13k-ish player looking to get to single digit

I often get clobbered on 19x boards. I think my most significant weakness is the middle game, but not sure. I play a lot, do puzzles regularly, review my own games often, but I feel mostly plateau’d Around 12-15k.

I’d appreciate any opportunity to learn more.

  1. try to learn about tesuji. especially making shape tesuji.
  2. read the book, “opening theory made easy” by otake hideo
  3. solve tsumego daily. dont cheat the answer.

Added note: review your games, and try to figure out everything that you’ve done wrong, and what strategic choices you made that led you to those choices. Then have other people review them. Then go over them with a computer.

I’ve gone from around 7k to around 4k in the past few months, largely by doing a lot of review. For me, one of my main problems was that I was consistently making weak groups. Focusing more on keeping things alive, and on trying to connect groups to each other, has drastically improved my game. Having stronger players point that out, and give me pointers as to how I can stop doing that, has been instrumental in figuring out what I need to study/work on to improve my game.

Looking at your last game, I’d say that working on having sound fundamentals is going to help you more than tsumego. Sure, improving your reading will help you avoid bad situations, but learning and applying good fundamentals in terms of direction of play and shape will help you avoid those situations entirely. If you’d like, I can do a full review for you of that game to point out where you could improve, and what my thought process for figuring out better moves would be.


10k here, formerly 9k, so I’m hovering right on that ‘goal line’.

I also had the feeling that the middle game was my weakness. However, one line from dwyrinns basic series on YouTube about invasion struck me as true: if you constantly have the feeling that you need to invade a difficult framework of your opponent, you don’t need to get better at invasions, you need to improve your opening to prevent these framework from getting too powerful.

So I’m back to trying to improve my opening…


Some great tips in this thread. I’ll try to add some.

I want to echo what Kabootie said about the opening. I see so many games where the fundamental tip to one side happens within the first 50-70 moves, and then the other player is fighting uphill the rest of the game.

And it doesn’t come from knowing joseki, or big moves, or making good shape - it’s about being able to see the whole board, and seeing that one fleeting opportunity to either grab something big, or destroy that big opportunity for the other player. And you almost have to stop paying attention to the nitty gritty of whatever particular battle you’re fighting at move 70, and zoom out to be able to see it.


Just thought of one more.

In any game, you end up facing these choices - to either take the simpler path, or create a difficult cut and then keep two battles going at the same time. And I see players getting into a pattern where they keep making that choice instinctively - to cut, and cut, and keep cutting - increasing the number of active battles exponentially, hoping that it will add up to the other player ending up with weak groups or maybe even a big capture down the road.

The higher level players have the experience to not just keep track of all those battles, but make efficient decisions about which are going to succeed and which can be cut loose. But on the flip side, I’ve seen plenty of other players bite off more than they can chew, and end up creating more groups than they can manage.

So that’s something I’m really trying to work on - to make each cut count. To not just cut because it will give me a local advantage in that particular fight, or mess up my opponent’s shape, but making sure each cut stone can run out and live, or reinforce something else I’m working on.

Other times I will actively choose not to cut, specifically so I can create a simpler/single fight rather than two riskier ones. Learning when to do that, and to always have a good reason for picking either route, has really helped my strategic thinking.


I just looked through a few of badbarticus’s recent games and I remembered one more thing:

Within the first 50-100 moves, I see so many medium level players forgetting about the rule of thumb about Corners > Sides > Center – getting caught up in corner and side fights poking out into the middle when there are still two sides and two corners just sitting there bare and ripe for the taking.

I know that a lot of high level games go like this, so maybe us less experienced players are just trying to emulate that style. But for me, the second that any set of stones are settled and I still have sente - I immediately look at the remaining corners and sides. Leaving a particular fight alone and grabbing unclaimed territory can completely change the early game.

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Thanks for the tips! Sorry I didn’t see them when you posted, but I see them now and appreciate it.

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I realize I’m late to the party, too, but I wanted to let you know about my lecture series aimed at players coming up to the single-digit kyu level. Since that is you, it might help.

My biggest issue that is holding me on the 1k and 1D border is making weak groups. It was the same issue I had as a 10kyu as well. If you try to dangle weak groups and you are playing stronger players, they will punish you. One thing nobody has mentioned is the idea of “urgent moves before big moves”. So you need to think to yourself, “are all my groups safe” and if you say yes, then you should ask “are all of my opponents groups safe”, and if the answer is yes, then and only then “what is the biggest move on the board”.


Just read accurately from now and use superior positional judgement.