Managing Go Addiction - (serious)

I think I have to resurrect this topic :grimacing:

In your opinion, where is the difference between a passion and an addiction?

Can playing 38 games a day for the last year and 49 for the last month (including everything, of course) be considered “healthy”? (don’t be afraid to offend me!)

I’m afraid I’ve lost control and that it’s going to get “worse”, but at the same time I can’t really believe it…


Is there something you neglect or “neglect” for all those games? That would be my starting point.


How many years have you been playing that much? Do you feel enough satisfaction when you play? Have you had this kind of passion/addiction for other activities, and for how many years?


I believe the standard clinical answer is when it begins to interfere with living a normal life (i.e., earning a living, paying your bills, meeting personal obligations, etc.), but I am not a doctor.


Is this opposition realistic?

I’m putting aside the problems of social consequences of investing too much energy and time on a not that productive activity for you and others (if so) or even nefaste for your physical and mental health.

I’m asking myself with which interest and intensity you get fullfilled. For example you could have an appetite of discovery of the essence of the game, a way to polish a balanced game through a multitude of experiences.
A kind of learning to stay placid and growing at a slow steady pace. On a dark side you could have chosen to not confront yourself directly with what makes your go weak and keep being more and less satisfied at that level of play.
So from the inside, addiction grow from some kind of challenges and inspiration to a routine of playing.
Coming back to a even more serious side snd more global i think people lose the sense of what they are doing when addicted. In a very simple way: they don’t do what they think they are doing, they hide with what they are doing from what they should do.
As rude as i like to try to be honest when someone ask me but i m not telling you are addicted.


People have been asking this question for more than a hundred year - abolishing Go games act in the early 20th century.

And the solution proposed back then was to tax them, like alcohol and tobacco.


Well, not that this writing get my approval but it’s still a lesser pain as isolating them in psychiatric institutions (or send them to cultivate the soil or expend the territory)


Hi - I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology, so I wanted to say a few words about a few of the elements that make an “addiction” different from other types of behaviors. Hopefully what I say will reassure you (i.e. hopefully you DON’T have a pattern of addictive behavior). In case you do, please feel free to ask any other questions.

So, to be clear, there are various different types of addictions. Being addicted to a chemical that has a high addiction potential (like cocaine, benzodiazepines, opiates etc) is somewhat different than being addicted to shopping or gambling. I won’t go into detail on the differences, but I will point out some of the similarities - mainly that there is an internal dopamine reward mechanism involved in all of those. Regardless of whether the substance or activity the addiction revolves around, there is always a reward pathway in the brain that lights up when the addictive stimulus is present, so it might be worth while taking a look at what kinds of internal rewards you get from the game, how you interpret those, and what role those play in you seeking out more games.

There are some other similarities that tie various addictive behaviors together:

  1. The behaviors are causing problems with the individual’s other life activities (i.e. work, school, friendships, chores, etc)
  2. The individual has reached a point where they’ve started to realize that their behaviors are causing problems, and have TRIED to change those behavior, but have been unable to make lasting change on their own
  3. Their need for the behavior in question tends to grow over time, what was enough before is not enough now.

There’s one final thing, and it’s a bit harder to describe - basically that the behaviors they engage in and the rewards they get from those behaviors are some form of ESCAPE. The real hallmark of addictive behavior is that there is some part of their life experience that is unpleasant or intolerable, and rather than focus on those elements and figure out how to deal with them, the addicted person keeps seeking out behaviors that will allow them to escape those unpleasant feelings. Of course, ignoring the unpleasant feelings usually only makes them grow, which is why the addicted person needs more and more over time to achieve the same level of escape.

The bottom line of all of this? If you are

  • genuinely enjoying the process of playing so many games
  • not getting in trouble with work/school/family because you play so many games
  • not playing games in order to escape from unpleasant emotions that you’d otherwise have to deal with

then this most likely is NOT addictive behavior, and you can just relax and enjoy your passion.

Please let me know if that helps clear things up. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.


Thanks for all your answer :slight_smile: I’ll try to answer to everyone

Everything else, probably.
I’m an university student only at the moment, but I still haven’t started studying seriously this semester (partly because, for bureaucratic reasons, it’s still not clear what I have to do, but that’s another topic). I’m putting off the day when I’ll start doing something really useful. And I guess you can imagine what I do instead of studying :slight_smile:
That doesn’t mean I spend all day playing go, but I do it a lot.
I’ve had a job for 5 months this year and I’m pretty sure go hasn’t interfered, but I’m not sure it won’t in the future.

I’ve always played a lot, but never this much.
A player (who I don’t know if I can name, but I thank him very much) made this graph (updated to the beginning of November) of my completed games and you can see that the further into the curve you go, the steeper it gets.
It only concerns OGS, but games on other servers and irl are negligible.

It depends. With correspondence games, almost never. With live matches sometimes, but not always, yes. But it doesn’t depend on how much time I spend thinking (which for me, paradoxically, is less in correspondence games): sometimes I am very proud about how I play in blitz games.

Nothing comparable with this game. In my life, my main interests were pokémon for 6-7 years, speedcubing for a couple of years and swimming (maybe 10, intermittently), before discovering go. Now I’m hardly interested in them anymore

Thanks for this advice. I think I don’t want to abandon my account, but I will consider it if all else fails :slight_smile: It’s stupid, but I’m quite fond of it.

I don’t know, I think it’s hard to understand. I am more and more convinced that playing so much does not help me to become a stronger player. On the contrary, it may reinforce some bad habits (Einstellung effect)
I think it’s more like hoarding games or the feeling of doing something that nobody else can do (for good reasons, actually playing so much makes me a worse person, not a better one😅).

This is probably the most important part…

I think all these things apply to me :frowning:
Thanks also for the other things you wrote. I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology, but I still find them very interesting and I will reflect more on that. What I can say is that my background situation/history is not easy. Nothing too serious, but I’m weak.

Thank you again, you all have helped me to reflect. I think I have to start doing something to reduce the number of games I play and get a life outside this game, but it’s harder than it seems :frowning: even wanting to is not always easy. Maybe I should do something “irreversible” like resigning all my correspondence games or abandon the account, but I don’t have the courage to do that.


I was kind of addicted to video games until a friend exploded my computer. I mean for real.

I have so limited choice on my phone now and i am poor, having to take care on other things.

But i can’t say i m cured yet, and other kind of addiction may come in.

At least it pushed me out to do more reasonable things like walking under the sun, having a clean house…

Deeply i still think i have more things to work to free myself.


I’ve paid good money to learn not to project probabilities into the future. :wink: If it interferes, you will deal with it then, no need to worry about it now. It may never happen and all the worry will be spent in vain. Better things out there to invest our time.


You can also spend more time in the ogf, it has been proven scientifically to keep people away from OGS proper. :stuck_out_tongue:


Hi Sofiam - I hear you, and I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling : (

If you’ve hit this point, it’s very important to remember that you don’t have to deal with this all on your own. As a student just starting at university, you are facing a LOT of new challenges all at once, and it’s quite possible that your plate might just have too many things on it (metaphorically speaking).

I strongly encourage you to investigate what sort of RESOURCES are available for students who need some assistance with mental health issues. Hopefully, if you’re on campus, there should be a couple of different options available for you (i.e. access to counseling or peer-to-peer resources).

Please remember, if you’re already struggling and feeling like things are too much for you to deal with, trying to double down and isolating more will usually make the underlying situation worse. I strongly encourage you to reach out, and find some sort of assistance so you don’t feel like you have to take on these challenges all alone.

I’m glad to hear you have an interest in psychology - as such, I’m sure you know that a big factor in anyone’s mental health are the COPING SKILLS that they have available to them when difficult situations come up.

Usually, the way personality development works is - you develop various coping skills at different stages of your life, and they work fine to get you through that stage. But then - you go from one life circumstance to another and suddenly - your old coping skills are not adequate to meet those new challenges. At this point, you have to deal with the unpleasant feelings that your old strategies are not enough, grieve the loss of whatever that old world represented, and develop new coping skills that address whatever your new challenges are. This is how all growth happens - and it keeps happening to all of us - all through our life-span.

As you can imagine, this process doesn’t always go smoothly. There are times when the challenges heaped on our plates completely overwhelm our existing coping mechanisms. When we are so overwhelmed that we don’t have the energy or resources to learn new skills, we will often shut down and go back to old coping skills from previous stages of our lives - we go back to “the last thing that worked.” More often than not, this is some form of escape.

Escape is not “bad” in and of itself. If it can help us recharge our batteries, get over the feeling of being overwhelmed, and get back to learning new coping skills - escape can actually play an important and useful role.

The problems come up when we double down on escape, and try to ignore all the negative signals telling us that our old coping skills aren’t working. However, it’s important to remember that these escape behaviors are symptoms of a larger underlying issue - our subjective distress at having to deal with whatever negative signals we’re getting from the struggles of living our lives : (

In other words, if you just focus on eliminating the escape behaviors without addressing those underlying issues - you might end up back where you started - still overwhelmed by unpleasant thoughts and emotions, and no way to escape them.

On the other hand, if you dig in there, and try to deal with those underlying issues, and take on the task of learning new coping skills to manage them - you’ll actually start addressing the underlying causes that led you to seek out your escape behaviors to begin with. If you can reduce those unpleasant things and learn new ways to cope with them, you’ll have less of a need to escape, and the addictive behavior may even run out of steam and just turn back into ordinary enjoyable behavior.

I can hear that you’re going through a lot, so I once again encourage you to seek help from others who can assist you in identifying the various issues that are causing you to seek escape, and to help you find other ways of dealing with those issues. Good luck and keep us posted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Is it related to the pandemic and lack of social interaction that ensued? Maybe you need more social activities and see more real people.

You’ve already proved to the whole world that you are able to handle 1500 correspondence games simultaneously, and many of us are impressed (really, I am not ironic). However you don’t need to prove that a second time. For starters, you could try to limit the number of ongoing correspondence games at 1000. That goal should be easy to reach.


I have very little to add to tonybe’s excellent comments, except to say that the fact that you are seriously reflecting on the problem is a very encouraging sign. It is the first step toward change.


I’m not in the same league but I have occasionally realised that the number of correspondence games in have is to great. My method is to not join new tourneys, drop out from ones which have not started yet that I signed up to previously, resign from games where is looking like I’m likely to be losing anyway and resign games against people clearly stronger than me.

This cuts down the games quite a bit without being as drastic as taking a complete break. Whether it’s effective or not is another matter. For me, I can’t work out if having no moves to play is more painful then having too many…


I don’t know. I don’t think so, but checking here I had a spike in correspondence games during the first lockdown not related to the ‘I want to reach 1000 games’ madness.
Before the pandemic, however, my only friends were go players. Not much has changed.

It is not, trust me :wink: Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming

I forgot what having no moves to play (for more than a few seconds) means :sweat_smile:

I’m trying and, I agree, it’s easy. The problem is that now (because of me, often) most of my games go “slowly” and I keep signing up for almost every tournamentso it’s taking me a long time to get there.

Thank you
I don’t have precise comments on all the things you’ve written but I appreciate them very much.
I will try to follow your advice


Reducing smoothly is impossible and a tremendous task. Even if you had only 60 games and reduce it, the remaining 50 will still be there, taking forever.

There are a variety of other ways to interact with your friends as correspondance games

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The other day, I was helping to transcribe the “pumpkin and dad’s study schedule” story. When I looked through their past pictures and only saw pumpkin in them, I suddenly felt very emotional. It was pretty unusual for me, since I don’t get emotional easily (one of childhood nickname was ice queen). And I think I finally get why - Studying Go is one of my coping mechanism as a kid, and probably still is for playing online and chatting on the forum. For not to deal with my family issue as a kid, and me getting used to spending more time alone when I transferred to a new university last year and Go clubs couldn’t hold regular events when COVID got severe here.

Perhaps we all need some therapy.


If you have 1000+ correspondence games running, don’t enjoy playing corr games much and still feel the urge to sign up for every tournament, then this sounds like an addiction to me. Nothing to be ashamed of, many of us including me have addictions to some degree so you are in good company. Getting rid of an addiction is very difficult, and one addiction may replace another, however you can keep it reasonably under control.

I don’t know the reasons why you want to participate in many tournaments and I can only make guesses which may be off the mark. Get trophies? Keep bonds with online go friends? Be liked by the go community in general? Get a rewarding feeling after winning a game? Whatever the reasons, you don’t need to participate in every tournament nor to play 1000 correspondence games simultaneously. Nobody is counting your trophies, people won’t like you less if you decline a challenge or if you don’t show up at a tournament, etc.

Some things you might want to do (or not!):

  • Before signing up for a tournament, tell yourself that you are not irreplacable, the tournament will run anyway without you and nobody will complain if you don’t participate. Ask yourself if you really want to sign up or if you are doing that mechanically.
  • Don’t sign up for more than 1 tournament/day.
  • Don’t accept an open challenge from a player with whom you already have a running game.
  • If someone you already played against challenges you, kindly decline the challenge with a message like “I am sorry I can’t accept your challenge at the moment, I have too many ongoing correspondence games” until you reach a more reasonable number (500?).