Middlegame help

Hi, i’m a new Go player (3 months into) and (think) around 13-14 kyu. I have studied the basics and think i have grasped the general idea on how a DDK should conduct the game. I follow this thoeretical approach: 1. Looking for open corners 2. Looking for open sides 3. Try making life for all my weak groups 4. Reduction or construction of largest framework.
Still, when all open corners and open sides are taken i struggle to find an effective plan. I think i lack the concept of devolpment. I mean, should I develop towards the centre trying to build a box, using my internal influence? And at the same time reducing my opponent framework? Or there is something else i should look first?
I struggle also on fights, i usually end up with dead groups, but i think at my level is normal and i will keep practing.
Finally if someone want to add me to teach one thing or two he’s more than welcomed, i could repay with some chess lessons if anyone is interested :smiley:

Thanks All!


Happy to have a teaching game. Correspondence or maybe life if we can find a time. Or I could review a game or two of yours. One condition though: No chess lesson! :stuck_out_tongue: (I’m a former chess player myself.)


You can search topics here on influence so to get some guidelines on middle game. Read “attack and defense”,a good book too.

For fights, reading sequences during your games is important and good reading comes by playing (experience) and resolving problems.

One last activity is to watch stronger players games (guess and then compare) if you like it.

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This is a link to my profile, which contains a curated collection of various sources I consider most helpful. See what does it for you. :slight_smile:

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I’m afraid, middlegame is the hardest to understand thing in Go. Its completely not clear how to learn or teach it.


During middle game, the order of priority is generally

  • defend your weak groups
  • attack your opponent’s weak groups
  • make points or reduce your opponent’s points.

After a few months of playing go, I had the same problem, I didn’t know what to do during middlegame, and then I slowly understood other general concepts:

  • To make a live group it is not always necessary to make a base first, there are invasion techniques.
  • Invasion is not always necessary, sometimes a reduction is better.
  • Do not invade too early, it is often better to build first.
  • Having influence is useful to make a successful invasion later.
  • Starting a new group doesn’t always occur on the sides of the board, a new group may appear in the center during a fight after you cut.
  • Do not cut randomly. When you cut you create a weak group and if your opponent is strong around, you will probably die.
  • Therefore it is important to build influence, strong groups facing the center.
  • When you attack a group, the goal is not necessary to kill. If for instance you can surround a group, it is often a success as you get influence in exchange for a few points. That influence will be useful for future fights.
  • Moyos (big frameworks) are not meant to be converted entirely into territory. Generally you wait for your opponent to invade, and then attack the invading stone.
  • During a fight, cutting stones that separate two weak groups, or a weak group from a strong group, are generally important to save. On the other hand, not all stones are important and some may be sacrificed.
  • The value of stones may change. Stones that used to be important can become junk stones and vice-versa.
  • Strength of groups is relative. If two weak groups battle against each other, the fight is fair. If a weak group is attacked by a strong group, then the player with the strong group will make profit while attacking. If a player has several weak groups and the other none, one of the weak groups will likely die.

Confused? That’s normal. You can’t understand all concepts at once, you have to get experience from playing games.


I agree it’s hard to teach middlegame. Definitely nobody managed to teach me! :slight_smile:

But I think one can help DDKs by telling them that there is no such think as a simple general strategy and that they can become SDK without such. Of course there are several ingredients to look out for, like the ones jlt has pointed out above.

But in all honesty most DDK games are probably decided by simpler things like playing 1 point endgame moves in early middlegame, when 20 point moves are still on the board. Once you are a glorious SDK like me you can advance to fighting complicated 3 point kos in early middle game while 20 point moves are still availabe. I just love this game!


Thanks to everyone, great community :slight_smile:

It would be awesome if you find the time, it could help me a lot! Former chess player? Would love to play a game against you :smiley:

There are some assumptions in this statement! Mainly that you have weak groups and that there are more than one of them!

I made it to SDK by really thinking about strong and weak groups.

Firstly, don’t make weak groups. Secondly if you have one weak group, strengthen it before you end up with a second weak group. From the opening consider each group of both players and work out if they could make two eyes if necessary, i.e. if the opponent first plays the most annoying attacking move you can think of.
Same for opponents groups.

And preferably do all three together, or at least two out of three if you can.

Check each turn which groups are strong and weak and especially if a group could be cut. And if it can if the groups that would leave are strong or weak.

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