Lost the will to play - what to do?


I’m pretty sure this was already asked, but this is more like a personal thing so I’ll create a new topic, hope you don’t mind.

So for the 1,5 months I’m experiencing lack of fun when playing. I never had this before for so long. This happened right after I took about 1-2 weeks of vacation as I was abroad at this time. After getting back, playing the games seems more like a chore then like exciting or fun way to spend time. I play only correspondence and have little less than 20 games going on usually. I stopped starting new games, so only accept invites from friends and play new ladder games, but this doesn’t help much. Most of the time I just come and see if any games have <24h, play those and log out.

But the thing is, I really like Go and really wouldn’t like to lose this hobby totally.

What can I do to go back to how it was before? Can anyone share his experience and say what he did to overcome this?

PS This has nothing to do with my rank as I’m ~10k for a longer time and this didn’t change much in the mentioned time.


So you like go, but do not like playing it?

Then maybe try watching commentated pro games or some teaching videos? Nick Sibicky, Dwyrin and such? Maybe you will want to try things you see there out again. Or try live games? The pressure is higher and the game is more “tense” I would say…

If you do not like playing it, then I would say don’t… It is still just a game for most of us after all… Take a break. If you miss it you will come back. If you don’t you will surely find some other wortwhile hobby. I see no reason in pushing it…


Are you depressed and it’s just showing itself most clearly in your relations with GO? Depression can act like that. It can suck the fun out of something you really love, but the real problem can be elsewhere.


At times, Go has become the hobby that is “too big to fail” to me. It keeps sucking time from my other plans in life with its addictive nature. I still love Go and have ambitions to improve, but when I “have to” sit down and play, I feel guilt about the more productive things I should be doing instead. Sometimes it just feels like a dreadful, hollow compulsion that occupies my mind while I’m dying and rotting in every other way.

These are the things I do to keep Go fun and healthy and avoid the experience described above:

  1. Time out. OGS has a vacation feature. Just take a break from your “obligations” for a few weeks! :slight_smile:
  2. Variety. Tsumego, progames, different openings, time mode, board size, or teach someone. Mix it up and don’t do the same things over and over again.
  3. Play meaningful games. When you do spend time on Go, do it consciously and maybe try to learn something.
  4. Let go of the ambition and obsession. You can spend all day thinking about one correspondence game, then play your move with the satisfying knowledge that it is your best shot. Or you can just play what you feel like :slight_smile: Who cares about the ladder spots, really? I used to wonder a lot why high-dan players, who must be very competitive, play so much thoughtless blitz. The answer is that it is simply relaxing to lower your stakes in the outcome, to take it less seriously.
  5. Be social and enjoy the community. :slight_smile: Meet other players IRL, or head over to the chat room. Find someone to share your other interests with. Ask your opponent where they are from and how they are doing. After a good game, suggest a review.

And of course, I second @Mogadeet - if you have some issue in your life that makes you unhappy, you can maybe find short-term refuge, but not solve the root cause, in playing Go. Unless the root issue is lack of Go-playing :wink:

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


How long have you played? Don’t feel guilty if you lose/lost interest. Do it for what serves your needs; hopefully not self-flaggelation.


Personally, I think that 20 games is way way way too many.

I know that many correspondence players maintain a list like that, but I don’t see how they have any real connection with each game. It’s more like doing a continuous set of full-board go puzzles, one puzzle for each move.

No wonder it becomes a chore.

I usually have 3-5 going - just enough to make sure that each evening and morning I have at least a turn to play. I also try to only have “fast” games - games where you play a turn in that game every day. Or two.

This way each game is interesting because you are connected with it, it has continuity. You can also invest in review etc of these games.

And instead of facing a list of “games you have to process” each day, you can find yourself impatiently wanting the next move to come…

Quality rather than quantity :slight_smile:



I’ve gotten in a similar situation from time to time, in my peaks I tend to have 20-30 correspondence games and play ~10 live games a day (usually corresponding to a ratings spike), but both my will to play and performance tends to dip afterwards.

I recommend right now you take a break, just a couple days off, maybe even a bit more than a couple days, just don’t time out, and then try to pace yourself whenever you’re feeling like playing so you don’t burn out.


Thanks for all the suggestions.

As I used up almost all of my vacation time and would hate to timeout, I’ll just refuse to accept new games and maybe quit the ladder. Just let it go down to smaller amount of games that seems to little and build up from there.

The problem is that I sometimes suddenly have a big urge to play and start too many games, then next tournament round comes up and it’s not manageable anymore. I hope that’s the reason and I’ll get out of it.

My other idea is to read Kageyama again and maybe find some inspiration.


Point 4 is very hard for me. I really do not know how not to care and always try to make moves that I won’t be ashamed of. Would be glad to get rid of that attitude and just relax but somehow I cannot.


Don’t be attached to winning or playing the best move. Remember, when you were a beginner and knew nothing, you lost every game unless you played someone who knew even less. The way to progress was not to let continued losing and mistakes kill your interest. Become a beginner again and maybe you can relax a bit.


I’d play fewer correspondence games, and maybe more unrated games. I haven’t played much correspondence go, but I found that in chess, games lasting weeks eventually became tedious. Especially when you get into an uncomfortable position, you end up looking at that uncomfortable position for days or weeks. I don’t get that feeling of boredom/frustration as much in live games, unless I go on tilt and lose 10+ in a row. Correspondence, for me, is fatiguing, since you need to be tuned in and putting in enough effort to make your best moves ever day on every game. For a live game, I can dedicate maybe an hour to play, and be focused for that, without needing to worry about the fact that, a week ago, I was feeling stressed, made bad moves, and now all of my positions are horrible.

Lately, I’ve been playing lots of unrated practice games against the computer. These are nice, since, even though I known on some level that my rating is just a random internet number that I don’t care about, I still feel burned watching it go down when I play badly. With computer opponents, I can look at them as a benchmark of play, and try to play until I can regularly beat them, instead of getting in my head about a specific game. I don’t need to care about any specific game, so while blundering might still make me feel dumb, I won’t feel the kind of anxiety or frustration I do in competitive games.

Basically, it comes down to point 4 that Animiral made: figure out how to let go of the stress of needing to play well, or at least reduce it to a manageable level. If correspondence is stressful, play less correspondence. If rated games are stressful, play some friendlies. You’ll stay mentally in shape for playing games, and you can always go for something competitive later when you feel like you’re in the right mental state to do so.


I know exactly what it feels like, @kajmaj87, my symptoms are quite like yours.

Thing is, I joined way too many correspondence tournaments a long time ago when my life was somewhat different and much less stressing … and I don’t like to quit games I have one begun, also don#t want to quit those tournaments that I joined years ago.

I only play correspondence games here, due to time management problems and too much work.

And yes, I know what depression is, better than I’d like to.

But quitting those games and/or tournaments wouldn’t change a thing abt the depression, and I like the folks I’m playing with, so… I stick with ’em, procrastinate with playing and place my moves in the last moment … take “vacation” whenever it’s really necessary, etc.

Letting go of all ambition regarding rank has helped a LOT … and suddenly my rank began improving quickly in a short time (from ~10k to ~6k, shortly even 5k) :open_mouth: But I don’t trust it too much … first, because it has become less important to me, and second, since it’s only correspondence games, and since I make extensive use of the analysis function, I simply assume that in reality I’m probably still 10k :smiley:

Just wanted to let you know that you‘re not alone :wink:

Peace and out,

p.s.: And I definitely prefer rated games when ppl are within the nine stones difference :slight_smile: because IMHO a clear rank is actually something good and helpful, it’s just that we shouldn’t be obsessed with our rank.


My suggestion would be… play other games! Whether it is other board games (chess, checkers, chinese checkers, whatever…) you will quickly find your path drawn back to this most beautiful of all games.
And don’t be an achiever! If you wanna be that, go to PlayStation (which is nice as well, loving Persona5 right now, its amazing). There you can have progress, grind and become bigger and better. and finish the game. Go can never be that. Play Go as you may practice Tai Chi, for relaxing and inner peace.

Just my two cents…


Adam: It is a silly game. I think that if we just play to learn …and not to win/compete you wont feel the stress.

Meet with other Go players for socialization such as play in pubs with drinks and food. Once you develop relations with other Go players who are interested in learning and having a good time you wont feel the same way.

Dont forget that children in the Orient go to schools, hence it is different than us learning as adults.

This is a good conversation. Cheers
ps Someone mentioned depression. You dont need to be depressed because one is logical and realistic. Im glad that people realize that Go is not everything in life.


Try Shogi for a bit?


Thanks again for all the replies!

I must say it helped to see so many friendly responses and to know that I’m not alone in such a position. I think I somehow convinced myself to care a little less about every move and it is not so tiring right now. It seems that I’m slowly getting back on track :slight_smile:

Losing has a lot of value also, so caring about winning so much may be counterproductive when it comes to rank (which is a little counterintuitive:wink:)


It’s amazing how much lightness comes to one’s shoulders when you care less about winning. Winning is not everything, it is not the only thing, it is merely one goal. Some of the best games I’ve had have been ones that I have lost. By not sweating the outcome my mind remains more clear to learn from the game, and my play actually improves. I hit my slumps when I start to lose this. Another joy that can come from this is when you win a game and are surprised at the victory. As the game progresses and you are absorbed by the play, the ultimate outcome is not an intruder to the shapes and forms of the stones as the game unfolds.


I’ll echo this sentiment. Most of my progress in chess has come during periods where I did not play to win, but played to learn.

Teaching a friend to play can also ignite some sparks where the original fire may have died down.


Sounds like mild depression–one of the symptoms is loss of interest in things. Look up the symptoms of depression and see how many you have. If you have four or more, it may be clinical. In that case, see a mental health practitioner to see. Depression can hit anyone, and it is frequently easy to fix with a little talk therapy.


Oh, shut up…

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