Is this cheating?

Hi all,

A question for ye. What is your opinion of using go resources while playing against people on OGS? It would have to be slow or correspondence games of course. I guess go resources could be anything from books to online materials.
The reason I ask is, I just got my hands on a book about Joseki (Elementary Go Series, Vol. 2) and think I would learn and understand it best if looking up relevant info while actually playing games (I like slow games). I feel like this is a good way to study but I can also see why this could be considered cheating or at least unfair to my opponent. It would probably also artificially inflate my rank.

So is using go resources like this allowed during games? Is it considered cheating? If so, how does one best study these books?


I did refer to books or Crazy Stone(AI), but only AFTER I’ve submitted my move.:slight_smile:


I dont believe that using books is cheating, but obviously people will have very different opinions on the matter. so if you want to be on the safe side just ask your opponent. Asking AI for help is a different matter…

If you dont do a lot of research and only use one book in order to study joseki chances that something not covered in the book happens are very high anyway.


Hi kevin,

In my opinion using external resources is normal, especially during correspondence games. I study joseki or pattern search board positions on while I am playing correspondence games to get a feel for what professional players consider a good move at a given position. I can also find games that are similar to the one I am playing and study them. This helped me get from 25k to 8k in 450~ games. I noticed that when i played Live or Blitz games (I don’t use external sources for these) the things i learned from correspondence games made a huge difference, so at least from an educational view using external sources while playing slow games makes sense to me.

I believe that Live and Blitz is where you put the things you have learned in the test. On the other hand in correspondence one player may think 30 seconts for his moves while the other may think 30 minutes for each of his moves. Is this cheating? Is studying Joseki while playing correspondence should be prohibited? I guess this is not practical.

However, letting another player or a bot play your game is cheating i guess. :slight_smile:


I would say a joseki book wouldn’t really be cheating as your opponent has no obligation to follow joseki. If they go out of joseki the book wouldnt help at all.

Tsutsui from hikaru no go would use a joseki book when playing and kaga said the same thing.


Depends on your priorities. Self-improvement or integrity of the game.

Want to improve faster? Go ahead. Note: Only works if you actually internalize from playing and reading after and not just blindly following and forgetting later.

Want to preserve the integrity of the game and not cheat yourself? Then don’t.

Want to do both? Then study it AFTER the entire game is over.

I for one play live games to make it physically impossible to actually look up stuff or the opponent can go ahead and run out of time or get time pressured later on. Of course even then it’s not impossible to do so during live games and even if you don’t look up stuff there’s a chance your opponent will. I just find it best to just care about yourself so as to not overthink things. Especially if you want to continue playing correspondence because there’s no way to enforce this.


Dude, if game lasts months and you learn new things meanwhile, of course you should try to implement those into your game. And if your current games motivate you to study go that’s awesome! \o/

But if you just copy josekis from book or from, you might end up harming your game because joseki you did play wasn’t good at that situation, or maybe your opponent doesn’t follow the joseki and you have no idea how to continue from there :confused:

So, studying go is good, blindly copying sequences is bad. Playing with your best is norm.


It is important to play consistently with your account. If you are 8 kyu when you use ressources, 13 kyu without and 16 kyu when drunk, you are essentially sandbagging when you use the 13 kyu account with ressources.

However, my personal experience that playing with and without josekipedia and analysis changes surprisingly little.

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In actual tournaments it’s actually not allowed to consult any material (at least for the AGA). Maybe in Japan during the time Hikaru no Go was out or perhaps it wasn’t accurate in that aspect.

Thanks everyone for the replies :slight_smile:

The consensus seems to be that using books is ok (especially in slow games) provided that one is trying to actually study the material/position rather than blindly following.

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