How can I improve my correspondence?

Correspondence games are special on this website. Such modes are good for those who have rare time to play GO, since they only have to make one move per day.
However, it’s a trouble for me. I find that I always play worse in correspondence games. I have little patience to calculate complex variations since I have been used to playing live games and blitz games in daily life. My opponents can calculate in correspondence games for a long time while I can’t. I even forget where I want to go the next day after my previous move.
Now I wonder how I can improve my correspondence skills. Shall I be more patient? Or shall I spend more time on the games? Or shall I just give up correspondence?
I am looking forward to your reply.
( I don’t have enough time to play fast correspondence.)


Just one suggestion (hopefully there will be others), if you are prone to losing track of your own thinking then consider using the ‘Personal’ chat option to help you.


I’m the same. I’ll have 7 days on the clock but make a move that looks right in 2s and then 2s later comes the

oh no…


As a first step, make sure you consider at least 2 different moves before you click, even when the move looks “obvious”. If that’s too easy, make sure you consider at least 2 different responses from your opponent.


Whenever possible, you could use Conditional Moves too. Then, you can do your complex calculations in a game against your opponent’s shadow. This would make games faster and improve your reading.

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It is not clear why you want to play correspondence. I don’t believe that the time-availability issue is why most people play corr. First, many people play both. Second, many people who play just corr. are onsite doing other things, so they have the time to play live if they want.

The main reason people play corr. are these: (1) They don’t like the time pressure of live games using the typical specs, and (2) they want to play as well as possible, which means looking at a lot of variations. I believe these reasons are particularly important to old people like myself, who often think more slowly and have a declining memory compared to young people. If the corr. option did not exist, I probably would not play go.

If you don’t want to look at a lot of variations, then you should give up corr. IMHO. Before deciding, however, you might try looking at a few variations for each move and saving them to the “Personal” file in the chat, as others have suggested.

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Ok, i take it back.

I’ve read your previous posts that say that and always thought it was one of the silliest things I have ever read, since it obviously begs the question of what constitutes a “real” game. I expect some blitz players don’t regard your slow, live games as real games either.

Next, perhaps because you realize how obnoxious your arrogant statement is, you give yourself an “escape” by granting permission for people to continue playing corr. if they enjoy it. Even this statement is poorly thought out since it should be obvious that people would not be playing it if they didn’t enjoy it. Furthermore, it undercuts whatever value as proselytization your first statement may have had.

In the next two clauses, you repeat this procedure—obnoxious statement followed by contradictory “escape”—and achieve the same laughable effect: yes, some people work hard to improve their corr. rank because it is important to them, and they don’t need your permission to do so.

Finally, you top off this stylistic morass with a statement I doubt even you believe. There would be nothing simple about using a “brute force” procedure of examining the whole board thoroughly on every move, nor would it be a guarantee of success. Even corr. players have limited time, if they have any life outside of go, and using such a procedure hardly ensures a good move, as it is still subject to defects of reading and strategic understanding.

It is an interesting question why you have such a militant attitude against corr. games, which is quite different from a mere dislike, but I leave that to those with a better knowledge of psychology than I have.

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In that case I’m happy to retract my somewhat snarky remark as well. :slight_smile:

hi. I think your description for the question is wrong.

You feel you play worse, I think people may make fewer reading mistakes in correspondence for their rank
They can use analysis, so many mistakes can be avoided
That doesn’t mean you have to play like this too, I think there are many who don’t use analysis or take long thinking time for a move.
The worst that can/will happen is that your rank will decrease a bit. Just think of your opponents getting a little bit stronger and avoiding obvious mistakes.

As for the problem with forgetting your moves, I don’t think this is a problem, but a boon. It’s good training to asess the whole board anew, which I think would be good for your initial question - how to improve in correspondence games :slight_smile:
But still, if you want to, just switch to personal chat and make a memo.
Just be careful that you don’t use the public chat for this. It happened to me once, while making notes what moves to look after the game finished, and there was no option to delete :face_exhaling:


My first impression upon reading this thread:

Which has helped me decide exactly what movie to watch now that I am home from work :smiley:

As somebody who also loses track of their thinking during correspondence games, I really like this suggestion. It not only helps you maintain your ideas, it gives you something you can look back on to understand what you were thinking and why you were thinking it, which I personally find really helpful during reviews.


You can also download the SGF early in the game and play out the variations on your local device, instead of the analyse/conditional move tool. Not only you are keeping track of all your ideas, but once the game ends, you have practically completed most of the steps of a game review process and you can re-read/study your game if you are so inclined. :slight_smile:

It is a habit I’ve always wanted to begin, but never got round to do it habitually, but I have tried it with some games and it is quite nice.

In correspondance you are not pushed by time. It’s a game in which you can ask to yourself a lot.

First evaluate each stone, each group, your weaknesses and the ones of your opponent. You have time to count who wins by numbers. Then you can start thinking of some plan. Imagine a few sequences.
Then point your doubts, shall i give him all this? Should i start some fight here? Connect or not?

If you take the game seriously, trying to play your best, checking by reading refutations more as following blindly patterns and shapes then no doubt you will be many times hesitating to play that move.

I don’t think myself that which tool you use or what procedure is so helpful. What matters basically is how you approach your game. If you want to give your best or well maybe not.

There can be many reasons to lack of focus like for example you have better to do as playing go.

Two possible way to deepen your approach of the game and let you use your time:
Play serious games =play tournaments (IRL even better)
Solve tsumego (Solve, not read the answer)


If you enjoy correspondence and it suits you in terms of time etc. then I would suggest to play however you like, hide ranks and don’t worry about it.

I play correspondence because I can never be sure to have enough time without interruption to play another way. With correspondence I can just play whenever and stop at any time. I usually just play fairly quickly and hate using analysis (though I sometimes am tempted!) and I don’t worry about if my opponents are analysing or thinking deeply about every move or anything like that.

I figure that with correspondence there are as many ways of playing as there are opponents. You never know when your opponent might be drunk or sleep deprived or otherwise distracted and think it’s a good idea to make a move at a critical point without thinking!


Thank you for all guys first.
I think I can’t express myself clearly since my English level is too low, this is my problem.
First I announce that I don’t care too much about rank, but there are times that I struggle to play with 5k players(I am 3 dan on this web), I wonder why do I play that bad? Or my opponenst play well in the correspondence games? Then I found that sometimes I forget where I want to go previously and regret not having made a better move.
But your answers let me find another reason: I am not playing it very seiously, especially when I am faced with kyu players. I am still playing like blitz or live. And obviously kyu players desire to win players with higher levels than theirs, so they think deeply, and they are not affected by time stress in correspondence games.
After looking over your replies, I think ‘Personal’ maybe useful to me. I have never seen this mode:) So I obviously haven’t used it yet. Also maybe I should spend more time analyzing games and thinking where my opponents will go.
At last, thank you for your advice.


I am not asking you to figure out where I do not express properly to show my low English level and poor expressing skills. I am asking suggestions to play better in correspondence games.

Sounds good. But I seldom use this becuase I am afraid I calcuate something wrong, but thanks for your advice.

Yes, I agree. A basic need for GO players.

Yeah, I now find my description not that clear. But you remind me of using ‘personal’ which can be helpful to trak my thoughts.

Once using it, not working. But thanks for the advice.