Hopeless self-loathing n00b needs help with basics

I’ve tried to learn how to play this game for yeeeeeears and I still don’t understand the very basics.

I can’t even keep score. I can’t even remove dead stones. I don’t understand what is “dead.” I don’t understand if I’m supposed to be trying to capture stones or conquer territory or what territory even really is. I don’t understand how or why the game is over.

I can’t even understand enough to see it as even BEING A GAME. It just looks like random, meaningless black and white TV static in slow motion. We take turns placing stones, eventually a bunch of my stones disappear for reasons I don’t quite understand, and then it starts telling me to remove dead stones because I already lost, then it tells me the score and I don’t understand the score or why the game is even over.

I just don’t “GET IT” well enough to even really play at all. I just place stones until it says I lost again. Eventually I get sick of feeling worthless and stupid and quit for months… then I come crawling back because I really do want to learn.

Part of my problem is that I have never even met anyone IRL who knows how to play and I’ve never even seen a go board in real life.

The tutorials don’t help me much. They’re either so easy and obivious that I don’t learn anything or they’re so hard and confusing that I don’t learn anything. There is no in between where it’s challenging, but feasible for a n00b like myself.

I’ve read the rules over and over. I know what atari and ko are. I’ve watched youtube channels. I’ve checked out library books. I’ve made my own set out of paper and bottlecaps. I’ve played 9x9, 13x13, and 19x19. I’ve played “easy” bots (that just waste me every single time.) I’ve played real people online. I’ve tried really, really, really hard to get better, to absolutely no avail.


I really need someone to play with and talk to about the game at the same time, y’know, the way people learned the game for a thousand years before computers… the way most of yall probably learned. Apps and websites like this just aren’t going to help me enough that I can actually play a game. For some reason, none of them seem to have bots for n00bs to learn on. The lowest ranked bots might as well be an army of super mutant Bruce Lees with nuclear bazookas for arms. I stand no chance of even learning from my losses, much winning.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me gripe about my complete lack of skill. If anyone would like to teach this hopeless moron how to play, that would be very, very greatly appreciated. If not, I’m never playing again because there is no point in just making myself feel terrible all the time when there is a zero chance that I will make any progress.


The learn to play go in OGS could be pretty helpful,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I’ve done it several times and I’m too stupid for it to help me much. =)

Well, it sounds like you’re ready for someone to sit down and walk you through things. I sent you a message on the main site.


That’s true, introducing the game IRL is much easier.

True too. It’s quite a challenge to create interesting weak bots.

I hope you’ll meet this player as this exists.


“a bunch of my stones disappear for reasons I don’t quite understand”

There are 2 cases where your stones are removed:

(a) ​ just after your opponent places a stone
(b) ​ after both players pass consecutively

Do you understand the case (a) disappearances?

If yes, then my suggestion - I could try it with you, or perhaps someone else
here will agree with my suggestion and do it with you - is starting with

5x5 ​ , ​ you play black ​ , ​ Stone Scoring
Stone Scoring at Sensei's Library

, ​ so there will be none of case (b).


I kinda, sorta get case A now… mostly… I think…

I’m COMPLETELY BAFFLED by all the passing and stone removal stuff at the end… and just knowing when the end is happening at all… and how to keep score. … and almost the entire game.

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Did you delete your account? I went to your profile on OGS yesterday (it worked) and then again today and it says user not found: badukonbike


Odd! I just followed that link and it worked.

Edit Now it seems to be deleted again!

I wonder how you can know what atari is without confidently understanding case A:

  • The lines on the board are not just decoration, but part of the rules.
  • A liberty of a stone is an unoccupied spot joined to that stone by a route along the lines on the board that only goes through your own stones.
  • One or more stones are in atari when they have just one liberty.
  • Case A says that stones in atari are captured when the opponent plays at that last liberty. That is when they get taken off the board.

Is there some part of that which does not make sense to you? Or can you just not apply it when you play?

I was previously getting just ​ “User not found” ​ from ​ Igor_Popov 's ​ link,
but now I get a brief flash of the user’s page before ​ ​ ​ “User not found” ​ .

Similar for me now; it comes up with a deleted name, stays for several seconds, then says ” User not found”, but sometimes actually reappears if refreshed!

Message me and let me know what time zone you are in. If you want someone to explain to you in person and help review sone games for you, I would be happy to help. Just let me know what you think and maybe we can arrange a time to talk on discord or something.

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Hi there - not sure if you’ve already found some willing volunteers to play some teaching games. If you need another one, please add me to the list. I think the best thing for what you’re looking for is setting up an unranked game, and then doing voice chat over IP so that we can discuss the game in real time.

Also, I’ve been working on a 19x19 for beginners series here, and I think some of those articles may help you get a leg up on things. Feel free to read those if you’re interested:

Here are the first 3:

If you like those, I can point you to three more. Let me know if you want to get together for a session, etc…