5 Useful Steps for Beginner Go Player

  1. Watch this short video “Beginner Guide to Go by Hayjin Lee”

  2. Finish the basic rule tutorial

  3. Finish this 50 puzzles https://online-go.com/puzzle/2625 (its ok to jump to the solution)

  4. Play 9X9 against bot for your first 100 games.
    Try crazystone https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.unbalance.android.gocsdllite
    Or igowin 9x9 for Windows PC (its freeware) http://www.smart-games.com/igowin.html
    *only first 100 games OK, after that you can play real player thousands games.

  5. Now you ready to play against real player on OGS.

The best way to learn is being a beginner

I think you can start playing real people before playing 100 games with a bot.


Yes. But do not recommend


Why not, though?

Bots are often (always?) either too strong for a new player or they are playing rather randomly. Yes, new players also make many mistakes, but they are more “natural” mistakes that the other new player can relate to much better and learn from.

I feel that if you play a hundred games and are prepared to lose them, you may as well play them against other new players. You’ll probably learn more, have a better social experience, and overcome (a little) the fear of playing other people. In my view, the game is the most fun if you play it with real people.


I, for one, will never play a bot. I stick my head in the sand and still pretend its 20 years ago. Or 3000 years ago. Even if I am behind a computer relating to another player in a complete virtual space, as with OGS, where I still prefer an actual board and stones - but what are the odds? - the only thing I am very persistent about, is that I play an actual human being…


Really, what’s the difference between playing a Bot on OGS and playing a human? If the chat feature is ignored, I suspect that a new player would find it impossible to tell.


The game is most fun if play with real people => I agree.

But here I just give my recommendation for beginner. If you want to know the reason, I found that beginner can learn faster when playing bot because:
-no pressure
-able to do undo
(*I guess you think this 2 points have no big impact)

You can do experiment by training 2 beginners, 1 with playing bot, 1 with playing human only. Which one can pass 15k faster, Please Let me know the result :smiley:


post revised.


I think it is terrible advice to suggest that a beginner needs to play against a bot 100 times before they could start playing against humans.

This completely misses the social aspect of playing go and the immense opportunities to learn from another human via language. Also, I think it is bad for a beginner to play often against a bot at all.

A beginner losing game after game against a strong bot might just be driven away from the hobby altogether. Playing a weak bot might allow for winning some games, but comes with the incredible detriment of building up bad habits and reinforcing faulty intuition.

Teaching games are far more valuable and can also be conducted in a “no pressure” and “free undo” manner. Free undos should not be abused either. Against a bot, it might too tempting for a beginner to just click around without thinking/learning. At least a human teacher could discourage such self-defeating behavior.


You maybe true. My advice is useful only for beginner who dont have someone who can teach.
If you going to say playing bot for first time is 100% bad, then Hayjin Lee’s advice on her video is also terrible.
After all, if my advice is really that terrible, you should prove it with data, not theory or assumption.


I agree that these are good features for a beginner. That’s why I suggest beginners to play against app (I used “go free” on android).
Exploring moves using undo repeatedly was very useful for me.

But playing against bot on Ogs won’t allow you to undo a sequence of moves (I don’t know if bots even allow undo at all).

So, play app, not bots! :wink:


I think it is different for every individual :smiley: so we can share what helped us, but that will probably never be true for every student :slight_smile: Not to mention that everyone is also looking for different things when playing go.

I liked having quick gamese with my phone when I was starting. Great way to kill a few minutes on trasport (if you are not the one driving :wink: ) and helped me to get at least somewhat “comfortable” with the basic moves and captures.

Not that I would have liked sticking to ONLY bots for any longer period of time :slight_smile: Go should be about balance :smiley: and humans still have a valuable input sometimes. Once new players are comfortable with the rules, I would recommend asking for teaching games here :slight_smile: it is a great way to learn to ask the right questions and also get part of the community which can also be a great part of the enjoyment.


My point is that a beginner should seek someone to teach. Your advice seems to ignore that possibility altogether.

Lee does not suggest playing only against bots for 100 games before playing against humans. She only suggests that playing face-to-face or against a bot would be better than only playing online under time pressure. Then she goes on to talk about the social aspects and reaching out and connecting to other go players.

I don’t have hard data on the topic, but to be fair neither do you, and you are the one proposing a very specific training regimen for beginners. Do you have data to support your claims? I am basing my assertions on my own personal experience, where I believe I would have been greatly misguided to have strictly adhered to your training plan. I know since I did spend quite a lot of time playing against bots as a weaker player, and looking back it seems that I learned a lot more from human games/interaction, and potentially had a lot of bad habits to unlearn from playing with bots.

Sorry if my criticism seems harsh, but I got the impression that your original advice was coming from the flawed point of view that new players should not waste the time of more experienced players, and hence should busy themselves with bots and go problems instead, before they become worthy enough to play online.


I used “go free” quite a bit as a weaker player. I think it’s a terrible AI. It really plays some atrocious moves, in retrospect. It might be entertaining for a little bit for new players, but I think that playing against go free for too long might do more harm than good.

I think that a weak bot might give the illusion of progression and learning, while actually just reinforcing bad habits/tactics and poor intuition. The moves that work against these weak bots often completely fall apart against stronger humans.


have you tried crazystone? the bot on 9x9 is pretty strong.


This exactly. I don’t get this obsession with playing against the machine. It seems to mainly afflict DDK players. I believe you are right in that there is an unfortunately mistaken expectation - the expectation that it will be a teaching experience for the “real games” to come later.

Of course, these players never pick the bots which actually play reasonable moves because they are too strong. They get their style and habits wrecked and then get wrecked on the board when they meet a real opponent with fighting spirit. It’s so tragic!

Please, people, Go should be fun :slight_smile: Make it worth your while and enjoy.

(Just realized I sound old as sh*! :pensive:)


I challenge everyone here to reach 4k (or beat 5k level) on igowin9x9 software with less than 10 games.

After that, please tell me:

  1. How much time have you spent
  2. that was fun or not



@yebellz and @Animiral: I never noticed “atrocious” moves by go-free and never searched for a “weak” bot.
I was completely newbie and had to learn what’s after the simple rules: cuts, weaknesses, invasions, false eyes and so on.
Playing on 9x9 against go-free was very useful for me because I could try variations, fail, take back some moves and try something else.
I hadn’t anybody to teach me at that time, but I think that having to find your own answer by trial and error can be instructive.

After a while I started playing humans on OGS and never felt again the need to challenge bots. I see lots of people playing bots but I don’t and I’m not interested.
I also didn’t play anymore against go-free, so perhaps that’s why I never noticed those atrocious moves. :smile:

My advice is just for complete beginners that want to understand better the very basic strategies before playing against any human.
I was intimidated by the idea of playing against someone without having a minimum knowledge of the game. Not everybody thinks so. But for the “shy” beginners like I was, an app is a good way to make some practice.


When you start playing go even if you have usually a lot of difficulty you still have intuition, and ideas to try. And your opponent as human has this too. So I teached someone and it was huge fun to discover all this together without teachers for a while.

Now if you go for a bot as starting partner the ones on the market are or too strong or too stupid.

Let’s put aside the new too strong gen for some lack of fun and give focuse on the older gen, the stupid one.
They don’t have what humans have, feeling, question and guess and doubts… You won’t share that. Many times their strength is not coming in a human way, they will for example hope for your mistake in something which is not working and this is wrong way of thinking/progressing: if you take this attitude as a way to play then you get a very wrong view later.

Many if not most of experienced players will advise strongly against playing these bots a long time mainly because later when stronger, discarding bad habits is one of the most painful task to do to keep progress.

By the way it’s not a theoretical debate, I have friends who felt in that trap. Think of human as human: you can try to steal things and saying I will not be a thief, but usually you just finished by being one.


Thanks for the information