It is ok staying with 9x9?

Hi all,

Just wanted to generate some discussion; Is it ok staying with smaller board sizes the more you play?

I personally like playing Go on the 9x9 board. I don’t have the patience for 19x19 and 13x13 can be too severe for me sometimes, as I like to make big captures.

What are your thoughts on this?



I used to play a lot of 9x9 before I switched to 19x19(now I only play 19x19, and always get crushed on 9x9 :slight_smile:) I think that playing on a 9x9 is perfectly fine, but you should give 19x19 a try. However, if you play too much 9x9, you might lose the ability to play 19x19 and vice versa.(I think the three ranking system should by on the different board sizes, not the time, wink wink, nudge nudge, developers…) Just be aware that you may find it harder to play other game sizes. Otherwise, have fun playing 9x9.
Other thoughts on the different board sizes…
9x9: Typically a close quarters fighting game, (to quote xhu98 “like a knife fight in a telephone booth”), every move counts more then on 19x19 and 13x13, giving up some territory in exchange for a wall or something else isn’t really worth it.
13x13: A bit more attention on the opening and playing passively, sort of a mix between the two extreme boards.
19x19: A massive board that can be played in sort of separate areas, not every move will affect every stone on the board. More room for mistakes, longer games, and (maybe) more strategy and less tactics.

Anyway, that’s just a DDK’s two cents, so yeah, have fun playing go, hope this helped.


A lot of people suggest that beginners should start on a 9x9 board. I personally do not agree with this. 9x9 boards are a lot of fun, but it is a totally different game than playing on a 19x19. I feel that beginners might pick up bad habits i.e. always starting on the 3-3 point.

Playing on a 9x9 board is fine, but I suggest moving to the big board as soon as you feel comfortable. You will learn a lot quicker by playing on a 19x19 board. In my opinion, the 13x13 board is better than a 9x9 board for beginners because all the same strategies and tactics that you would use on a 19x19 board apply on a 13x13 (and it’s quicker).


Ranking actually takes into consideration of board sizes as well as timing. The smaller the board, the smaller the rank change. Although not adjusted enough imo. I can still drop a lot losing to a weaker player on a smaller board.

@u-aint-never You can if you want. It’s almost a whole different game altogether though. Most of the Go world will be playing a different game so get on the same page if you want don’t want to be left out,

Also, educational resources which cater to the main board size will unlikely be helpful to your game.

1 Like

Good point. I’m always looking for 9x9 strategies and usually come up short.

If you want to keep playing 9x9 then keep playing it. It’s your decision, you don’t need our validation. There is also no reason you can’t like both 9x9 and other size boards.


Playing 9x9 is very fun, but it’s hard to find strong opponents to play with. Another disadvantage is that on 9x9 ranks are closer to each other, so it’s easier to win against stronger opponent just by chance.

1 Like

I’d at least play 13x13 too, for broader experience of the game. On 9x9 it’s very local and limited, which is great learning to fight and count (reading and profiting). But if you want the space to play more flexibly in the opening, being able to play moves globally and not limited to a small location, a bigger board is better.

When I started playing I preferred smaller boards too. After I consistently started playing the bigger boards, it wasn’t as strange. So you should try playing 13x13 more as you play 9x9 games; later if you decide to play 19x19, it will feel less strange had played 13x13.

Staying on 9*9 is fine. Do whatever you want.

However, I think to improve, bigger boards are necessary as you come across ideas/concepts on 1919 that are not applicable on 99.

For example (and I am going out on a limb here so feel free to disagree with me) I don’t think it would be possible to reach SDK by exclusively playing 9*9

go is a game, do what you enjoy. I played the 9x9 when i started, pretty much exclusively. now i find it boring, but that’s just me. do what you enjoy.

What does “OK” mean?

I don’t understand how this is even a question.

This is like asking “is it OK to only ever ride a scooter, and not bother with full size motor bikes”.

Sure - how could it not be OK?

It might be a bit odd hanging out in the motor cycle club with all the people who are there to talk about horsepower, but maybe you love that sort of talk - that’s OK?

Plenty of people go to watch motor racing, but only drive street cars.

There’s a lot that you miss out on staying with 9x9, but if you don’t like those things then … fine?


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

1 Like

yeah, it’s ok.

1 Like

You’re reading way too heavily into my question.

OK in the sense of OK. Nothing more, nothing less.

Me, too. I see nothing wrong in playing the way you wish to play. It’s a game, which means we are free to enjoy it as we wish.

However, I am also aware that my focus on 9x9 playing puts me at a disadvantage in future playing of 19x19 games, as I am not forced to pay attention to large-scale territory issues, or good local moves in a large-scale context. I am willing to pay that price. You should also be conscious of that price.

1 Like

I agree with this. 9x9 games are typically very different than 19x19.

1 Like

It is a weird question though. I don’t think you’ll find a lot of support for your decision, since as many have already stated, 9x9 is essentially a completely different game, missing many of the finer points that player of 19x19 consider core to the go experience. That being said, if 9x9 is the game you enjoy, what business is that of any of us? Playing connect-4 and Ludo is “ok”, of course playing 9x9 go is too.

connect-4 is not ok


Yes, we all know gomoku and Renju is superior.

I went from playing 19x19 to 15x15 to 9x9 because I wanted to get quick games in. Eventually, I got to a point where all I played was 9x9 and got really good at competition with it online. However, when I went back to 19x19 my game fell way off. I went from playing at about an 3-4 kyu level to going all the way back to 19 kyu because I forgot how to play tesuji, life and death situations. I’m hovering around 6 kyu now but I make little mistakes like I did when I first started because I have to get better at projection/reading moves.
All in all, if it a simple case of not using it and losing it. I love 9x9 still, but I play it far less than I use too. 19x19 is where it is at for competition purposes anyway in my opinion.