Over the years, I have tried many Go software and apps both to help me study Go as well as to write Go books. I still remember those days of MoyoGo which made some waves but is now no longer active. I have used SmartGo for a very long time too for game study and editing. At the very beginning for game database, I purchased a copy of GoGod for the library of games and subscribed to Go4Go.net for up to date game records and then used Kombilo as an engine to work on that database. In my earlier days, I also used the Hibiscus Go game editor.
Just by hearing me say these names you would have guessed how long I have played Go.
In this blog post, I would like to recommend some of the software that I use now on a regular basis and I hope through this recommendation, you will find something that suits you and can help you to study Go. Here you Go.
SmartGo for the desktop has two versions, one for Windows and one for Mac. I started with the Windows version and since I have switched to a Mac for many years now, I have been waiting for a Mac version which they finally released a beta version this year.
I use SmartGo on my Mac mostly to search the database for patterns and then see how professionals play in the pattern. For example, if I wanted to study more on the Mini Chinese Fuseki, I simply turn on the Fuseki matching mode and put in the pattern and I will get a list of all the professional games matching this pattern.
If I wanted to search for a Joseki pattern, for instance the Large Avalanche, I can turn on the Joseki matching mode and I will get a list of all the games where this Joseki is played and then I can scroll on the games and study the various patterns in real, actual professional game.
The user interface is very good and easy to navigate, with separate windows so that you can put the windows side by side and study the patterns.
Besides SmartGo for the desktop, they also have a version for the iPad and iPhone called the SmartGo Kifu. On the iPad and iPhone, the functions are similar and you can also study recent professional games or perform pattern search.
If this is not enough to help you study, they have another product called the SmartGo Books which is available on the iPad, iPhone and also on the Mac. It is an app which contains more than 100 Go books, from classical books to modern classics and the books are not just merely pdf copies but with interactive diagrams and very well formatted. You can purchase the books in the app and you then have a good library of books and if combined with SmartGo Kifu, a good library of games that you carry with you everywhere you go.
The app is created by Huafang Liu and they are very reasonably priced. It has a free version with quite a big collection of problems as well.
There is a HUGE collection of problems in there, including very popular sets such as the Lee Changho Life and Death and Tesuji sets. Very worth it and highly recommended.
Of course you can play Go online if you are connected to the internet. Many of these sites have apps for the smart phone, tablets and desktops. Some of the best places to play Go online are as follows:
The above are online real-time Go servers where you can find many opponents. If you would like to play turn-based Go, i.e. not real time but just on a turn based basis, you can check out the following two sites.