Playing aggressive players (8k vs 8k review request)

I have never been very good at playing overly aggressive players. This is a recent game where I pretty much fall apart. Can anyone suggest how to play against someone with this mindset? I haven’t really done any personal analysis on this one yet because every move I played somehow seemed to end up as a wrong move. I’m clearly missing a larger strategy here that would allow me to punish the overplay.

Hi @Obbl

i started to review your game, but i found it was too hard for me to do xD. there are so many fighting variations! maybe someone stronger will have a look.

i still tried to be of some use though:

generally, i believe that you should look at how to make your groups stronger. dont be so easy to attack ^^. at the same time, even though it might be uncomfortable, it is your job to point out to your opponents, that they are overly aggressive. that can be hard, because it requires reading.

sorry… i wish i had more. good luck!


I’m just going to focus on the first corner fight in the lower left. Also, bear in mind that I’m not much stronger than either of the players.

First, the extension at D7 is very unusual. I won’t say it’s bad, particularly as the left side is big in this game, but it’s strange and it’s certainly loose enough to allow black to do many things in the corner.

When you played away at move 10, it was probably too early unless you had a concrete plan for what was going to follow. The corner itself is still very open, and your two stones at C6/D7 are very weak. This corner looks like a liability at this stage and it needs to be settled. The upper left is far too open to be worried yet about it becoming a big territory (which is the only justification I can see for rushing there right now).

Black’s invasion at C2 probably can’t be killed, and pushing it out to the side probably isn’t profitable, so the result (through move 18) you got there is probably not unreasonable. However, it leaves a significant weakness at F4. If H5 was trying to protect that weakness, it’s too far away, if it was trying to expand your territory, it’s really too small/early.

Now black sees the weakness and peeps at it with F5 and this is where things start to go wrong for you. White it still weak all around, and black’s move has highlighted the cut at F4. Instead of fixing your weaknesses, you try to just kill this stone outright straight away, and that’s probably not the right way to go about things. Somewhat ironically, here you actually slipped into a far more aggressive way of playing than anything your opponent has shown to this point.

G7 is actually not unreasonable, asking if black wants to commit to running out, but F8 became an overplay, trying to close black in when white was too weak. Eventually black cuts F4 in sente, pokes the weak stone at D7, and connects to the corner. White’s position is in tatters because the black stone you claimed was dead (with G7/F8) actually wasn’t.

The simplest good thing white could have done here is just fixed at F4 instead of playing F8. Now white is connected and strong, and black is either going to have to sacrifice the stones, or run out and allow white some kind of attack. There will be other ways to handle it too, but simply connecting your biggest weakness is the simplest. Even as late as move 34, I’d still recommend connecting at F4, even though black could then capture a stone or two on the outside and escape. (kickaha’s review has some good examples of leaning on the other black stones in the area to make your stones strong which may also be good.)

This sort of pattern repeated itself all over the board throughout the game, where you tried to outright kill black stones that couldn’t be killed. The most egregious example is when you played move 136 in the middle of a straight 3, presumably trying to reduce it to 1 eye, but the black group already had another eye on the side at N19, so your move was literally worse than passing. Black didn’t even need to respond. You seemed to have got stuck in a mindset where you needed to kill that group and that blinded you to the reality that black was now unconditionally alive and you were thin and in danger.

In terms of general principles, remember that killing is often not the best punishment for bad moves. Forcing a group to either run around the board or make a small life is generally much easier and can be more profitable if done well (although each of those also carries its own risks). I would also echo kickaha’s advice on keeping your groups strong, which is especially important when playing a more aggressive opponent who is looking for you to have weaknesses they can exploit. Even so, in order to defeat an aggressive player like that you will at some point probably have to get into a fight and win it, and that essentially can’t be avoided. But what you need to do is pick your fights carefully, and make sure you have strong stones around to help you win the fight when it comes.

Wow, I’ve rambled on a lot on this one…


Here’s my take.

The opening felt great for White, but the middle game was kind of a disaster. The good news is it seems like the kind of disaster based on bad fundamentals rather than bad reading, which is easier to fix. I’m talking about fundamentals like “connect your groups,” “disconnect opponent groups,” “avoid unnecessary defense,” “give each move purpose,” etc. I think Attack and Defense by James Davies would be a good read for you, as would just browsing sensei’s library. There’s some great material on YouTube also.


Would you kill the lower left corner or force it to live? Looking at B4 for move 18 it in my rusty eyes anyway seems to kill however black may be able to get center influence if you try to hard to kill it.

So just curious if you would or not.

I’d defend the shape once (maybe D5 or D4) and then kill it if Black doesn’t live. To me, the situation is already good enough and I’d be happy to attack the left weak stones after that.

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Thank you for your responses. I think I can see more clearly what my strategy should have been.

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I know you’ve already gotten two, but here’s a third


You’ve got far better reviews than I’ll be able to leave, but my observation of fighting players around are level is thus: they usually fight to try to kill things, not to make territory. If they don’t kill you, you’ll come out on top.

The best way to deal with this, in my experience is to just make solid, living groups and push fights in a direction that gives you territory. As long as you don’t get sucked into the “let’s kill everything” mindset, their attempts to kill everything will give you good influence and territory, and give them lots of weak groups.

…And you don’t even need to kill those! Just focus on how to profit from the fight, while keeping everything strong, and they’ll usually either collapse from continuing to try to kill everything you have, or you’ll get to the endgame and they’ll have 5 points of territory because they’ve covered the board in noodles instead of trying to surround open space.