Early learning and playing paralysis

So…I’m in the process of losing my first 100 games and have become aware of an odd situation. I’ve watched a few videos (Nick Sibicky, Andrew Jackson, etc.) and have enjoyed learning more about the game and how to play. The problem I have is that now I’ve learnt a little more, I feel paralysed by other players’ moves - I just see all the damage they can do to my lovely territory/potential staked out early on. Has anyone else suffered a similar feeling? do you have any experiences you could share in how best to overcome this block? Should I just play fast, by instinct, slowly and methodically, go watch more videos of experts? Any thoughts or observations would be welcome…!
I’m around half way to losing the first 100, by the way…


I have heard it called “analysis paralysis.” You get so wrapped up in the consequences that you can’t make a move. I suffer from it occasionally. The trick is to remember that it’s just a game and if you lose it’s no big deal.

It’s a tough trick to pull off. :smile:


What you’re describing is the reason why I encourage complete newcomers (from 30k to 25k or so) to “spend as little time thinking as possible.” For one thing, as you’re learning the basics, spending too much time thinking is generally a waste of effort, but also because it’s common to quickly become your own worst enemy when you’re in the process of learning.

You wind up spending all of your time doubting your own moves, and assuming your opponent’s moves to be perfect, then intimidation sets in.

I definitely encourage you to watch videos! i’ve watched Nick Sibicky’s videos myself, as well as GS’ own Xhu’s twitch teaching games, and there’s something for players of all skill levels to learn from them.

the but on that side is that it can have the same problem for a new player as learning joseki. You learn a set of good moves, and you learn why they’re good, but the only way you can learn why the NOT good moves aren’t good is to play against them and discover their faults. As a result, you’ll see an interesting idea in a video or a teaching game, try to implement it in your own game, and find yourself frozen when your opponent plays a move you know is bad, but don’t know how to punish.

Granted, that can be part of the learning process too. XD

really, tsumego is your best friend at your level. Learning life or death is what’ll push you from beginner to DDK faster than anything else. The more nuanced parts of the game, fuseki, joseki, counting, endgame, they’re all important too, but they tend to not become prominent parts of your game until you’ve already gained 10 or so stones, whereas the ability to recognize living groups, and kill vulnerable ones, is important straight away.

sorry, I guess I’m rambling.


One of my favorite tips I have received thus far (and I’m still a beginner), is that a framework is only “potential” territory. Imagine it as power and not points. Don’t assume it will become territory. If they invade, you have did a good job of creating a large potential and you need to be able to attack their invasion for profit (most often) or kill (sometimes).


Now and then I get it too:)

What helped me: understanding that only very slow moves can be thought of as reasonably safe, and big moves are not. But you can’t win with slow safe moves, so there always will be risk. One more idea - that sure, my territory\potential is constantly in some danger, but so is my opponent’s:) He can attack me, but I can attack him. Better to do it first!:slight_smile:

Also there were some periods that I consciously didn’t play stronger opponents (after losing confidence and getting paralitic). After winning some games that weren’t very hard, I got my confidence back and started seeking more difficult games once more.

One more way - play correspondence and don’t make a move till you feel that you are morally ready for this and not afraid

And ask people for teaching games


The advice given thus far is pretty good. I want to focus on your attitude toward the game. You said you see all the damage your opponents can do to your lovely territory/potential. But this feeling is mutual, you know? Chances are your opponent is experiencing the exact same feelings and emotions as you.

To the players of the fearful mindset, I have a solution for your predicament: fight and attack. You’ll learn what weaknesses need fixing later (lose 100 games, etc.), but your games will be more instructive if you show some fighting spirit. Put yourself in their shoes. What moves would you hate to see played against you if you were sitting on the other end of the board? How about you make your opponents come back and post something similar to what you have here next month? That would be pretty cool.


worrying about my ‘territory’ got to me at first too. it started to become frustrating and angering whenever the opponent invaded, like they were robbing me.

the best thing is to change your mindset. your opponent WILL invade. you should always expect it, and set yourself up so that you are ready for how to gain from when he does. think "what will i do WHEN he invades’ not ‘if’. then when he does it is not so scary, and is just another part of the game.

then if for some reason he neglects to invade for too long, it is an error on his part that you can take advantage of, instead of something you are counting on.


These are all really helpful replies, thank you. Mark5000, your comments have resonated most profoundly - in some respects, I think I needed to hear the points you made - the thoughts have been lurking at the back of my mind for a while. I really like the idea of getting opponents to post to this thread in a month…let’s see if I can get any takers!