Does arrogance ruin Go?

I’ve played Go for a little over ten years now, and I’ve gotten surprisingly good at it. I was bumped up to 9 kyu when this website changed its rankings. For amateur players, if it’s from 30 to one, that’s in the top ten. It’s not fantastic like a professional or a dan level, but it’s ok I guess.

Despite this success I have a lot of conflicted feelings. I feel like arrogance ruins this game.

Like this pressure to be good ruins the game.

I know that people are good, and it’s a skill, but it’s also arrogance. Or people behaving in an arrogant way. Always wanting to show you what you did wrong if you lost even though it really doesn’t matter, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, that’s how it goes. Or claiming they’re so good that playing with you would be a waste of their time, and treating you with this disgusting contemptuous arrogance. This happens in person because usually the computer matches you according to skill level although I have played some stronger people on here. Sometimes in person there are more stronger people than mediocre.

It’s like, I really don’t care. When I play gin rummy with my dad, or video games by myself, none of that stuff matters. Gin is about luck. It doesn’t matter who wins. No one can see me play video games so they can’t make fun of me and make me feel bad.

But despite this I like playing Go for the same reasons I enjoy video games and gin, just for the experience, to get lost in that puzzle. And some of the people I’ve met playing Go are very nice.

I guess competition will always be a part of that experience, because it is considered a real mental sport with rankings and everything. Maybe I’m just complaining a lot.

Do you ever feel people are too snotty and they need to be shot down? Does arrogance ever begin to ruin it for you? Or am I too sensitive?


Most people I know are not arrogant. People who show you what you did wrong don’t do that out of arrogance, they are just trying to help you learn from your mistakes, assuming you want to review your game.


What you describe doesn’t sound like arrogance, but a common assumption that people who play Go want to review and improve. Some casual players don’t though, and I agree this assumption can be off-putting for them. I think we should try to welcome players of all levels and seriousness: if you’re content to be 20k for ever and play 1 game a month in a pub and never read a Go book that’s fine, the more people that enjoy Go the better. That’s why if I’m playing someone I don’t know I’ll ask them if they want to review before I do, though it is rarely actually necessary as I can generally gauge how casual vs serious about improving someone is before the end of the game just from the circumstances of the game, what we talk about, body language etc. Still, I think the willingness and generosity of Go players in general to teach and help others is one of the best things about the Go community, even if it is sometimes directed at people who don’t want it.


It’s hard to tell whether you are being too sensitive without seeing the conversations that you are referring to.

If you experience an unwelcome converation, you can definitely report it. The moderator will be in the best position to determine if you are being too sensitive, or whether the other person needs some feedback. Moderation is not all about rules and bans, it’s also about advice and help.


Yes, I want to reinforce @GreenAsJade’s suggestion, if you have negative experiences with your opponents, please report them. We want to be welcome to anybody, including those who don’t play Go to become better (which in turn includes me).


It would be very hard to tell if you are too sensitive or not from only one writing of you

I do agree that some players are in fact arrogant and even worse that this arrogance is sometimes predominant in their pleasure of playing. I don’t think you meet them more in face to face as online. I got very hurting comments online like ‘how can you be that level with so bad shapes ?’ ‘you will never progress’ and i think that face to face push players toward being more respectful and polite between each other.

The goal to play better which is part of many of us create the need to talk about the moves we played in a post game analysis. It’s a good way to not commit the same failures again and again. When the players don’t share this will to communicate after the game to improve, i don’t
really see arrogance but just two disappointed people for opposite reasons (of the same value)
Now yes sometimes the loser wants to win the analysis or even the winner. That arrogance exists at some varying levels like when you talk about your last game in a public chat. There is a high level of arrogance in the sandbagging attitude too, but at least that one is clearly not tolerated on OGS (for another reason as it affects the rating system).
Of course arrogance is something that still OGS doesn’t want to promote and you can report it as an incorrect behavior if you feel the need to.

Now i would say that a large majority of players are not arrogant or when they are they are not so proud to be. Go by its essence can give an education of modesty and respect of the opponent and many of us will have full conscience of never being good enough to be able to push down a weaker player.


As an addendum to my post above, comments like this generally tend to lead to a chatban.


Sure but arrogance is an attitude one can work on it, there is hope.

There is a big step between being good and being arrogant. I know lot of good players who will be very disappointed if you don’t see any difference when you meet them (mostly by how they look like to others)

Don’t forget what you pointed before on the positive side: the ranking system is here to let people of same level play together too and that’s something you enjoy.

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Thankyou for raising this. @Uberdude and others have already done an excellent job replying imho.

I would only like to add that language barriers and cultural differences may be adding to the impression of arrogance. As well as the general difficulty of gauging tone online.

Like you, I’m content just to play and have fun. I have a fair idea of what I would need to do to improve (Study joseki, capture race theory and score estimation) but the effort just doesn’t interest me. Occasionally a particular position or game prompts me to a bit of study but that too is mainly for pleasure.

Whatever you enjoy about the game I hope you continue to do so. Making good use of the ‘rematch’ and ‘friends’ functions may help in this regard.

Wishing everyone good games. :performing_arts:


@mary.skolnik: I strongly sympathize with your post. While I agree with what has been said so far in response, I would like to address your experience more directly. You raise two issues: pressure, which is more easily addressed, and arrogance, which is a deep subject. If I sound condescending or lecturing at times, please forgive me. My only intention is to try to be helpful on a topic dear to my heart.

A famous editor gave me a great deal of help, starting when I was in high school and continuing for several years. Finally, I almost sold him a story—and then he died. In a memorial, I wrote that I felt like I had let him down, and a friend told me that I had not let him down, but I had let myself down. I thanked him, because he was right. The “pressure to be good” generally comes from within. Others—parents, teachers, coaches, peers—help us and cheer us on, but unless they are being abusive, we are the ones who turn that into pressure. However, some feeling of pressure is a sign that we are serious, and it can spur us on. If it becomes overwhelming, then we must reassess by asking ourselves who we are and what we really want and can realistically achieve. In other words we can deal with pressure by knowing ourselves. This leads us to the main issue.

“Know thyself,” the ancient Greek maxim, is the armor against arrogance, attempts to humiliate, and feelings of inferiority. If I truly know myself, then I know who I am: my strengths and weaknesses, my character and personality, my interests and aspirations, and, above all, my worth as a human being. Achieving this is difficult, but I think it is the chief task of growing up. Probably none of us fully achieve self-knowledge, and we backslide a bit now and then when assaulted by life’s difficulties and doubts (recall Dante, lost in the forest in the midst of life). Those who never “find themselves,” as the hippies of my youth called it, often come to a bad end. I saw a whole generation decimated by drugs and other forms of self-destruction, as well as friends and relatives maimed in Viet Nam. It is a tragedy almost unbearable if you believe as I do that all lives have value and everyone has the potential to excel at something.

In a population as large as OGS, you can be sure that we have a great many highly accomplished people: at least one surgeon that I know of, as well as scientists, mathematicians, coders, musicians, and others, who are unlikely to be intimidated by an arrogant go player. I am quite sure that those who have faced death—warriors, police, firefighters, etc.—are not fazed by arrogant strutting.

Arrogant people and those who attempt to humiliate others are either young children, or adults who have not grown up. Their antics do not detract one whit from the self-image of a person who knows himself or herself.

However, none of this is meant to deny that arrogance does detract from the atmosphere of a go game and any other activity in life.


I find this a bit condescending and at odds with the rest of the sentiment.

“Accomplished” people are again the successful and the fighters, the rest are treated as obviously resentful and arrogant without cause.


So we’re talking about some go players in real life here, right (not online)?

Yes, I have encountered arrogant players in real life, but I would say they’re a fairly small minority.
I think it’s more common in young strong players, but IME most will grow over it as they mature.

It doesn’t ruin the game for me, because for me it is easily compensated for by the much larger group of really nice people in the go community and avoiding them is easy enough.


Well, I disagree a bit on that. Taking into account your own ranking/knowledge is not really pretending “to be nice and good”. Ranks exist to give us a measure on how good we are in the game. Other people think this is VERY important other people do not pay too much mind in getting a better rank.

However we feel about ranks though, we are all aware of them when it comes to Go related discussions. If a 5 dan player makes a topic about wanting advice on a tsumego, I ain’t going there to tell them how to solve it :stuck_out_tongue: I might go there next day to see if other people, better than me in the game, actually provided the solution so I can learn something.

Similarly, if a 10 kyu player makes a similar topic, now that is something I would be willing to check and offer a suggestion, because that corresponds to my level of being able to actually solve and explain how and why.

I honestly do not see anything pretentious about that :slight_smile:


It may seem arrogant to say this but if you find some arrogance in go world, how is arrogance outside?


I hate when people ask me to review. Even if they’re better than me. First of all: I can tell why I lost, I don’t need you to show me. Second of all: I don’t feel like it. I’ve gotten better than most people by playing maniacally and that’s it and that’s all I want to do, sorry. If I’m going to read, I’m going to read sci fi. If I’m going to study, it’s not going to be Go. I like playing games because I like the activity, and maybe this is stupid, but I couldn’t care less about the competitive aspect, it doesn’t matter at all to me. I think it’s arrogant to assume you’ll stay a 20 kyu if you don’t review. I got better than that and I hate reviewing. This game is intuitive and you make up the moves yourself, no one can make it up for you. You can’t memorize how to be good so there’s no point in trying. I don’t care if I’m good anyway I just want to pass the time.


Well you have some very high future in our game because in my own case i can’t count how many times i was completly wrong in my judgement of my moves. So many times reviewing gave me opportunity to see the good in the bad and reverse. I can’t thank enough the players who corrected my misunderstanding.


It’s not really specific. Honestly it’s a conflicted feeling I’ve had for a very long time. About chess too. Since I was a kid.

Sometimes I look back at the game, but usually just by myself. Everything is logical and mathematical so it’s not hard to understand, just hard to accomplish.

Isn’t this a bit much? People generally ask if you’d like to review as a friendly offer in case you want to improve. If you don’t want to review, you could simply say “no thanks”.

I understand being annoyed by opponents who start explaining things or give comments without being asked to, but being annoyed by people who only ask whether you want to review is like being annoyed by people who offer you a free donut with your coffee. It’s a nice gesture.

This I agree with completely. :slight_smile:
Although, I do like studying Go out of interest or boredom. For example, I find that tsumego are a nice way to spend time being stuck in a train, and I enjoy looking at pro players reviewing or commenting on games regardless of it being instructive.
But, I would be lying if I said that I do these things because I’m trying to improve. I couldn’t care less.

I don’t think people are claiming that.

I think that regardless of whether one talks about Go or about any other skill, you can do everything yourself and slowly work your way to become better at whatever it is (if that is your goal, of course we have established that this isn’t your goal). It is both a lot easier and a lot quicker to have someone pave the road ahead for you. Teachers generally speed up the process by removing unnecessary detours, and reducing the time spent being confused over something.

No one can make up the moves for you, but someone can help steer you into the right direction by showing you where to look for the best moves. You can’t memorise how to be good, but you can become good at finding the right pattern to good moves, and being able to quickly spot where those patterns would fail. Finding these patterns and where to look is possible on your own, but with a teacher it just goes faster.

But anyways, this is more or less irrelevant to the rest of the topic :slight_smile:


Ironically, these are pretty arrogant things to claim :stuck_out_tongue: