How to start a game

Hi! I’m new here, and I have pretty quickly figured out that the center is the best 9x9 starting move, but what about on 13x13 and 19x19. Where should your first move be?

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On 13x13 and 19x19, you want to claim the corners first.
Any one of these works:
There are other moves that work, too.
But in general, you want to play a move close (but not too close) to the corner. Wait until Black or White has “claimed” all 4 corners, then approach it.

Some good sequences are on or

According to AI, the 4-5 point (circles) or 4-4 point (squares) is very very slightly better. In general, anythnig inside of this box is fine:


It’s not completely out of focus to play the center point (called tengen btw) on bigger boards. There are some arguments for it, so you can try it too.

What is out of focus is the first line around the board and the second line mostly.

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On 13x13 territory is overpower, so i recommend playing 3-3 or 3-4 in the first opening moves, and then try to quickly grab as much territory as you can with enclosures (or prevent your opponent getting those enclosures by approaching their corners)

On 19x19 its bit more complex because you also have to consider the middle of the board. Theres plenty of good lectures of openings on 19x19, Nick Sibickys traditional opening theory and where to play in the opening are really good ones to start with.

Generally speaking, on 19x19, you want to start from corners, then expand those corners toward the sides, and only then go for the middle. Usually you want those opening moves to be on 3rd ant 4th lines (3rd line stones make 4th line stones more solid and safe, while 4th line stones are making those 3rd line stones expand and form good territories)


Quote :“On 13x13 territory is overpower”
Hum is that from your experience or do you have some lecture (no video, please) to recommend?

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Mostly from experience. Sadly there isnt much study material of 13x13 board, it is kinda “in-between” boardsize between small 9x9 board and full 19x19 board.

But, you can rationalise it.

On 13x13, the center is non-existent compared to 19x19 board, so the old “territory vs. influence” thinking doesnt really work, cause there isn’t much use of the influence. (3rd line stones for territory, 4th line stones for influence)

Also, since the board gets filled with less moves, all the available territory will be claimed faster. This means that if you are not taking territory as fast as you can, your opponent probably is doing that (and smiling while doing it). After you will fall behind on territory, there isn’t much of empty board remining for you to come back. So, once you fall behind on territory on 13x13, your only options are usually to eiteher fight and kill something, or just accept your loss.

If somebody knows any good recourses for 13x13, feel free to share them ^^

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I don’t agree. But that’s only from my own experience too.
There is a balance territory/influence on every size of the board. The killing option as last resort may be as reasonable as running for territory. But not only.

I wrote this article regarding playing a balanced opening in a 19x19 game with beginners in mind. Hopefully you will find it helpful:

I have to admit that i’m not a very big fan of 13x13 board, i’ve prolly played just ~100 games on it in my whole life.

What i meant about “territory/influence” balance, i was meaning 3rd/4th line balance, which is pretty screwed toward 3rd line territory on 13x13 board.

On 19x19 you can win by playing mostly 4th line stones in the opening and going for influence (so called “moyo-strategy”), since the balance between 3rd line territory and 4th line influence is pretty equal. But on smaller board like 13x13 that balance favors greatly the 3rd line territory over 4th line influence, just because the middle is so small. And best way to make 3rd line territory is to focus on making 3rd line territory from the start. ^^

Goquest is a cool place to watch 13 games