One Dan Path

I’m playing for 3 months now and i reach the 14 kyu mark, i don’t know if it is a good progress, but i’m tryng my best. Is it possible to reach the one dan in a year of go? (being a normal person, not a talented one).

I have a lot of experience in chess and i know some ways to learn faster and more precisely, but my doubt about go is if it is the reading ability the most important in the development in the game to reach the higher levels? In Chess the analogous would be the tatical ability, and in fact many chess games of amateurs are lost by mistakes in calculations, not by general theory or positional thinking. I love the heuristic thinking, the positional idea in the game, but appear to me that the readgin aspect and to see certain combinations are more important in the kyu level, try to make no big mistakes. Sorry for the long post, is it true my line of reasoning? (for the high kyu level and dan level players)

1 dan in 1 year is impossible to most people
You absolutely don’t need reading to reach 9k


Very possible for many people, but not too common. For you to reach 1 Dan in a year you need to hit at least 10k by the 6 month’s mark and 5k by 9 months. To me that’s all very possible, but the 5k mark is a bit of a hurdle to be cleared in 3 months…

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I think it depends how long you have to study each day. 1 year of 6-8 hours per day playing and studying should be possible to get to 1 dan (I think). Also being younger will help! A friend of mine managed it on a trip to Japan that he took in his early 20s when he was not working.

I am nowhere near 1 dan though, after many years of playing and studying. (playing maybe 20-30 mins per day in multiple correspondence games at the moment). I think there is commitment, and also natural ability.

Playing casually 2-3 hours per week, I would suggest that you should get to 8-10k by 1 year. There is a big step up through the single digit kyu grades as well… Lastly, once you get to 1d (so I’ve heard) you will realise you are still very bad :slight_smile: So perhaps the best thing is to just enjoy the journey!


First of all, there’s no absolute 1 dan strength, that is shodan strength differs from server to server (and shodan in real world depends on country too). I’m around 2-5k depending on the server.

And second it entirely depends on how much time you can spend on go. Most of westerners (I think) start learning go later in their lives, so they have a job/family/university, and they can’t spend that much time on go. That was the case for me: I improved very fast in the beginning (in 3 months around SDK), but then I needed to graduate from university and stuff, so I stopped go, and when I started learning go again I needed time to get into shape first, and after that real life stepped in again… So in the end if you want to reach shodan, you can do that, but it’s a lot of work.

Also kyu players don’t have reading ability. But sometimes people confuse reading with seeing good moves. Mostly a weak player can’t make a good move not because they can’t read it out or something, but it’s just they don’t even consider it. And a strong player just sees it automatically. Also people say that stronger players can judge whether a group is strong or weak more accurately. So a strong player knows when a group is protected enough and when it needs another move, while weak player may waste moves on protecting already strong group or fail to defend when they needed to.

Still it’s true that most of the games between kyu players are decided by mistakes as in chess. Often you play a great game, but miss a fork in chess or shortage of liberties in go and all of your great ideas are now ruined by a single move (or ten moves).

Anyway, that’s my impression of go from two years of on and off playing. I think the best part of go is that there’re no draws, so you won’t see grandmasters draw in 9 moves just so they can get to faster time controls like Nepomniachtchi did in World Cup :smile:

Good luck!


Yeah, i see. I’m “old” now (i’m 26) and is very hard to study and play every day or to learn and better you own game. I stated chess very young and took a long time to be close to a master rating, some years in fact, but my comparision with the two games was to understand better the go, and appear the go have more subtle aspects that can decide the game then chess that literally you lose a game because of a bad combination.

Oh, nice answer. Yeah, i’m feeling a difference in playing go then chess. Appear that go have more subtle aspects in the game that can decide the hole match, like you said, analsys of a strong or weak group etc. I was asking this question because a saw a dan player saying something like “you need to play a lot and learn good combinations, not positional or heuristic playstyle to be better” and this called my attention, i was curious about this aspect more combinatorial x positional in Go.

You’re saying 10k to 5k should take same amount of time as 5k to 1d? That doesn’t seem to make much sense.

I know there are quite a few people who made it to 1d in a year and I think the typical rank progression for them is something like 10k in 1-2 months, 5k in 3-5 months and 1d in 12 months.

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Of course progress isn’t anything near linear. Just giving a rough estimation for a target you need to hit at least by that 3 month mark. If you exceed it then good for you. If you can’t hit the earlier checkpoints by the earlier easier quarterly marks then you’re unlikely to hit that 1 year mark.

  • Do many people set the goal “1 dan in 1 year” ?
    YES (reason may vary, but sometimes it’s just self-motivatinal motto, or bragging to others and appear as strong-willed)
  • Do many people succeed?
    NO (but some do, not necessarily by explicitly setting this goal, but only because they put effort, energy, time, and have proper guidance/source of knowledge : private teacher, books, …)

6k can be reached without heavy reading, just understanding principles
1d can be reached with basic reading, because the reading tree is reduced by eliminating silly variants quickly identified by knowing the principles

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Not only. Everyone has different brain. Without good memory and imagination fast progress is impossible even if you learn go 100% of time. You will never reach 9d IF you don’t have those.


It’s actually rather more different than it seems. Studying effectively should get you to where you are swiftly. From my own experience, I had a similar buzz; I realised that my Chess brain was engaged when playing Go. As you say, the techniques of learning the game can also be useful.

The fact is that you will plateau soon. If you want to continue advancing it will take persistent hard work. If you put in the hard work then you will likely improve. Shodan is a reasonable goal; like being able to compete in a major tournament in Chess. Can you get there in nine more months? Probably not, but then again, who cares?

Play, enjoy, share, improve. There’s no special rush.