Review request, 25k (I think I might finally be getting the hang of things)

I just finished a 13x13 game and I this is the first game where I felt like I knew what I was doing, as opposed to just reacting to my opponent’s moves (I know that sounds kinda mundane, but as a TPK who’s just starting out, feeling that I know what’s going on during a game is something that doesn’t happen too often yet). That being said, I know for sure that I made several mistakes/bad plays (the most obvious one being around moves 26-30). As such, I was wondering if someone would be willing to review this game so that I can get an idea of what I did right and where I goofed up.

Link to the game:

Hi there RedAgent14, I think I commented on a game you played not so long ago, so I’m happy to see you back here.

I took a look over your game, and have done you a game review, here is the link: Review

I have jotted a few notes in the review for you already. But what I didn’t put in there was some helpful information on where you can learn a few things.

The first thing you are going to want to work on is your opening. Coming to grips with different opening styles and what they do and why we play them and such. Many people will say that this is too complex for a new player, I say it the foundation for understanding the rest of the game.

Honestly, there are two ways you can go about learning that… reading books, or having someone show you. There are few good Go instructors out there that teach for free, But, on youtube, you can find a guy called Nick Sibiky, who had created hundreds of hours of Go related content, and I know for a fact he has dedicated several videos to opening strategy.

The next thing I would suggest working on is life and death. And I know how much of an absolute drag this can be for a new player, let alone a player that has been playing for some time. But… once you sorta get into it, it does become fun. So what you want to do is do life and death problems… and there are two super good ways of doing them. 1) is you do them on a computer, a great website would be its a website I use almost every day. 2) you can get an app for your phone, I use android, so I apologize if this isn’t possible for you, but I use tsumegopro, and while the problems on there are limited, what I have found useful is memorizing the problems on there as best as you can greatly improve your game.

Also, doing problems is great for increasing reading ability, which is basically the skill of doing variations in your head to find the best answer. is a great place though because they do who board problems, and teach opening strategy as well if you come across the right problem.

I know I have put a lot into this response. So I am sorry for the length, but I figure for a new player just getting into the swing of things, the more places you know of you go improve your game, the better chances you will have.

But i will also add this one last tip for you. It is great that you have asked for a person to do a review for you, it means that you want to learn from your mistakes. But… that being said, it is also a good idea to go over your games yourself and work out the mistakes you made also. Go through your moves, and ask yourself a few questions like these:

  1. Did I need to play there?
  2. Am I alive?
  3. Is this an important/ big or urgent move?
  4. if I were playing as the other colour, where would I want to play?
  5. the best question ever… Can I ignore this?

I hope this helps, and any time you want me to go through a game, let me know, I’m usually more than happy to do a game review… I actually find them fun.


This is extremely solid advice. The opening is the foundation of gameplay in Go, especially on the 9x9 where you can quite literally lose the game by Move 8 to Move 10. I haven’t seen many others state this @Lord_o_o_Spoon. I tip my hat to you :face_with_monocle:.


@RedAgent14 practicing Go Problems is the most efficient and quickest way to train your mind to “read”. Recognizing common stone patterns and how to beat them is a big part of getting better at Go. I recommend Cho Chikun’s Encyclopedia of Life and Death . It starts at beginner level and progressively gets harder. When it gets too hard, you can just start over from scratch, working through them again. Each time you do this you should be able to go further than you did before. There is definitely a proper way to do Tsumego, and a wonderful treatment of that topic can be found in the free Go book, 81 Little Lions: An Introduction to the 9x9 Board for Advanced Beginners , by Immanuel deVillers, page 20. This book is a gem and I recommend you give it a look.


Your desire to help others and the willingness to invest the time to share so much knowledge and information is to be commended. There is no need to apologize. Rather, you deserve a round of applause and our respect :wink:.

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Thank you very much for the response and your kind words. It means a lot.

And the opening is absolutely the foundation of every game. It’s the start of strategic play as well as you get to descide how and why you are gonna cut up that board and make points.

In my not so expert opinion, the absolute most important moves for the foundation of the game, are played in the first 20 moves. Everything after that comes down to how well you can read verses, how cunning and or daring you are.

I don’t read go books, but I most certainly should start… When it comes to life and death and go problems… I always say this to those I teach… The brain is like a muscle. You need to use that Brain, test it, and keep using it over and over again to build its strength. The moment you stop doing this, your brain power, and your ability to read the game. Is dramatically decreased. It’s something I have tested before now.

I have an app on my phone, tsumegopro, and it has a progress graph and such when you work through all the programs.

In about a week or so, I got myself to seven Dan on the app, which I know is meaningless, especially as I’m only 9kyu, but it’s because I memorised the problems. Anyways… A few months later, and I come back to the app having not used it for a while… And I drop from seven Dan, to fifteen Kyu on the app.

This absolutely proves that one should treat the brain as a muscle when it comes to GO and reading ability.

And once again thanks for the response.

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You are quite welcome :hugs:. I couldn’t agree more with you about the importance of brain training. I wrote something about this very topic this morning in one of my teaching games. I’ll share it here as well, since it mirrors what you are saying:

Something that is really important to realize about Go is that, no matter which board size you play on, it is an exercise in pattern recognition. Go is not about winning or beating opponents. The game, in my view, is a solitary pursuit. For we only ever truly face ourselves. Each game is essentially a unique puzzle, being generated based on our decisions and our opponent’s choice of moves.

Your opponent represents chaos, the unknown, or randomization; not a foe or force to be overcome. Rather, Go is an exercise in memorization of shapes and how to employ and counter them effectively. Especially considering how the methodology of countering the same shape changes based on the surrounding board configuration. The myriad of possibilities in any given game with familiar shapes and patterns is breathtakingly complex.

To this end, you should realize that the only true way to get better is to build your brain’s database of shapes, patterns, and how to properly employ and counter them. This can only be achieved through raw experience. Maintaining mental focus while studying specific topics of interest, searching for weaknesses in your understanding through self analysis and third party analysis of your games, and deliberate practice will accelerate your speed of progress.

It is also likely to teach you lessons or reveal aspects of Go game play that you would otherwise never stumble upon yourself.

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That was an absolute delight to read, its as if you took the words from my mind and sent them back at me. And you are absolutely correct.

Consider the way that a human mind works, to that of the AI that we see being able to beat pro players… really there is very little difference there in how Go is played in the “Mind” of these robots and such. they recognize patterns, shapes, and then read the game to work out the best answer. And that is the same thing that us humans do, albeit, in a different roundabout kinda way.

But really when you break the game down into its barest points, its absolute fundamentals, its nothing more than a game of shape, sequence, efficiency, and numbers. when you break the game down in this way, you start to see that within these absolute basic terms there is room for further understanding how to apply these to the game and your style of play.

Take Sequence as one of the basics… Joseki uses sequential moves for an even outcome, and we recognize when one is being played, and when indeed someone makes a mistake on the sequence you know. So not only are you able to punish for that mistake, but it means that you have an understanding of how that will also impact the rest of the game.

But, the great thing with sequences is that you can jump… you can start and continue in a sequence through to the end, or you can start, and jump to any point in the sequence… or simply ignore it. And then the real magic starts happening.

Tell you what though, I don’t half love this game, even if I am a lowly kyu player.

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I should note that I actually first found out about OGS from the “Puzzles” section (though I haven’t visited said section as much as I probably should).
I’m not sure if this will change as I get more experienced, but from where I am now I find learning the different Go concepts (shapes, joseki, life+death sequences, etc.) almost like starting to learn another language. In that light, playing matches against other people is analogous to practicing conversation skills, whereas studying specific shapes/sequences/other concepts is the equivalent of learning new vocabulary/grammar. (That is, you need both parts to learn the language: conversation without learning grammar/vocab means you need to try and anticipate every single sentence you might need to say, and trying to memorize/learn grammar+vocab without actual conversation will lead to the grammar+vocab being forgotten.)


You and me both. I love Go. I love the simplicity, the complexity, the endless puzzles that boggle and confound my mind. It centers me in a way no other activities do. I literally can be in a negative emotional place, begin a match of Go, and be significantly more emotionally centered by the end of a Blitz match. There is a beauty within Go that mere words cannot reflect or capture.

I love what you had to say in this last post. Your passion for this game shines through and I sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts this morning :heart:.

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Playing games is most certainly on the list of things to do to improve how you play. Experience is a key element to learning. And many of the things i know, shape, responces and so on are a result of playing games against stronger opponants and getting proverbially beaten on by mightyer players. But… with playing, its very easy to ignore the games that you have played and lost, because going over lost games is sometimes… uncomfortable. Many times we think we know where we went wrong, and i can honestly say, that about 90% of the time, i was wrong in that assumption, and that my problems in any given game started about fifty moves before i even thought there was a problem looming in the game.

Anyways, i hope what i put in the review helps you out, and if you ever want to play a game, hit me up, and im good to play corrosponcence or live if we catch eachother online at the same time. But also, if you want some games to have a looking over, by all means, mesage me and ask, i get a weird enjoyment out of reveiwing other peoples games.

@Mulsiphix1 Go is as you said, the most simple, and yet the most complex. Infinite in its potential, limited in its beginning. Its more than black and white stones on a grid, its philosophy, and learning, and in some askpects, its meditative and alows you to serlf reflect on who you are as a person.

Mood has this amazing effect on how we play and what that games then looks like as a result of mood. If im in a good place, and my mental illness isnt doing my head in, then im a very structured player, but if im in a overly eager mood, or angery or whatever else, then my game becomes a lot more sporadic. And i think there is a lot to be learned about the person you are playing by the way they play the game as well.

Go to me is like finding one of those rare hidden gems, that you only ever get one or two of in your life, and you hold on to it. Its the best game in the world… barring perhaps DnD, because i loves me that game. Go is… to put it bluntly, its special.

Many people do not understand how a person can appriciate a game so much, and i think to myself, that my appriciation is little more than a drop in the ocean compared to the love of the game that a pro player must feel… to dedicate ones life to learning this game, and to teaching it, and to playing it… that is real love i think. And would that i could do the same in many reguards. Which is why i guess, im always happy to help out newer players. There is nothing like passing on information that you worked hard to learn.

One other question regarding tsumego puzzles, and recognizing how the situations illustrated in tsumego pop up in full matches: Are there any resources that would allow me to see how various tsumego show up in actual games?

To use another analogy: when learning techniques for solving puzzles like a Rubik’s cube very fast, there’s usually an initial stage which is based on recoginizing algorithms, but as one gets faster and more experienced, they develop an intuition for how the pieces of the puzzle move around; this allows them to adapt an existing algorithm to a new situation by changing which pieces get moved around. I assume that learning life-and-death situations works the same way, so I’m thinking of aiming to get to a point where I can look at a situation and say roughly “oh, this is like Chikun’s Encyclopedia Puzzle #X.”

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I think i see where you are going with this. and my answer may not be the best but… what i think is this.

The only real way that you are going to be able to play a game and then say… “oh this is like so and so puzzle”, is to memorise the puzzle, the name and the number, which while posible, may be wildly impractical.

The idea behind go puzzles is to do them fast and to do them in your head first then move on. Many puzzles represent the same sort of situation, but in a diferent order of moves and such. And while you will deffinatly come across life and death that is in a book or puzzle, the relevence to that puzzle only goes so far when you have the rest of the board to consider. Especially whenmany puzzles centre around starting a KO, and a KO is something that you need to be able to do, and look at your game and assess Ko threats and such, and work out if its worth playing that KO.

But to get that feeling… that sense that you can take a recognisable problem and play it in a different way to get the same result… that is something that comes with experience of both playing that life and death situation in a game, and indeed by repeadedly playing that same puzzle to get it coded in to your head.

True, that would be impractical for every single tsumego (Chikun’s Encyclopedia alone is close to 1000). :sweat_smile:

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Yeah thats kinda the angle i was working in there… there are guite litterally hundreds of thousands of different go problems, whether they be life and death or situational problems or whatever… there are just so many.

Reading isnt so much the ability to memorise each and every single one, its more like…lifting weights. You lift one weight on one part of your body, and that part of you improves so you can lift more, but the other parts need training as well. And the more you train these different parts of your body the better your over all fitness will be.

When it comes to reading, the best way to learn to read the game is by going go problems, but they are not the be all and end all of go. It would be pointless for example to be an expert in life and death, but not know how to start the game of go, or what openings do what, and indeed stratergy.

Training only one aspect of go, will yeild limited results in my experience.

5 posts were merged into an existing topic: Tabletop RPG Discussion Thread

My personal interpretation of Tsumego is that the individual puzzles do not matter. When you play Tsumego you can learn some basic lessons about particular shapes and how to combat them. Some of the earlier Cho Chikun puzzles I linked to do show up in my 9x9 games. However, the primary purpose of Tsumego is to teach your brain that the sequence you play stones in truly matters.

Each time you lay down a stone, you affect the options your opponent has to choose from on their following turn. Puzzle after puzzle trains your brain to think about Go patterns and shapes from a different vantage point than live games tend to teach you. With Tsumego your brain begins to understand the foundational building blocks of Go shapes. It begins to see them in layers, instead of a single shape with holes inside it.

It recognizes the outer layer of a 5 row, 8 column structure. It forms basic building block shapes of the solid connected stones within that outer layer. Easy examples of such shapes would be Tertris style tetrominos. It sees lines, zig-zags, T shapes, squares, etc… It even makes shapes out of the unfilled intersections within the Tsumego structure. Over and over it memorizes this data and as you solve problems, it also begins to learn how different sequences of filling in those intersections, affects the surrounding structures.

It learns how to build on the tetromino shapes to create new shapes and how to use those new shapes to affect the options your opponent will have. In this way it slowly maps out the possibilities of Tsumego problems in general. It learns from every failure and every success. It remembers the sequences necessary to affect these shapes in different ways. A lot of information is being analyzed by your subconscious and then committed to memory.

The better you memorize the Tsumego that you are practicing, the quicker your brain will readily recognize the smaller shapes and empty spaces within the gameboard configuration of a live Go board in the future. Tsumego are the building blocks of potential shape. The more of them that you memorize, the better you will begin to inherently know what to do to in order to affect various game board configurations and situations in different ways. The quicker your ability to solve a puzzle you’ve already studied, when revisiting it weeks or months later, the greater the indication of how well you memorized it. Tsumego helps you develop your Go intuition, that gut instinct of what to do, even if you don’t necessarily know why.

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