How to play Go

The rules of go are very simple:


  • Two players take turns placing stones (that’s the name of the pieces) on the intersections of a grid on an empty board. One player takes black and one player takes white, black goes first.
  • Once a stone is placed it cannot be moved unless it is captured. The adjacent intersections of a stone are called that stone’s liberties and a stone is captured when all the liberties of the stone are occupied by the opponent’s stones.
  • When you place a stone next to your own stone they create a chain. Your opponent then has to take the liberties of the whole chain in order to capture the chain.
  • You are not allowed to place a stone where it would have no liberties, unless that move captures one or several of the stones occupying those liberties.
  • The board position may not be repeated two moves in a row.


Those are all the rules and the game is won by the player who occupies more space on the board at the end of the game. The game ends when both players pass because there are no moves left, or when one player resigns.


Easy, right? Well, while the rules are few and simple they are also very abstract. So it can be difficult to understand how the game is played just from reading the rules. Luckily, there is a great interactive guide to learning how to play for beginners that can be found here:


Welcome to the exciting world of go, and good luck!

Leave a Reply