Practice game: Dead, unsettled or alive?

I made a little game to practice recognizing the status of groups:


Try it out here!

Determine the status (dead/unsettled/alive) of as many groups as possible before your time runs out.
If you’re playing from a computer, you can use these keyboard shortcuts:

Action Key
Dead Left arrow
Unsettled Up/down arrow
Alive Right arrow
New game Enter

Otherwise just click/tap the corresponding label!

For more details, see the readme.

Let me know if it’s not working correctly in your browser, or if you find a position you think is incorrectly marked.


I feel seen and called out at the same time.


I got 6, and since nobody played yet I claim the high score. :sunglasses:


Sorry if this is kinda OT, but it’s a sincere question:

From a good player standpoint, is it “bad” to just “memorize” the shape, instead of just learning to read it fast enough? Would it count as our brain “cheating”, instead of actually learning?

I can answer a few because I fell victim to them pretty recently, but not because I can actually read them out, that’s why I’m asking.


There are definitely basic shapes that are memorized.

For example if your eyeshape is a 2x2 cube I just “know” it’s already dead. It’s not complicated to read, but I won’t even need to.


Yes, it’s definitely worthwhile to memorize statuses, and sometimes that will just naturally happen. Knowing the status is a great hint towards being able to successfully read it under game pressure.

Further, knowing statuses is helpful to understand how to reduce more complicated shapes to known shapes. For example, knowing that L group is dead will help one evaluate more complicated corner evasions that could potentially be reduced to an L group.


Maybe there should be a start button before the first shape is shown, in order to avoid giving free time for the first one.


I felt like being generous with the first one :slight_smile:

If you get the first one wrong, your score will stay at 0 and the time will not start counting down. So it’s like a free point for everyone.


Reading and memorizing are both valid techniques with pros and cons. Reading is flexible, remembering is fast. Memorizing can speed up reading and maybe reading can speed up memorizing too.


Whatever works. If you know the shape, use your memory and if you don’t, use reading. If you are good at memorizing this can be an avantage in live games, and if not, don’t worry. With practice you’ll remember some shapes naturally, and for some shapes your intuition will improve so that even if you can’t tell the status of the group at a glance, reading will be faster.


Really nice.
Could we have one with a simple time counter? (No limit)


A button “play again” appearing at the end of the game could be useful.


Added! Click the timer to enter “Endless mode”.

You can click anywhere on the board to start a new game - I’ve now added a hint text for this on the end screen as well.


it would be more useful to have 2s / move mode and to get max win-streak as the goal
then you would not try stupid brute-force endless reading if you don’t remember and would use intuition

The time needed per problem varies a lot from level to level, so it would be hard to finetune this “2s” time so that it fits everyone. With 30 seconds total time, my idea was that everyone can feel motivated to try to improve their personal best.


2s/move would be too short if you want to use the program as a learning tool (i.e. learn the shapes).


Great! Thank you.

I got to 8 in the first go. I think I’m happy with that, I’m not usually very fast at these things.

It’s very cool :slight_smile:

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I suppose if anyone wants a book on these sorts of things

It’s on smartgo books for instance. I had gotten it at the weekend and started working through so nice timing for the app/game thing :slight_smile:


I got 7, but I need more than one byo-yomi for this.

Nevermind, I just discovered infinite mode! :grin: