Newbie seeking reviews

I have read a few introductory books and lost a few dozen games to Cosumi, but only just began playing fellow humans. Could a more experienced player quickly look through these games to advise which elementary concepts/shapes/sequences I am getting right, which I really need to work on and how to work on them?

What I did notice is that when I play on the 4-4 point, I cannot handle invasions on the 3-3 point (like 121 in game 4), and I sometimes lose small groups because I miss cutting moves (like 96 and 124 in game 2 as well as 99 in game 3), but I was really happy with how I dealt with the upper-right corner invasion in game 1. If I can tell when my groups and territory are secure (including the sequences for securing them), I will tenuki and invade more.

    Black, lost by 40.5 vs 15 kyu, 149 moves

    Black, lost by 56.5 vs 13 kyu, 171 moves

    White, resigned vs 14 kyu, 103 moves

    White, won by 26.5 vs 21 kyu, 163 moves

Hi springyboard!

I commented on game 1. All in all you did good, considering you were playing a stronger player. I liked how you started out with the leaning attack on the right, that even led to a capture. good reading there. The problems came a bit later.

I thought, and i saw that you played similarly in other games, that your style is very influential. But influence is very hard to handle, simply because there is no immediate profit. often you have to read far ahead and steer the game in a direction where you can use the influence to fight a favourable fight and profit from it. in comparison just enclosing a corner for 15 points is very straight forward.
read up on influence and how to use it and try to mix it up a bit :smiley:.

Also your play against invasions is too forgiving, you can afford to be a little more forceful.



Comment on the 3-3 invasions against a 4-4 stone: These are things your opponent can do and you should expect. Usually the invasion will get to live with a few points - don’t expect to be able to kill them unless you have more stones nearby (your stones on the fourth line in the fourth game don’t count as they do not directly help with the corner)

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Thanks for the advice! The funny thing is, during the games, I thought I was playing in a territorial style. I did not plan in advance to trade corner and side territory for central influence. More like I did not know how to counter the invasions and hoped to use the centre to connect my disjointed side groups. This explains cowardly moves like 57 and 59, as playing at tengen would be just asking to be overwhelmed by another invasion. Learning better ways to respond to invasions (like your suggested 29 and 31) will let me secure more corner/side territory and dare to make bigger moves towards the centre.

@springyboard You re welcome.

Just remember, that the 4th liine is not territorial, as 4th line moves are prone to invasions and run the risk of being undercut. Of course 4th line moves can make territory on the sides in many instances, and if they do all the better, but that is not what you expect primarily when you play them.

Try to see where your potential is when deciding on a move. Playing moves just to connect your stones is a last measure for situations when one of your groups is about to be captured. In any other situation your moves should have a second (or third :P) purpose that will result in getting you points.

Feel free to ask me for a teching game if you want and good luck improving!

Thank you for the advice! Introductory books advise to minimise opening study and I play on 4-4 points because this looks like the most natural (least complex) opening for beginners. At this level, would it help to play on 3-4 points (with shimari) to better defend against invasions and if so, what else should I know about playing on 3-4 points? What about playing on 3-3 points? Looks like the corner is secure but extending to the sides is more difficult.

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The joseki from 4-4 are much fewer and easier.

3-4 leads to complex joseki - at the very least you need to know how to avoid avalanche etc.

Yes, what @GreenAsJade said is true to some extent, on the other hand, it cant hurt to experiment right :smiley:. my “concern” wasnt necessarily with the 4x4 stones, but with the follow up moves on the 4th line.

To clarify - I mentioned the complex joseki even though it’s good to experiment because springy mentioned "I play on 4-4 points because this looks like the most natural (least complex) " … so I just wanted to underpin that out of 3-3, 3-4 and 4-4, 3-4 is by far the most complex :slight_smile:

“You could say that the variations against the small knight’s approach to the three-four point are the richest among all joseki.”

(For springy’s info, I’m sure kickaha knows this :slight_smile: )

In line with springy’s thinking, I have taken to playing one 3-4, just to limit the number of 3-3 under 4-4 invasions I have to keep allowing for, but it really does make life harder … and leads to a lot of orthodox opening, which has it’s own … “oh, now what” moments :smiley:

Then … after I do it, I often end up thinking “oh no, now what” when my 3-4 is approached and thus then “maybe I should have just 4-4ed” :slight_smile:

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Perhaps I could continue playing my corner stones on the 4-4 point, but side stones on the third line, and learn the standard sequence for responding to invasions at the 3-3 point?

I would also like to know the general advice, conventions and etiquette about resigning, at this level. When my rating was the default 13k? I resigned two games (one on just move 42 after my only huge group died) partly because I knew my opponents were too strong and I wanted my rating to quickly drop so I could get opponents closer to my level.

However, I have since won three games (against 21-25 kyu opponents) by resignations that make no sense to me:

  3. (I would love a review on this. Again I use disjointed side groups to build a central moyo. Although I managed to cut off his group, I thought it can still live and after K10, I would lose the centre.)

On the other hand, there is another game where I am leading by 150+ points (killed almost all white groups) but the opponent has not resigned:

of course you can continue to play your corner srones on the 4-4 point. i was merely suggesting to experiment a little. same goes for your side stones, playing all side stones on the 3rd line is not the solution. the key is to recognise the difference and choose accordingly.
learning the (or various) sequence(s) for the 3-3 corner invasion is a good idea reagrdless of your opening, it can only make you stronger. besides, you might want to invade your opponent too :wink:.

my advice for resigning is to simply dont for now :grin: (unless possibly if playing on would be torture for you :slightly_smiling_face:). you will learn in time when a game is worthy of resignation.
it might happen that your opponents feel annoyed by you playing on, but theyll be wrong just as often as you are. i dont believe you owe your opponents a timely resignation (if anything, the winner owes the loser the courtesy of losing on their own terms instead of whining over formalities. losing is painful enough.) just because they want to bask in their glory a little sooner :laughing:, but i recommend to just tell them that you know you are behind but still wish to play to the end and ask if they are fine with it. i have yet to meet a player who was openly offended by that.
likewise, i believe you should not expect an opponent to resign. it is every players right to try to win the game for as long as they want as long as there is no malicious intent. focus on the positives and try your best till the end, something to learn from might (will) happen.

the only thing i would suggest (unrelated to resignations, but still somewhat on topic) is to actively work on your ability to assess the board, in order to not have to resort to last minute invasions. it is important to be able to see when you are behind as early as possible not because you should resign :wink:, but becasue you will want to do something about it asap!


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Here’s a review on the 3rd game you posted:

It mostly came down to playing small moves when there were big areas on the board to contest. As a new player, of course, you might not know how big a reduction like a monkey jump will be, but picture about how you think the invasion will look, and think about if there are any bigger spaces on the board that you could play in. Here, your opponent slowly surrounded the entire center while you played on the edges.

As to 3-3 invasions, they can happen if you play the 4-4. That’s not to say that the 4-4 is bad, though. Generally, a 3-3 invasion means you’ll be getting territory somewhere on the outside, while your opponent scoops out some in the corner. It’s worth thinking about, again, in terms of how big moves are. When you think that there isn’t as much territory on the outside as there is in the corner, then take the corner, but until then, learn the 3-3 invasion joseki and let your opponent have all the corners they’d like.

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if you ever want a friendly game with a review after just send me a message. Someone may have already mentioned it in the other comments, but the 3-3 is the weakness of the 4-4. Unless there’s some supporting stones, the 3-3 can always live.

There must be a few joseki that are useful at my level, just to learn basic invading, responding to invasions and making influence. The problem is that introductory books barely cover joseki and advise beginners to avoid studying joseki, while joseki resources contain too much information with no easy way to filter to only the joseki (and learning points) that are relevant at my level.

Any idea why my opponents are resigning so quickly?

  1. I killed a 5-stone but White has a lot of secure territory at the top-right plus some potential territory on the sides and can try to reduce my centre.
  2. The 9-stone group that I cut off may still live and if White plays K10, I will be struggling to retain my centre territory that connects my disjointed side groups. (Perhaps a review for this game?)
  3. I killed a 4-stone group but my territory on the left side is small compared to what Black could make on the right.
  4. I killed a 6-stone group but not the bigger top-right group. The game does not look over at all.

Due to the early resignations, my rating is now 20.3 kyu which looks much better than my true strength!

Joseki for kyus is a video series on Nick Sibicky’s YouTube channel that might interest you.

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These were all correspondence games, which I think is a significant factor in the resignations. I think the resignations are completely justified in the first two, because weaker DDKs probably won’t be able to reduce the territory or live inside in a correspondence game, where blunders are less frequent. In #3, your opponent was bumping against you constantly and just doesn’t know how to handle the stones, so it is probably frustrating to continue in this style especially in a correspondence game. The fourth game is less clear to me, but it has a rather tedious look to it, so I will again speculate that your opponent just didn’t find it any fun.

The Joseki to look up are the situations you feel like you could play better in, which you face on a regular basis. If you’re getting hit with 3-3 invasions and don’t know what to do in response, look up 3-3 invasion joseki. If you’re having trouble dealing with pincers on low approaches, look up the pincer joseki.

I’d agree that joseki aren’t worth studying in depth at lower levels of play. Knowing them in depth and learning all of their branches is an upper SDK/Dan level exercise, but knowing the basics three or four moves in can give you a good foundation for playing further. I like josekipedia for looking them up:

I’ve limited myself to almost always playing the 4-4 points, for now, until I can learn how to handle them reasonably well. Knowing even a handful of joseki changes how you can view the board, since you can think about how the final position will look, and decide if it’s the right thing to play based on that.

I found which explains the 3-3 point invasion joseki.

With all four games reviewed, the common advice is that I tend to make small moves, so I am now making more big moves.

This requires more reading whether a big move is safe and sometimes my big moves lead to big losses. Any advice on this?

Update: Won 1 and lost 8 games against stronger opponents, ranking dropped to 25 kyu, so got games with 21-25 kyu opponents, then won 7 and lost 2 games against them, so ranking improved to 20 kyu. Trying to figure out my actual strength (which will improve over time) so I can get games against suitable opponents and identify suitable study material.

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I really need advice on how to counter invasions in areas that I thought I had already secured. Examples from four recent games:

  1. (Black, lost by 37.5 vs 21 kyu, 196 moves)
    In this game, it looked like he would get the centre, while I would get the sides and corners, but I lost three corners, which cost me the game.
    For the lower-left corner, I think 117 should have been a direct atari at E1 giving me time to connect at C4.
    For the lower-rignht corner, I suspect that 157 (trying to deny him eye space) and 165 (the Q2 stone was more vulnerable) were mistakes.
    For the upper-left corner, I have completely no idea where I went wrong!

  2. (Black, won by 19.5 vs 23 kyu, 161 moves)
    Of course, 125 was a blunder (should have been at B4) which turned a huge lead into a small one, but after that, was there a safer way to deal with the invasion (like connecting at E4)? 37 was before I learnt the 3-3 invasion joseki (should have been at C4).

  3. (White, won by 22.5 vs 20 kyu, 194 moves)
    His invasion started at move 89. I eventually managed to kill the group, but in the process, created a weak top-right group and lost time that I could have used to expand my central group to reduce his territory.

  4. (White, won by 26.5 vs 22 kyu, 205 moves)
    My early game was bad (how could I have played better?) but I caught up, securing life for my group on the right and invading his lower-left corner starting with 112 (then secured the vital point with 126). The top side looked securely mine, but he started an invasion with move 139 and only gave up after move 190. Was he just stubbornly wasting my time or was there a more efficient way to foil his invasion?

added some comments to the invasions in game 1.