Make Tsumego Great Again!

Still another option is to use levels, like “level 1”, “level 2”… “level 5”, or a star rating, as some other sites and apps do. This avoids the difficulties and misconceptions that may come from associating them with a rank, as well as the relative challenge of what a “medium” puzzle is like.

An Elo rating for the puzzle that is not associated with rank could work, too. Then a user could say, “give me anything between 2000 and 4000 difficulty.”

The abbreviations are problematic because:

  1. People will not necessarily know what they mean. I and another in this thread were not familiar with TPK and I’ve been playing for years. And many beginners might not yet have come across DDK and SDK even if they understand what kyu and dan mean.

  2. Even in their unabbreviated form, they are ambiguous because usually DDK (double digit kyu) usually means 10-30 kyu but here it is meant to be 10-20 kyu.

Therefore, it is better to just be explicit and say what we really mean, namely:

30-20 kyu
20-10 kyu
9-1 kyu
1-9 dan

Maybe. But then we have another number, which is a bit like a rank, but it’s not a rank. Might just create more confusion.

This is a good idea but we already use a star rating for the quality of the puzzle so probably best to avoid that on this site.

I think this is less good than the much simpler easy, medium, hard as players have to translate in their head what 2000 or 4000 means. Easy, medium, hard is obvious. This also relates to this:

I don’t think so. Just because a dan player solves a puzzle easily, doesn’t make it an easy problem. And just because an absolute beginner struggles with an elementary problem, doesn’t make it hard. An intermediate or advanced player can look at a problem and say, “well, I find it easy because I know this tesuji, or I have done similar problems before or whatever, but I can still see that it is a hard problem.” I guess it’s more about the complexity of the setup, and the depth and breadth of the reading that is required to solve it.

Please stop quoting me out of context. I was replying to your use of “Easy, Medium, Hard” in reference to pro recomendations of which tsumego to study. They are obviously talking about tsumego which are Easy, Medium, and Hard relative to the player in question.

Regarding your sentiment as a whole, I think the difficulty you have in defining a meaning for “Easy, Medium, and Hard” puzzles when there’s a ready-made and commonly accepted way to group players (and thus correspondant tsumego) by groups of 10, optionally subdivided into “high”, “low”, and “mid”, only bolsters my point that we cannot avoid defining them, and that the solution I propose is better.

As before, that’s a matter of opinion so probably best to just add both.

@Samraku - what about the abbreviations? Do you accept my point that 30-20 kyu, etc are preferable over TPK, etc.?

No; the fact that TPK, DDK, SDK, and dan are used in conversation far far more than the delineation of ranks they represent, is extremely strong evidence that they are more useful terms: natlangs naturally develop to communicate efficiently and effectively.

Just a technicality, 20 kyu belongs to 2 categories.
Shouldn’t it be

1 Like

The (minor) thing I don’t necessarily like about this, is that a puzzle set at the moment gets a rating which takes the min and max ratings from all the puzzles in the set (so it looks like a range like this, but with more freedom on the endpoints).

So having a range of difficulties for the puzzles slightly clashes with the way the ratings for the set work at the moment.

1 Like

They’re just rough bands so it doesn’t really matter if there’s some overlap, but I suppose 19-10 kyu rather than 20-10 kyu might help to avoid confusion so probably is slightly better.

Clearly, we have another difference of opinion here. Can some other people comment on this point please? What is preferable?

  1. Explicit, unambiguous bands with obvious meanings (30-20 kyu, etc); or

  2. Abbreviations that may or may not be understood (SDK, etc) that refer to ambiguous terms (since TPK is usually a subset of DDK but here DDK is to refer to the usual DDK but excluding the TPK part)

Yes, I agree that this is not ideal. But I think it can work. Consider a set with a mixture of difficulties at individual ranks (e.g. 12 kyu, 10 kyu, etc) and rank ranges (19-10 kyu, 9-1 kyu, etc.) and descriptors (easy, medium, etc). One would have to take the minimum of the minimum rank and minimum rank range lower bound (in this case, 19 kyu) and the maximum of the maximum rank and maximum rank range upper bound (in this case, 1 kyu), and the minimum descriptor (easy) and the maximum descriptor (medium) to label the set, in this case as “19-1 kyu, easy-medium”. Seems OK to me. Other sets might only have the 19-1 kyu bit or only the easy-medium bit. In fact, most sets will probably only have one or the other as I suspect that sets will generally just use one type of difficulty label.

This is another reason why abbreviations are less good than explicit rank ranges IMO, as the example set would be labelled as “12-10 kyu, DDK-SDK, easy-medium” - the abbreviations just introduce an extra set label that can otherwise just be absorbed into the set rank range.

1 Like

Why not both?
In an option where players can choose which categorisation they want to use.

By the way this discussion seems to become endless. When will the first steps be taken to bring all this into practice?

1 Like

I’ve submitted a feature request to Github I don’t really understand which parts of the site are open source and which aren’t (not that I necessarily have the ability to implement it), but that should increase its visibility, and if it’s easy to implement maybe it’ll happen soon (or even sooner if it ends up being front end).

Feel free to read/comment the suggestion there, and I can edit what I’ve written if you’d rather keep the suggestion there clean and keep the discussion here.


Good idea. I will take a look later and comment here. Thanks for posting it to GitHub

Too many options is too confusing. Plus, they would serve the same purpose.

Agreed. Let’s just agree something and get on with it!

1 Like

@shinuito - I read the thing on GitHub. Looks great pal. I can’t see anything that needs changing. Thanks for doing that :slightly_smiling_face:


Funny coincidence. At the moment I am building a puzzle collection based on Utaro Hashimoto’s collection. One of the problems is indeed difficulty level of the puzzles :grin:

1 Like

Actually a list of (small) things that I find would really improve the experience of making go puzzles in the puzzles section are:

  • Adding in the option to pass as a colour (Black/White, player or non-player controlled).
  • Adding in more stone marking features like that of analysis mode. Specifically, normally in analysis mode you can shift+click to make a custom label, or you can use the keyboard to manually change to a specific letter/number to label the board. At the moment the only was I can see to place two ‘A’ labels on the board is to click and drag from one place you want it to the other which is inconvenient to say the least :slight_smile: Apparently shift click does work once the letter label is selects.
  • To not delete all of the variations when you change the setup slightly. If you make a bunch of variations on a puzzle and then decide that maybe you should add one more stone outside, it clears the whole variation tree which is awful…

I feel like some of these shouldn’t be that big of a change to make, but I guess I have no idea what the code behind it is like.

1 Like



It’s good to actually collect some of the suggestions together definitely to make them visible again. Maybe a few things get updated at once.

Puzzles do actually have an individual label to them (now) like life and death, fuseki, Joseki, tesuji etc although I don’t know where it’s used. It doesn’t seem to be visible anyway?

I see. Tags are visible in puzzle editor but not in puzzles themselves. Maybe they are working on filters.

1 Like

I looked for it, but can’t find where the labels are used for.
So I never bothered to select a category for the puzzles.
Also the paragraph about creating puzzles in Documentation & FAQ doesn’t give a clue.

1 Like

Just to add to that, I also think those labels that are currently given, aren’t really sufficiently broad enough, with the problem collections I’ve made in the past, I would have trouble categorizing them with those current tags.

Which is why I still prefer the below alternative

Tactics, Tesuji, Strategy, Theory, Opening, Joseki, Fuseki, Attack, Defense,

Or even subgenres

Opening (Joseki, Fuseki)
Tactics (Honte, Proper, Common, Shape)
Technique (Tesuji, Haengma, Tsumego)
Strategy (Attacking, Defending, Invasion, Reduction, Theory)
Endgame (Counting, Calculation)
Miscellaneous (Assorted, Untagged)

Those should be robust enough to categorize most problems, I mean, the current tags of “Elementary” and “Best Move” could refer to literally almost anything, so if you wanted to learn a specific idea with those it’s going to be nightmare to sort through until you get anything nearing what you want.

The other side to things is that, the vast majority of problems right now are just tsumego related, and people tend to go outside the box when they are presented with clear examples, and to put a name on things. Until it becomes easy to navigate and show that a problem can be more than just tsumego, we won’t be getting many middlegame or specific problems. There are vastly more ideas and concepts in go than just tsumego, we should really be thinking of these problems as a (superior) interactive alternative to books when it comes to learning the game.