How do I Improve at go

No, you haven’t tried everything.

Try hard, tedious work, every single day. There’s no shortcut.

If it was that easy to improve, it wouldn’t be 50% of the entire playerbase that’s ranked 12k or below.

You improve by precisely doing all the menial chores. Tsumego, lots of them, the right way, every day, for months. Memorizing and replaying games every day for months will lay the foundation for your brain to develop shape intuition. Doing it once won’t do jack.

You don’t get jacked by lifting 100kg once. You start weight training with smaller weights and slowly increase the weight. You do more elaborate exercises while giving it your all. You constantly have to push yourself, otherwise you will stagnate.

You don’t become a great painter by copying some else’s amazing drawing through tracing paper. It takes a lot of dedicated effort. Just like everything else. If you want to get good, work your ass off.


I have a very bad memory so if I review games I forget the mistakes I make after like 5/10 minutes. Nevertheless thanks for the advice.

I actually tried doing tsumego for a lot of time not just 1 day and I do work hard everyday.

About reading books I don’t know the right way to read them, I tried putting them out on book and memorising them but it didn’t work,

Thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

Tell me how many books have you read and what are they?

Take notes while playing and while reviewing. And try to find your most common errors. Review your notes if necessary.

I’ve read ‘’opening theory made easy”, And grades go problems for beginners but I couldn’t get past problem 8 unless I went by intuition which is “not the right way to do it”.

I tried this, but the problem is I don’t understand why it’s a bad move.

You read only one book and are 15kyu. Sounds reasonable to me. Be patient my friend. :grinning:

Here is my book list. I actually read those or similar topics before and I am just a 4kyu.

I bet most if not all 1d+ players read more than me.

Ye, but the problem is I don’t know the right way to read them.

If you don’t understand why a move is a mistake, you could post a link to the game here on the OGS Forum and ask for a review. The players reviewing your game will probably explain why certain moves are mistakes.

Never mind. I looked it up. OP has only one 9x9 game on OGS. :joy:

I hate to break it to you bud, but reading and visualization are pretty fundamental skills for an abstract game with perfect information. There is no magic shortcut.

I don’t know if you have other accounts on this server or others that you actually play on a lot, but this account has 1 game on it’s history. Complaining that you are stuck and don’t know how to improve with 1 game played is like watching starcraft streams 40 hours a week and then giving up after 1 placement match because you are stuck and can’t improve. I’m being totally blunt here - if you want to get better then you actually need to play a significant amount of games.

What ‘ s your goal?
Do you want to reach a higher rank?
Do you want to win some games?

It’s not really necessary to improve if you are enjoying what you do. I fear you aren’t enjoying too much now.
So what could make you feel better?

It’s hard to give advice without knowing that

16k? Play. A lot.
Sometimes get to talk with a strong player for a little help.
That’s all for today.

Let me try to give a piece of advice in another direction.
From your posts, i sense that you kinda lost confidence in yourself. You keep repeating that you suck at this and suck at that - but that wont bring you anywhere.

So you suck at reading - thats ok. Your memory is bad? Thats ok too.

Problem is if you stay frustrated about it you will not be open to learn new things. Cut yourself some slack and give it time. Try to focus on the things that do work for you, even if they are that small. And be confident that if you practice, you will improve, but not unless you find some sort of inner peace with the amount of progress you can make in a given time. Go is a very hard game, dont try to tackle it so easily.

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Ok… So you have identified your weakness.

Do you think
a) the road to improving is ignoring your weakness
b) the road to improving is putting the most time into the places you are weakest at?

Because so far you are basically arguing for (a) saying that you would practice but you don’t because it’s hard because it is a weakness of yours…

Hi! I hear your discouragement and your frustration. I remember hitting the same wall that you seem to be hitting - let me describe it and you tell me if I’m getting it right.

You’re finally at the point where you’re starting to understand the complexities of the game but now that you’ve cracked through the beginner-stuff on the surface, you’ve opened up this HUGE LIBRARY of knowledge that seems to go off in all these different directions. Suddenly you have to learn about

  • joseki (everyone else seems to be doing these moves in the opening, you better learn to do them too! but what if you pick the wrong joseki?)
  • reading out moves (you try to predict where your opponent will play, and come up with reading based on that, but then your opponent does something you didn’t expect, and now you’re in even worse shape)
  • tsumego (can this corner shape live? or is someone going to throw in and kill you? will you win this capturing race or will it end up seki?)
  • making shape (what is good shape? what is not? aaargh! too many options!)
  • big moves and dealing with overplay (are you playing too timidly? or over-confidently? how to find that balance?)

Each one of these seems like a HUGE learning challenge and yet each of them only addresses one little edge of actual gameplay. And when you’re thrown into a real-life game, and you don’t know whether to secure your cut point, invade your opponent’s framework, or make a big move to gain influence in the center - you find yourself locked in OPTIONS PARALYSIS. You have a hazy understanding that there are all of these things you should be thinking about, but you have no organizing framework to tell you which one of these should take priority, which you should do first, second, third, etc.

At times like these, drilling down into another chunk of complex theory will not help you - you’ll just end up feeling more overwhelmed. What you need to do is zoom out, and try to find an over-arching framework that will help you make sense of the whole game, and give you some reliable rules of thumb for what to pay attention to and prioritize at each stage. That way, even if you’re not the BEST at joseki or tsumego, you’ll at least know that this is the right time to focus on joseki and that is the right time to focus on tsumego. That way you can stop feeling so overwhelmed and at least use the baby-steps incremental knowledge you’ve gained to make small improvements in those stages.

How do you do this?

Well, for me, this video was a great help in putting all the pieces together:

Now, I know Dwyrin can ramble a bit, and (honestly) it took me watching this video a couple of times before I started to get it, but once I got it - I started following those steps and rules of thumb in every game I played. Not only that, but it also helped me make sense of much more high-ranked and advanced games because I started to understand the underlying analysis and strategy that I couldn’t see before.

STAGES OF THE GAME: I’m talking about Opening / Midgame / Endgame. Your goals and strategic focus should be different in all of these stages, and knowing what to look for and when can help you feel less lost and more confident that you’re doing something for a good reason.

RISK ANALYSIS: This is such a huge fundamental toolkit, and it takes a long time to wrap your mind around it. However, once you get disciplined and start doing it systematically, it will really help you clear the fog and light the way to your next step. So yeah, for each move, you have to learn to pay attention to

  • are you in sente or in gote? - is the conflict between the current groups “settled” or are you leaving lethal cut points?
  • what is your strongest group? what are your weakest groups?
  • what is your opponent’s weakest group? what is the best way to take advantage of those weaknesses?
  • if you are under attack - what’s the most crucial spot to defend?
  • if the attack is wrapping up - do you have sente? or do you need to play one more point to secure and avoid disaster?
  • if you are in sente - what is the biggest move on the board? how can you use direction of play to help your little frameworks work together and create a larger framework that will give you the lead? Is there another place on the board where your opponent might grab a huge lead if you do not disrupt their framework?

And yes, you will need time, and learning, and the experience of playing (and maybe even losing) many games before you start getting good at each of those individual tasks. But if you can zoom out and find that over-arching framework that will turn the entire game into a narrative, then you’ll know where you are in the story, and narrow down your focus to only 1 or 2 critical tasks that have to be done right now, rather than this HUGE field of what-ifs that you don’t know how to navigate.

Be patient with yourself, find your calm center, and see if you can turn this game into a story that makes sense for you. Good luck!


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As has been said before in the thread, hard work is the key.

Learn to love tsumego, it’s actually lots of fun once you really get into it.

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