How to improve at 4d fox?

Are there any books, articles or youtube series that can help breach the gap between 4d and 5d on fox? The advice that I see everywhere is “if you’re already at 4d, you know how to improve” - but I don’t. All I know is to further improve my reading and get even more experience playing games, but this bruteforce way is very difficult for me, because the variability of the games is very high, so I can’t benchmark myself properly to identify what exactly I can learn from a game. The positions look way too specific to extract general principles from them on my own.
Generally if you look at my games through an AI I’m usually leading in the opening with 70-80% and then it goes down in the middle game. You might say “just get better at reading to get better at fighting” but I think that the efficiency of my moves and the direction of play are the culprits, rather than the reading precision/depth.

Here’s a sample game, an average game at my rank with all the blunders and weird things. If it at all helps, though I should say I’m not really looking for a review.


Fox ranks are hard to interpret for me. Maybe those people interpreted your rank as 4d EGF/OGS/KGS/AGA, which would be significantly different to 4d Fox.

Your results on OGS suggests your level is about 3k OGS. Do you feel your OGS rank is about right, or too high/too low?

To put it short I’m having an unfortunate experience on OGS. Some 1 kyus I can beat with a graph like this consistently


But some 3 kyus reverse this graph on me like so


I’m not going to accuse anyone but I’m very suspicious of the western players here and I’m much more confident in my fox opponents and by extension my fox rank.

As for the IRL ranks, I should be way lower than 4d surely. Maybe 1k EGF? I haven’t played irl so I can’t tell.

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Win% graphs are pretty useless IMO. I mean, 99.9% win rate can be less than a 15 point lead in the later stages of the game, which is nothing out of the ordinary at amateur level.

So I recommend using the score graph instead, to identify mistakes in the endgame, even though they didn’t reverse the game.


Like S15, R10, N14? Do you know why those moves were inefficient?

S15 and N14 yes, but only post factum. I usually don’t make these kinda mistakes, it’s just this kifu in particular. But they come and go in my games. Though I noticed that they’re non-existent if the time setting is long.

What’s wrong with R10 though?

It’s only worth about 12 a few points and I don’t think the right side is important. Black and white both have already strong groups on the right side. So it is small and gote.

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I made a short review on gokibitz (not checked with AI, so take it with a grain of salt): GoKibitz: Move-by-move conversations about go games.

Overall, I agree that black played a bit too slow. White played too thin, but black couldn’t really take advantage, because of black’s slow-ish game.

Edit: More specifically, you (black) tended to give up sente a bit too easily and you missed several opportunities to take sente (tenuki to take the initiative). So you played a bit too docile/passive. Your opponent tried to take advantage of that, and it worked on several occasions.

At strong SDK level or above, I don’t think it’s possible to give a simple answer to the question “how can I improve”. We can’t anymore find general ideas to work on and we need to work patiently on every aspect of the game.


Different servers tend to have different types of players. If you are accustomed to the play styles on Fox and only recently started playing on OGS, it can be that you need to get accustomed a bit to the play styles found in OGS.


Coincidentally, I was just promoted to Fox 4d and have been an OGS 1d for awhile.

The main reason of your kyu rank on OGS is you haven’t played enough here. But I have to warn you with my experience if you don’t bring your best games, you will have many hard times dealing with 3k-1k here.

In terms of improvement:

  1. Work on your fundamentals: in 1 second, I was able to see what’s wrong with each of the three moves Jon-Ko posted. The fact that you questioned R10 move as a bad move concerns me.
  2. Work on your mentality: at this level, we need to find reasons of our own, win or lose. This is very important for my improvement. This is an area I continue to struggle and want to improve myself.

Hope you have fun here on OGS.


Cue that meme… “We’ve tried nothing, and it didn’t work.”

Fox 4d as well. My currently plan for improvement is simply this:

  • Go through Lee Changho’s Selected Tesuji a few times, until I can easily spot the correct moves for every problem.
  • Continue to play quite fast in the fuseki so I have time for midgame reading, and then study any Joseki/Direction of play mistakes in review

(Shameless self promotion)

I made a few comment as I play on Fox videos. I was on new account starting at 3d rather than 4d, but usually 7d there, maybe it helps. I did lose one game due to major whoopsy, but the other 4 were all pretty one-sided so show how to deal with the typical stuff Fox players try around this level.

There’s other people who have made similar videos starting at fox 3d and working up. I recommend Ryan Li

I appreciate the review. Usually passive/active is a heated debate because it’s subjective, but maybe I am indeed overly passive when I shouldn’t be.

How can I do this? Putting aside “fundamentals” which is a very vague term, how would one work on, for example, direction of play?

I would say my mentality is fine. I used to struggle a lot with it but now it’s in the past. I keep it in check consciously.

If you’re trying to reference my allegations of that people on here are cheating, here’s a small proof that they actually are. I know what it feels like to play against a high dan player, and by extension an AI (since from my position there’s no difference), and I assure you that I feel this overwhelming presence from some of the kyus here. I rarely bother reporting though because catching a cheater is very difficult.
This isn’t an excuse that I’m using, since I mainly concern myself with only my fox rank. It was just my observation.

This is an interesting idea. Do you play modern joseki a lot or do you play the pre-AI ones? I found the new ones to be much more straightforward, so maybe they’ll be easier to rush through. Maybe they feel more straightforward because they’re studied more thoroughly these days though.

I really am not a fan of these videos because if you’re already a high dan player then you already see the game in a completely different way. I will watch your video later, but every time I tried these videos they never helped. Needless to say half of the advice usually goes like “oh yeah you can just refute it this way” like it’s common knowledge, which probably is for a high dan player, but this common knowledge is what people “down here” are missing quite often.


Yeah mostly modern ones. I agree, I think they are easier to rush through. I feel like a lot of them either settle groups quickly or start midgame fights.
I’m hopeful for the future but right now I feel I’m quite far away from 5d. I did reach it last year but almost double ranked down. It’s possible my very detailed plan won’t be enough :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Anyway, If you’d like to play a game I would be up for it. I added you on OGS, or you can add me to play on Fox: mootoyou. (My OGS rank is inflated from correspondence games, rarely play live ranked here anymore)

What, no, please do report ! It takes a few seconds and can help foster a better environment.


Fair enough, I too think there are problems with the teaching whilst sandbagging method, particularly dwyrin with his basics (I made my videos partly as an anti-dwyrin approach). Though I would say I’m a mid-dan rather than high-dan in un-inflated rating systems (4d EGF), so I was only sandbagging by 4 Fox ranks (or maybe 3 as perhaps I would only be 6d with the distraction of commentating) so I’m quite a bit closer to 3d than Ryan is, or dwyrin to a 10k. I did try to explain my thinking in detail.

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I watched 3 of the videos in that series and I didn’t really get that much from them, as was expected, but one thing I got from them is that I need to be more mindful about making my stones work together better in the opening and taking sente in the opening. Also I was constantly anxious about how you spend 8 minutes on the first 15 moves on fox because when I try do that I have to cycle through 10-15 players who just resign the moment I take longer than 3 seconds to play a move, to find somebody who won’t resign. My fox-tailored strategy is to blitz the first 15 moves and then take my time, because resining on move 16+ already counts as a loss to them, so they don’t do that.

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