Ressource for tesuji-learning by finding out yourself

Is there a good source (web/book) for learning about tesuji by finding out about them for yourself? I have not much interest in being told about a trick and then memorising it because it takes away 99% of the fun. However, to be able to progress, one needs tesuji problems at appropriately increasing levels. It seems to me that most books take the spoon-feeding stance, so I would be happy with any pointers.

(One of the first thing people at my go club did was telling me “the vital point for the bulky five shape is here, and the vital point for the six is here, but only in that case, …”. For me, that has about the same quality as explaining how to connect 9 points in a square with four connected straight lines and then presenting some problems that work with the exact same idea. It steals that magic moment when you realise what to do about the four lines. I am even slightly unhappy that the tutorial here told me about eyes before my first game ever against the random bot.)

@esmeyny, you could begin here for example:

I think most Tesuji I learnt, I learnt from doing Tsumego — and we have an ever-growing number of these in our Puzzles section.

It’s not too hard to just look at the problems in books. That way the solution wont be a spoon feed.
I like gochild. the problem is that it has not so intuitive user interface and it also costs money (really cheap but still). So there are so many free tsumego pages around the internet that I don’t know how many people like to pay for them.

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I’ve done 90% (i.e. ~3.300) of the Tsumego on and many on, both of which I like a lot. And then there’s the wonderful which is mostly about the Fuseki stage of the game but also intersperses Tsumego every now and then, strongly recommended.

But actually I like it that our own Tsumego section is developing :slight_smile:

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For books, I would recommend “Tesuji” by James Davies, volume 3 in the Kiseido Elementary Go Series.

I’ve been working through this book. It has a nice, structured approach covering a surprisingly broad amount of material. There are also plenty of problems to test what you’ve learned.

Tesuji are a lot more complex than simple rote memorization. Figuring out when to apply them and reading out how they work in potential variations is the tricky part.

As other’s have mentioned, if you don’t like spoilers, simply work on the problems while ignoring the examples. A book of progressively more difficult problems that are suitable for your skill level will also help you discover tesuji on your own with less “spoon-feeding”.


As @yebellz said, the tesuji book by James Davies is very good. I also have Get Strong at Tesuji, which i have very much enjoyed.

If you have an Android smart phone, you might also check out some apps on the play store. Here are a couple that I use regularly:

The developer of the second link has several apps for go, including ones for tsumego and joseki. I enjoy them because you have to play out both sides of the problem. You must find the stiffest resistance and the correct moves to counter it.

Oh, if we’re also mentioning little electronic devices then I’d like to recommend these iOS apps:

  • EasyGo, a wonderful Tsumego app for … drum roll … SRS study (and no, that’s not San-Ren-Sei :joy: in this case it stands for Spaced Repetition System, see also, and you can also create different profiles for training in case the whole family uses it. The kids in my School Go Workshop absolutely loved it.

  • ALL SmartGo apps by Anders Kierulf, but esp. SmartGo Kifu and SmartGo Books with which you can purchase a plethora of very good Go books with … bada-bing! … playable inline diagrams … bada-boosh! … interactive problems in Tsumego books, and several multilingual books.

  • and … tadaaTsumego Pro is also available for iOS.


I’m glad someone chimed in with some iOS apps. I do not know of the available go apps for iOS. :smiley:

Thanks a lot for all these suggestions! Now, I have a lot to look at.

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