Learning to Play Go
Learning Go – Pandanet
An extremely simple explanation of the basic rules of Go. This site takes you step by step in a brief introduction to the game.
The Interactive Way To Go
A very good introduction to the basic mechanics of game play. Not only are the basic rules explained, but some of the most simple and most common fighting techniques are outlined. There are even interactive portions for the student to play through extremely simple Go problems.
Learn to Play Go: A Master’s Guide to the Ultimate Game (Amazon book)
This is the best Go teaching series I’ve found. The first volume teaches everything a beginner could wish to know; theory, mechanics, techniques, etc., all made easy to understand. It also has a large number of sample life-and-death problems with the answers in the back of the book. Think of it as a Go teacher in book form.
Pandanet Internet Go Server
IGS offers the chance to match yourself with real opponents around the world, real-time. Make sure you have an hour and a half or so for a real game if you choose to play this! Also be warned that IGS begins rankings at 30 kyu instead of 50 kyu, so that other ‘beginner’ you are playing may have played every day for the last year and actually be far more advanced than you are. (That can still be a wonderful learning experience). Still, playing live can immerse you into the flow of the game, helping you to understand movement, timing, and the give-and-take balance of a proper Go game.
IGS also gives updates on Go tournaments and top professional Go players (yes, those exist), and allows you the opportunity to observe other members of IGS play go games. For beginners, it might be more enlightening to watch a 25 or 20 kyu game just at first, instead of watching the amazingly advanced players.
OGS Online Go Server
OGS offers the chance to match yourself with real opponents around the world, one move at a time. You and your opponent will each occasionally log in, look at the board, and play…anywhere from a several times a day to once every three days. It is helpful for those who simply don’t have an hour or more of uninterrupted time. OGS saves your board and your game, and allows you to challenge and play many different opponents at a time. The server will start you with a 30 kyu ranking, but after a few lost games it will drop you as far as 50 kyu, so the ranking of anyone who has played more than 6 games is fairly accurate.
OGS also gives you the option (above the listed games when you click ‘join open games’) of playing one of the OGS bots. These are go-playing computer programs. While computer programs can’t provide a satisfying game to an advanced player, they can be an extremely helpful learning tool for lower level players.
For play with an actual board and an opponent you can see face-to-face, try a local go club. Searching the internet for “go club” and the name of your state or some local towns and cities is your best bet.
American Go Association and Sensei’s Library list a number of clubs.