Center Opening on 9x9

Hi all,

I’ve been trying to hone my skills on the 9x9 board and just get an overall feel of fight mechanics and such.

One thing that I find really annoying is when black plays E5, centre position as the first move. I find it cheap and not conducive to an enjoyable game of go: Black has essentially claimed all sides from the very beginning, with their sente as advantage.

My main tactic when dealing with someone who plays centre stone is to dismantle it as quickly as possible, once the centre is captured then their whole shape falls apart. I don’t get it all the time due to my opponents moves, but when I do it usually leads to victory.

Anyone else care to give thoughts?

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well, sometimes YOU gotta play black so you can’t say it’s cheap. and white got komi to compensate for the advantage of taking the center first. is the komi enough? that’s topic for another discussion.

I’m aware of myself having to play black, and I never play center for that very reason. The komi in this case isn’t that relevant, even though the scoring does somewhat factor into my gripe with the topic, but I’m focusing more on the center stone being played on the first move.

Playing center on the first move gives you the potential for even influence on each corner, while white has to make do with whatever they can get those first few moves. I’m not saying no one should play it, I’m just saying I don’t find it conducive to ample gameplay. Could be wrong, just my two cents.

what exactly do you mean by “conductive to ample gameplay”? the goal of GO is to win, and whatever move that gives you the greatest chance of winning is the best move.

unlike tennis, which some people just enjoy the volley, there isn’t much fun in GO for placing stones that do not serve to win.


Good point. I guess my question is, when black plays center on the opening, what would be your move?

3-4 :slight_smile:

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When Black plays the first move at 5-5, my move would be 3-5 or 3-4 or 3-3.

I did some computer analysis on variations a while back and my conclusion was that those three moves evaluated with the same score. (4-4 and 4-5 evaluated as slightly good for Black.)

My subjective experience is that 3-5 is the easiest to play for the same reason 5-5 is good for Black—the central location means you grab the most influence possible without touching the stone. I still play 3-4 and 3-3 to vary my game though.


I myself open ~always at tengen if i get to be black on 9x9, mostly because that tends to turn into big fight early on, thus preventing white getting relatively easy “komiwin” by splitting the board into two about equally sized territories.

There is this principle for even 9x9 games: "white should aim at making two small living groups or make a big territory worth of 15 points. Either way, black shouldn’t normally be able to build up enough points to win against komi, so black should aim at preventing white from doing those things

Oh yeah, if you’re interested, there is a collection for 200 most common openings on 9x9 and what answer has had the highest winrate at GoQuest You can thank Ootakamoku for creating it ^^


I remember having this kind of attitude during my beginnings in go. Being annoyed by an opponent’s play, feeling that their moves were ‘cheap’ or ‘dumb’ when really it was me who was dumb because I didn’t know how to deal with what they were doing.

Go is a puzzle. every move your opponent makes is a puzzle to solve. If you encounter a move you don’t know how to deal with, ask others, practice, figure it out. It’s how you get better.

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… where, of note, only 47% of games opened on Tengen won.

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