Can't seem to get better

I’m really bad. No sugarcoating. REALLY BAD. I haven’t even won twice at the time of writing this.
How can I improve, even just a bit, so I can actually have fun, instead of being just utterly destroyed all the time? Please help…

You don’t seem to be that bad.

You don’t self-atari, and you capture the opponent’s stones. That’s a good step forwards.

You may even be ready for this early-intermediate book:

Two things that struck me were:

  • Overly cautious placement of initial stones - on the third line, and always near each other on the same side.
  • Related: the idea that you don’t have to capture just one area entirely. In a couple of games I looked at, you “draw a line” on the third line with your stones, solidly securing a small amount of territory, while your opponent sketches out big areas on the rest of the board. By the time you finish drawing your line of stones, the whole rest of the board is unattainable for you

So might extend a little and sketch out a bigger area that you would like to claim, and make your claim solid in competition with your opponent while they are doing the same.


Lose 50 games. At 13 games in, you barely know how to move. Your best bet to improve at this point is to play a bunch of games and see if you can identify anything you’re consistently doing wrong. Pay attention to how your opponents are beating you, and try to learn from that.

Starting out is mostly just repetition. That’s enough on its own to get more people into the 20k range. Welcome to Go!

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Don’t listen to the grim people here who tell you to lose more games :slight_smile:

I personally think it’s way easier for beginners to learn to use your stones with handicap.
I taught a friend of mine the rules some time ago and gave him 5 stones on 9x9. The games were pretty intense, and I lost every 2nd-3rd game

If you lose too often just get another stone. Also if you feel confident, just reduce a stone.

There are also some basics, which are really helpful in the beginning: recognize your own groups, counting liberties, knowing good shape and connections between stones - and you are all set to GO.

After your game(s) if you have questions about something just write a short topic in the Review Section. I’m sure there are many helpful people there


I would recommend to read RiverMountainGo


or your opponents doing wrong. In both cases avoid doing it wrong in the future. Losing those games is no requirement to get better.

And playing handicap games could be interesting as well.

I would have to disagree with the Rachel’s comment. While losing games can be disheartening - there is more to be gained from lost games than won games. You will learn to recognise positions that are bad and moves that are strong amongst other things. Cksersch makes a good point in that Go takes a long time to even begin to get strong. The more you play the more you realise just how long the road really is. Having said all that, there are a few things I’d personally advise doing.

  • is a good read to really establish the fundamentals of playing Go - and it’s not too long.
  • Review your games. When you’ve finished, look through your game and try to work out what mistakes you made - it’s often the case that a move your opponent played is a move that you didn’t see and should have in fact played, though this is not an absolute rule by any means.
  • Watch other people play. Watching players a few ranks stronger than you (as a general rule I would say about 4-5 ranks stronger should be the upper limit) is a good way to steal ideas and moves that you would not consider by yourself. It should go without saying that they will obviously play mistakes - but if you see a move or sequence that is unfamiliar to you, chances are it might be worth considering.

There’s no golden rule for how to have fun at Go - people obviously enjoy different aspects. But I think at the beginning it is easy to feel as if you have no idea what you are doing and that it is hopeless. It is this stage that you really have to persevere, if you don’t have a drive to get better then you will just end up floundering and probably quickly give Go up. You seem to have that drive, so I hope Go will become more fun for you soon!


Since you are not sugarcoating it, let me do (or rather not do) the same. Yes, yes you are really bad at go. That is NORMAL! You played 13 games against players that played much more games than you (some even hundreds). Of course you lost, you just learned the game! As far as I am concerned you are progressing just as would be expected. :slight_smile: How fair would it be if the new guy, started beating all the more experienced players on the first day? How do you think they would feel?

If you ever want a game reviewed, feel free to send me a link and I will do my best. But other than you just have to deal with the fact that playing (and especially starting) go also means losing. It will take time to aquire experience, there is no magic way.

My personal opinion is that handicapped go is not the best option if it is purely learning that you seek, but it can certainly be more fun (for both) so you have to judge for yourself which is more important for you right now :slight_smile: both have merits


So, that’s basically AlphaGo, right?


:smiley: hahaha, yeah I seem to recall some hurt feelings there. But to be fair AlphaGo did have SOME games under its belt.

First of all, you really have to put things in perspective. You’ve played a dozen games and probably haven’t done any sort of beginner tutorial problems to any great extent. It’s like picking up the guitar for the first time ever, practicing for 30 minutes, and then declaring that you’re ready to throw in the towel because you can’t play a full song yet. This is a hard game that has skills requiring a lot of practice and patience. You can start with

Frustration can really get in the way of improving at anything—leading to more frustration and an awful vicious circle. Maybe learning can’t always be fun, but if it’s actively unpleasant all the time, then we’re doing something wrong.

So perhaps it’s the other way around: By starting to actually have fun you can improve a bit? Why don’t you try playing other people for a change? A bot takes our stones without even saying “bleep bleep,” while a person might comment: “Hey. Hang in there. We’re both learning.” It’s a small thing, but it can make for a more enjoyable (and fruitful) experience.

Sometimes I get comically frustrated during my matches, but since I’m playing the amazing people in this community, the stress gets on on “comical” rather than “frustrating.” And my opponent and I can talk things over, offer suggestions to each other, review the game…

By the way, why don’t you ask someone to play a teaching game with you and review it afterward? Then you can actually focus on enjoying the experience, since the focus will be on learning rather than winning—which I feel should be the default mindset for our level anyway.

I have been playing for just two months, and unable to do so often, so there isn’t much I can offer you in the way of advice, but if you elaborate on what you have done to improve so far, I’m sure others will provide you with pertinent suggestions—I mean, they need to know where you are to help you get where you want to be (teaching games would help here as well).

People are different and learn differently, so what is true for me may not apply to you, but the major source of frustration in my case tends to be gaps in theory. I really can’t “just keep practicing” without even knowing which direction I should be facing. So, how are you when it comes to that? Here are a few questions and suggestions based on what I have done (or what I’m working on) up to this point:

  • How’s your grasp of the basics? Have you gone through The Interactive Way to Go and/or OGS’s tutorial? Have you solved problems in order to internalize those concepts (e.g. GoChild)?

  • If you like more detailed and structured learning, what about books? Reading Cho Chikun’s Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game, followed by Richard Bozulich’s The Second Book of Go, and going through volume one of Kano Yoshinori’s Graded Go Problems for Beginners has really made my games more pleasant—not to mention learning how to recognize false eyes with Iwamoto’s Go for Beginners.

    • And of course, there are free options out there, such as the ones @flovo’s and @GreenAsJade recommended—incidentally, the latter focuses on the 9x9 board, which you’re currently playing, and also includes some pointers useful for players of any level (for instance, check out the chapter on Tsumego).
  • Have you tried video lectures, if that’s a preferred learning format for you? There are many useful channels for beginners on YouTube—you can find a list of them in r/baduk’s Learning Links for Newcomers thread, along with many other useful resources. There’s even find content for the 9x9 out there:

The last question I would ask is if you think you’ve played enough matches. But @AdamR is right. 13 isn’t enough. Not that I know how much is enough, for I’m not there myself, but my 13th match happened a short while ago and I remember that it wasn’t.

But the issue right now is that you’re beginning to dread playing, right? I reckon that’s the main thing to fix, because you’ll have to play a lot in order to improve. But I hope something in my post might help you with that.

Hang in there. We’re both learning. :slight_smile:


If I may, as a true beginner: today I actually kind of grasped the net. I’ve read about it before, seen it in games, tried to use it (failed), had others use it against me (succeeded) but doing it today during a puzzle (here in OGS), was actually an “aha!” moment. Like I actually understand how it works now.*

So, although everyone is different, I believe it will instantly become more fun the first time you feel that you understand something. It can be the tiniest thing, a move, or a term, or a Go meme. But it will make you feel part of the game, so hang in there.

Also, one step at a time. You don’t have to solve problems AND watch videos AND read books AND play games if it doesn’t work for you. Play around with all the material available to us and find what works for you.

tl;dr Find your pace. :slight_smile:

*Statement will be used against me in the near future.


Thank you ALL for the replies,
by the way, I don’t dread playing, actually I love doing so and your right, I do have a drive, but I’m in school and so cannot always practice. I will start playing more, legault thank you. Also for some reason a lot of OGS team members here came to help, thanks for being such a great community. Bye!


1-Playing lots: some things are so basic, they come up in every game and you can learn those via playing more easily than any study method.
2-Solving life&death problems: you can find many free sites in “other go resources” under top-left ogs menu - gochild is my favourite; this is one of my favourite parts of studying go cuz it is basically the pve mode.
3-Watching instructional videos/game videos with commentary: dwyrin, stephanie yin, in sente, sunday go are good channels i have come across so far; when you watch good players play basic games and commentate on them, your progress fast-forwards due to seeing the theory and the practice at the same time.
4-Replaying/analyzıing games of higher level players: you can download sgf files of games played and review them on your own to see if you can see patterns or pinpoint good/bad moves; this will give you a sense of what paths games take on average.

In short, watch Dwyrin and do gochild!

I am a month old newbie myself but this is what i came up with so far. Hope it helps, good luck!

Gotta lose 100 games before you know much at all! Also, don’t resign too fast; since you’re new, you probably aren’t a good judge of when a game is lost. Your recent game against jules m could have gone either way still. More generally: review your games afterward, asking “would this or that have been better?” More specifically: keep your stones connected and keep your opponents stones separated :wink:

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