Helpful Information For Newcomers To Go

Just Got Started Playing Go?
I have written a large article for newcomers that talks about getting better at Go and lists a lot of resources.

At It’s Core, What Is Go?
Something that is really important to realize about Go is that, no matter which board size you play on, it is an exercise in pattern recognition. Go is not about winning or beating opponents. The game, in my view, is a solitary pursuit. For we only ever truly face ourselves. Each game is essentially a unique puzzle, being generated based on our decisions and our opponent’s choice of moves. Your opponent represents chaos, the unknown, or randomization; not a foe or force to be overcome.

Rather, Go is an exercise in memorization of shapes and how to employ and counter them effectively. Especially considering how the methodology of countering the same shape changes based on the surrounding board configuration. The myriad of possibilities in any given game with familiar shapes and patterns is breathtakingly complex. To this end, you should realize that the only true way to get better is to build your brain’s database of shapes, patterns, and how to properly employ and counter them.

This can only be achieved through raw experience. Maintaining mental focus while studying specific topics of interest, searching for weaknesses in your understanding through self analysis and third party analysis of your games, and deliberate practice will accelerate your speed of progress. It is also likely to teach you lessons or reveal aspects of Go game play that you would otherwise never stumble upon yourself.

Losing Is Progress, So Don’t Lose Heart
If you ever find yourself feeling poorly about your skill at Go, especially because of your rank, please read this post. Because your rank shouldn’t matter :wink:.

Reviews and Teaching Games
If you are looking for some ideas on how to think about your moves and things to consider when playing Go, I have some reviews and teaching games you might find helpful. They give plenty of examples and advice. The teaching games in particular showcase the thinking of each player as the game progresses.

Left Some Comments

  1. theorist (25k) vs. aurok (25k) ( finished )

Full Reviews

  1. PMEve (22k) vs pouta (22k) ( finished )
  2. drbeco (25k) vs Amybot-beginner (25k) ( finished )

Teaching Games

  1. Mulsiphix vs dviener (24k) ( finished )
  2. Mulsiphix vs Gia (?) - Game #1, Game #2, Game #3 ( finished )
  3. Mulsiphix vs abbefaria (22K) ( finished )
  4. Mulsiphix vs Ghacam (20K) ( finished )
  5. Mulsiphix vs RedAgent14 (25K): Game #1 Move 8 - Game #2 Move 16 ( finished, partial )
  6. Mulsiphix vs Harold the Wood (19K) ( abandoned, partial game @ Move 20 )

Study Games With Established Players

  1. Mulsiphix vs kickaha (1K) ( finished )

Note that there is some overlap of teaching concepts at the beginning of most teaching games. There is also some copied and pasted text between them, as it saved me time :blush:.

I Want To Start On The 19x19, Is Playing On The 9x9 First Necessary?
If you aren’t sure why people often recommend that newcomers begin on the 9x9 board, I’ve shard some thoughts here.

How Do You Personally Study Go?
I am not sure if how I study Go would work as well for the 19x19, but it sure works for me on the 9x9. I get asked this question sometimes and so I’ve written a bit about how I personally study Go. Lots of tips by multiple players :wink:.

The Importance Of Playing Both Sides Of The Board
A really important Go proverb is: “Your opponent’s next best move is also your own.” When we first start playing Go we tend to only consider our own moves. But with Go you should strive to get in the habit of considering what is best for both White and Black. Despite what move your opponent plays, there is something to be learned by analyzing every possible move of the game, versus just the half of the moves that are your stone color.

Not only will you learn at an accelerated rate, but it is extremely important to try and understand the challenges your opponent is facing and how they might move forward. A big part of countering most moves is to first anticipate their existence before they are played. In Go this is called “reading”, as in “reading several moves ahead”. The greater your reading capability the greater the chance that you successfully control your opponent’s opportunities and move possibilities.

While there are often multiple great moves on the board, there is usually a single move that is the best. The most crucial move possible for your opponent to get the biggest bang for their buck. Taking this move from them on your turn will cost them dearly. It throws a wrench in their plans and can force them to make multiple tough decisions. This is extremely true on the 9x9 where the amount of territory is so small and where the game progresses very quickly.


*Note: I have written some helpful posts in various threads on this forum. I think many newcomers might find these useful so I’ve collected them here for my convenience and a single resource to refer newcomers to.


I really appreciate all these recommendations, thank you very much!