Rank Stagnation?


Just wanted to discuss this with you all, which is a sort of slump I’ve been experiencing in improving my game, I seem to have levelled out and been stuck between 15-16kyu rank, I’ve been doing some puzzles to improve my game but it’s been rather tumultuous. Do I simply need to win more games? I guess I should study up on strategies and tactics.


Rank stagnation is often a result of accumulative bad habits that we pick up as we play games. These bad habits usually go unnoticed and sometime we may think they are reasonable things to do.

The habits I’m talking about are usually strategic ones, such as always taking 3rd line territory and give away too much influence (then expect to erase it all by throwing a stone in the middle of opponent’s sphere of influence). Or always be following our opponent and not taking sente. Or always try to cut and kill everything our opponent tries to build. It’s the mindset that has to change for further improvement.

Most misleading factor to improvement is our false perception of what we should work on to improve further. For example: a double digit kyu player who invades everywhere often loses because he dies with his groups a lot. He may be misled to a false idea that he needed rigorous training in life and death. It is wrong because this player should not be invading everywhere in the first place – there was no awareness that his vulgar ‘invade everywhere’ style is an overplay. That is the first sign of rank stagnation.

I cannot offer more than perhaps some abstract examples to show why some players may stagnate. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of knowing the proper answer to everything. This is why, perhaps, it may be helpful to seek a stronger player for comments on your games.


At our kyu-player level, there are simply too many different things that we could be doing wrong. Go has a lot of different disciplines!

Getting a few games in front of stronger players is what I try and do when I feel stuck. Hopefully they can find themes in my mistakes, and I can figure out what to work on from there.