Mirror Go?

Is mirror Go (aka mimic Go or manego) allowed on OGS?

Or is it considered a form of trolling? Thought it’d be good to check.

How trolling? It’s a perfectly viable option to play.
And there were already posts on manego, time to use the search


It is entirely legitimate way of playing, if annoying. I recommend to take it as opportunity to study countering strategies.


Of course its allowed, its totally valid strategy! Sometimes it even works against strong bots! https://online-go.com/game/23773267 ^^

IIRC for some reason on pandanet its “rude” or “trolling”, but i’ve never really understood their reasoning for that. As i see it, playing mirror-go is like acknowledging that the moves your opponent plays are the best moves on the board, so its almost respectful to play manego as white xD


I think it just makes for a very dull game waiting for your opponent to stop mirroring. Especially correspondence, but I suppose one could just conditional move the whole thing if analysis is on

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I don’t like mirror go and consider it an (unfortunately) legitimised form of trolling.
An opponent who mirrors your moves is lazy, not willing to invest much energy in the game and parasitises on you, which I consider as a lack of respect.
There are ways of disturbing the possibility of mirroring, as shown in the following thread.


It’s quite hard to define mirror go. I mean, in the early opening mirroring is very common for 4 moves. Mirroring up to 10 moves is also not unheard of, so I wouldn’t call it a mirror go game yet. At which point does it become mirror go?

Just confirming that mirror go is a valid strategy, with well-known refutations.


It’s a valid strategy, there have been several professionals experimenting with it, notably there is a famous match where Go Seigen mirrors Kitani Minoru, and there is Fujisawa Hosai, who has mirrored in several dozens of games. Also, plenty of people have shown that it is a weak point of strong Go AI.

Basic mirror go strategy:

Since there is komi, mirror Go can be quite easily “countered” as White; you just have to play good moves (as you should in general) until the end, and if your opponent keeps mirroring, they’ll eventually lose by komi. Treat the board like you would any other board, and just try to find the best move, ignoring the fact that it is mirrored. Black has to decide which move is a mistake large enough to break the mirror, so you could try to make the board complicated, after which it is quite difficult for Black to find the right timing.

If you’re playing as Black and are being mirrored, you could set up a ladder towards the middle after settling the initial board, and then play Tengen. If your opponent is good, they’ll break the mirror when they can read out you’re playing a ladder.


Well first white can mirror black too.

The mirror can go as long as it stays away from the center. Or Black can reverse the roles by taking the tengen if it’s white who started mirroring.

Direct counter is to make good shape for you and bad one for the “mirrorer”, near the tengen. ( Go watch Hikaruno Go again…) But problem is the mirrorer may stop to mirror, and you better have played valuable moves too. Let say you add a stone to your tengen, your mirrorer laugh at you and go play on the sides/corners.

I do mirror it’s not unpolite at all and it’s enough difficult and consistent. Even as said pros investigate it. It’s fun to build counter or to jump out of the train at the right time if the center play start to look good.

It’s like many times complain comes from lack of experience ( or will to experiment).

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That’s why I suggested setting up a ladder before playing Tengen (as it is then suddenly valuable).

Its actually really nice to hear others opinions on mirroring ^^

What i have found out with my kyu-level of understanding, is that manego is viable stategy only for white and only for limited amount of moves. Since the premise is that black has to counter it eventually playing on tengen or he loses by komi, you can expect that black’s aim is to make tengen a good move (and preferably worth at least 6-7 points).

So as white, cause you know what is black aiming at, you must be ready to break the mirror first. You only mirror the moves that you think were best possible moves, if you think that b’s move was slack/slow/thin/overconcentrated/anything, white should break away from mirroring it and play the better move. This is the moment where you can take advantage of the board position, that is the place where the entire idea of manego shines ^^

One of my recent accidental attempts of mirror go. https://online-go.com/game/28666115
As you can see, i was w and it wasnt my first idea to start playing manego, my first move was quite normal 4-3 on the side of b’s 4-4. I only realised after b’s D15 approach that i could in fact just mirror it xD. And i broke the mirror quite early on move 24, when i felt that i could play more severe attachment on Q17 instead just mirroring b’s slide on D2.

TBH i dont know if that was any better for me, but it was the moment where i felt like i could play a better move, so i decided to break the mirror. The game then turned into huge “kill the dragon” type of game, where i eventually screwed up the kill and lost on time while still being ahead by few points xD
But you know, it was fun ^___^


I played a lot of 13 13 manego on goquest mostly as white. Can’t say I got better or worse. Saw strongest players play it sometimes too. I
I found it an interesting way to push black to care more on the center, on 13 13 it’s too many times focused on 3-4, corners and 3-3 invasions

I agree with @_KoBa that mirror go is only a viable strategy with white, because mirroring with black against an even opponent, it’s quite hard to make tengen worth enough to overcome komi.

But when you have black and face a mirroring opponent, it feels good when your opponent is mirroring you. The longer he does it, the more it is a compliment to your moves. After all, he apparently agrees that you play the best moves available.


If you want to interpret it positively sure, but you could also interpret it as a form of trolling. For instance if I don’t care that I might lose by komi I could mirror all the way to the end of the game. I’m basically just letting you play yourself.

Not all people will have the patience for that sort of thing and see every move to be a compliment for 250+ moves.

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If black didn’t do anything to prevent white from winning by simply mirroring until the end of the game, then obviously black failed to counter white’s strategy. Black should have come up with a counter earlier in the game.

I think you’re missing the point of trolling. I might just want to waste your time by mirroring every move even if I lose.

If your opponent is only out to waste your and his time, there are many ways to do that besides mirror go.


I’m not sure many people troll like this, though.

And indeed, what gennan says above.

It’s mostly invulnerable in 9x9 Go.