Does the board feel smaller to you over time?

Something I’ve noticed recently is that the 19x19 board keeps feeling smaller and smaller as I’ve played more, especially as I’ve started to understand openings better.

I’ve been playing 9x9 really casually on go quest for a few years before i started playing on OGS, and during that time I only played a handful of 19x19 games, mostly on KGS. It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago when I started playing 19x19 regularly, and I remember that the board used to feel enormous, like i would completely get lost in how much space there was. Board felt so huge it almost made me dizzy, there was just so much space to try to expand into or to try to invade. I don’t know if that’s because I was coming from 9x9 or if that’s just something that everybody feels at first.

Now that I somewhat know what I’m doing, or at least more than i used to the board has started to feel pretty small. Only really started noticing it recently but I start feeling almost claustrophobic especially when the corners have mostly been settled and there’s only a handful of big moves left before fighting and all that starts. There seems to be only the tiniest gaps left where I can invade, and even trying to claim sides it feels like I’m super close to a corner my opponent has an enclosure in. Its nerve wracking trying to find space to invade if i have to, seems like any invasion I attempt is going to result in only a tiny living group and my opponent having ridiculous thickness.

Is this something that other people have started to feel as they’ve played more? I’m wondering if to 1d the board looks absolutely tiny or if it reverses over time as people get better at invading and understanding how to make use of frameworks.


I think what you are expressing is a fairly common feeling among players. This is why players are often advised to start with 9x9 and 13x13, in order to become familiar with tactics in a smaller area before confronting the daunting 19x19. Yes, as you become more familiar with the big board, the mind can better encompass it. This isn’t confined to go, either. I’ve spent a lot of time in the outdoors, especially with off-trail hiking in national parks. The outdoors always seems larger when it is new. But as you explore it, you take psychological possession of it and domesticate it, in a sense. And some people progress to ever-larger spaces—northern Canada, Siberia, the Amazon, Antarctica—or the 25x25 board.