I wanted to learn how to play Go. Here's what I learnt.
First of all, there are several tutorials available online, and IGo is an excellent downloadable tutorial.
To play Go locally, GNUGo is the standard engine. Download a copy. It runs on most operating systems. However, it only provides an ASCII interface, so you need a client program to provide a UI and game management functions.
Several Go client programs are available. I found the Java clients the most useful, and the best one I found so far is gGo, not to be confused with qGo which does not work with GNUGo at present.
You can install gGo locally or run it as a Java Web Start application. It can play servers and locally against GNUGo. gGo uses the GTP protocol and talks to GNUGo using port 999 by default .
Jago is another good client that works in similar fashion. To run GNUGo with Jago use:
gnugo --quiet --mode gmp
I'm also interested in how to set up my own Go server. At this stage I'm still investigating what's required.