If I could choose a handful of YouTube channels to learn from, a go book with problems, and a go book about general theory, which would you suggest to me?

I’m 25 kyu and feel like I can’t get better. I often feel confused playing especially middle game. Which YouTube channels would be good for me to watch, and I can only get a few go books so what would be a good problem book and a good theory book for my level? Maybe separate books for global strategy and for local fighting. Also what’s the best way to do go problems to get the most out of them?


YouTube: look for Dwyrin’s old videos from the “Back to basics” series. It’s a good introduction to playing solid and safe.

Recent videos could be for stronger players, so look for older ones, especially if they have “ddk” (double digit kyus) in the title.


Well, if @Lys only suggests you video’s, I will provide the book section :grin:


This is one of the few go books that is actually readable and trying to reach out to an absolute beginner.


For 25k, the best channel to watch is Nick Sibicky’s, because his class is specifically geared towards showing how moves work and how they do not.

Dwyrin’s channel is very good, but his content, even in his basics series, is mostly for SDK and above.

For problems there are various sites and apps and books that provide tsumego.
Tsumego Pro is a good App
Cho Chikun’s problems is a good book
and this is a good site.

For books if you want to buy a book, then the series “Learn to Play Go” by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun are a great start ( there are five volumes, here is the first one ).

If you do not want to pay, you can try this one, which you can download for free and was written with the mindset of a beginner, so it might be helpful for you.

If you want some more things to peruse, OGS has a page with resources here.

Good luck with studying and remember to have fun while playing :slight_smile:


This is a good place to start.


Well, actually a SDK suggested that channel to me saying that it helped him reaching SDK.
I followed his advice and my experience was the same.
So I think it isn’t for complete beginners, but definitely useful for DDK.

I’m talking specifically about the back to basics series

I do not disagree with that, but if you are, let’s say 14k, and looking for some content to help you reach 8k, then dwyrin’s “back to basics series” is very good indeed.

But if you are 25k and you are feeling a bit stuck there like the OP, you might find that what Dwyrin considers basic is still a bit too much to process and implement. DDK as a label has quite the range in what players it contains (I think some people use the acronym TPK for people 20k+)

I tried watched both dwyrin’s basics and Sibicky’s videos when I was around 9-7k and I remember sometimes being a bit perplexed with what dwyrin was presenting. Sibicky has a DDK class, so his whole mentality is geared to explaining things that are simple and rudimentary, which Dwyrin sometimes skips.

Maybe I had this experience because my basics were always a bit sketchy. I just read Janice Kim’s books and declared myself a 12k in DGS without ever playing a single game on any level :rofl: ( these books work, though, and they are no joke, which is why I highly recommend them), but I do remember that “back to basics” really helped me get better when I was 7k and with some games on my account. Before 7k, Sibicky was, by far, the most helpful in helping me fill the gaps and understand some basic concepts that I was missing. :slight_smile:


at. 25k there are very few books specfically written for you.
Go for beginners (Iwamoto Kaoru), although out of print is my favorite.

You can try to do the most basic go problems, as long as you can find quickly the answers by yourself. Don’t waste time to search them too long.

At 25k the most beneficial activity is to play, a lot, and have fun.

I’ve never seen that.
I guess it’s too late now. :smile:

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Nick Sibicky, espesially his early lecture recordings have great lessons for ddk’s, i myself got into ~10k just by watching his lectures.

Also one superb video is Dsaun’s shape lecture, i think its still today one of the best lectures about shape on the internet. The whole video is about 3 hours long, but its well worth watching.


“The Second Book of Go” by Richard Bozulich I think is worth reading.

I think once you know the rules and have played a few games you can use it.

It’s also available electronically through smartgo books https://gobooks.com/ either as an epub or if you have iOS or mac.

It was recommended to me by a friend and I thought it was helpful.

There’s also Graded Go problems for Beginners volumes 1-4. I would probably skip the first volume unless you just want the set. The first volume spends about half the book telling you about atari :slight_smile:

It’s also available though smart go books. Both books are nice because they cover lots of aspects of the game, not just one particular part (Opening attacking endgame life and death etc)

I don’t know the best way to do problems. You could spend ages trying to figure one problem out by yourself, trying out variations in your head or on the board. But if it looks impossible maybe there’s a trick you’re missing and just seeing the trick (in the answer) and trying to understand why it works might be better than trying to re-invent the trick so to speak. It depends on the person though.


It is never too late, some of those classes are quite good because sometimes Sibicky’s students ask for variations, which is always nice to see. Sometimes those questions lead to glorious moments like this, with Sibicky’s “famous” student, Dan (amazing name for a Go player by the way) which are my favorite 3 minutes of any lesson I’ve ever watched :

People usually diss Dan in the comments of the videos, but I really like his interactions with the class, like this instance (I will not say any spoilers about the end of that video). I think they are jealous because they are not dan :stuck_out_tongue:


Is Dan the one that snores through the lessons?


I think so … well, you know how it goes … some days you are low Dan, some others, high Dan :stuck_out_tongue:


My advice: skip the videos and theory books and focus on tsumego. But not Tsumego Pro, because its easiest problems are too hard for 25k. You want to do lots and lots of easy ones that you can solve correctly in about 10-30 seconds. This will improve your reading ability. Reading is the imaginative power to picture playing out moves on the board. Videos and theory don’t do that as well as tsumego.

So go here:

Make an account, adjust the settings to normal-looking board backgrounds, and then solve, solve, solve. It takes mental effort to find the right solution. DON’T GUESS. Imagine each move and see the possible responses in your mind’s eye until you’ve found the right one. If you work for about 20 minutes to an hour and start making mistakes or feel like you want to start guessing, then take a break and come back the next day. Keep going every day, or twice a day, or three times a day, but don’t overtax yourself. You will build big go muscle. Good luck!


I fully agree with this. I’d just add: also play a lot and maybe occasionally ask a stronger player for a review of a game that you have lost and don’t understand why.

I don’t see why you can’t do both.

Tsumego won’t teach you how to play go on a 19x19 board. You might win a lot on 9x9 maybe.

If you haven’t learned basic endgame you can lose 20-30 points easily (imagining things like the monkey jump going wrong) or even just not defending the after the usual hane on the first line.

That said, tsumego might make you more confident about when to leave groups alone and play elsewhere.

And tsumego hero seems like it’s alright. I haven’t tried it before I don’t think. Does it make you stop after you’ve gotten a certain amount wrong?


Any thoughts on the Elementary Go series?

I have read Opening theory made easy and found it pretty understandable… and I would say that my opening is no longer pure randomness :man_shrugging:
(soon I’ll have the time to put my little knowledge to the test)

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I think a TPK player doing tsumego can learn basic opening and endgame moves by playing against the DDKs on their way up to SDK. After quality tsumego training (i.e., improving reading, not guessing) then playing games and getting games reviewed is an efficient way to improve. The right books or references could be good for concepts (e.g., it helps to have a name for the Monkey Jump to remember it and discuss it during review). I would still put videos as generally among the lesser efficient ways to improve.

Yeah I suppose that could be an option too with the reviews.

I think it depends on the videos :slight_smile: Watching Dwyrin play can help sometimes depending on what you take from it sure. But what about videos from pros and/or strong amateurs specifically designed to teach you something?

(I’m digressing from 25kyu level here)

I’m thinking of things like Michael Redmonds go problems and josekis

Young Sun Yoon videos about invading corner enclosures

NYIG’s How to master your opening or new outdated joseki vidoes

Go Pro Yeonwoo has lots of content

Baduk Doctor has a lot of videos on tsumego and lots of other topics

Bottom Line:

I wouldn’t put people off videos now that we’re basically in a Golden Age of Go content (for me in English at least, but of course there is lots of content in korean, japanese etc, much more than I’m aware of I’m sure.). If you don’t like them it’s fine but sometimes they’re even just fun to watch

like the NHK cup games between pros of which some have been translated

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