Help, 23 kyu would like to get strong, but don't like playing losing games


I hate go, and coffee!


Ok, so I won’t hire you as a motivational coach :wink:

Yes, this guy got to the top, but thinking the same way will help you even if you don’t reach the top.

I like to think on that quote when I lose a game. I’m not going to reach 9d, but I still hope I can reach 4d. So I think to myself: “Well, I don’t care anymore about the games I lost when I was 12 kyu, so I won’t care about this game when I’m 4d”, which makes it easier not to get too depressed about losing and continue playing. If the alternative is to just get depressed and not play, a bit of self-delusion might be a good thing.

And for a 23 kyu to hope to be able to reach 10 kyu, is not exactly setting an unrealistic unachievable goal :slight_smile:

But yes, at some point you will stop improving. And when you realise that (and have tried everything you are willing to try to improve), you have to decide if you like to play even without improving, or if improving is the most important aspect of playing.


What sport is this? Very few Olympic sports are that forgiving with old age. Accuracy-related like Archery or Curling? Golf?


Senior as opposed to junior, not in the geriatric sense.


can someone review this game i played


Review requests go here, where people can see them. o/


I think that after all this it’s fantastic to see the OP out there playing games, and bringing some aggression and creativity to it.

I submitted a review. It was a really interesting game to look at.

In summary: Black won by adopting a centre-oriented strategy that a beginner following the ‘basics’ is probably not equipped to deal with. An interesting approach by black that will work against a weaker opponent who has not learned how to recognise emerging moyos and deal with them.


I don’t think you need a 3d… honestly, I’m totally confident that I could help you a lot and I’m nowhere near that level. And I would be free. :slight_smile: Teaching games are key, IMHO. Where do you live? (I’m in Portland, OR, USA.)


I’m in DFW area been to Seattle a few times to visit the go center there but never to Portland


In that case, I’d try to get in-person teaching games at your local Go club, if you have one. And if you’re ever in Portland, hit me up!


I see the game you posted was the second one you played against ratr. You resigned the first game, but I can’t see why, you were solidly winning that one as well.


If you hate losing so much then don’t play.


If you can’t post something helpful, then maybe don’t post?


I guess many have already said it, but I’ll say it again:

Don’t be afraid to lose. If you really want to get stronger, then you simply have to accept that you will lose a lot of games along the way. There’s a saying:

The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.

Focus on your goal of getting stronger. Playing against much stronger opponents and inevitably losing (when combined with careful study and review) is a great way to get stronger.

If you want to just win a bunch of games, play against weaker players. However, that won’t make you much stronger. In fact, it could be counterproductive, since you might reinforce bad habits and build up false conceptions about weak moves.


Thanks everyone for the inputs. I’ll answer in a consolidate reply and I also wish to clarify some sentiments that I might have expressed not accurately or conveyed not fully.

While I’m sure many people play Go for a variety or combination of different reasons, for me it’s never really been about the satisfaction of score wins against components. My current view and perspective that I take on Go in general is something along this lines:

It’s apparent that now that AI has way surpassed human levels, even though Go may never be fully brute force ‘solved’, its lost a lot of the allure in terms of the element of ultimate mystery and that sort of transcendental properties that was associated or attached to it prior to the recent AI era. Sure its always been the same game, so from that aspect nothing has changed, the dynamics and fundamentals of the game haven’t changed after all. An analogy I would use to compare this situation is for example some of my favorite PC games (Original Rainbow Six, F-22 TAW by DiD, Age of Empires, Empire Earth, The Sims, Midtown Madness, Project IGI, System Shock 2, Star Trek Elite Force, etc etc) are beyond obsolete by any standards now, though they were all ‘state of the art’ at the time. Since these games are software, and code doesn’t change, essentially these digital games are eternal, and they last forever, timeless and unchanging in a static way… imagine if technology was static and we were all stuck in a year forever, then each of these games would still have maintained its status and never really lost its luster… Digital things don’t get “old” in the same manner that a physical car or house or person gets old and aged over time… But It is because we now have better choices that we have something to compare to and it is the relativism that becomes the differences that make a difference. The mystic of Go is certainly not that immune in that regard.

On other hand, Go has emergent properties due to the vastly more complexities than say Tic Tac Toe or Connect 5, and so even a superAI like AGZ doesn’t negate these aspects of the game that to humans will always be finding compelling (because we can’t be borg and enhance our mental capacity to then find something like Go to be trivial etc) so I would say that much of our actual effective enjoyment of this game (or any other sufficiently complex board game for that matter) cannot be capped by the likes of super AI simply because our own human cognitive limitations is the lower bound already! I believe what is most impacted in the age of Super AI Go bots is the loss of mental esteem with regards to this game that we had once traditionally attached to it, not that the game is any less fun if we were in the proper zone and mood to enjoy it. Put another way, the intrinsic enjoyment that we derive from the game itself doesn’t really ever change, the factor is being able to identity and define what is that so called intrinsic boundary.

To me, it is the combination and permutation of elegance, aesthetics, logic, intuition, strategy and tactics, and even the abstract-ness nature of the game that all combined together, with the juxtaposition of simplicity with complexity and the emergency (emergency complexity from raw simplicity) of it all that I find to be compelling as a game. The other component and factor is that much like Chess, Go is one of the few games that have the sort of historical mindshare and modern userbase dominance that gives it the sort of “network effect” (as in like facebook) of value and (re-)playability than just any random app (Pokemon Go) or game of the so many titles of games (Quake/Doom) that come and go, publishers that come and go, (EA games) and gaming platforms (Games for Windows live) that come and go.

I want to improve and be strong for some simple reasons. Like any endeavor, a certain threshold or level of skill is needed to be able to enjoy the sweet-spot of the/any task, hobby, game, etc. As one gets better and better there is naturally a wall, a ceiling, a point of diminishing returns and of course a final plateau that cannot be overcome. Age is a factor, so is competing interests, opportunity costs, innate level of talent/ability, limited time and energy, and the such. But I think there is an aspect of progress that is satisfying in and of itself, and at my rank, it is very realistically achievable (as in that more rapid “progress”-making phase) but eventually that progress slows and the final end result is reaching the limit and approaching the asymptote of one’s natural limit given reasonable (no one is advocating Go as a career in the age of AGI and UBI, lol) pursuit of the game of Go, and thus one “settles” or “approaches the limit” in a final equilibrium static-state (more or less) until when one ages enough that skillset reverses as an inevitability (but that doesn’t really concern me personally right now at least) but basically taking that equilibrium static-state (more or less) into account, everything gets reduced to itself as its own intrinsic qualia of enjoyment. It becomes “it just is”. And not a need to “do” any more or any else etc.

I imagine when/if I get to that most sweet-spot for me, that appropriate level for me, my own best and most reasonable equilibrium static-state happiest-curve where I can be skilled enough to enjoy a lot of the nuances and subtlies of the game but not having delved too deeply so or intently into the waters of diminishing returns or spending too much time/effort that it becomes a wasteful chore or unhappy habit or addiction etc…

So I analyzed my own situation some and it appears it is not so much the “hating losing” that I don’t like, but the timing in being able to anticipate it and then getting into that groove and sticking with it long enough to see the results that will then counter the suck of losing. For the same reason people who hate needles ask the nurse to count to 1 , 2, 3 so that the anticipation and acceptance can make the sudden pain seem less sharp. I guess in some twisted way there is a method to actually embrace the suck and NLP oneself to actually believe that one enjoys the losing because hey, Pain is gain or Pain is weakness leaving the body, or so they say. I’m not being sarcastic, there is actually a science behind this, and see ( “opponent process theory of emotion” )

I believe it is the “losing and then not really getting any better” that most people despise about any task or game. Not the losing itself. In fact its not really about losing, the real question is “how come I’m not getting any better”… this is the true source of frustration.

Even in a world in which (hypothetically) everyone is a 9 dan pro except myself, And we can have more powerful bots than even AGZ and all on our cellphones, I still believe there is an innate and inherent level of greatness or expertise and/or self-mastery that I would still wish to master or obtain in Go (or any other hobbie) that can then allow me to enjoy the game/ event/etc the best, on my own terms, and in a way that I personally find most satisfying and enjoyable. Yes winning is fun and no one likes to lose, but I think the true desire is to become a certain skill level at the game so one can better enjoy the intrinsic elements of the game in and of itself or its very own pleasure and beauty. And that to me is what it has always been about. In that regard, I don’t think AI bots take away from the game so much as it can potentially enhance our enjoyment and deep our understanding of it better when used and applied as a tool for analysis and for deliberate practice. As for getting better, my own worst bad habit is procrastination. I start something and then don’t follow through.

  1. Just do it (jump in head first, do something, get started, initiative)
  2. Consistency (develop lifestyle habits not mere goals) structure is more important than focusing on short term immediate outcome
  3. Optimize and maximize (once ingrained in the tracks of consistency and habit and formed a lifestyle around it then start the process of optimization to maximize gains as the low hanging fruit is gone.)

I’m just not sure losing 100 games is the best approach, but I see not getting started at all is probably the worst approach.

So lastly I would say that ideally it would be best if I (and perhaps others) was/were able to find the process of growing, progressing and learning and getting stronger in a board game such as Go as enjoyable as the end result itself, as enjoyable as winning, and as enjoyable as that of enjoying & being in the mood, that zone of awareness and intense heat of the moment of being lost in the magic of the game itself etc… And here is where I think in the future there can be a space for ecosystem of proliferation of teaching tools that utilizing very strong AI backend and other new discoveries to in essence pattern after the human and cater to how the human learns and become the ultimate teacher. This is probably a ways out, but imagine if we had not only AGZ level of strong Go AI bots (LZ is getting there ) but also learning tools (not to be confused with Deepminds “learning tool” was imho was underwhelming to say the least) in which instead of book theory it can just start playing “learning games” with the human end-user, interacting as if like a human player or Go teacher, and able to provide move by move feedback or game by game feedback or in general feedback of the status and progression of the player, and astutely identify the strength and level of the user, the style and mistakes, the weaknessess and basically decide and come up with a dynamic training regime (and incorporating any and all techniques under its belt that it deems effective such as reminders, spaced repetition, custom tesumego, etc etc) whereby it could tailor itself in such a way as to maximize the full potential of its end-user, zeroing in on the sweet spot of the most bang for buck in terms of returns for efforts, regardless of who the human is or what level or ability he/she has currently. Instead of just having the strongest superhuman bot, imagine if we had the best superhuman teacher that can teach each of us all in the most effective manner based on how we each learn best and adapting its teaching style to suit each and all its users… imagine an AI Go system whose goal is not just to be the strongest at the game, but also the best universal human teacher, one that is the best at most quickly and effectively and efficient raising the skill level of its end-user, better than any human, or book or youtube video or training course… No more “losing 100 games”


I love that saying you quoted. It reminds me of an example of persistence in a non-go context: Jack London received some 900 rejections before he began to sell regularly. Now there is tenacity!


Your post reminded me of this video which might help you. In it, Andrew Jackson talks about the concepts of deliberate practice and Bloom’s taxonomy and how one can use these ideas to help structure a training regimen that works well.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do and remember, no matter how good or bad you may
think you are, there will always be somebody that is better or worse.


I really liked reading your last post and I think it helped me understand what your thoughts were.

Although it’s still quite far from your vision of a superhuman go teacher, here’s a tool that you might find interesting:


the only way to get stronger for you is “solve tsumego (life and death problem) everyday”

Guide to Become Strong by Benjamin Teuber 6 Dan

  • Play, play, play - the stronger your opponent the better for you
  • Do Tsumego (why tsumego) in the right way continuously. Maybe this seems to be boring for you at first, but you’ll see how much fun it is once you start. It’s very important how to do so!
  • Analyze your games with other players (as above, the stronger the better) - best would be to found a private study group (ten eyes will find more than two or four…)
  • Do Tsumego
  • If you like, repeat and learn some pro games
  • More Tsumego
  • If you have some interesting book about fuseki, joseki, shape, endgame or whatever, read it if you enjoy - but don’t spend too much time with it
  • If you still have time left, how about a few tsumego-problems?

see also
how to add tsumego widget on your android device