What is the ideal Go server?
I have played Go on the Internet since 1998. I have
tried many Go servers: IGS, Cholian, Hitel, Mgame, Neostone, Play361,
Cyberkiwon, Livebaduk, Lessonbaduk, IBS, Dashn, Orozone, Cyberoro and
KGS. In this list you can see many Korean servers and servers that have
You might say that KGS is almost ideal, and I cannot disagree with you.
That said it would be even better if we had more players and a solid
Even such a powerful server as KGS could be improved. Here are my suggestions.
1. Audio lessons are very pleasant, but it's even more interesting to
see the face of the teacher, using a web camera. As far as I know, it
was first tried in 2000 by Livebaduk. Video lectures delivered by Kwon
Kapyong, 7-dan and his students (Kwon has the largest Go school in
Korea and has produced many professionals, including Lee Sedol and Choi
Chelhan) made the server popular within a few months and increased the
number of visitors from 0 to 1500-2000 members in rush hours.
2. Almost every Korean Go server has virtual currency. You may spend it
on watching lectures and live broadcasts (with pro commentaries). It's
also possible to bet money on the outcome of top-level dan players'
games, as in real-life totalizator ( In Russia we can bet money on
results of football/hockey matches and even try to guess the final
score) . Of course you can play for money, even in bangneki style
(http://senseis.xmp.net/?BangNeki ). I don't know a server where you
can take the money home, exchanging virtual currency for real cash. It
would probably make the situation with government regulations and taxes
easier. You would have to have virtual money in your account if you
would like to use the services described above. Of course, it would be
very profitable for server owners.
3. I would like to see live translations, especially from real pro
tournaments with short time controls, like the Nongsim Cup. It would
not be very expensive for server owners. Considering the will of Asian
Go Federations leaders, who wish to make the game popular in other
countries, they could easily accept the system, where only non-Asian
players (it's not a hard task to block Asians by IP) could watch the
translations. Asian users would still pay for translations on Tygem or
Cyberoro, so these servers would not lose any profit or popularity.
4. It would be nice if we could see the total score of games played
with a single opponent. It's always a pleasure to see that you can beat
someone who was always beating you a few years ago.
5. The option of using pictures in KGS profiles is a great feature, but
considering that there are not only lazy users, but also users who for
various reasons cannot use Adobe Photoshop or other picture editor
programs, it would reasonable to give them the chance to select an
avatar from a list during the registration procedure. Later they could
change it to their own pictures, if so desired. Dashn offers avatars
from Korean history. On Livebaduk they used pictures based on star
We could take the pictures from fairytales or movies, Lord of the
Rings, for example. In my opinion it's not honest if one player has a
beautiful avatar while the other one hasn't got one at all.
6. I meet this problem by reviewing KGS games for commentary section on
Go4Go (http://www.go4go.net/v2/modules/alex/ ). It's hard to find the
recent game records of 7-9 dan players who play on KGS infrequently. If
you wish to find them it's necessary to input players' nicknames and
check them one by one: Tartrate, sariyu, fondle, mymy, yukisuke … Maybe
one of them has played a game? I suggest keeping a list of recent games
played by 7-9 dan players or of games that attracted more than 100
7. And finally, there is one feature, which is not important at all. If
you save the game on disk, you load the observer's kibbitzes as well.
Probably, it would be better to have a choice: to load the game with
comments or simply as a clean sgf record.