getting started
an introduction to IGS PandaNet

WELCOME to IGS PandaNet, the Internet Go Server, the world's leading forum for playing, watching, studying, and enjoying the game of Go on the internet. At any time, day or night, you can find hundreds of other players from all over the world and of all playing levels, from beginners to professionals. Whatever your ability, you can find opponents of similar skill to play with, and IGS provides access to the interface software to create a realistic Go board on your computer screen. IGS broadcasts live the championship matches for top professional events, including the Meijin, Honinbo, Kisei, Judan and Tengen titles, and the Ricoh Cup professional pairs tournament - and daily you can watch professionals playing informal quick games with each other and with top amateurs.

IGS has recently expanded its offerings for Go enthusiasts. Professional commentaries on randomly selected amateur games played on IGS are presented in the monthly IGS PandaNet Mail Magazine. The IGS Art Gallery features a rare and beautiful collection of classical Japanese and Chinese paintings containing Go themes. And there is a collection of challenging life-and-death (tsumego) exercises to sharpen your skill.

This brief introduction is to help you get started on IGS. To get started you need to (1) register your own account, (2) learn how to connect to the IGS game server, (3) download a client program and install it on your computer, and (4) learn the basic commands.

1. How do I register an account?

To register an IGS account, simply connect to the IGS registration page located at and complete the registration form. It's that simple! When creating an account name, please use only letters and numbers, but no punctuation or other symbols. Note that the names are case-sensitive, that is, it matters whether letters are capitals or lower case. If you are new to Go start your rank around 28k.

If you made no errors when entering your email address, you will receive your registration letter in a few seconds or a few hours. This letter will contain the name you chose, your password, and other information whose use will become apparent later. Please save this letter for reference. The registration letter also contains important information on the IGS policies and usage agreement. Please read it carefully. If you do not receive your registration letter then your registration failed. Simply register again. Please do not send email to IGS asking them to register an account for you. All users must register themselves.

After you receive your registration letter, log in to IGS with your new account. All the IGS commands should be available to you, but if not, it probably means you entered IGS as a guest account.

You can log in to the IGS game server as a guest and watch games, read documentation, and use a few commands, but to experience the full benefit of IGS you need to register and enter IGS with a registered account.


2. How do I connect to IGS?

There are two methods to connect to the IGS game server. One is by using a client (graphic interface), and the other is by using a telnet program. The best method is to use a client.

Client:   Client programs are available for IGS from the Archives located in the contents section of the IGS home page, or by anonymous ftp using a terminal or ftp program. Basically all you need to do is install a client on your computer, enter the address for IGS, a registered account name, and the client will connect you to IGS.

IGS has several addresses, but they all take you to the same place. The address for IGS consists of an address name followed by a port number. If the address for IGS is not already entered into your client, then use any of the following:   6969   6969   7777   7777

For technical reasons, from time to time you may experience problems connecting to IGS. Try using one of the other addresses above.

A short note about connection speeds:

Each person's connection speed will vary, and this has little to do with IGS. At times your connection will be quick and responsive, and slow and sluggish on other occasions. Connection speed and response has to do with internet routing and traffic. If there is heavy internet traffic between you and IGS, this will have an effect on your connection speed and response. Many people think the root cause is at IGS, but this is not the case. Think of internet routes and traffic like a road or highway. You might be having a party, and some of your guests will arrive early and some late. Some might be stuck in traffic, while others coming via another route will have no delay. Whether or not some arrive late or early has nothing to do with your house. For an excellent discussion on net lag, or net delay, please read the short article by Olli Lounela called NetLag.


3. Are there clients (graphic interfaces) for IGS?

By default, IGS uses an ASCII (text based) interface. This is to ensure compatibility with most computer operating systems. However, using a client will give you a graphic interface, which is easier for most people. There are clients available for most of the major computer operating systems. Actually, you don't need a client, but most people prefer a graphic interface because it is easier to click on a graphic Go board.

Here is a sample of ascii  vs.  a client interface.


IGS Pandanet has three in-house clients, glGo, gGo and Panda-IGS. glGo and gGo will work under Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, and they are recommended for the average and experienced computer user. Panda-IGS is a Windows only client, and it is recommended for the novice computer user. Panda-IGS is available in four languages, Chinese, English, Korean, and Japanese.

If you are using Windows, we recommend glGo, gGo and Panda-IGS. For those using a UNIX/Linux based operating system, we recommend glGo, gGo, RubyGo (a Windows version of RubyGo is available), and xgospel. If you are using an Apple computer, we recommend glGo, gGo and Goban for use with Mac OS X, and for the Classic Mac OS try either goservant or macgo.

glGo is a open GL based client and gGo is a powerful JAVA based client for IGS PandaNet. Both provide you with a graphic interface for playing, observing, and communicating with other players. glGo and gGo contain a full featured SGF (Smart Go Format) editor that allows you to review and edit games, supports reading and writing in both the standard 4 and older SGF standards, and reading UGF and XML games. gGo is written in Java and requires JRE 1.3 or later. JRE 1.4 or higher is strongly recommended, because some features are not available with Java 1.3.


Thanks to some very talented people there are many other clients for IGS that provide users with a graphic interface. There are clients for all the major computer operating systems. You can download clients from the Archive site by anonymous ftp. You can use a WEB browser or an ftp program. If you use ftp, log in as anonymous, and use your email address as the password.

From a WEB browser use:
If you use a ftp program use:  ftp, then after you connect, use  cd Go

Choose the igs clients directory and then the directory for your operating system, such as Apple Computer, PC, or UNIX/Linux.

Except for the glGo, gGo, and Panda-IGS clients, all the other clients have been written by talented people not associated with IGS. Some of the clients are freeware and some are shareware. IGS does not receive any part of the fees paid to the client writers. If you experience a problem with a client, or have questions, or lost your client registration password, please contact the programmer of the client you are using. Please be sure to read the documentation for the client you choose.

Each of the different client programs has a different interface, different graphics, and different commands. Not every one displays the same image, so you might want to experiment with different clients to decide which one works best for you. When using a client, please remember that client commands are not the same as IGS commands.

If you use a client, your client will set your login to 'client mode', and should you later telnet to IGS without it, you may find that your familiar prompt has changed and looks like:

1 1  or  1 5

Don't panic if you don't see your familiar prompt, just complete your login by entering your account name and password. After you enter IGS, enter toggle client. Also you may start seeing coordinates for moves if you observe a game, instead of the usual board. If this happens, just enter toggle verbose. On IGS, see help toggle.

telnet:   You can also connect to IGS without a client by using telnet. Most computer operating systems have telnet applications available, and some come installed with a telnet application. If you are using Windows, start the telnet program directly, or use the MS-DOS, or the command prompt program to start a telnet session. Mac OS X, and UNIX/Linux by default have telnet installed as part of their operating systems. You may be able to telnet to IGS from your WEB browser, if it has been configured to use a telnet application. You can test this out by clicking on this:

telnet   6969

If you use telnet, enter both the address for IGS and the port number.

If your WEB browser has been configured with a telnet application, open a connection with any of the following:

telnet://        telnet://
telnet://        telnet://


4. What are some basic commands for IGS?

IGS utilizes many commands, but if you are new to IGS there are some basic commands you should review first to help you get started. Please visit the Commands page and read the section, Basic Starting Commands. There are also short help documents available after logging into IGS. Many commands have options, and you can use these short versions as a quick reminder of these options. These short versions are meant to be viewed in the standard size terminal window, which is 24 rows down, and 80 characters across. You can review these short versions at anytime on IGS by entering help plus the command name.

I G S / contents

I G S - a d m i n i s t r a t i o n


Copyright© 2002 Panda Net Inc. All rights reserved.