How to improve

I play on this site fast live along with Overwatch or PUBG, and can’t seem to make progress further from 5~7kyu… I don’t know, I never learned from anyone or any video except the rules so have 0 memorized sequences and only depend on reading because I want to build my own playstyle. Recently, I learned from my friend who study in go institution that an average person should achieve 4 dan in 3 months playing go and now I feel I’m mentally challenged or something since the highest I ever achieved was 2 kyu on this site in same period of time… Is it because I am being stubborn for never memorizing/ studying moves or is it that I really am mentally challenged?

Well, either you are trolling or your friend is. There are a few strong players (examples from Germany for my convenience) who made it to 1d reasonably quickly: from 10k to 1d in a year, Jonas Welticke 6d, currently the highest rated German player. Lukas Kraemer 6d, another strong (young) player went from 6k to 1d in a year. Johannes Obenaus 6d, for whom the rating history is a bit longer, went from 19k to 1d in about 2 years.

As for the 4d part of the claim, there are currently about 60 players from Germany ranked 4d or higher. There are currently 6246 EGF rated players from Germany, so the percentage of players who reached 4d - irrespective of how long it took - is around 0.96%.

I, for one, was KGS 1d after about 2-3 years depending on whether you only count active playing period or absolute time. :slight_smile:

That said, you won’t get to 1d quickly unless you actually put in the hours. Tsumego, pro replays, tsumego, go lessons (books/videos), tsumego, watching strong players, tsumego.

If you want to read about Go for the handicapped, there’s a book called “Go as Communication” by Yasutoshi Yasuda 9p, which is an interesting read in my opinion.


Haha, chances are you’re fine mentally and your friend was pulling your leg. Thing is, almost all Go players hit barriers during which they begin to think of themselves as a “permanent ___ kyu.” To move past this barrier, you’ve gotta put in some effort. No Pain No Gain, where gain is progress and pain the pain of effort. This means you’ll have to start studying (or you can continue to play the game as you always have).

P.S.: Don’t lose yourself in the process of studying. Your creative mind is one of your biggest assets (People who only follow other people’s moves can never get better.). My advice is to play the game you want to play—just study in such a way that you learn better means of doing that.


Also, it is “optimistic” (to put it mildly) to expect that you could reach dan level without learning anything from anyone.

Current Dans build their knowledge on hundreds of years of human playing experience plus now AI lessons.

The idea that you could “come up with your own playing style” is a nice one, and why not. But the idea that you could come up with a Dan level playing style from just reading the rules and playing: I think not.

(You might want to dig up the AlphaGo Zero graphs and see how many training games it had to play to get to 4d)

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I must be braindead then :sunglasses:


The idea that the average Go player just casually reaches 4 dan in a few months is pretty ridiculous. I would hazard a guess that the “average” Go player never hits dan level ranks at all.


Assuming you are korean from the choi, and your friend is in a korean go institution, 4D in 3 months is still not possible except for maybe the top players in your institute. I doubt they qualify as ‘normal’ people. Even if they are very normal, their curriculm isn’t.

Case in point, Iyama Yuuta, Japan’s current top player took a year to get to 3D (amateur). No matter how you deflate the Japanese rank, that’s still at least a 1D at least in a year for what many called a child prodigy in Go.

I would say you are mentally challenged by even believing your friend.


Aww come on, that last sentence wasn’t necessary, now, was it?


… but we all wanted to say it :smiley: :smiley:

(runs for cover)

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nice stats :slight_smile:. i would guess, that the percentage of go-players as a whole reaching (close to) 4d is even smaller, given that those who have an official EGF rank are already a pretty committed subgroup of go-players.

Technicality: Percentile is the group above the cutoff, i.e. [100% - percentage of observations], as opposed to the percentage, which is just the ratio of [observations] / [total number] multiplied by 100. If 4d+ players make up 1% of the German Go population, a 4d player is at the 99th percentile.

uhm… thx?

Well the kid asked about it, I simply replied.

I believe everything has been said about how one progresses up (or is it down) the kyu ladder and eventually become a 1 dan, so simply focus on your own progress and get into the mental state that you’ll inevitably have to put at least some effort to improve your game.

I did have the same problem as you right when I first learned how to play many years ago, and I dropped it because I wasn’t improving and got stuck at around ~8k-10k. During the past few months I started playing again but this time I’m putting some effort to learn a few things that I used to ignore before, even simple joseki or proverbs, and I’m happy to see my game is improving; slowly, sure, but improving nonetheless.
I recommend you do that because the fact is in order to improve, you’ll have to do it eventually. Even if you want to play aggressive games with lots of reading involved all the time, you will still need to know some “basic stuff” such as shapes, trick plays, or common sequences in order to beat players that rely mainly on the opponent playing textbook games.

Well 4 dan in 3 months is, to say the least, is pretty impressive. To site some Japanese pro examples Yoda Yoshinori 9p claims he reached shodan in 3 months, after 600 hours of studying. Also Iyama Yuda 9p, currently seven major title holder in Japan, reached 5kyu in 6 months and only reached 3 dan in 1 year. It just reveals that you are a human being. Whatever the case, if you are held back at a certain rank, there is bound to be something that is holding you back, and from what I see, you probably have gained some bad habits that you are stuck with; habits that led you to win against 8 kyu but will not work against 4 kyu.
I understand that you want to stick with your playstyle, but strong players with any playstyle still stick with fundamentals/principles. This is because we cannot read out all the variations ourselves and have to rely on some abstract thought to guide us to a better move. Since you stated that you reached 2 kyu, you probably have a 2 kyu reading ability, so add the knowledge of fundamentals/principles and you will probably play as a 2kyu, at least.
So I would congratulate you on reaching 2kyu, and probably dan, in the near future.

If you go from beginner to four dan in three months then without doubt you’re a future professional. You’ve either misunderstood your friend or he’s trolling you really hard.

There is no point in me talking about times taken to reach certain ranks as so much is variable according to the time one puts in and the resources one uses. I’d say that if you just get to 9k from scratch in a year then you’re doing perfectly respectably.