Response to a 7 kyu’s reddit question

I thought this was something long enough that maybe others could benefit as well.

OP: Reddit - Dive into anything

Copying from a document so hopefully it transfers well…

So I’m going to go through step by step to analyze your Go. So first up, I took a look at your account. One big thing that I noticed is the difference in the number of games played this month versus previous months.

In October you have played 44 ranked games and the month isn’t over yet. In September you played 3 games, and in August you played 4. You are too high of a level for you to pick it back up one month and somehow start improving a ton of ranks. 9k is already the top 50% of Go players. Going from 2020 to now, you played about 243 games. It takes 100 games or more to get to 19 kyu. From 19 kyu to 9 kyu takes several hundred. If you are playing less than 100 games a year, how are you supposed to improve?

With that being said, 44 games is a good number to have. Keep it up!

I did look at the rank graph and noticed a decline. I wouldn’t worry about this at all. The OGS algorithm didn’t even have enough data to know how strong you are. So if you thought you were 5 kyu, and you only played 10 games, and now after 44 you are 7 kyu, it is not because you are weaker. It is because the algorithm was trying to figure out where to put you.

You also need to realize, 7 Kyu is NOT an insult. You are better than half the community, have more confidence! You post reads as impatience and frustration to me. But I am not in your head, so it’s up to you to know yourself. But it sounds like you are not having fun.

If you are not having fun, it begs the question, why are you playing? Pride? Lost cost fallacy? Or something else? Go is a game. I just had a conversation with my student about this. When you pick up a video game, or some other hobby, why are you not stressed when you play it? In our conversation it was Baulder’s Gate. (Amazing game!) I asked why was he not stressed thinking about that? Why wasn’t he thinking about how many hours he needed to research his build to play perfectly/better? You don’t think about these things because it’s not fun. You are playing the game because you enjoy it. Not because you have to.

Imagine, your mom comes in, “Why are you not playing video games? Why are you reading a book! What is wrong with you! Do something good with your life like this thing that I think is good for you!” Would you still enjoy playing the video game when you wanted to finish that book? Now that you HAVE to play the game? Your brain is the mom here telling you to play Go and stop wasting your time. Why are you not improving ect. ect.

If you are not having fun, stop. Go is not your job. You play Go because you enjoy something about it. If you lost that joy then why are you even playing? I’m not telling you to quit Go. But a lot of times a break from Go can do you some good. In your situation it seems like you already took a break. But it sounds like you came back with the intention on ranking up. Rank is the worst thing to focus on. This can cause a lot of frustration and in many cases lead to rank anxiety. (Random article I googled)

My solution for this that I tell me students is to shift their goal to something else. Maybe work on a new opening. Try a different style. Or in a lot of cases, I give them the goal of losing 100 (ranked) games.

I give you this challenge. Make a new account. Make it 13 kyu. Play on it until you lose 100 games. Once you do, take yourself out to eat for accomplishing your goal! Splurge and go to your favorite food place!

Let me reiterate, I do NOT care how many problems you do. Or how many books you read. I want you to LOSE 100 games.

Invade and try to make your opponent kill you! “Why are they so bad at it! I was dying so often in my previous games?!” Attack and make them live. “Nooooo…make eyes. I said make eyes. Stop friggin dying and make your eyes!!” You’ll be surprised…

Okay moving on, back to the data. On my ogs stats tool I looked at your account. You are playing 20 minutes per side games.

Your last few ranked games:

Total Match time - Your average time spent on your moves

5.3 min, 11.9 sec

7.7 min, 9.4 sec

11.9 min, 5.2 sec

9.7 min, 6.7s

So…why do you need 20 minutes per side? You should be in overtime EVERY game! You only need 5 minutes per side. I am constantly lecturing people about how their time settings are too high. 5 minutes is plenty for almost every SDK. But there is this mental curse that without the safety net, they will have to blitz. The clock talking is scary! But I have found, the more clock time they have for the average rated game, the more they blitz. League games are different but still, my point stands.

The clock talking means you are using your time well. The more she talks to you the better. What kind of a relationship is it when she never calls and talks to you?? Move on to a healthier relationship with the lower times settings. They pay you so much more attention. On the other extreme, if you play with 10s per move and she only counts 2 seconds per move then are you letting her talk? Be a better listener!

Analyzing your loss results, I notice they are almost ALL Resignations. Before we worry about winning games, let’s make it to counting. Less than 35 points is a CLOSE game! 15+ point mistakes happen all the time at 7 kyu. So try to get 80% of your losses to <35 points. You don’t need to do it every time, but this is good practice for consistency.

Try to understand yourself as well. What causes the resignations? Are you rage quitting? Are you dying a lot? Are you losing a lot in end game? Are you ignoring the big areas? Be patient with yourself and accept your weaknesses and slowly work on them. We all have them. We get them multiple times. And those blasted things keep coming back! Such is Go. We have cute puppies and we have ugly puppies. But we must love our weakness puppies equally.

When you lose, don’t stress about everything. If you worry about why every move is not 9 Dan Pro moves you will never improve. Find 1 part of the game’s story that you felt you could have done better on. Take 1 note about it and reflect, and move on. 5 minutes is plenty for a rated game review.

Also, when you find those “that was so stupid!” moves, piece of advice, if you didn’t play those you would be Dan level. Then the stupid moves are just higher level. What we call stupid moves are just moves that are below our level, or below our current knowledge. This doesn’t mean we don’t know it, it means we have to catch it during the 200+ moves when it pops up. Getting to 9k is about playing DDK moves 80% of the time. Getting to Dan is about playing SDK moves 100% of the time. 3k is probably 80-90% SDK moves. You are going to have DDK moves in your game. That’s why we practice and sharpen our game. If you can play a 7 kyu move every move of your game, you are almost, if not Dan level.

Play is practicing and testing our knowledge. Review is to review and reinforce our knowledge. Study is to learn new knowledge. The majority of improvement comes from the first two. I think learning new things is less than 10% of what you need to improve.

Go problems are a great way to practice fighting skills. The amount of 2 kyu players that miss a net or a 3rd line cutting points is greater than the number of stars in the… wrong quote… but the point still stands.

Drill your DDK problems. Hundreds and thousands of DDK problems make a Dan level fighter. Nets, ladders, bulky five, bamboo joints, one point jumps, connect your blasted cutting points, ect…

Insert my self promotion here:

Another great source is 101weiqi, a Chinese Go problem site.

Tsumego Hero is a good one, but it is not my favorite.

Tsumego Pro on the phone is a good one. But it only has L&D problems practically.

Baduk Pop is a good app, has good problems, but I prefer 101weiqi in terms of organization.

OGS has some good problem sets, but you have to dig.

My basic approach for strategy can be found here. Clossi Approach

I can’t really think of much else without just analyzing your games one by one. I also don’t know the character limit on reddit so…I think I will wrap it up here.

Hope this helps!


But why? That sounds stressful and non-fun to me.

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Wait what?
Where do these arbitrary numbers come from?? :sweat_smile:

That’s a solid piece of advice.
Maybe its just me, but the advice that follows about the time and all those numbers and boxes that they have to tick while playing seem seriously unfun though.

It usually takes me 5 minutes to review one move of interest and come up with thoughts and variations on it. Maybe I am slow, but what’s the rush?

I reviewed one of his games by the way. I didn’t analyse the numbers and such, but it seems to me that his main problems in that game are two (+1 general issue which made him make the thread):
a) too attached to saving all his stones. This gets him to all sorts of trouble and in this case cost him a game that was going in his favour
b) some direction of play mistakes
c) his ranking strength is dropping from 4k to 7k when playing in live timesettings and he gets anxious thinking that “7k” is his real rank. Logically the opposite is true, the moves you make when you have ample time and no anxiety is your “real rank”.

The relevant posts can be found in the reddit thread, the small review is here:

I’m confused. Why do you even have a max time then? Time is there to be used. If you are not going to use it and you don’t want to every worry about overtime, then why have a max time at all?

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5 minutes isn’t exact. If you enjoy reviewing then review. It’s not bad. But it is a problem when someone obsesses over it and stops playing. My point was you don’t NEED a long review. Not that you couldn’t do it.

The hundred games is more of a feeling building in the expression lose your first 100 games as fast as possible.

I agree with most of Clossius’ post. Improving takes time and ranks have a ±1 uncertainty, so you’d need to improve by 2 stones to notice a change in your rating graph. I estimate that for me, 2 SDK ranks represent roughly 1000 games, 6000 tsumegos, 4 books, quick reviewing (generally with AI, sometimes with a teacher), replaying pro games, 5-6 IRL tournaments… That’s a lot of time for a hobby, you can’t spend so much time on it unless you enjoy it, regardless of whether you improve or not. Some people may improve 10 times faster, but at some point they will also face a wall anyway. You may want to play more and study less, or vice-versa. The main points to overcome frustration are:

  • Study what you like. There are plenty of skills to improve on, your points of interest will vary over time.
  • Don’t focus on the number next to your username. Focus on learning.
  • If possible, play IRL. For me, playing in a go club with friends on a real board while chatting/having a drink is so much more pleasant than clicking on a mouse that losing a game is never frustrating.

So first to be 7k after a few dozens or hundreds of games is a very good result.

I rarely criticize others comments but here, there is far too much concern about how many games, how quick to play, how many problems etc…

Some answers on the reddit are more inspiring to me.
@jlt 3 suggestions are solid too.

when players are stepping, i don’t think there is any universal solution, even let’s face it, some will never grow further and that can be for multiple reasons.
The thing i noticed in my own experience is that
nothing change until you get a kind of psychological crisis, an awakeness on how badly you played and misunderstood the game and its fundamentals. Another theme is how weak i could be in fights or reading. Anyway that’s mine and it is not universal.

That reddit thread holds nice suggestions like study one go book may generate that crisis. Or a good tesuji collection enhance your taste to read. Between others…

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How likely is that over-reviewing would lead to a person not playing? :thinking: Anyway on the point:

I think that in your effort to streamline things, you steamroll them. People learn in various ways and in various rhythms. For some people a quick fast review might be ok, but for most of them it is “in from one ear and out from the other” because they are flying through the feedback in a hurry and without thinking it over and absorving it.

That might gain you time in terms of reviewing, but it might also lead to losing time in terms of actually improving. What is more efficient and, more importantly, didactic?
One good meticulous review that takes 30 minutes and the student has the time to try variations, good and bad moves, note down questions and seek feedback?
Or six “fast paced 5 minute reviews” where the student is shown some points in rapid fire to save time?

I understand the merit of the fast paced stlyes (especially in this day and age were the attention spans seem to get smaller and smaller), but my point is that you should consider such things as suggestions or “things that worked for me” not “definitely do that if you want to improve”, because every person learns differently and enjoys the game differently.

Do note that I am not trying to argue here. You are teaching Go, I am just giving you some feedback on what you apparently teach. As a former teacher myself I think that we should always be open to different ideas and approaches and be flexible for the benefit of our students.

Ok, that makes sense, but all I am saying is that you are probably lowballing it on the 19k prediction. If someone knows where to find the stats for it and this is the usual case for more new players, I’ll gladly accept this as the normal thing to expect. :slight_smile:

As said, different people different ways.

With quick reviews, you can be guided more clearly, you have a focus, a priority. But you may be deceived when it proves to be not enough efficient.

With longer reviews you may grasp more cases where you can progress. But may feel overwhelmed and get the habit to the “i ll see this later” (and you don’t)

I don’t really understand the losing 100 games advice for a 7k, that sounds more an advice for a beginner.

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Meanwhile I haven’t managed to do that yet in OGS (84 losses in 6 years). We tend to say it all the time to new players, but sometimes we forget how much time that might need in reality.

Oh i guess, 9x9 and available bots. This proverb has a quite restricted area to beginners playing stronger only.
A bit more on this proverb (we are getting so off topic)

Why have a time limit at all?

because life! I need to do other things, have appointments, etcetera.

because attention span! I can only really focus for so long.

because boredom! if my opponent goes away to make lunch or spends 5 minutes to make a forced move, I don’t want to be tied down waiting.

I like fischer time.

So wait, :grinning:, you answered my question with a question. I answered your question in another post. I’m still curious why you want us to be in overtime every game.

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Because of playing online. I played hundreds of games IRL without clock (and ofc without problem linked to it)

Hum i imagine how that will turn with moderating…

mod: “aren’t you sandbagging by trying to lose?”

player: “No, not at all. I’m a clossius student”


I’m still curious why you want us to be in overtime every game.

I personally go to byo-yomi in (almost) every game because otherwise I am not using a resource that has been given to me (time) as effectively as I can. I see plenty of people use a quarter of their allotted time, and they would play better and improve more if they used more of it.

If someone can think fast enough to finish an entire game in ten minutes, they can think fast enough to play with 30-second byo-yomi periods without getting stressed out (or at least learn to).


Sometimes a clock is for time pressure - tick tock, make your move or time out.

But sometimes the clock is as @saxmaam pointed out, a way to end the game in case of extraneous events. In those cases you are not expected to use your entire clock, but to play in reasonable time without undue pressure. Reasonable being the operative word here.

At issue is the varying expectations involved in this. If someone uses their time fully as agreed by the game settings, is that not reasonable?

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At issue is the varying expectations involved in this. If someone uses their time fully as agreed by the game settings, is that not reasonable?

Yes! And to me it seems reasonable to use a fraction of the time. I’ve agreed to a maximum time commitment, and it’s fine with me when the game uses less than the maximum.


And how do you decide which moves need that extra investment in time? :thinking:
Also, how do you know that after you’ve spent your time in said moves, some even harder moves/decisions will not come up later and demand even more time? Time that you spent earlier on an easier to resolve variation and now you are feeling that you wasted that time and you wish you had it back.

Time management is hard as it is, but getting extra resolved to use that whole time and spend it as a goal in and of itself in order “to maximise resource efficiency/effectiveness” just adds an extra unnecessary layer and thing to worry about.

If you find it fun, that’s great and all good :slight_smile:
But let us not pretend that it is more efficient/effective somehow.

I was just saying what worked for me. I didn’t say I was “getting extra resolved to use that whole time and spend it as a goal in and of itself”, I just said that in practice I use all my time. But clearly you feel more strongly about the subject than I do, so I’ll leave it at that. I do stand by my assertion that

I see plenty of people use a quarter of their allotted time, and they would play better and improve more if they used more of it.


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