Absolute beginner looking for 9x9 teaching game

I am new to the exciting world of Go. I learned the rules of the game and had one first instruction on a 9x9 board in real world. Now I have registered to OGS to learn playing the game with a little help to start my first games online.
Best regards - Manfred

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Sure, send me a challenge and we will play.

Since you are new, you should use Chinese rules.

Thanks, at what time you like to play? Is it possible tomorrow morning around 10 o’clock.

In case you didn’t realize, people on OGS come from all over the world; “10 AM” for you might be completely different for somebody else, so you should always specify the timezone.

Tip: here in the forum, you can insert a dynamic timestamp like this one: 2022-12-13T12:30:00Z, that I believe other users will see in their own timezone.

You can insert such a timestamp by clicking on this button when you write the reply:

Your name sounds German, so we may be in the same time-zone (and the same country) if that guess is correct. I could do a teaching game tonight, basically within the next 4 hours.

Thanks for this hint with the timestamp.

Yes I live in Germany in Erfurt. In my profil I could not fix the country, so that other players can see it. This evening I have an appointment, but would be glad if we could play tomorrow arround that time.

Sorry, tommorrow evening our local Go club is meeting. You are invited to join us if you don’t mind the 350 km journey to Hamburg. :wink:

I’ll send you a correspondence challenge for now, it’s not the same, but we can play and chat along slowly and maybe find a spot for a live game later. Just decline the challenge if you don’t like correspondence at all.

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That is a perfect time.

You may feel an absolute beginner, but you don’t play like one.:slight_smile:

1-8: Good opening . Black and white claim some territory.

9: This is not really a bad move, but there is a more urgent move.

10-17: White made a nice dent in your upper right corner. F7 instead of E3 would have prevented this. Also the cutting points H8 and H6 offer White some good opportunities.

19: D6 is a strange move. Easy for White to catch that one.

21: Very solid. Too solid, when there are still H6 and H8.

22-32: White splits Black into 2 groups. Not good for Black. It is much harder to defend two groups than one group. Always try to keep your stones connected.

35: Strange move. Running away in the middle of the battle. J9 is the only move. When white play J9 the group is dead.

39: Not urgent, unnecessary and a stone in your own territory (minus 1 point). If you really wanted to make your group stronger F3 would have been a better move.

45: Again a stone in your own territory.

47-55: You made good use of the aji of your stones.

57: F9 should have been B9. You added a stone to an already dead group and forgot to defend your one eyed group in the top left corner.

Summarising this:

  • connect your stones
  • don’t put unnecessary stones in your own territory, you lose points that way
  • check whether a local situation is really finished before switching to another place.

Thank you for your detailed comment.

It reflects at some points how I feel during the game. The two strange moves you mentioned that black played. At this points I had no real idea where to play and why. This is also true for the unnecessary stones in my own territory.

I think I will get a better understanding of local situations together with a better view over the whole board situation simultaneously, just by practical experience.

Have a good day

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Here’s the move

Oooh, interesting. I was thinking that even after Black J9, White J8 would kill the group, as any immediate local and legal reply by Black is self-atari. And I guess that might be true if this was a tsumego with only the corner, but since this is a real game, the ko makes the status unsettled.

Being that this is apparently their second game ever, they were already punching way above their weight, so I would be incredibly impressed if they could read that. They might barely be aware of what a ko is, most likely don’t know what a ko threat is and have no idea how impactful it can be on a game, and they might barely, or even not at all, be aware of “life and death problems” being a thing.

In fact, you know, just like you're giving them feedback on their playing, I'd like to give you my personal feedback on your teaching. I hope this isn't inappropriate; I feel that the Go community would benefit not only from discussions about how to play well, but also discussions about how to teach well.

I’m not a strong or experienced Go player, but I believe I have some understanding of how teaching in general works, and being a barely intermediate player might even make me more qualified to recognize concepts that are too abstract for (near-)total beginners. In any case, I might be wrong, but I will express my opinion, and I hope it doesn’t come off as aggressive.

So to start with, there’s a phenomenon that I believe happens with many activities, and it surely seems to happen with Go: sometimes you get beginners that just play random moves all over, sometimes you get beginners that play meaningful and effective moves from their very first game.
Whether it’s because they have talent, or because they happen to exhibit “beginner’s luck”, it doesn’t really change the fact that they have almost no experience, and even when they play an impressively good game you shouldn’t expect them to automatically be able to understand feedback and advice that would be appropriate for advanced beginners.

In other words, and this is especially true for beginners, the level at which you play is not strictly associated with your ability to benefit from technical advice.

I feel that at least some of the comments you’ve given on their moves can’t possibly do anything but fly over the head of someone with so little experience. And while exposing beginners to these concepts might be argued to be good to start getting their gears turning and learning “by osmosis”, I believe there’s a big risk of leading them to focus on things they can’t handle yet, and if you assume they can understand things that they can’t, there’s a risk of making them feel dumb and discouraging them.

I believe before offering technical advice, the teacher should probe the ground for feedback, to get a better idea of what the student is already able to handle.

So in particular, as I said in the beginning the L&D problem in the upper right is something that I can barely handle, so I don’t expect a beginner to be able to understand it, and I don’t believe calling their tenuki a “strange move” and saying “J9 is the only move” is very productive at all. Whether or not it happened this time, the most likely result is to make them feel like they’re expected to be able to do something that they can’t possibly do.

Similarly, the other L&D problem:

I don’t believe it makes sense to say they “forgot” to defend their one-eyed group. They clearly didn’t recognize that their group was sente-alive, because they clearly don’t have (enough?) experience with L&D problems.

Another example of getting them to bite more than they probably can chew: I feel that the concept of aji is way too abstract for a complete beginner. Most likely result is that they’ll either be wise enough to completely ignore this comment after recognizing it as too abstract, or start worrying about it without having anything near the technical skill needed to actually put it into practice.

So I believe what happened is that you saw them play decent moves in the opening and you started making heuristic assumptions about what concepts they already understood, and then you built on this and ended up critiquing the worse moves they played later in the game as you would with an advanced beginner. I believe it would have been better to let the worse moves they played later challenge the assumptions you made in the beginning, and I believe it would have been better to first ask them questions about what they were thinking when making those moves, to get a better idea.

Now I’ll move to things that are more subjective.


This might sound presumptuous, but I don’t believe a single digit kyu is a good enough player to really have the ability to always discern which moves are “good” or “bad” in an absolute sense; only someone who has mastered the game (relatively to the current human level) can judge that. As an amateur player teaching, I believe it’s good to keep this in mind and at least use more subjective or relative language. “I think this is a bad move”, things like that.

Unless you’re talking about the top of the top level play, I feel that whether a move is good or bad is often relative to your own level, e.g. something that strikes an experienced 6 kyu as a “bad move” is not necessarily a bad move for an inexperienced 20+ kyu, and even worse, something that strikes a 6 kyu as a “good move” might actually be a very bad move in an absolute sense. So i guess my advice is “don’t try to teach things that you probably don’t know”.

While the score-efficiency of moves is, with few exceptions, equivalent in both area scoring and territory scoring, many people, including me and apparently hoctaph, believe territory scoring is bad for beginners. It is a waste of their time to get them worrying about inefficient moves eating up their territory, since, again, they don’t really have the ability to solve this problem. On the flipside, this also means there’s a point where territory scoring is a good learning tool because it teaches about efficiency, but I strongly think that point is not one’s second game ever.

I have received (not personally, but by reading around) this advice many times in many different forms, but in practice I feel that it’s impossible to follow as a beginner. Judging “whether a local situation is finished” is an ability that you can only acquire with experience, or, absit omen, by memorizing hundreds of joseki without any understanding.

So I feel that telling beginners to do it is, well, completely missing the point of why they’re making those mistakes. It’s not that they’re tenuki’ing because they forgot to check whether the situation is finished, silly them, it’s because they just do not have the ability to know whether it’s finished. So, if you think it’s the right time in their learning journey, don’t tell them to use an ability they don’t have, but rather try to help them acquire that ability.

And finally, earlier I said

I believe what happened is that you saw them play decent moves in the opening and you started making heuristic assumptions

and I think this is compounded with the fact that you were playing a 9x9 game. I think judging the skill of a player from their opening moves in a 9x9 game is quite a bit more difficult than in a 19x19 game, so one should be especially cautious about making assumptions in these circumstances.


To remark: I can’t blame a stronger player for often not being able to assess what’s easy or hard for significantly weaker players, and that’s why I believe asking for feedback and talking to the beginner is important.
I think there’s a bit of a culture to “talk through the game” in Go, especially when it comes to teaching games, but if you want to follow that, that also means you shouldn’t give spoken feedback to the beginner.
i.e., it’s a bit of a silly idea, quite honestly.

Again, I hope this didn’t come across as aggressive. Assuming you’ve read this humongous wall of text; sorry about that :sweat_smile:

(I welcome any feedback on how to acquire the gift of brevity.)

Other than the things I nitpicked on, I think it’s good teaching! :laughing:
And thank you for your service to the community :+1:

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Hello Manfred!
Send me a challenge and it will be a pleasure to play with you :slight_smile: