I appreciate that very much.

I just would like to know if it is possible to save the reviews of games in the same manner that you can save the games themselves. The reviews I get are very helpful and I would like to go back and watch them a second and third time. Is that possible?

  • glue: yes it is. The player who starts the review has the option to save the review to the server. If he doesn't, you can still save the game to your disk before leaving it (if you are using the downloaded CGoban3 software) from the options button in the game.
  • Bruschkov?: Thank you, I will do that from now on. I did try saving games to my disk but these saves don't include the ensuing reviews.

spookas on KGS - July 4, 2010

I've been on for a couple weeks now and I'm really loving KGS. There are a lot of matches happening, it's never difficult to find an appropriate opponent. The "kibbitz" culture is really charming too. I appreciate how easy it is to review games and explore alternate plays. The UI is good, though there are a lot of abbreviations to dig through - I was already familiar with concepts like komi and handicap, so it wasn't too difficult for me to figure out, but a new Go player might find it overwhelming. Visuals could use an update, but that's minor.

The emphasis on teaching, observing, and 19x19 matches makes this a great place for people who really want to get into Go, but it's also quite friendly to newcomers and lots of people will give free lessons to lower ranks. To think, I wasted all that time on Yahoo Games!

Mark Alston, beernut on KGS - March 28, 2010

I have now played four games against real people on KGS. Other than my kids these are the only games I have played against humans. For some reason it took me many, many days to get the courage to ask for a game. Don't know what I was so worried about. I have now played a game against someone in France, Germany, Uraguay and North Carolina (I am making a point of asking everyone). The diversity of people and places makes it extra fun.

I decided to post a game request first instead of waiting for a well matched game to pop up. After reading some scare stories I decided to request a game "no guests" and I posted that it was my first game against a live person. My initial ranking 23K made my first game start with me as white with a two stone handicap. Freaked me out!!! That and the fact that there were three observers made me nervous as heck. Made a bunch of mistakes, flailed and lost on time but more importantly I had a blast!!!

As soon as that first game was over a much higher ranked player who was watching went through the game with me and showed me some silly mistakes. He also gave me some real encouragement and showed great character.

So far my KGS experience has been 100% positive and for others on the fence... Ask for a game and get going!

Andy Pierce - July 27, 2008

Played about 25 games. I like it. IGS got frustrating because it took so long to change ranks, whereas KGS seems more responsive. I miss my command line though. The custom game setting is nice (I do 1:00 + 5:00/25 Canadian). Trying to play lightning time (1:00 + 5 x 0:10 Japanese) is just nuts; good to experience though. With Canadian timing, some of my moves are bad. With Japanese timing, all my moves are bad. I would like if KGS could auto-save (locally) SGFs of completed games.

danielt63 - June 22, 2008

I have now played about 4 games in KGS. I especially like the "automatch" feature. Just turn it on and wait for someone else who turned it on with compatible settings. Much nicer than sifting through the open games list looking for something acceptable.

ujio - February 25, 2008

i downloaded the client first, when i logged in i was amazed to see all these people playing. i thought go was not as popular. immediately i got some beginners help in the english game room by a nice admin called noknott. i opened a game and was waiting for a player. i wrote in the info that i was a beginner and it was my first time playing, the player immediately recommended a 5x5 board instead to learn the basics, it was so much fun and a great teacher!(3 dan) the players where very kind, and they even asked if i wanted a review! they taught me many useful things and i was ready to go at improving my game and rank:)

the client is so good, and really easy to use. i bet a 6 year old could learn to use it in 5 minutes and its bright and you can see all players logged in and games that are being played etc. i also enjoy that you can watch games of others and be a part of the kibitz, especially i like watching dan games. often a dan player will explain things for the other observers and people guess the next move together(its really fun!)

the board that you play on is bright and its pretty big for the screen and its very easy to follow. it has nice shell and slate gimmicked stones which look really nice, also you can chat with the other player, and there are many good reviewing tools for after the game!

-continuing- so i played a few games and earned my first rank, after i gained a rank, another player started to follow up on me and teach me regularly, i heard this is quite normal and its great for beginners to have a personal teacher. there is absolutely a sense of "family/friend" relation within kgs.

im really happy about all the friends i've made here and its a great place to play:)

jeffguy - November 6, 2005

Overall good experience. The login was unintuitive. I felt like as a guest I needed a password. Thanks be to WelcomeToKGS that I figured it out.

First game: I made a game in the Ranking Room with comment="Never played online before -- mind helping me find my rank?" Someone challenged. I didn't know how to check whether he was guest or net. Once the game started, he was VERY rude, full of profanity, mocking me, etc. I maintained politeness for 5 moves each, then decided it wasn't worth playing with someone so obnoxious, especially with all the good I hear about KGS. I resigned and left. He messaged me to mock me some more.

Game 2: I started with someone else -- Ithmatic or something like that. VERY courteous. He not only played an hour game with me (though he was MUCH better), but he also spent 45 minutes reviewing my game with me afterward and gave me a guess at my rank. Wow! What better experience could I hope for?

wms: Glad to hear you finally had a good time on KGS, jeffguy, Ithmatic sounds great! Sorry about the login issues, there is a help text right there on the login page - did you not notice it, or was it unclear? As for your first opponent, people like that will show up no matter what you do. :-( But please, next time something like that happens, look for a user with a star by their name and tell them what happened. We do try to throw out users who swear etc., but we can only do it if we are told about it!

Javaness: What a nightmare on Game1, those sorts of people really make me mad actually. Luckily the Game2 type are more normal. Mind you, you should actually report that guy from Game1 to an admin, behaviour like that just isn't acceptable.

gleepwurp - October 23, 2005

GleepWurp: I'd played a game or two on KGS prior to this, but this was the first time I'd actually played enough to get a rank and such.


  • The famous KGS friendliness is in full effect, so far as I can tell. Have seen various people offer teaching games in the Beginners Room just because. Certain rooms seem to have extremely tight knit groups of people.
  • As a Double Digit Kyu player, it is very easy to get a firm rank (no ?) just by playing the various KGS Bots. They start at 12k currently and get weaker from there, depending on what program and version they're running. Some intentionally crippled bots tend to be running in the Beginners Room. These are a great help if you have no idea what sort of rank you might be and just want to play some quick games to figure it out without inflicting lopsided games on actual people. Many people avoid games with ? ranked players anyway.
  • Scoring at the end of a game is easy and intuitive.
  • High dan level games tend to attract flocks of people watching and commenting on them, which can be fun to observe.


  • Depending on the time of day, it can be quite difficult to find a game near your rank. IGS greatly surpasses KGS still in terms of sheer quantity of players in specific rank ranges.
  • I had a LOT of trouble figuring out how to chat with specific users. I'd really like to be able to look up someone's information and/or chat with someone directly from the open game list. Even knowing how to do this now, the interface still seems clunky for it. Possibly the most non-intuitive part of the client.
  • It's too easy for me to ignore other players attempting to chat with me, since it just opens another tab. And since I already have quite a few tabs open for various rooms, that's very easy to miss. I've noticed people trying to talk to me long after the fact several times now. If I'm in the middle of a game, then it makes sense for this to be understated but not while I'm just in the lobby.
  • Figuring out what rooms to join involves a lot of trial and error, since you just never know what's in most of them. Maybe if you could see their full length description without actually joining the room?
  • The English Game Room seems to devolve into random non-Go related chat (politics, etc.) on a fairly constant basis, despite the existence of the English Chat Room where that sort of chat is supposed to be.

tirian - April 23, 2005

Tirian: I've been playing for about a week now after a month on IGS. The rumors of it's being a much friendlier place have been fulfilled greatly, to my great pleasure. I'm having some difficulty with CGoban2 not refreshing after a while (maybe an hour or two), and am not sure what causes it and can't seem to find a support page that might be illuminating.

Something specific that I find quite curious is The Beginner Room. I have no idea what it's there for. More than half of the games that I play there have my opponent leaving after the game without review. (I don't have reason to suspect that my play was sufficiently rude or drawn-out to not merit discussion.) Indeed, more than once I've played there against someone who doesn't seem to speak English! In general, I don't mind having a conversation where we speak just with the stones, but when I came to a room for the express purpose of getting feedback on my play, it's discouraging.

JuhoP: You could maybe write 'review after the game, please!' in the game info? Another thing is that if you set up a game, and don't untick the 'open list' box, the game will be in the open games window, and anyone from outside the beginner's room could easily join without even knowing what is a beginner's room. I cannot promise these help, though.

Tirian: Ah, thank you for pointing out the open list checkbox. I didn't understand what it was referring to. In my case, it still wasn't quite enough to avoid non-reviewing players. However, a little moaning in the chat window after the game brought forth a couple of wonderful SDK players who spent a surprisingly long time helping me parse the game. I'm not contributing this to complain about the unkindness of strangers or KGS, just a note to say that my first impression of KGS is that it is curious that EGR has more beginners and The Beginner Room has less political discussion between the two.

Mramahi1: Many of the players you may play simply aren't experienced at Go enough to be able to effectively comment on your play. If this type of situation occurs be sure to ask for a review from somebody higher ranked in the Beginners' Room. Most times somebody will be willing to comment on your game.

DBW913 - Nov 20, 2004

Quicksilvre: Joined just today, under the name DBW913. I must say, even though I'm a DGS veteran (two years), I never realized how much of a shock it would be to play a live game. The swings of emotion are much greater on KGS than on DGS, and more of an impulse to move quickly.

Bashan - Oct 11, 2003

Sebastian: I just tried out KGS (in spite of my reservation about the License Agreement).

It's a great server! And easy to use. Some observations (my client was about a week old and I ignored the warning to upgrade, so please excuse me if some of these are not up to date):

  • The client is much faster on my Win XP box than gGo, which saves my time and nerves especially at the beginning of a game.
  • I love the display of the scored stones at the end.
  • Password
    • I was confused because the password I entered when I logged on as guest was not the same that I had to use the second time.
    • I only had to log in a second time because I accidentally somehow logged me off (I think when I wanted to close a chat I must have closed the app.) If I had not done this, I'm afraid I might have lost my account because, as it states, it's only kept for 24 hours if you don't use it. This seems overly restrictive to me. (Issue moved to KGS Issue - Awkward Registration.)
  • I would like to
    • see open games (the bold lines) at the top of the games list on first use.
  • I thought I could not
    • enter a room (when I hit "Join" in the Room List dialog, I did not realize that it added it in the window in the background.
    • same with "Talk to ..."
    • easily get info about or chat with the players.

Please make this sort of information easier to find for first time users.

hedgehog:(speedhog on KGS) I just played my first game on KGS, and I must say, I do prefer IGS. The game was a two stone handicap against a 13k. It was a great game, and one I just barley won. However, when the score was calculated, he just left! I was very frustrated when I learned that the game didn't count for me! I also didn't like the fact that it is hard to get a quick game. I do love the saved lectures, and I will use them to my advantage. As a shy, serious lover of go, I will stick to IGS.

KGS First Time User Experience last edited by on March 4, 2015 - 11:19
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