13 x 13 board size appropriate?

I have played a fair number of games, but am still very early in my go education. I feel like a 9 x 9 board is too limiting and the game to short. In contrast, a 19 x 19 game is very involved and takes much time. Thus, I generally only play on a 13 board. Doing this I can play 2 to 3 games a night. However, I wonder if doing this is stifling my growth in go. Any thoughts are appreciated.

I don’t think so, but I’m still DDK.

Others disagree.

I feel one should play all sizes. There are things that can be learned in each space and most apply in all of them.


The main reason why 13x13 is my least favorite of standard sizes, is because board is still too small to build moyos and big areas of influence, and i feel like winning strategy is just to grab as much territory as you can. At 19x19 borad this strategy is not so good, since it results you usually dropping far behind in the midgame, when there are about the same number of stones on the board than normal 13x13 would have altogether.

So i have a feeling that if you only play on one size you adjust playing just for that, and when then trying to play at bigger board, you easily lose games because your “how-to-win” is faulted

On the other hand, playing go is just something we lousy amateurs do for fun, so do whatever you feel the most comfortable doing :slight_smile:


To me 19x19 is the only way to go for improvement. Most serious learning material also only addresses the 19x19 board. It is longer and more time consuming, but a lot can be learnt from that 1 long game as compared to multiple shorter 9x9 or 13x13 games. I feel stronger players looking to take a break from 19x19 can improve from playing the smaller boards from smaller tactical fights and more commonly occurring life and death corner shapes if they are still somewhat lacking in those areas while already having gotten a pretty good grasp of the 19x19 game to know which areas in the smaller boards are useless to apply in the 19x19 board. Don’t think it is as helpful for weaker players doing it the other way as they are still clueless about the game to selectively focus on the parts useful for the 19x19 game.

To conclude for me, 19x19 for serious playing, everything else is for fun and joy with very minimal benefit to your 19x19 game.

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I mostly play correspondence, so I’m not really the guy to ask if you’re short on time, but at about 20 k, I’m definitely finding that the 13 x 13 board lacks the type of strategy you get on 19 x 19. I’m considering playing custom board sizes, maybe 15 x 15 or 17 x 17. I’d definitely recommend playing at least 1/5 games on 19 x 19 though

For me (~10k) it simply depends on a few circumstances:

  • with kids & youngsters 9x9 and 13x13 may just be better b/c of shorter attention span —> shorter games

  • similar with beginners of any age, depending on their current strength; not only because of their attention span but also in order to not frustrate them too much: smaller board means less handicap and STILL be able to win a game.

  • Time plays an important role. For example, near the end of our regular Go club meetings we sometimes play 13x13 or 9x9 just because we don’t want another game that goes for hours, but we still want to play.

Smaller boards are nothing to look down upon, IMNVHO.

Thanks for everybody’s thoughts. Sounds like I need to start playing some games on a 19x19 board.