Request for Game Review at 15 k (18k-20k?)

Here’s the link
I have recently got into the 15-16k range but feel like im out of my rank.
It would be great if someone can review this game for me and tell me which aspects of go I should work harder to improve.
And also whether i should stop playing bots (i play a decent mix between bots and humans and thats how i got to the current rank)
Thanks in advance!


Just a couple of basic observations that I have:
There are a couple situations where you attempt to surround an opposing group using very thin shape, or in other words shape that can be easily cut by your opponent. “Can this be cut?” and “is it bad if this shape gets cut?” are simple questions you should always take into consideration.

Similarly, there are also situations in this game where you cut without first making sure that your cutting group is strong, and as a result you end up putting yourself into situations where you have to figure out the life and death of 2 groups at once. Often it is a good idea to make sure you have strong shape and then make a cutting move.



I just posted a review with some comments.
In short: you leave behind too much cutting points. It seems to me that you can benefice from developing and internalizing the concept of good shape and sabaki. Looking to your playing history you have a long track record of games but you accumulated it on small board sizes. 19x19 is another story. I strongly suggest to move definitively on 19x19 games. Finally, since you have some doubt about your rank, please, look in the profile to your rank on 19x19 correspondence games only… your rank is not 15 kyu there.
Hope this help. Keep playing.


Suggested readings:

Avoid e-books version, are almost unusable.

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I think there’s some good comments about shape and cutting points etc.

I think these books could be a bit heavy going, well the sabaki one at least. I have both books on the smart go books app, been meaning to read them properly, but I always get distracted :slight_smile: I mean I think they’re good, but something like the yoshinori books
have a good mix of everything in them, opening, endgame, cutting connecting etc.

If you do want to get a feel for good shape, there’s a good video that someone told me about in a review after they beat me :slight_smile:

I would say watch until about 45 mins anyway, that’s the shape lecture - after that he reviews some games where good shape is used. They’re actually good games to watch, and the review is just from the perspective of shape which is nice, to keep it simple. So if you have the time they’re good to watch :slight_smile:


If you want to improve, don’t play against (DDK) bots. Bots much stronger than you should be ok. Some player recommend playing against the strongest™ available bot while others argue against playing against bots at all.

Bots play dump moves and compensate it by bringing strong moves in the mix. Strategies that work against bots don’t necessarily work against humans and sometimes are just bad against humans. If you play against bots of your strength, the risk is high to acquire bad habits. If you start winning against a bot, it’s too weak.


Thank you so much for the great help! Some more questions: I have already started some 19x19 correspondence games though I find it hard to find live 19x19 games. But should I avoid playing 13x13 altogether (will it cause some “bad habits” if I do?) Also is there anything else that I need to pay particular attention to as I move to 19x19 other than shape?

Thanks in advance!

If all 19x19 Go concerned was shape, I think we’d have solved it by now! ^^
But, in all seriousness, there’s a huge breadth and depth to topics on the 19x19 - some more challenging than others. I would recommend studying shape for sure, but there are other topics you can begin to look at.

Two universal points of study (that is to say, you can study them at nearly any skill level) are tsumego, and joseki.

Tsumego (Life and Death) is concerned with how groups live and die. If you’re familiar with chess problems you’ll find in newspapers (Black to checkamate in x moves, etc.) tsumego are very similar. As a point of advice from someone who made this mistake, don’t be prideful with tsumego and rush through the “beginner” ones. They may seem obvious and repetitive, but tsumego are the lifeblood of improving. Until solutions are ingrained in you, I would say you’ve yet to master a particular problem. And when you’ve only got 30 seconds to analyse a position, you need them to be ingrained in you.

Joseki (pre-established sequences) are sequences that are generally considered to be good for both sides. They most often concern the opening, and as mentioned before, can range in complexity hugely. Studying a few basic joseki can be useful in beginning to understand how the opening is traditionally played out, though it can also be difficult when someone plays a variation you are unfamiliar with ^^. Nonetheless, I think they are a useful tool, second only to tsumego.

Other than that, as mentioned there’s a huge range of books to read, available both in print, and online. In addition, there are several Go youtubers who upload regularly, and of course - you can always ask people here for teaching games and advice.

In regards to the 13x13, it is a different environment, so it will make you play differently. I don’t know about “bad habits”, I know that I really suck at 13x13 because I rarely play it. But I play both 9x9 and 19x19 regularly, and I don’t find that one informs the other too much as to be a hassle. So, yes it will teach you different ideas, but take the notion of “bad habits” with a pinch of salt. That only truly applies to playing weak (read sub-dan level) bots.


Apart from what already said by @Legault that I agree with, one of the most important differences I imagine someone who started on smaller boards can face when he moves to the standard goban size is the wide space available and how to handle it.

I started years ago directly on 19x19 and at the beginning was so complex to manage such a huge free space. My attitude that time was to start with fights in a corner and spread across all the goban until the end of the game. Something similar to your game posted here.

What changed completely my understanding of the board as a whole and convinced me about the necessity to develop a mental balance between strategy and tactic was the study of elementary and intermediate fuseki (opening) concepts. I’m not speaking about joseki. Joseki can be a part of the fuseki at tactical level since you can play one or more of them in the corners during the fuseki, but the whole balance on the board (strategical) is made of small differences in the stone placement along the sides for example with the objective to build large mojos.

There are very good books about opening. I recommend them to boost your conversion to stadard go board dimension.

An elementary introduction in an enjoyable little book that I always recommend to the beginners is In the Beginning: The Opening in the Game of Go: Volume 1 written by Ikuro Ishigure for Ishi Press.

Another little and enjoyable book from Ishi Press is: Opening Theory Made Easy: Twenty Strategic Principles to Improve Your Opening Game from Otake Hideo.

Are little books and you can read them in few days, but they are arranged in a way that very basic concepts are fixed definitively. You can help yourself to maintain and fix further the learned concepts with a problem book like this:

I have read all the mentioned books and I can assure their adequacy for your level and the benefits you can get from an effortless but serious reading.