"Best Way To Study" Experiment - [SIGNUPS CLOSED]


If you have never played the game, please read all of my posts in this topic and follow my general advice there. :slight_smile:


Nick: tayloraure
Ranking/Rating: Whatever is the lowest, probably. I’ve only played a little over 10 games, but on a different server.
Hours: 1-4
Age: 25


Hey !
I would love to join the program

your OGS nickname : Behemoth_FR
your rating and overall rank : I’m 14k on KGS
how many hours a day are you willing and able to spend studying Go : 1 to 2 hours
willingness to (privately) provide me with your age : i’m 25yo

Thanks !


My nickname is Phoenixian
Rating: 1274+/-74, 17.4k+/-1.8k
Willing to study for up to 90m per day
Will provide age.

I’m interested in participating in this experiment but also quite curious about outcomes.


Nick: cribee
Rating: 1521 ± 78 / 11.8k ± 1.6
Will hard cap myself to 2h/day.
Will provide age.


Hi, just “technical” question. I shrinked my rank deviation to 103, but after 1 game it jumped to 253. Do somebody know, why/how this can happen?


Uncharacteristic (as in unlikely) wins/losses can do that. In your case, I would guess winning against GnuGo did the job. Sorry I wasn’t clear about the undesirability of bot play before, that’s my oversight.

Bots have very specific weaknesses one can exploit over and over so their rating is questionable as is; in case anyone was wondering, I require that you to play humans exclusively (for now and for the duration of the study).


I played games with gnugo before and this never happened before.
Well, this probably kicked me out of experiment.


To be honest, questions like these are best answered in a quick PM/chat so if anyone else has similar concerns, please message me directly. If you read the last two group messages carefully, you’ll find that there’s nothing to worry about (provided you manage to play 20 games etc etc).


Hi. I’d like to participate.
OGS nickname: alemitrani
rating and overall rank: 1584 ± 82
10.5k ± 1.6
how many hours a day are you willing and able to spend studying Go (for at least 1 month)? <1 hr because I try to play as much as possible. If playing counts as studying, 1-2 hours.
willingness to (privately) provide me with your age - yes


I’d like to participate too ;3

OGS nick: Esbat
ranking:1012 ± 135, 25k (beginner, played like 7 games xD)
hours: 1 hour a day
age: yes


I’d like to participate, I’m 17K but I don’t think that’s accurate because I don’t play a lot.
Mi username is carolang
The time I have may be 1h a day, I hope.
My age? Sure.


So we have reached something like critical mass of participants today, and I would like to ask everyone for their input regarding the conditions.

Considering the restrictions (there are quite a few), I have a few ideas on which methods (and accordingly, practice menus) to compare, but all have their drawbacks. I would like every participant to chime in here:

I would prefer if everyone played 1 game a day, because otherwise it will be hard to reliably measure progress. Rating increase is the only halfway consistent measure there is that is sufficiently easy to analyze for dozens of participants.

  1. 1 game a day, ideally lasting 30-45 minutes in total. Tsumego practice, 30-60 minutes a day. Pro game memorization/replay, 50-100 moves (should take about 30 minutes). Ideally you want a 50/50 split of your non-game time between these two.

  2. Play a lot! As many games as you can fit into your time schedule. This is an oft-given advice I see all over the place. It is not entirely unreasonable, as tsumego will naturally emerge in real games. No dedicated tsumego practice, no teaching games, no bot games, nothing but pure grind.

  3. 1 ranked game a day plus teaching games/reviews. Seems attractive at first glance, because many people believe that players best learn with added context for strategic/tactical ideas. This is very difficult to put into practice, however, because it adds confounding factors such as availability as well as variability in strength/teaching ability of teachers/reviewers.

  4. Pact with the devil. Practice with Leela. Play as many games as you can, analyze your games with Leela/Lizzie/game review partner. Erases the need for a teacher, runs on all systems, strong opponent, instant suggestions for good shape and a whole-board perspective. Obviously you still must not use the bot for your ranked games. Honestly I’m not sure how this would turn out.

  5. Your suggestion here!

Using other study materials (books etc) is questionable because it takes a long time to read, work through, understand… not everyone has access to the same material, so we’d have to limit that to freely available books…

Let me know what you think. :slight_smile:


Sounds good to me… I’ve heard of every method, just a matter of finding time I suppose. Condition 1 seems to be the hardest for people with tightish schedules, but that is coming from someone who usually has no life, but gets really busy when she does get a life. lol… I suppose another suggestion would be to have two people paired up and have them “compete” in a way… like have two people paired up so that maybe once a week or maybe more they play a game against each other and then… well my idea kinda just dries up there… yeah, so that’s my input.

Option one would probably be my preference… but only after summer break starts, because right now I have my finals… (highschool student) and also SATs… Getting games in now is tough but I can study plenty when I get bored during class.


I’ll comment on each of the options below, and keep in mind that this comes from someone with exactly one hour of dedicated study time each weekday (lunch hour at work, provided something unexpected doesn’t come up) and whatever random minutes I can grab after that (one three year old and one three-month old at home).

  1. If everything goes to plan on a given day I could pull a variation of this off by playing one 30-45min game on my lunch hour and practicing in whatever time remains and/or during whatever time I get with my phone during the rest of the day (using hactar go lite for tsumego/pro game memorization), but it wouldn’t be a game and then another 30-60 minutes of study; more like 60 minutes total for a given weekday. On weekends I’d be lucky to get a game in each day; more like tsumego/memorization practice on my phone as often as I can manage. I could theoretically play a game each night (weekday or weekend) after the kids are in bed but by 10pm my brain is usually mush and the few games I’ve played at this time already haven’t ended well…

  2. This option would require pretty much the same approach as above but I’d fit in a game as often as possible. The only drawback here is if I try to fit in games outside of my lunch hour there’s no guarantee they wouldn’t get interrupted when things pop up; so I’d probably have lots of timeouts and resignations, or poor performance from playing late at night and still might not average out to more than one game per day.

  3. Unless doing correspondence learning games/reviews or reviews via submitting the game to a forum (this one or 19x19) were acceptable I wouldn’t be able to make this work for the reasons given by smurph; timing and availability of the reviewer and myself.

  4. I’ve already started doing this a bit on my own using Leela, both on her own and in conjunction with Go Review Partner

I have also been reading Go books since I started playing and have just finished the Learn To Play Go series by Janice Kim. I say ‘finished’ meaning I’ve read them all once, but obviously I didn’t absorb and digest everything; each one of them is worthy of a re-read, and I imagine that will be true of every Go book I read. If it’s better to spend that time doing tsumego/memorizing pro games for the duration of the experiment then I won’t start a new book yet.



Not sure whether I got it, so we ideally play one ranked game every day by default and then add one of the options 1-5, right?

Option one would be not for me then, because two games and tsumego and memorization is not fitting the 1 hour I could spend. Maybe split it and make addition of tsumego and memorization two different options…

From what I see playing against the bot would be most feasible for me, as I can squeeze it in every free time, and will definitely learn good moves.


Options 1 or 2 would suit me the best, with the following caveat for option 1 - I found it took a lot longer than an hour or two for me to memorise 100 moves. Admittedly I’ve only done this the once and I was new to the game so I will get better at it. Maybe a factor of age and ‘lifestyle choices’ across the decades (a study in itself I’m sure)?


Overall, the plan sounds good to me. Here are my thoughts:

  1. This is all great, but I would personally not be able to guarantee the full time spent, every single day. But probably the majority of the days would be feasible.

  2. Not really my style, but of course would be happy to try for the study.

  3. Definitely my style, although with the caveats you mention.

  4. I don’t feel this bots thingy… unless they do provide info in terms of strategy/plan etc. But again, since it is mentioned out there, perhaps we ought to included it in our study.

Another couple of options I think would be feasible and useful:

  1. Study of the fundamentals! We could probably all get access to “Shape Up” to at least study shape, an important concept to learn for us amateurs. Perhaps, the group doing this could be on a set pace, as defined by you. We could also follow one of the many lectures online on some fundamentals Maybe something a higher ranked player can direct us to, or get a teacher to give us a teaching game on a topic.

  2. Team up three/four of us in a single group, and let us all play among ourselves. Each of us will have different strengths/weaknesses, but we would be able to review each others moves from a different perspective. For every single game, there would be a good variety of reviews and discussion, trying to analyse it as much as possible. Then as the time progresses, we can have one two games a week, where we ask a higher ranked experienced go player to do a teaching/review game with us, as a group.

  1. I could do this most days (Tuesdays are tough), as I have a healthy amount of free time and find that if I don’t change gears my brain doesn’t respond as well to constantly doing just the one thing.

  2. I could do this for a while if I knew it was going to wrap in, say, a month. But it leaves off a lot of what I enjoy, which in turn affects motivation.

  3. I could also do this for a while, especially considering that when availability of teaching games is dry I could fill in with extra review.

  4. I’d die of boredom.

  5. My chess coach had me do a combination of reviewing my own games (emphasis on losses) & publishing those in a blog, doing tactics drills (equivalent of tsumego), a moderate amount of play at a brisk pace, and a teaching session every few weeks or so. The balance of self review & daily tactics drills seemed to drive my skill up dramatically even when I wasn’t playing much. This isn’t a suggestion as much as a personal insight.

  6. Some high quality tutorial content on https://senseis.xmp.net is freely available.

Now, back to work & then the pre-qualifying 20 games. :wink:


I really like your #6 suggestion korni, and if I have the choice I would probably choose that or option #1.

  1. I would not enjoy doing this

  2. as mentioned scheduling would be hard

  3. Interesting, would probably be my third choice.