Brand new player looking for help

I understand I have a ton of shape problems, I’m just not sure how to fix them. Please help?

It looked like you had some good ideas behind some of your moves, and you already can read a little in advance, so you’re having a great start already!
I mostly recommend play a lot of games so you start memorizing shapes and local situations, big part of players “reading” ability is remembering different situations and how to handle with them. Repetition is key!

Also here is simple set of tsumegos from Franzisa that i personally like, it starts from very basic and through repetition gets complicated as you advance

Also if you feel like studying shapes in general, i recommend watching dsaun’s shape lecture. Video is pretty long, but try to watch it all since those example games have a ton of great study material :3


KoBa’s reply above is great and you should definitely do those things!

I’d add some more general things to think about that are less technical in nature and more touchy-feely :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. You start off with the High Chinese opening (black moves 1, 3, 5), which is very influence-oriented - its aim is to build big-scale boxes and then start fights in them. But you then react defensively to your opponent, so that by move 12 you are pinned on one side of the board and White is in front. Then when the fighting breaks out over on your side, White ends up with a big lead when they kill a group (and even if the group had not died). Advice: During the opening dozen or more moves, think hard about playing on wherever the biggest open bits of the board are, rather than defending what you think of as “yours”. In the opening, really nothing is anyone’s - I think the difference between you and your opponent in this game can be boiled down to this one thing. Secondary advice: if you are not comfortable with large-scale fighting, don’t play that opening, or sanrensei, or any of the other “high-concept” openings. Just learn some ultra-simple corner shapes that leave you with stable groups, and play them wherever there looks like room.
  2. After the opening, both of you play a lot of contact plays. That is, you play your stones touching each other everywhere. The effect of this is that your stones start out with fewer liberties than otherwise, and effectively spend their entire lives in a fight. This makes everything complicated! Neighbouring stones get dragged in, entire positions erode and get threatened… which is all very exciting, but it is also hard to think in advance. Advice: watch the shape lecture video in KoBa’s post for other ideas about how to play stones in relation to each other, but also just experiment with playing a little more loosely. Sometimes you will get cut, but sometimes you will learn useful things about connection!
  3. Both players react very often to each other’s moves, and also play a lot of moves just to make the other reply. This is a fairly subtle thing and I struggle with it too. As a player much stronger than me said, “atari is not always sente”. Advice: when you’re about to play a move, think: “What do I want to do?” When your opponent plays a move, think: “What do I want to do?” and also, “what does my opponent want me to do?”. Disobey.

Thank you! Honestly I think out my moves to the best of my ability but I usually end up getting bit somewhere in the end. I think I usually end up tunnel-visioned in on a certain thing and lose track of the environment, something I’ve been working on.

Thanks! I have some tsumegos that I do on breaks at work on my phone, but the more the better. Still not very good at them, somewhere around the 21-19 Kyu level at them aparently per the app.

Awesome! I’ll definitely give it a watch. I’ve pretty much fallen in love with go, so the length is no problem. I’ve been watching some lectures but they seem aimed at a higher understanding than I have currently, but the first minutes I’ve watched of this one seem like this will help me a lot!

Really? I knew there were different openings and that the star point was more influence. I usually really just play at them because the few joseki I know revolve around them. Any openings you think I should focus on?

I usually end up getting pinned a lot, should I invade more? Try to surround maybe?

Great advice! I’ve been told I play “stiff” and “over-concentrated”. This is what this means right? I haven’t really gotten those terms quite yet.

Atari is not always sente. I like it! Maybe I’ll just mantra that whenever I get put into atari or try to force a reaction. =P And all I’ve been doing is trying to read, It generally hasn’t clicked that there’s a mind game on top of the stones! Thanks for pointing all of that out.

Really, thanks so much guys! Much appreciated!

I think the advice to “play on the biggest side for both players” will take you a long way - also Go Seigen’s advice to not play three stones on the same side of the board during the opening is subtle, but also applicable to players of all levels.

There is a bunch of useful opening principles here: - one that applies to the game above , for example, is “don’t defend what is not yours” :slight_smile: