How Bad am I?

I have to try very hard to beat the first computer, but it’s only my second ever day playing. The only knowledge I have found is based upon patterns of what has worked for and mostly against me. I am 11 years old and I am nationally ranked in the top 50 for my age in chess. What is the most efficient way to improve? Am I really bad (for how long I have been playing and how little I have studied)?


most computers are very hard. Its better to start on 9x9 board against 25k rank human players


Thanks! The reason I play computer is I often have to wait a long time to find another 25k human.

if Quick match finder doesn’t work just create your own custom challenge with rank restriction

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thanks :wink: good luck in your games

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Hi @solflores, check out this wiki page: Basic Instinct.

Also: if you want to get good, get a teacher. :wink:


It takes a great deal of time to even “feel” comfortable with the style of the game. The most important thing you can do at this point is practice. I too am a fairly good chess player (although top 50 is pretty incredible, I am not nearly as good as you). You will find that strong chess players often do really well in this game with perseverance and practice. Part of the reason for your struggles (as a beginner I felt the same way), is that you are very used to chess and go is very different in almost every way. However, your incredibly strong chess talent indicates you are good with logic and deep thinking, which is a must in this game as well. Believe me, with some time and practice you will get much better. :grinning:

You’re not bad, but just inexperienced at this point.

Everyone has struggled on their second day of playing the game. I think many might feel like they are still struggling after 1000 days of playing the game.

How strong were you on the second day that you played chess? Now look at where you are now.

What’s the most efficient way to improve? I’m not too sure, but I think the following activities help:

  • Play a lot of games, against a variety of opponents.
  • Seek out stronger players for teaching games (see
  • Avoid playing bots. The very weak ones that you can beat at this point might just reinforce bad habits.
  • Watch some videos, read some articles/books (check out Sensei’s Library, as other’s have linked).
  • Work on solving some basic go problems (see the puzzles section on OGS).

I would love to teach you. though I am not that good at it. Still trying my best to teach people. if I am not giving you what you want to know then please tell me. I know some one who would love to teach you and is amazing at it. I will tell you his profile name if you think I am a bad teacher. Also every one sucks on there first days of playing it just takes practice and hard work.

Looking at your record so far, what I see is “11 wins vs. stronger opponents” and only “1 loss vs. weaker opponents.” It seems to me that you are getting better.

One thing you should prepare yourself for, concerning progression in the game of Go, is how a person achieves progress in this game. When you begin Go, you approach the game as you would any other. You try to understand the rules, you play, and you hope you will achieve victory. However, victory in Go is directly related to your ability to recognize patterns of stones on the board. There is a famous go proverb that goes something like this: When you begin Go, lose your first 50 games as quickly as possible .

When you first begin you will lose repeatedly. When you first start out, Go can be a very confusing game. You likely will struggle recognizing when a game is over so that you can safely pass. You probably don’t have a clue how the score is counted and most of your games will be losses. Other players seemingly know something that you don’t, as you try your hardest but continually fall short. The best way to get started with Go is to simply witness the game being played. I personally lost my first 50 games. After my first victory I swear it was another 50 before I won a second time.

Progress in Go, at the most basic level, is measured by how many patterns your brain can recognize. You lose heavily when you first start out because the people you are facing are able to recognize more patterns on the board than you can. Their experience has taught them to recognize certain shapes and configurations of stones and how to respond to them effectively. As your database grows, so does your ability to defend yourself. In time so will your ability to exploit the weak patterns of other players. As you lose, pay attention to how you lose, and you can make it work for you in future games. Monkey see, monkey do.

Getting better takes a lot of practice. Just playing a lot of games will help you grow. Losing is learning, so try not to get emotionally invested in winning. Losing teaches us a lot of useful lessons. In fact, we learn far more about ourselves and gameplay when we lose, compared to winning. When you first begin your rank is likely to go up and down repeatedly. You’ll get strong in one play style, win often, your rank will grow, and then new opponents will test that style and punch holes in it. To grow in skill you will have to try new approaches, techniques, stone placement strategies, etc…, and as you do your rank will plummet as you attempt to formulate new play styles.

As these styles get stronger, you will begin to rise in rank again. Only to get high enough that opponents put you through your paces, just like before, and you will need to expand what you know all over again. This is the cycle of growth in Go. So take your rank with a grain of salt. It does not represent who you are or what you are ultimately capable of. It represents a general idea of what you know and what experience you have gained up to this point in your journey with Go, compared to other players. Whether you win or lose does not matter. You are only ever competing against yourself and to expand your knowledge of the game. Winning is only ever evidence that you have learned something meaningful along the way.

I learned a great deal about how to play better by playing Correspondence games and using the Analyze Game tool on OGS. I try to predict how the game might play out. I try several possibilities, playing 15 to 30 moves for each variation. Then I play the first move from the best variation. It teaches me to “read the board” better (predict how the game is most likely to progress). Also, it teaches me a lot about what kinds of move tactics and stone placement patterns fail the most and why. I cannot recommend it enough.

For the 9x9 board, practicing Go Problems is a quick way to train your mind to recognize common stone patterns and how to beat them. I recommend Cho Chikun’s Encyclopedia of Life and Death . It starts at beginner level and progressively gets harder. When it gets too hard, you can just start over from scratch, working through them again. Each time you do this you should be able to go further than you did before. There is definitely a proper way to do Tsumego, and a wonderful treatment of that topic can be found in the free Go book, 81 Little Lions: An Introduction to the 9x9 Board for Advanced Beginners , by Immanuel deVillers, page 20. This book is a gem and I recommend you give it a look. If you are the reading type, there is another free book aimed at beginners that you might want to check out River Mountain Go, Volume 1. It is aimed at the 30K - 20K player, though the writing is not as eloquent as Mr. deVillers book.

One final bit of advice that I will leave you with, is to begin analyzing your own games. When you lose a game, especially games where you feel you were utterly destroyed by your opponent, go back to the beginning and watch the game unfold, move by move. It usually isn’t too hard to see when a particular move you play ends up giving the enemy a strong advantage. Whether it be they invaded you, you left an opening in your defense that they exploited, or you wasted stones trying to achieve a goal, like capturing a group, while your opponent took advantage of your distraction; building the framework of your defeat. You don’t have to spend much time doing this, but if you take the time, it will be possible for you to begin identifying your weaknesses as a player and with your tactics.

I wish you the best of luck on your Go journey. Please feel free to friend me and challenge me to a game in the future :wink:. I love 9x9 Correspondence games. I also organize a lot of 9x9 tournaments for Chinese Rules in my group Chinese Tournaments , if you are interested. We have a lot of players in the 20K to 25K range. Take care and I wish you the best of luck!