What is GOBAN?

It's a web app that allows you to edit Go boards online and share it with friends. You can start from an empty board or load your own SGF files, and everyone you share it with can manipulate the board in real time.

Everything you do on the board is broadcasted to everyone else with the link, so they see what you are seeing. You can choose to let other people edit the board or only observe.

Can I play with friends?

Of course! it's not meant to match all the features of some of the great Go servers out there, but it can be pretty useful when you just want to play a quick game with a friend. Just go to http://goban.co, share your board link with a friend and start playing.

GOBAN doesn't care about ranks, time settings, komi, etc. All of that is for you to decide and enforce or ignore. GOBAN only aims to be a virtual representation of a real Go board, that's it.

Does it work with all browsers?

It works with all new browsers, and most old ones too, except IE 8 and below. Some of the more advanced features only work with specific beowsers though. For example Desktop Notifications only works with Chrome and Firefox.

Can I use it on my tablet / phone?

Yes, compatibility with mobile devices is important to us! That being said, we can't always test it in all devices, so if you find any bugs please let us know!

Does it support all SGF properties and features?

It supports most common SGF properties and features found in popular editors, like markers, comments, labels, editing a position directly, etc. We will bring support for even more features in the future, like marking good or bad moves, tesujis, and much more. If you need a particular SGF property that we don't yet support, please let us know directly and we'll add it as fast as possible!

Do I need to get an account to use it?

Nope. If at some point people think it'd be useful to have an account to store your games on GOBAN, we may do it, but for now we wanted to make the simplest possible approach so the instant you visit the site, you can start playing, studying, exploring, sharing.

How do board permissions work?

When you start a new board, you are automatically the owner of the board, and you can edit it offline all you want. After that, if you choose to share it, you will receive 2 urls, one with read access and one with edit access.

  • edit access means you are an owner of the board. Anyone with the edit url can do anything to the board and changes will be broadcasted to everyone seeing the board in real time.
  • read access means you can observe the board and all the live changes in real time, but you can't yourself modify the board in any way. You can though, download an SGF file of the board and create a new board based on that, but if you want to add your own changes to the existing board, you need to ask an owner for the edit url.

Can I review past moves in a read-only board?

Yes, you can replay previous moves and branches and when you do, the board will still be updated with new incoming moves, but your current position won't be disrupted. If at any point you'd like to resume being completely in sync with the board's owner position and see what they are seeing, just click the "refresh" button next to the navigation controls.

Here's a quick gif showing how this workflow plays out. On the left side we have a board with edit access, and on the right we have the same board but only with read access.


In this gif I make some moves in the left board which appear automatically on the right board, but then as I start reviewing the game in the right board, my position is unchanged so I can keep reviewing. When I'm done I click the "resume" button and I am back in sync with the left board.

Does GOBAN have keyboard shortcuts?

It has some, yes. New shortcuts are regularly added, so if you're interested check this answer every now and then, or follow us on twitter where we announce new features. Also, if you need a keyboard shortcut and you don't see it here, be sure to let us know! we'll add it as fast as possible.

Play and navigation

  • z: Select Play Mode. This is useful if you're in Edit Mode and want to quickly return to playing or navigating the board.
  • Left arrow key: Navigate to the previous game node
  • Right arrow key: Navigate to the next game node
  • c: Select the search tool.
  • x or delete: Delete the current game node and all of its continuations
  • 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9: Navigate to the next game node in the specified branch.

Game Edition

  • q: Add black stone.
  • w: Add white stone.
  • a: Add circle marker.
  • s: Add square marker.
  • d: Add triangle marker.
  • f: Add letter label.

What are the Featured Boards?

The featured boards can be found in the footer of the page and they are just a selection of some interesting or fun games that we want to showcase. These are updated regularly so check in often! In the future we will add game commentaries in this section by pro or high dan amateur players.

How does the button work?

This button can be found in the board navigation controls. When you click on this button, you can then click anywhere on the board, and the position will switch to the move played on the spot you clicked.

Here's an example where we find Shusaku's Ear Reddening Move to immediately jump to that position:


This Find Mode allows you to jump both forwards and backwards. If no move is found where you click, the position will remain unchanged. Once you found the position you were looking for, simply click on the search button again to go back to the normal Play Mode

How do I edit the board, adding and removing stones?

When you enter GOBAN, you'll see a board that you can start playing with immediately. This board has 2 basic control modes:
  • Play Mode: When this mode is selected, you'll see the board navigation controls, as well as the move deletion button.
  • Edit Mode: Selecting this mode will show, instead, the edition controls, which allow you to add markers, labels and stones to the board.

In order to add stones anywhere you want on the board, select the Edit Mode and you'll now see the black and white stone buttons. Clicking on those will allow you to add stones of the selected color on the board. Clicking where a stone is already placed, while the add-stone button is selected, will remove the clicked stone.

Instead of clicking on these buttons, you could use keyboard shortcuts directly to switch modes and edition tools.