New innovative free way to get good at go - mirroring

One of the reasons people get stuck at the same level for a long time is that their way of playing get calcified. You like the certain josekis, certain moves and keep playing them over and over again. And you should jiggle yourself out of the calcification. An advice that’s often given to stuck people is essentially try playing something you don’t usually play.

However playing something you don’t normally play can be very difficult. You think a move is good but you need to force yourself to play something else, what sense does that make. And how do you even know what kind of different do you need.

The proposed method: do whatever your opponent is doing. Simply put, mirror go. It makes sense to limit mirror go to only the opening, I think. For example, play mirror go for 40 moves after which you actively seek to break it. Of course, if opponent applies anti-mirror maneuver or plays slack move you could break it earlier. And if it looks good to continue you could do so later. Like this you get an even position to play with probably unusual for your style shapes and ideas. They can be relatively normal. Or not. Perfect for jiggling. There’re a few other advantages as well.

During mirroring you’re constantly forced to make a comparative analysis. Is this opponent’s move good enough to be repeated. It looks slack but is it actually. In normal games you’re just concerned with how to answer. But here you always have an option to repeat or to play something else. Which makes you consciously compare the two.

But even after mirroring what often happens is you have similar things happen at the opposite sides of the board. You invade their corner. They invade the same corner just symmetrical. And you can compare, which invasion went better and why.

Minor point - playing mirror makes you more aware of the ladders since you need to be careful with them.

Another small detail - positions you get to play are even. Sometimes when trying something unusual you end up playing worse positions (like black hole) for the sake of learning. Not here, all position are quite even, no matter whether you play white or black.

Consequently because you start playing for real from an even position but kinda later in the game, the games are closer and tighter. It’s good for learning because when the game isn’t close one side might not play best. And normally it’s hard to make, for example, endgame count because one side is losing 20 points. So close games are better.

You also might internalize good moves when repeating moves from a stronger player.

I tried playing a bit like this, and it looks like a fine strategy for learning. I wouldn’t necessarily play like this in normal games but for learning it’s fine. And I’m hovering around 1d, once even beat 3d with black. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Just play mirror go and be 1d, yay.


Background reading … Mirror Go at Sensei's Library

It’s a strange one - folk get irritated about it more than is reasonable. “Hey, he’s copying my moves, that pisses me off” :woman_shrugging: Something to be aware of.


It is an inherent deficit of the game. Most other games you can play in a boring way but go takes it to another level with the possibility of mirror. I’d immediately resign any game with no prize if my opponent mirrored me, unless I can come up a way of annoying them even more in return (maybe abuse the clock as much as possible within legal limits, maybe turn on a movie and just play random moves slowly). I’d also block them from accepting any future games and I might even consider blocking their chat because I think someone who mirrors, clearly takes enjoyment from annoying others above most other things.

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At reverse, i think mirror is an interesting part of the game. There is a bunch of special strategy, tengen, great wall, sanrensei, black hole, even first moves on 4-6, 4-7, 5-5… Avoiding them at all cost is not the answer or your go is just missing some deepness.

Especially for mirror go. That simplifies the opening but that makes it more complex when advancing into the middle game.i don’t know why to avoid these games as there is theory pretty obvious in itself to elaborate a way through it.

Moves played in symetry in the center area are much less coherent as on the side. That’s it. One still should not rush to play there because moves in the center are still less valuable so that needs some patience.

Top players do play mirror go on championship so it seems to be a valid way to proceed.

Escaping from it just show the weakness of internet go.


See what I mean? :rofl:


Against a weak player still keeping mirroring in the center, deal it like in hikaru. Capture a dango (group in very bad shape). Easy to do. If he breaks the symetry then your loss if any won’t be that big, you have some influence and good shape. Against a stronger player, you may go for the long way into an awesome game.

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get banned! :smile:

Really: is there any way to tell your opponent “I’m not making fun of you nor trying to piss you off, I’m trying to learn from you!” in a convincing way?

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Pretty sure mirror go isn’t against site ToS :thinking:


Top players play mirror go and their top opponents say they are extremely annoyed by it and would get out of it by just playing tengen first move to avoid it, which is basically making a slight concession to avoid playing that game, implying “I’d not play you if possible” - same attitude is confirmed by commentary by top euro players. Most just admittedly suffer through the few opponents who play that boring strat.

Not being able to escape from mirror games is a weakness of pro go with prizes.

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I would get bored if AI played mirror go in every game.
I didn’t hear about extrem annoyance. These top players playing mirror go have developed some skills at it but still are not invincible. It’s just a part of the game, and no part should be put aside.

It’s not their invincibility that annoys their opponents, it is the boring nature of the game they offer. “Should” is subjective, unless we are aiming to be pros. I would rather put aside the parts of the game that give me no enjoyment than putting aside the whole game because of the annoying parts.

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Honestly, mirroring is not something i meet often. I find it interesting to take the challenge myself. I did even chose this as a strategy on 13x13 on goquest (quite a good site considering the way you propose to deal with) as a way to diversify my games a bit.
On 13x13, center get value quicker so i suggest you to try!

I play on goquest and resigned against at least one mirror player, I wonder if it was you. :rofl:

Maybe,who knows, but i am not the only one :upside_down_face:

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Quite a bad site, I would say. On Fox and on OGS, one can resign when one realizes the opponent is mirroring, not on goquest though.

That’s exactly what i mean. Can’t escape.

No, I really can and I did. :unamused:

No you resigned. Which is different. No bad way in go, just bad players.

Not too different for me. You just get undeserved rank points, which you’ll lose soon anyway when you meet opponents too strong for your inflated rank and uncreative strat.

So you are throwing spells on top players using mirror go? Funny i don’t have that pretention, even I’m so far away to master this opening.