9x9 opening moves

I really like 9x9 and would like to at least reach 1800 rating.
right now im about 1600 and i am having trouble with learning different opening responses. I was wondering if someone around 1800 or higher would be willing to help or share their knowledge on opening moves.



I was #1 on the 9x9 ladder for a few weeks. If you’re black, start at A, B, C, D, or E. Avoid X, which takes too little territory and exerts too little influence on the other corners.

After move 1, the branching factor really hurts the ability to study continuations. When I tried several times to write a book about 9x9 openings, I gave up. There’s too many. If Black plays B, for example, White has about 21 satisfactory replies.

Luckily, you don’t need encyclopedic opening knowledge to succeed at 9x9. The general strategy is to create just one or two groups (a third will almost certainly die). And don’t be too hasty in creating a second group (The first one is good enough more often than you might think.). Be patient, and keep your group(s) strong and connected. But don’t be afraid to throw your weight around either. A lot of 9x9 is like hand-to-hand combat.

Feel free to ask me about any specific variation.

Here’s some resources you might enjoy:

Go 9x9 Opening Explorer (yannikkeller.de)

Waltheri’s go pattern search - 9x9 games

The 9x9 Amateur-Hour Strategy Thread - Go Resources - Online Go Forum (online-go.com)


What a great answer!

I would add two more good resources on 9*9

The free book 81 Little Lions on OGS

Go for beginners (out of print) written by Iwamoto Kaoru which is one of very few pro books based on 9*9.

These may target more lower levels players.


My understanding is that 9x9 is a very tight balance between making life and putting pressure on your opponent.

Making life isn’t obvious at all because the board is tiny and every position leads to a kind of tsumego. You must always ask yourself: am I alive yet? Is my opponent alive yet?
Throwing a stone could prevent opponent to make a life, but timing is key: if you throw too early probably it’s your group that isn’t alive yet. If you wait too long, it’s already endgame.

So frequently 9x9 games are a killing battle between two not-yet-alive opponents. You try to kill while settling your group.

So what about opening?
My only rule of thumb is: try to split and avoid to be split. Managing two groups is definitely harder than making life with one.
But, as always happens in go, this could also be bad advice: two living groups in the corners make more points than one squeezed in the middle.
So, if you are the one squeezed in the middle, you should try and kill one of those groups.