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Since the establishment of IGS (February 1992) lots has happened in the online world of Go and lots has been written about it as well, especially on the newsgroup, the traditional meeting place of Go fans world-wide.

These pages give you some of the history of IGS starting at the very beginning of IGS back in 1992 when the server was visited by some 10-20 people on average. The articles have been written by people who have visited IGS over the years. These articles reflect some of the joy they experienced.

The overview runs from the establishment through the first few months of 1995.


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Overview of IGS in 1993
  • February 7, when the server was celebrating its first birthday, jujo 9p and sheah 5p, two most active professional players on IGS, played a game for the first time on the server. The game started on the Berkeley site, but the server became unstable when an unexpectedly huge size of crowd attended. The game was later moved to the France server and finished there.
  • February-March, IGS MacMahon 1993 Tournament. Organized by Finnish player Olli Lounela and his hard-working staff. The tournament consisted of eight rounds with about 480 games assigned -- 80% of the games were finished on the board (others were decided by the organizers). At the end, player "lyu" gained the most MacMahon points by defeating all 8 players he faced, thus earning the championship. (There is a nicely written report on the tournament by Olli, as well as the game records of the 382 finished games, available on the ftp site of Go/igs/mcm93*.)
  • April 5, the Berkeley site (icsi) was no longer in use after a long period of great service to IGS. Meanwhile, the main site of IGS had moved smoothly to Univ of Penn (hellspark) in March. A future permanent site in UCSF (bsdserver) was started to be built.
  • IGS tightened up the ranking system. Players could no long set a "rank" of 4-dan or above by himself; recommendation and approval from the server administration were now needed. This event was marked by the so-called "6-dan massacre" in June, when most of the previously self-set 6-dans (and 5-dans) were demoted to 4-dans overnight.
  • June-August, IGS Super Go Series. Ten of the best IGS players teamed up to take on a special knock-out tournament. Eight spectacular games were played, attracting about 100 observers each time. When "playboy" defeated "khuang" in the final game of the series, the Korean team claimed the victory by a score of 5-3 over the Chinese team. The most remarkable performance was displayed by "sweat" from the Korean team, who had won 4 in a row before he was eliminated by "khuang." (A file consisting of all the game records and stories is available on
  • During the same period, professional players, as well as some strong amateur players connected to IGS directly from Taiwan, thanks to Ing's Educational Go Fundation. The appearance of these Taiwanese strong players also added to the attraction of IGS.
  • Taking the advantage of the availability of the Taiwanese players, Jujo Jiang pro 9-dan started to offer teaching games to some young (teenage) Taiwan future stars. Jujo, an always popular performer on the board, again attracted hundreds of followers. These three events, the Super Go, the Taiwanese professionals, and Jujo's teaching games, made the summer of 1993 some of the happiest days in the young history of IGS. "Big games every night," it was said.
  • Late August, IGS "cooled off", when many strong IGSers left the server temporarily to participate tournaments around the world, in which they played games on real boards. These tournaments included the US Go Congress (US Open and Ing's Cup of North America division), and Obayashi Cup in Europe. Some IGS players showed great performance in these tournaments, and there were memorable moments such as re-unions and first meetings among many IGSers.
  • IGS started to implement a new ranking system, in which each player would be assigned a "rating" along with a self-set rank. The ratings would be calculated daily based on all rated games played on the server. Later in the year, ratings would be displayed automatically.
  • Starting from August, a mysterious player named "yac" appeared on the server. By winning 37 games in a row at one stretch, very likely an (unofficially) IGS record, "yac" became one of the most famous and popular players on the server. Finally in November, "yac" disappeared, with a 90% winning rate and over 100 games played. Most IGSers still don't know who "yac" really was.
  • September, GOE rules (a.k.a. Ing's rules) were implemented on IGS. Thus the server have been equipped with two sets of playing rules.
  • Early October, the three IGS administrators, "tweet", "tim", and "fmc" met for the second straight year in San Francisco, discussing "where to go" -- future directions for IGS.
  • October, Registration was implemented on the server. New players would have to register to be a "regular" player, otherwise a "guest."
  • IGS started to build parallel servers for Chinese chess and Shogi within the Go server. The implementation has not been completed yet.
  • November 14-15, a Blitz Tournament was organized by "magpie." 16 players participated this double-elimination mini-tournament. After 30 super-fast games, "tigerman", who had played the game for just over 4 months, won the tournament by surviving from all his games.
  • December 11-12, Japanese professional 9-dans Hane Yasumasa and Miyamoto Naoki, who were attending the European Fujitsu Finals in Amsterdam, appeared on IGS for the first time. Mr. Narita, a top manager of Fujitsu who had decided earlier this year to donate a hard disk to bsdserver (IGS future site), witnessed Hane 9-dan's first IGS game, a friendly game with "zhong." Mr. Narita was also attending the Fujitsu Final in Amsterdam.

* Happy New Year, everyone!

Yours truly, Jim Z Yu

Go isn't everything. Go is the only thing. -- zhuge

Subject: IGS in 1993
Date: 31 Dec 1993 20:16:15 +0100

This is posted on behalf of Jim Z Yu, who is known to
lots of us as zhuge. He asked me to post it on New
year's eve, as he wouldn't have any internet connection
at this point. But never fear, he'll be back.

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