Newbie's Study Journal

Well, I’ve been studying Go for three weeks now, and want to get good enough to appreciate what is going on a little bit better. To that end I am going to keep a journal tracking my study patterns and progress.

Currently I am learning with gomagic, which is very structured, and the badukpop app - which is addictive fun. They both have good free content, but I will probably subscribe to gomagic once I have finished the free courses. I already subscribed to badukpop, because as I said it is addictive, and it was very cheap for the year. Fortunately the layout is clear and it plays on a tablet (I need a large screen since I am partially sighted.)

Gomagic also has a ‘learning tree’ with practice sets; this is incredibly useful, and supplement the video lessons nicely. Their Rules of Go course was very clear and got me playing, but I sm struggling more with the concepts in the next course, The Fundamentals of Go, 13×13. I have rewatched a few of the videos and had to research the ideas elsewhere for reinforcement. This isn’t a fault of the course, it’s just a case of tired brain and an old dog learning new tricks. I know it will get easier as I play more games.

Another course which seems helpful is the Clossi approach. Thanks you guys in the kyu study group for suggesting it.

In addition I am playing several times a day. Unfortunately I am still so weak that I barely know how to do a post game post mortem, which I know from chess is one of the best ways to improve.

I’m having a teaching game at the moment, and am very grateful to the teacher!

So, in summary:

  1. Lessons on gomagic and badukpop.
  2. Learning Tree on gomagic, puzzles on badukpop, (and puzzle sets as recommended by users here.)
  3. Playing 9×9 games here, on badukpop,
    I am playing on here several times a day, also at Unfortunately at my level it’s hard to find other players, so I’ve been playing bots. I know they’ll play weirdly, so I hope I am not developing bad habits.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Any other advice?

Oh, yes - I can’t figure out how to interpret my statistics. What do the different colours on the graph stand for, and how can you tell of you’re improving? I can sometimes beat the weakest bot, but surely that doesn’t count for much. I’d sooner lose to humans who can tell me what I’m doing wring and how to improve!

Thanks guys.


This may help you. Enjoy.


I’m guessing you’re talking about this:

Well, there’s a legend right there. If you wanted to interpret this, I guess that if most of the pie was green, it would mean you were playing well in the time interval relative to this. If the biggest area is light green and the dark purple is very small, it means you’re playing very well, or maybe you’re coming from a slump where you were playing badly.

One thing you might have missed though: there are two types of games on OGS, ranked and unranked.

The pie chart and the blue graph only take ranked games into consideration, and you’ve only played 5 – for the rest, you’re only playing unranked games. In fact, you haven’t even played enough ranked games to get a rank, so you have a question mark next to your name:
Where most players have a number:

(Here’s an explanation of the ranking convention if you’re not familiar with it: Rank at Sensei's Library )

If you’d like the site to give you statistics on how you’re doing, you should play more ranked games. The system is far from perfect though, so my advice is to not get too attached to the numbers.

If you play ranked games, although, you will be able to see improvement in the long term by seeing the blue number and the blue line increase over time (in doing so it will go up and down, so you can only see it in the long term though).

For example look at this player’s graph:

Looking closely, you can see a very slight upward trend in the graph:

Which means the player has slowly been improving. But if this player got their hopes up every time the graph went momentarily up, it’s a wild emotional rollercoaster, so I don’t advise doing that :laughing:

EDIT: ah, after you get a rank (the number next to the username), it should also be a bit faster and easier to find opponents at your level.
There’s an issue with the current ranking and matching system though: your provisional rank is about 13 kyu now, and you can only play ranked games with players within 9 ranks of you – which means you can’t play ranked games against the 25 kyu bots you’ve been playing against.

So you need to get your rank down to at least 16 kyu; the quickest way is to play and lose a few (ranked) games against the weakest bot you can play:

When you get a rank and it goes down enough, you’ll be able to play ranked games against the weaker bots – I know it’s absurd, but sadly that’s just how the system works at the moment.

By the way, when you get to your actual rank of 25 kyu, you probably want to stop playing bots and start playing other humans, it should be easier to learn and more fun :slight_smile:

Hope you’re enjoying Go so far!

I think that can be tough for people at any level, because in some cases you’re looking for things you don’t know :slight_smile: Hard to know what to look for.

In any case if you want any games reviewed you can post them on the forums or ask in some of the groups/chats on the main site and I imagine some people will give you things to look out for.

There’s also an Irish Go Association with discord and socials and meet-ups in case you’re somewhere in the country and wanted to play an in person game. Or equally find some more people to play or talk to, review ask study questions etc.

These kinds of puzzles are also fun if you like puzzles

^^ maybe the first forty or so could be a bit easy but they could also bring up some questions.

^^ these ones get trickier then

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I highly recommend the beginner “puzzles” on the first page of the OGS Puzzles tab: Exercises for Beginners, Stone Development for Beginners, Beginner’s Course, and Tactics Tutor. These are really designed as tutorials. After those, you can move on to elementary sets of puzzles designed as a progression: Fran’s Library, and Cho Chikun’s Encyclopedia of Life and Death—Elementary (two sets).

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Hmmm, I don’t know if you’ve received feedback about those from actual beginners, but at least some of the ones you mentioned are far too advanced for true beginners.

“Exercises for Beginners” very much seems more for players at about my level, 15 kyu, and some puzzles are too difficult even then.

Cho Chikun’s and Fran’s Library (aka Cho Chikun’s puzzles but commented) are also too advanced after the first 30 or so puzzles – I was so discouraged when I tried to go through them as a beginner that I still haven’t worked up the courage to go back to them.


I did them when I was a beginner here and found them extremely helpful. It is true that I had some very basic knowledge of the game from 50 years before, but had not played in all those years. I was certainly TDK at the time I began here. Also, my recommendation of Cho Chikun and Fran’s Library was predicated on doing all the others first, as I explicitly stated. I stand by my recommendation.

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Thankyou! I can’t actually find my pie chart (which is probably really depressing right now, I am still losing!) I will take your advice not to get attached to numbers, and also to play more rated games. :slight_smile:

Thankyou! I need structured study, so this is really helpful.


What does TDK mean? I don’t know the lingo yet!

Thanks for the Irish Go association. I don’t think I can get to one, because I don’t drive, (partially sighted,) and my nearest club is about sixty miles away. I can write to them though and see if they know any contacts in my area.

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I’m probably about 60 kyu! (Okay, not technically a thing, but you know what I mean.)

Ah, sorry, I thought you meant that, since you asked about the “colours on the graph”. Then hopefully @Atorrante’s reply helped you out! :slight_smile:

Welcome to the wonderful world of Go :slight_smile:

If you want a teaching game, let me know and I will send you an invitation.

I’d say that this is the correct approach early on. AI moves are usually baffling, no matter what level you are, since the bots are either too weak or too strong and at any given point (depending on the case) you cannot be sure if you are looking at a move of seer brilliance (that requires AI strength to pull off) or a move of seer perplexity (which would land even the AI in trouble).

Humans, at the very least, can give more instant feedback. :slight_smile:

Have fun and never worry about ranks. The ranking will come on its own.

I am a bit of an “old dog” myself, and I have found learning via video a bit harder to do, compared to reading.

If you want to invest in a beginner’s book series, I cannot stop suggesting the excellent series “Learn to play Go” by Janice Kim. It is five books, but they are very well written and easy to understand and they are the idea of “structured study” in a premade package to land you to a very good stop to start enjoying the game and understanding what is going on.

If you want a free online book with a similar curriculum, you can try this:

It is not as good as Janice Kim’s series (obviously :stuck_out_tongue: ), but at least it is free and written with a beginner’s perspective.

Have fun playing and learning more :slight_smile:

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I’m Greek and I currently participate in Irish Go Association’s online league.

They hold online meetings every Thursday on OGS and Discord, as far as I know, you don’t have to visit a club on site.

I can say they are very welcoming and nice to beginners, so I too recommend you contact them.


Also, I can’t not ask: Is it thessalonian as in Thessaloniki?

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That’s one of my famous typos. Should be TPK = twenty-point kyu (i.e., 20-25k on OGS). Maybe the universe was trying to tell me I was really triple-digit kyu :smiley:

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Too bad about that. I believe that learning with and from real people in a club is far more enjoyable and productive than going it alone through some lecture material. The next best thing is this community and the larger online Go community. I want to encourage you to use the chat, be talkative with your opponents and maybe also engage in other places like or :slight_smile:

Forget bots (as opponents). They are bad teachers. :smile:

And congratulations on your newfound hobby, may it bring you joy for a lifetime.


My own advice is don’t study too much but instead play a lot and if possible with people of similar strength (beginner).
Get a few help sometimes from a stronger player who can put some light on your own difficulties or give you a bit of advices (but not too much you need to digest them). Don’t need to play him but have a short review on what happened in one of your games.
Last, don’t worry to try a 19x19, that’s the real game anyway unless you feel completly lost!


I salute your approach to learning the game : )

I’ve been working on a set of articles that tries to break down the complexity of the 19x19 game for beginners. It’s a lot of reading, but hopefully this will mesh with your other learning resources. I would recommend reading these articles one at a time, and practicing using those skills or perceptual abilities in your games before moving on to the next one. Enjoy:

Introduction: Making Sense of Go

Part 1: Sente and Gote

Part 2: Settling Your Stones

Part 3: Playing a Balanced Opening

Part 4: Joseki Basics

Part 5: The Stages of the Game

Part 6: Shape