How much playing is too much?

Browsing various threads and profiles, I see many players have a tremendous activity, playing dozens of correspondence games at the same time, plus live games, plus tournaments, whatever. I’ve given up live games lately, because my brain is really too slow and I don’t find games lost following huge mistakes being fun any more for either winner and loser. I now stick to correspondence games, mainly the 19x19 ladder ones, which means focusing on a handful of long games for weeks.
So I wonder what is the point of playing so many games. Is it just addiction, or a desperate attempt to get higher and higher (which is in fact another name for addiction)? Seems to me that, like in any discipline, at some point too much is too much and becomes counter-productive and even unhealthy.
What do you think of this question?


In a word…"valid."
It is for that reason that I don’t play constantly or many times in a single day. When I feel the urge, I play. This keeps me from burnout.
I have experienced burnout on games other than GO, which is what taught me the lesson on avoiding super-saturation in order to keep things sane and fun.
The only exception to that is ice cream. But that’s special.


It’s too much when it affects your life in a negative way. There i no magic number. Everyone is different and have different goals as well. The problem is sometimes they realize what they think they want is not really what you want deep inside. Also games are won because one side make less mistakes or at least less impactful ones. Focus on things you’ve done well and the game can become fun again.


Having too many correspondence games going simultaneously effectively turns them all into blitz games.


I don’t really do correspondence, just live games. I try to limit myself to no more than 4 or 5 games a day, max. If I play more than that, I’m probably just pissed that I’m losing and trying to break my losing streak. Doing so means that I’m not paying enough attention to my individual games. I’m thinking about my rating, or my current form, and I get impatient and make terrible moves. I need to limit myself to however many games I can play without losing focus. If I want more go than that, in a day, I should review games or do puzzles.

I used to play a decent amount of correspondence chess, and had a similar experience. I needed to limit myself to few enough games that I was focusing on my moves, and really exploring the variations on my options, instead of just moving because it’s my move and I’ve got ten other games to attend to. Don’t play more games than you can comfortably attend to. Play when you feel like you can play well, instead of just tilting through game after game. If you don’t feel like you can attend to another game, but you want some go in your life, do some study or watch some lectures. It’ll benefit your game more than playing another game and doing it badly.


Funny - I think if it as turning them into puzzles.

When you have so many going, you surely can’t keep the context of each - I certainly wouldn’t be able to - so really you just have a pile of full-board puzzles with someone providing new ones every day.

Personally, I find the negative effect of other people playing many many games to be that there are many opponents with whom I’ll get a game and they play at the slow limit of the game settings because they are playing so many, instead of playing the game in a timely fashion. Of course, they have every right to do that -
I understand that. It’s just sad because there are times when you can’t chose the time settings - ladder for example. So it’s a big groan when one of these players challenges me on the ladder. I also take trouble not to challenge people on the ladder with many games going, because I know that would be a slow slow opponent.



Omote wrote: “So I wonder what is the point of playing so many games.”

You’re asking about why people play blitz, corr, live, etc., and make mistakes doing so as you’ve described…or are you asking why people play multiple corr games at one time (the type of game you’ve migrated to for the reasons you mention)? :thinking:

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For me (currently 30 games) it was actually more like an accident … I joined a corr. tournament, and then another, not realising how many games that would be … and then even another … all quite slow ones … and then, when I thought all the games were done, yet another … only to suddenly have 10+ more new games when yet another round in one of that tournaments began … wasn’t aware of this.

And then I add the occasional game with some person here or from that FB Go group just for fun and socialising. Sometimes I’m quite overwhelmed, though, I must admit. Guess I won’t join any more tournaments for a long time until I’m sure all rounds of the running ones are finished.

Also, I really enjoy the miniatures overview, sometimes I sit for minutes just looking at it, letting my eyes freely wander over the games.

OTOH I’ve also had times when I was short of resigning all my running games just because of being overwhelmed, by the sheer number of games as well as by Real Life issues.


@Cool1 Sorry to be unclear, maybe I’ve blurred the issue with my personal experience, which was not the point I had in mind to begin with. The question is why do people play so many games at the same time, or so many games altogether. Just because I wonder how you can focus and enjoy them, let alone learn anything, by just zapping from one game to another. Playing too fast and making too many mistakes is a side effect. Having many long games ongoing at some point looks like a multi-game blitz :slight_smile:


Or like when Chess masters play a simul.


I see, Omote, thanks for clarifying.

The number of simultaneous games is a decision based on how much we want to play each day. If I was to play a single corr game with a simple move-a-day minimum clock, I could wait all day to play a move again (most people do play more frequently/faster than the clock allows, though, just like live Go). So, experience allows me to know the “flow” that works for my situation. When I play about 20 simultaneous corr games, I can click on OGS five or six times a day (when riding a bus, eating alone, waiting at the car repair shop, etc.), and each time there’ll be about one third of those games (6-7) waiting on my move. :blush: If I was to play 60 games at once, there’d be about 20 games waiting for my move on average, so if I had blocks of, say, 20-30 minutes several times a day, I’d play 60 corr games (I don’t have that much time, though, so this is just an example). A person playing corr can answer one move, or four, or twenty, based on their situation at that moment (waiting at a red light, just answer one game…kidding!)

A quick final comment is that many think corr games lose the in-game flow, or become a “series of single move puzzles” rather than a smooth movement through the game, but I can tell you that, once played regularly, that just doesn’t happen…we click back five or so moves and the flow for that game is easily recalled. We are looking at that same game several times a day for a few weeks…we remember the game flow (especially when we’re getting slowly trounced…lol). And, by playing many games that start at different days, we get to simultaneously play beginnings, middles, and end games, so the daily variety is fun and challenging.

I agree with you, Omote, and TRhode…the number of corr games is an individual decision in the end. There may be a fine line between enough to enjoy them all and too many so we’re pulling our hair out. :laughing:


Personally I have a lot of corr games just so if I have five minutes, I can whip out my tablet and play some without needing the time to complete a full game.


I’ve played with different density at various points in my life. However, I’ve played only one correspondence game, and I did not enjoy spending so much time thinking and planning (the conditional moves feature was fun but was rarely actually helpful). Also, during this one correspondence game, my whole life seemed centered around the game, which felt like a drag. Even finally winning the game with some multiple areas of cleverness was not as satisfying as usual.

In the second half of my life I have not played many 19x19 games, because I get so much more pleasure from the 10 minutes of a 9x9 game. I like to analyze the game after playing, and find that discovering better moves actually improves my ranking more than reading go books (I own 24 books).

There have been times when I played 9x9 games for several hours at a time, with no bad side effects. But currently I keep busy in my retirement years and don’t play many games, even 9x9 games.

So, based on my experiences, which are a bit different from the others posted here, I would say that “too much playing” is a different amount at different points in my life, and that I’m always able to stop before it gets to be too addictive or tiring.

Also, as with any other area of my life that is a challenge, I have found effortless silent mantra meditation learned from a course to be indispensable in maintaining a fresh mind and body while playing go.

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After reading this thread

and because i am restarting playing some correspondence games (5 now), i would enjoy more contributions on what is your confortable zone? I would like to play a few times a day, have something to answer each time (not checking for nothing) but not blitzing and rethink each game too much. Delay some answers when it’s a too hard choice.

What do you think for how many correspondence games are enjoyable to play in your own way of life?

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My limit is about four. In my one tournament, I found nine to be too many. It felt unpleasantly like work, a daily drudgery.


I tried that a couple of months ago and went up to 65 games. My big mistake was fooling myself into thinking that I would keep Analysis disabled…

I lost four ranks and reverted back to using analysis again. now I focus at finishing the analysis ones at least… it’s soo slow :weary:

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For me, 12 is optimal but any number between 5 and 20 is fine. If I want to play more go I’ll play live games.


I have found my sweet spot to be around 50, currently i have 76 which is bit too much to keep track of so i’m trying to stay away from new tournaments xD


As I understand it, cond. moves are meant to be more “helpful” for the opponent, rather than for the one who plans them, because this way the opponent doesn’t have to wait for the answer to their move.


Meanwhile … I still have 45 running corr. games, and it def. feels like too many, for several reasons:

  • My opponents often have to wait for a long time until I play.

  • Often feels like a chore to go through my games and play due moves in order not to lose on time, and thus I often spend less time pondering over a move than I’d actually want to. I do live a life outside of Go and OGS.

I know now that a dozen, or maybe max. two dozen games would be more than enough, and even though correspondence, I would feel something like a flow of the game <sigh>


Yes, I believe you are correct. I tried playing just one correspondence game, and the hassle discouraged me from ever playing one again. I need to play interactively, due to my poor playing abilities.

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