25k requesting teaching game + analysis of previous games

/ quickly defuses the topic before the forum devolves into a left-align vs justified war

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Hey @RedAgent14 to get teaching games it usually helps to let us know whether you are thinking live or correspondence, and if you have a preference for 9x9 or 19x19.

(Though in this instance starting with 9x9 seems advisable, to most quickly flush out the basics of not playing into threats).

Greetings @RedAgent14

I do not play live 19x19 anymore, but if fast correspondence suits you feel free to just send me a challenge.

For live 9x9 feel free to send me a friend request and ask for a game when you see me online :slight_smile:

For review it might be best if you pick a game where you were more or less evenly matched and are not sure why you lost :slight_smile: send me a link by PM or here I am sure several players would be happy to take a look.

Best of luck


Sorry about the late response; things have been really busy this past week.
I’ll probably take you up on your offer for 9x9.
(As for picking a game where I was “more or less evenly matched,” one of the big issues is that I don’t feel like I’m able to tell if a game is evenly matched; I only really recognize when a game gets to an extreme where one side is very apparently winning.)

Don’t worry about that too much, whichever similar rank is fine. It is just that it is harder to review a game where one player was 10 stones stronger (well at least for me), because of course he/she outread the novice everywhere on the board. :slight_smile: But really any game is fine. If you had a nice game and want to get some ideas on where issues might have been, just share away.


Urk. One of the big weaknesses (I think) in getting people to play go is that there is an awful lot of resources for players who know the basics but very little on the actual basics. This leads to loads of books that say things like, ‘obviously this group is strong/weak/dead/alive’ and then move on with the beginner left behind confused saying ‘why?’.

The ‘Learn to Play Go’ Series is the only books I have found so far which seems to attempt this (Books 1,2 and 4 have been good. 3 Less so to me). Online I also agree that Nick Sibecky’s channel is the useful for beginners (just posted that on the blog last week https://sardonicrejoinder.blogspot.com/ which is tracking my own slow progress).

I still don’t get loads and loads of basic stuff. For example I can’t quite see how a one space jump can stay connected if the opponent drops a stone in the middle. So far I have worked up to if atari, extend, extend same side, cut then the running side gets a ladder. If atari, extend, connect, cut, atari, extend, connect gets a curving wall to one side or the other (with one lost stone in a net). Yet all the examples I see and read show people peeping before launching the cut so there must be something bad about it and playing 25 kyu games you will meet that. Meh the travails of a new player…


Yeah that is one that go players treat as “given”, but is actually more subtle than that.


White needs strong outside positions around A and/or B to consider cutting the 1 point jump. Usually peeping is better because chasing a weak group is usually more profitable than killing it locally.

If black plays 7 on the outside (on or near 8), then white can capture the stone marked 1, but black gets a good reduction out of it and a strong group facing the centre.


Black also has full control over what side this shape is facing, since it’s determined by which atari he takes, meaning white can’t cut unless BOTH ataris are bad for black, which is usually unlikely.


That’s what happens to you when you enter the :shield: OGS Team! :smiley:

This is usual for beginners, because they are learning quickly and randomly. So, beginner’s games can be a mess. :grin:
Don’t get discouraged by this because soon you’ll be able to understand more and play better. The best part of being a beginner is that you can improve a lot in a very short time.

My advice is to play on the smaller board (9x9) and against people that has a rank similar to yours (under 20k).

And also ask for advice on games, but try to focus on a single game at a time:

  • play a game
  • take a look by yourself at the whole game, and then
  • ask here in the forum about the ideas or doubts that your review suggested to you.
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That’s a good point. Take Kageyama’s Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. I believe it is to Go players what Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising is to marketing professionals, the kind of book everyone should read it more than once—and even though this is coming from a beginner, I’m yet to meet a stronger player who disagrees with that.

But while Kageyama does an amazing job of teaching the importance of the basics, the fundamentals he alluded to so often, the book doesn’t actually delve into what are those in the first place—which is why I owe @trohde a hug for pointing me to Jasiek’s First Fundamentals.

Even the usual advice requires some thinking. “Until you’re 10k or so, the best advice is to play a lot and solve tsumego.” Play how? Is a lot of blitz good enough? “No, you should also play slow games and review.” How slow? And what about the tsumego? That’s why I always take note of comments like this:

Rob van Zeijst:
When I was an insei, I studied tsumego at my level for 1 hour/day. More does not mean better.

20 min./30 sec games are not really serious. To improve you need every week to play a few very serious games of at least 60-90 min of basic time and 30 sec.

You need a thorough analysis of your those serious games by a stronger player.

You need to read books about go because they can change the way you think.

To get better structurally, you usually need a change in your paradigm — a good teacher can help you there.

Incidentally, that’s why I’m joining the Open Study Room as soon as I get two eyes for my business and can play without banks eying my goban.

Anyway, I really liked your post, except that a bracket somewhere made it look as if I was the original author of a quote that urked myself:

I ain’t like that. I’m hip.


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I only teach beginners and I’ve learned something I’d like to share. I do not mean to be critical, simply to discuss a lesson learned :wink:.

Considering that this person is a complete beginner, I feel that your post uses language that is still too advanced for them to process with clarity and complete understanding. When talking to a beginner, you must use your most basic language. No Go terminology should be present and no assumptions about their understanding of any Go related concepts. For example:


It is unlikely that this individual has any idea what a strong outside position looks like or what kind of patterns might constitute a strong position. Although, based on your reference to positions A and B, along with a picture, the word “outside” is most likely clear.


Unlikely they know what peeping means.


Same comment for “weak group” as “strong position” above.


“More profitable” is clear to me, but to be be absolutely clear you might want to use a clearer term like “more beneficial” or “better than”. It is very likely that the term “locally”, as it relates to goban positioning, is completely beyond their comprehension.


I recommend using a full image of a 9x9 with board coordinates around the edges. Calling out the board positions directly removes any possibility that the beginner misinterprets your instructions. When I first started teaching I was regularly taken aback by what was being interpreted by my student when I felt I was speaking clearly and concisely.


“Reduction” is likely not understood, nor is the concept of what constitutes a “strong group” here. Highlighting or mentioning coordinate positions will allow them to understand the shape they should be learning to recognize in the future. Even better is taking a little time to explain why the shape is strong.


What “full control” means should be elaborated upon further, as the surrounding text does not make it obvious. When combined with the image, full control seems to mean that Black controls the top left portion of the board and will be able to extend their shape vertically to the edges of the board with relative ease. White cannot attack or endanger Black easily.

However, later in the sentence you mention “it’s determined by which atari he takes” which is somewhat confusing. The diagram does not show any atari positions. If you only share a single image of a board position, it is often better to show it in an earlier state, so that you can elaborate ways that it could grow, along with the help of mentioning board coordinates.

The image used here is past the point where any Atari situations exist, making this comment confusing. It requires that the player be able to go back in time, reading backwards (a basic skill, but one they won’t have), to see the atari’s that were present on turns 4 and 8.

At this point the person is likely confused what is being said up to this point. The remainder of the sentence (“meaning white can’t cut unless BOTH ataris are bad for black, which is usually unlikely”) is beyond comprehension at this point in their analysis.

This concludes my suggestions. Completely separately I want to respond to the quoted text on a personal level. Honestly, I’m having trouble understanding the idea you are transmitting in the quoted text. You state:

  1. Black has full control over what side the shape is facing

  2. Which is determined by which atari he takes (is that “taken”, as in past tense)? Because I don’t see an atari on the board that Black can capture currently. Since “full control” is derived from the atari and no atari’s are present, I am confused at this point.

  3. “Meaning white can’t cut unless BOTH atari’s are bad for Black”: White can’t anywhere in this image, much less cut twice. I’m feeling insecure at this point in the sentence because I have no clue what you are talking about and the image there makes me feel like it should be obvious to me, but it isn’t.

Could you elaborate or reword the intended message :thinking:? I encounter this shape often enough that I am interested in what you have to share :hugs:.

I couldn’t agree more with this. For this reason I think it is important for beginner players to play a few introductory games with a more experienced player as soon to the point of them starting the game as possible. There are Go “basics”, but that knowledge can be divided up into several layers of hierarchical complexity.

For the sake of conversation, let’s say “basics” constitute knowledge learned between 20K and 25K. This information can be divided into four levels of go knowledge concepts. Each level is slightly more advanced than the one before it, building on the concepts of the previous level. New players are hit with all four levels worth of information when they first begin. I feel this leads to a lot of confusion and frustration.

They either need to encounter text/exercises (a good example The Interactive Way To Go) that is well written and builds up gradually and properly, or they need to be able to ask their opponent questions in a teaching/study/learning game environment, where they feel safe asking questions and their opponent is courteous, kind, and welcoming (which promotes retention of what the beginner is learning).

Videos have a great potential for showcasing this sort of thing, though I am not aware of any aimed directly at beginners. A series intending to take beginners from 25K to 20K, perhaps showcased in a mock match between a teacher and new student, would be amazingly helpful. If I had the time I would try and accomplish this myself. Though I could only contribute to 9x9 theory. There certainly must be other helpful information for the 13x13 and 19x19 that I would not possess :blush:.

Great point @matrimsaric. Thank you for pointing it out :wink:.


@RedAgent14: I’ve taken a look at your profile. I can see that you are playing many games, which is a great thing, as learning Go is about building a database of patterns in your mind. You slowly learn to recognize board configurations. Each configuration, depending on which color you are, will need to answered in specific ways, in order to turn each situation in your favor.

This means recognizing little shapes and big patterns. Each shape requires that you respond to it in a specific matter. Depending on the overall board configuration around that shape, perhaps there are multiple ways in which you might respond. Only experience and this growing database of shapes and patterns will inform you what the right course of action is in any given situation. Pure raw exposure to the game of Go, literally hundreds of games, is what you need to get better.

As your rank improves you will hit a point where it becomes necessary to begin studying deliberate topics in Go. Whether that be shape, the ability to read (correctly predicting how the game will play out for the next several moves), how to evaluate your best move options, how to fight invasions (when a player plays in area you probably thought you already dominated in order to build a new two eye structure), etc… But for now, all you really need to worry about is getting in that raw experience.

I recommend starting with the 9x9, as that was my path and I’ve enjoyed it so very much. The board is smaller which means you’ll get in multiple games in the same period of time it would take you to play a full game on a 13x13 or 19x19 board. It should be noted that I only play 9x9 though, so I am a bit biased :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:.

One thing I have noticed is that you are playing opponents that are well above your ranking. I recommend that you begin creating your own games and restricting the player rank to no higher than two levels above your current level. Once you begin to move past 25K, do not play any players that are less than 2 levels behind you. The point of this is to face players that are very similar to your own level. In this way your matches are almost guaranteed to be against players who are of similar skill.

This will make your games more rewarding personally, as you’ll have a greater chance of winning; important for confidence in the beginning, especially since it confirms that you are improving, even if only slightly. It also means you are exposed repeatedly to the same type of opponent mistakes and range of move types and pattern formations. This can be very helpful in beginning to build a database of Go gameplay in your brain.

I’m taking a look at some of your games, hoping I might be able to give you some pointers. The last game you played yesterday was this one, where you resigned. I’m not sure why you did, because it was a very close game, and while you would have likely lost, it still could have been really close. I left a variation showing how White may have only won by 0.5 points.

I have gone through the first couple pages now, and I see that you are resigning almost all of your games. This tells me that you are either quitting when you feel like there is no hope left, or perhaps that you are frustrated or hopeless and see no point to continuing. Either way, I highly recommend that you begin finishing your games to their completion.

Go is not about winning. It is weird to say that, considering it is a game between two people, but once you begin to truly understand Go, you will understand that losing is a part of Go. You will never be the best, never be a top player, and never feel like you have a strong grasp on how this game works, or that you possess great skill. There will always be players, by the boat loads, ready and waiting to crush you. And not just a loss, but the kind of loss where you feel like you don’t know anything, on account that they crushed you so seemingly easy and completely.

Playing Go is about the pursuit of self improvement. You only ever can hope to slowly improve over past versions of your best self. Slowly but surely your rank will rise and your game count will increase into the thousands. I’ve played over 2000 games in almost a year’s time, 99% of them being on the 9x9, and I feel like I am a strong 14K. I have been on the verge of crossing over to a strong 13K player for about two months now.

Go is a slow process where winning is never the stick by which we measure progress. We learn to take small joy from figuring out puzzles on the board. By seeing that we now rarely fall victim, if ever, to a pattern that once haunted us becuase we were so often undone by it. We strive to find enjoyment in quiet contemplation of trying variation after variation in a Correspondence game match. We make friends and share our love of the game with one another.

Go is a game that is more about your relationship to the game itself, than it could ever be against our opponents. It is about the discovery of new methods and shapes and what works and what doesn’t. It is a passtime and a hobby and a pursuit, but winning is never the destination. On account that winning is an illusion; no matter who you are or how high you go. Studying the history of professional Go players shows us this, and we have records going back over a thousand years.

At this point in your journey, all you can do is try and try again. Strive to find enjoyment in simply trying to figure the game out. Once you get a beginning grasp on the game, it will become obvious to you where some of your weaknesses lie. Then you can focus on practicing the things you are poor at. When you begin to get better, more weaknesses will reveal themselves. And 25 years later you will find yourself continually repeating this pattern of identification, analysis, practice, and growth.

I would be happy to try and do a teaching game with you. This can be simple or it can be a serious affair where we play a bonified Coorespondence Study Game over the period of a month or so. I haven’t wanted to take on any new students, on account of my lack of free time, but I can see that you are struggling, yet playing enough games that it seems obvious you are making a serious attempt to learn. I am sending you a text on OGS right now. If you read it and are still interested, please let me know and we can get a game set up right away.

Here are a few resources to help you, in case I don’t hear back from you:

  1. Demo boards I have created for my students which you might find helpful.
    ( A ) There is a Go Proverb which reads: “Corners, Sides, then Center”. This is generally good advice for how to develop on the board. Here is a very basic demo board which showcases why.
    ( B ) A group cannot Live without having two eyes. What a two eye structure looks like can be difficult for a beginner to understand. This demo board does not teach you everything, but it does show you several types of two eye structures possible on the 9x9 board.
    ( C ) Finally the topic of Moyo (territory you have influence over and will likely own if you develop it properly) is difficult for beginners to comprehend. But once you begin to understand it, it can be a real game changer. This demo board attempts to showcase how it works.

  2. The Interactive Way To Go, is a website tutorial that teaches you basic Go concepts. It could be a lot better but it is one of the best resources on the net for new players to develop basic skills. You probably already have a lot of these figured out by now, but I still think it is worth taking a look at. I went through this tutorial after I was 20K and feel it still strengthened my understanding of some concepts.

  3. Many people, myself included, find that playing Chinese games are easier to start with. Counting can be slightly easier to understand. Due to the score estimation tool available in any OGS game, you don’t really need to know how to count. But it can be reassuring to understand how games are being scored. I’ve prepared a demo board today, just for this purpose, which teaches how to count in a game utilizing Chinese rules.

  4. Here is an image showing how to create a game on OGS that restricts player ranks and utilizes the ruleset and time settings that you prefer. These games can be ranked, so there is no reason not to use this method. I use it exclusively to find all of my opponents.
    ( A ) On the OGS website, at the very top, you will see a line of links that reads “Home, Play, Games, Chat, Puzzles” and so on. Click on Play. It will take you here.
    ( B ) You will see several buttons (Blitz, Normal, Computer, Correspondence, Create). Click on “Create”.
    ( C ) Fill it out how you want and then press “Create Challenge”. Your game will be listed among open games for other players to choose from. You shouldn’t have to wait long before an opponent joins.

Thanks for all the great feedback. I will take some time to go over it in greater detail, but I do want to addresss your question.

Sorry, my bad. I should have said which atari he chooses / plays. Hearing it back now, it’s clear that “takes” is easily confused with “captures” which of course does not happen in my little demo.

Here again wrong chosen word sorry, this was referring to the initial wedge. White should play it unless he’s “strong” on both sides. I leave it that vague because there are many niche cases that could make it work or not work in any given situation.

^ Before white considers wedging with move 4 to try and cut through black’s one point jump, white must consider both of black’s possible ataris (A and B) and their resulting positions.

Depending on whether black chooses to play at A or B, and then after white extends, which side black chooses to protect, controls the direction and shape of the unfolding position like so…

image image

image image

all of these decisions effect black’s total possible reduction on the side, his influence in the centre, and towards which side of the board his group is running to / influencing. I hope I have been able to clear up the misunderstandings?


This illustrates that “more profitable” is a go term that beginners may not properly appreciate. It is not just “better than”, it typically refers to a specific way in which it is better. Profit is “territory secured”. A move maybe better than another because it strengthens your group. This doesn’t necessarily translate into profit. Therefore “more profitable” has a special meaning, which is “secures more territory”.


I did not know that. Thank you very much for taking the time to educate me. Now knowing that, the original sentence would have been much clearer to a newbie, if translated in the way that you explained Eugene. I love it!! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

BHydden: “Usually peeping is better because chasing a weak group is usually more profitable than killing it locally.”


BHydden: "Usually peeping is better because chasing a weak group usually secures more territory than killing it locally.

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Urk. One of the big weaknesses (I think) in getting people to play go is that there is an awful lot of resources for players who know the basics but very little on the actual basics. This leads to loads of books that say things like, ‘obviously this group is strong/weak/dead/alive’ and then move on with the beginner left behind confused saying ‘why?’.

Yeah, that is something that is an actual issue, so I tried to do something about it. You can download the result of that effort for free from this site: https://www.gobook.eu/

The content is not advanced and I really tried to stay away from saying that something is obvious …
I hope that you will find it useful :slight_smile:


I became aware of this book only recently. I haven’t made an effort to read it yet. Based on your description, I think I definitely need to make time to read this. Finding solid beginner resources is very difficult. I’m pretty excited actually :blush:.

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I am glad to hear this :slight_smile:
And it is fortunate that you haven’t started yet, because I just uploaded a new version with a lot of improvements, so if you download it now you will get a much better result than the previous “version”.


For me, yes. I completely understand what you are saying now. Thank you so very much for your time :hugs:.


That is awesome. I have replaced the copy on my hard drive with the freshly downloaded revision. Thank you so much for making this possible JethOrensin :heart:.