Simultaneous Go

    Keywords: Variant

Simultaneous Go can be seen as a MultiplayerGoGame, where one person offers to play more than one game of Go with other players at the same time (simultaneous).

Table of contents

Notes about simultaneous Go

  • Invariably, the person offering SimulGo plays the white stones, even or against handicap stones.
  • Handicap is usually reduced by 2 or 3 stones, due to the difficulty of playing several boards at once.
  • This type of games are typically offered to lower skilled players, who often not get much opportunity to play with people many ranks stronger, an example being handicapped SimulGo offered by visiting professionals to local Go Club members.
  • It is desirable that the stronger player plays in a way that helps the weaker player learn from their moves.
  • The simultaneous player gets to play many more games (especially against weaker players) for the time spent.
  • The simul player has an opportunity to improve his multitasking skills.
  • The benefit to the white player (person offering the game) is to train his own emotions against setbacks. Without disciplining ones own emotions, the white player can fall apart in other concurrent games, where he were playing well. Over time, the increased skills in managing setbacks (resilience) have flow-on effects to real life situations.

Over the table

  • Over the table: the single player(player playing only one board) should wait with their move ready until the simultaneous player arrives at the board, and play it only then. This avoids the repeated questions for the last move and eyes hovering over the board, searching for the move.
  • Easy to give some hints to the single player.
  • Easy to let take back a bad move.
  • ko requires extra concentration


  • Giving some hints to the single player is not usual, as using the keyboard for communication distracts and takes time.
  • A time limit can be a great stress factor for the simultaneous player.

Observations and Discussion

SimulGo is often very challenging for the stronger player who offers such games, especially in an online situation, if he (she) sets tight time limits.

Another significant challenge playing online SimulGo is that unlike a real life SimulGo session, the white player cannot glance at other games he has set up, while waiting for the in-focus black player to finish thinking. This in effect reduces thinking time for the white player.

Anonymous: This is not true of all internet Go servers.

Phelan: What exactly isn't true? That thinking time is less, or that you can't glance at other games? It doesn't make sense to just remove the KGS link and then just say it isn't true in all servers, when you can add information about a server where it is possible instead, and leave the fact that KGS doesn't do this.

RueLue: For KGS: it is possible to look at other boards (of this games set), while waiting for a move.
KGS has same thinking time for white and black, so that the stronger player has for all boards together only the time, which the weaker players each have for one game (but it is possible, to set up a simul game without time limit). IGS has simul and teaching games, where the white time will not run out, as it is reset to the initial time after each move. Would be fine to have some hints about setting up a simul game on IGS. I added a link to the german KGS help for simul games (at the bottom of this page).

Phelan: It is possible to look, but not glance, which I think was the intent of the anonymous commenter above. This could be solved if there were a page with all the boards that would zoom in whenever needed. I wonder if he had found a go server where glancing is possible.

RueLue: Hey! That is an interesting feature for a client: a row of thumbnails of the unfinished games; letting the mouse pointer hover over the small pictures zooms them in one after the other (a bit like in the Mac desktop). Let's see, which client has this feature first. :-)

More often than not, a person offering SimulGo is playing at skills two or more grades weaker than his normal rank. And there lies the third and often underestimated benefit of offering SimulGo to others. In one or more of these concurrent Go games the white player will find himself getting into a fair bit of trouble.

From a promotional point of view, a simulgo attracts much more attention than when the same number of players just play in their corner.

This is a first stab at describing and promoting SimulGo - go ahead and help the community improve the page please. In future intention is to create a SimulGoStrategy? page to discuss these games from the perspective of the white player. See PairGoStrategy for one I setup for PairGo.


Simultaneous Go last edited by 2601:0647:4200:23b0 on July 18, 2020 - 20:15
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