Review request, 23k 9x9

Hi, I’m somewhat new to the game - I had a false start with it some years ago, but never went above 20k or so; got discouraged very quickly after epic failures on the 19x19 board, due to inability to fight and bad reading (I felt reluctant to play 9x9, for some stupid reason, and thus avoided the games that could have helped me to get better).

This time, however, I’m going to stick with it, and with that in mind, trying to correct the errors of my first approach, I’m concentrating on playing almost only 9x9 games for now, so I would appreciate any tips on the two following games, which I’ve lost.

Move 35 in this first game is a good and embarrassing example of bad, or to be more precise, inexistent reading.

For this second one I’ve made a “review” myself, in which I mostly speculate on how I could have killed White’s bottom right group. As a beginner, I’m not sure if my variations are correct or aren’t but wishful thinking, so I’d like if any reviewer talked about that point.

One of the things that trip me up when playing 9x9 is how to prevent the opponent from pushing me around, reducing my territory. I have the feeling that, even if I play Black and start close to the center, in the end I see myself restricted to 1/3 of the board, not knowing how it happened. I think I’ve avoided that in the two games linked, but alas, I’m not clear as what exactly I did that was responsible for that. Anyway, a few general comments about this topic would help me greatly, I guess.

Thanks and sorry for the amount of questions.

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Added a review on second game here:

Only nominally 9kyu and in reality I think weaker, so some of my points are a bit tentative. You got into some pretty complicated fights!

There are various options for opening 9x9 games : your games seem to involve a fairly solid splitting of the board into 50/50 and then invasions. I’d be tempted to try to take another corner rather than your attachment at the start.

Hope this is helpful


I added some variations to the first game -->


Thank you both for your comments, they are of great help. Apart from my shortcomings on tactics and reading, it’s clear now that I have a problem with my attitude when playing. Regarding this, @Mercer’s comment on move 56 from the first game was particularly enlightening: when I made that move, my aim was just block White’s advance to the top; that I needed to take some steps to guarantee my groups’ life probably didn’t even cross my mind. The connection between the top and the bottom groups was something I just took for granted.

So I guess I often make moves based on nothing but vague assumptions about the state of the game, which is a worse problem than bad reading skills, since it prevents me from even trying to read. It’s probably why I didn’t see the ladder in the second game.

Yesterday I prepared a simple checklist to follow before submitting a move. Things like what are the imediate effects of my opponent’s move, what he plans to accomplish with it in the long term, what is the state of my stones and groups, if there is any in risk of atari in the next move, then the same questions regarding immediate effects and long term consequences of my own planned move. I know my answers to these questions will certainly be simplistic, but I hope that by forcing myself to go through them before every single move until it becomes natural will help with the attitude problem.

Thanks again for your help. I’m also doing some problems daily, currently reading Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol. 1.

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I sympathize. Tunnel vision often causes me to blunder. Your checklist resembles advice that Haylee (4p) gives in a short video:

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That’s a very helpful video.

I have a specific question about the following game.

I lost by a low margin, and reviewing the game, I’ve come to the conclusion that the E4 stone - which White played as their first move - was very important to the victory of my opponent. It was sort of a base from which they managed to push me and reduce my territory. So I’ve looked for ways to neutralize it - cutting it or capturing it -, but couldn’t find any.

In my review I’ve managed to come up with a single variation in which I’d have won, but it would require my opponent to make a mistake (not sacrificing some stones and therefore losing the opportunity to reduce my territory at the top), so, unlikely to happen. And I don’t want to start playing “hope go”, anyway.

Probably it’s just my lack of skill that’s preventing me from seeing a way, but thing is: I was unable to deal with the E4 stone, and it seems to have been crucial to the outcome of the game (just to clarify: of course, I’m ignoring the concrete facts that my opponent has played better than me, that I’ve made at least two blunders, etc. - I’m looking at the situation as a tsumego I can’t solve, let’s say).

Any suggestions?

This is a live 19x19. Time settings were absolute 30 minutes. I’d appreciate any comments, however small or focused, or even simple pointers to keep in mind when doing my own review (I confess that I don’t know exactly how to do it, it’s so bigger than the 9x9). I think it’s the first 19x19 that I play live since my first try with go, with the exception of two or three games with bots at KGS this week.

Commented on the 9x9 game here:


Thanks for the review. The variations on move 21 and its comments are specially helpful. I’ll keep an eye for moments when I’m tempted to force too much in that kind of exchange and lose the initiative in the process.

Also good to know that I’m not so off in my 9x9 openings.