Resources for the transition from TPK to DDK?


Learn elementary stuff like two eyes live, corner-side-centre and ladders? Done.
Lose your first 50-100 games as quickly as possible? Done.
My rank has stabilised at around 19 kyu.
Ready to do some serious studying to make the transition from TPK to DDK? Yes!
But I need some advice on selecting suitable resources and using them for maximum benefit.
Note that I have been relying on the Smart Go Books iPad app (see

The Second Book of Go (Richard Bozulich) seems highly recommended.
Skimming How Not to Play Go (Yuan Zhou) gave me a great impression.
What level do the later books in the Learn to Play Go Series (Janice Kim) reach?
How useful are amateur game commentaries like Double Digit Kyu Games (Neil Moffatt)?

I am prone to making small moves because when I make big moves, I get weak groups.
Which I have to make very heavy to save and thus secure little territory.
Looks like I need to learn about making good shape. There is the free PDF Shape Up!
First chapter is understandable but introduction implies it is for SDKs?

Big moves are most important in the opening, which is a key area for improvement.
I assumed that sanrensei was good for beginners. Playing on star points, few joseki to learn.
Wrong? Which fuseki are advisable at this level? Which common joseki are worth learning?
Any resource that explains them and how they apply good opening principles, at a DDK level?

For tsumego, I have finished first two Black to Play! Train the Basics (Gunnar Dickfeld) books.
Also completed Graded Go Problems for Beginners: Volume One (Kano Yoshinori).
Of course, I will continue with the next books in the series, but how good is
Workbook: Three-Move Life and Death Problems (Thomas Redecker)?

Turns out Elementary Go Series is not elementary at all. More for transition from DDK to SDK.
At what level does Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go (Toshiro Kageyama) become useful?
My Internet connection can be unreliable, so would rather not learn by watching long videos.
Any transcripts (or e-book versions) for Dywrin’s Back To Basics?


You shouldn’t let the preface of Shape Up scare you… just read, replay, try to understand what you can, if you get bored or can’t follow anymore, do tsumego or play a game. :slight_smile:

From what I’ve seen, L2PGo is aimed at absolute beginners (1), and then both DDK and SDK. To me it’s just a lot of basics, but that’s probably what you’re looking for. Lots of diagrams and terrible art. I’m pretty sure you can skip book 1 and I’m not sure about the added value of book 5.

If you want to further lower the value of these books for yourself, you can read these free books first:


I have the physical book of Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, and recommend it highly. Even if you don’t get anything at all out of it regarding Go strategy and tactics, it’s a very entertaining read. However, it is likely that you will get something out of the book and since it is so entertaining it will be one you can come back to later and get even more out of.


Interesting. I started reading the L2PGo series shortly after I started playing, and yes, the first book was a waste of time (I already knew everything in it), books 2&3 were of limited use to me, 4 I thought was pretty bad.
But I’m half way through 5 now and I have to say that I think it’s the best in the series. I feel like I’m learning things that I sort of already knew but not really.

In any case, I haven’t read Shape Up, I’ve only skimmed through it, but I get the impression that it would be more useful than L2PGo 5 anyway.


If I am wondering about this, others at my level may also be wondering about this, especially when stronger players recommend they read Shape Up!

The first was actually among my introductory books, which is why I am wondering about the levels that each subsequent book is targeted at. In your opinion, did the books not benefit you because you were too strong or because the books were not good?

The second in the River Mountain Go series looks interesting. Thanks!

Since Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go is not on Smart Go Books, I thought I would have to go (pun intended) out of my way to get it, but turns out that there are free copies online. How authentic are the free copies? So as a TPK-going-on-DDK, I should just read it for the entertainment and see what I learn from it, then come back to it later (when I am stronger, perhaps around 15 kyu)?


I would say a combination of the two effects. I am about 10k now reading volume 5 and I think I am too strong for the book, there are things here and there that are new to me and some general guidelines for fighting that I didn’t know (but I was maybe able to read out the same moves already; the book might just help me save some time).

For the rest of the series though I was much to strong when i read them and I also think they are not great books for the most part. There just isn’t much in them; they could easily have gotten the whole series into 1 or 2 books of the same size in my opinion.
That said, they are to date the only Go books I have read (I learnt mostly by playing correspondence games and watching Nick Sibicky’s lectures on Youtube) and so I can’t say whether any others are better.

Hope that Is useful to someone.


Are you talking about the Janice Kim series? Simply looking at the cartoon-ish names of the titles are already a clear indicator how dumbed-down the material is so it’s no surprise the book is too easy for a 10k.


Don’t judge a book by its cover.


10 kyus have many good books to choose from (such as the Elementary Go Series and, to a lesser extent, the Mastering the Basics series) and more importantly, know how to choose the books that are relevant to their specific needs.

What books would you recommend for a 20 kyu?


Although I didn’t read Janice Kim, I looked through the books and they are very simple so you might like that. Otherwise just dive straight into the Get Strong and Elementary Go series like I did. I did however have to and still have to re-read many things to fully understand them. Choosing specific titles did nothing for me however interesting the titles seemed since, they were usually too in-depth and I forgot most of it or like many other Go books, overlapped with other books on many topics like L&D, opening, etc.


I’d recommend going through dwyrin’s basics series, starting from the beginning. It’s comparable content, in a lot of ways, to many beginning go books, but you get to see it applied for entire games, instead of just looking at one snippet of a game. He mostly goes over good shape and big moves, which is exactly what you probably need.


I think there are many ways to improve from a 20k. What is TPK by the way? I’m a bit envious as it should be a lot of fun learning at that stage and you should make rapid progress just by playing. It is pretty easy to build up your joseki knowledge by playing correspondence games and looking up on eidogo, which isn’t considered by most to be cheating. However, joseki isn’t really useful at 20k. learn fighting and start to think about whole board position. Regarding books, read fundamentals of go as it is so funny even if you don’t understand half of it, then go through the go problems for beginners books. Book 1 may be a bit easy for you but book 2 should get you to around 12k level I would say.



I had to do some searching and found the meaning of TPK on, I think, my third attempt.

Unlike Total Party Kill, which is the meaning in my Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, TPK here means “twenty-plus kyu”.


Been reading through Double Digit Kyu Games (Neil Moffatt) and The Second Book of Go (Richard Bozulich). Slowly doing tsumego too.

An incredible run of 19 wins and 1 loss has made my rank jump from 19 kyu to 15 kyu. However, 4 wins were obviously undeserved (timeout/resignation before move 20) and 3 others were doubtful (resignation by move 50 not justified by board position). 12 legit wins and 1 loss is certainly a significant improvement, so I would consider 17 kyu a more reasonable rank (which still indicates a graduation from TPK), as most wins were against 19 kyu or 20 kyu opponents.

This streak is about to end with narrow (by around 10 points) losses to an 18 kyu and a 20 kyu.

If my moves indicate a graduation from TPK, time to read Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go and find a way to get my hands on Opening Theory Made Easy (Otake Hideo) which appears to be the recommended opening book for DDKs.


For me most of the improvement was from watching pro game commentaries. I watched Chinese commentaries. I know there are also Japanese (eg. NHK cup on youtube) and Korean. If you don’t know any of these languages, perhaps you can watch Michael Redmond’s review on AlphaGo games. And my TYGEM 9d friend would say the language doesn’t matter that much, just look at the variations they show (once you get good enough to understand if it’s horrible for one side or not, I guess).

Now you might complain you don’t understand a lot of it, or that the pros are often wrong. These are both true but the point is to develop better intuition. In real time games(10min/25 moves) you can get say IGS 5k or better with very little reading.

If you weren’t doing it already, you can review your games with the bots. Find the moves you lost most of your win rate (probably 20%+), and let the bot play a couple moves and see a more reasonable outcome.

In general I would say it’s easy to get to dan level if you keep your interest. If you get 7d+ one day, tell me how you did it!


I saw all your games called “友谊对局”. Assuming you speak Chinese, you can watch this opening series:

These are obviously outdated (eg. no early 3-3 invasion) but I think are still good for getting some intuition. I think I watched these when I was ddk.