Review request (handicap 19x19, DDK vs SDK, one rainy Thursday evening)

Well, this happened. Maybe I need 30 stones handicap to have a chance, who knows :-(.

I appreciate my opponent’s patience.


  • AI shows a 1,3 point difference between O17 and F17 for W’s first move. Um, why?!
  • Around move 70, why does it insist on the empty triangle at the bottom right?
  • G6 was a misclick, I was going for H6 but.
  • I thought I had time to play L4… It turns out I was too late.
  • AI is really unhelpful when it decides to insist on a move, because it offers zero feedback anywhere else on the board.
  • Also, it’s weird when it suggests a move that is both the best and has a score decrease (the deep blue circle has a minus score on it). We’ve said before it’s because AI has limited playouts, but it happens a lot lately.

The Big Question is: why do I die so big and so badly?

  1. Don’t worry about 1-3 point winrate difference. 10% is about 1 point. Does not worth it and in opening, it might be random or a preference. who knows?!
  2. On the big die: that’s what happens when two players have big rank difference. I slaughtered a 6k and 10k this morning after destroyed by others. :joy: If I play a 4d, that’s what happens to me as well, though many times D players choose not to do so. The real question is if you have learned anything about shape, urgent point etc during these killings. We can’t spend time to read everything out during the game. Memorization of common shapes etc is important.

Keep playing more, you will get better. Don’t over analyze.


I don’t worry, I just find it weird, isn’t it weird for AI to have preferences?..

Please don’t start a discussion like this. Those nerdy kids love it. Even or odd number of stones to guess etc. :rofl:

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I welcome the Chaos with open arms. :stuck_out_tongue::wink:

It’s just AI problems …

Gia here are 5 points in the game where I have a suggestion for improvement. Sometimes these suggestions coincide with what the AI wants to play, but not always. Keep in mind that Black does not need to fight too severely in handicap games. You should not always back down from a fight and let White push you around, but the lead enables you to play solidly, simplify the game and still win. You can afford to give away points now and then. So sometimes the practically good option is to play safe.

Move 70

Here I would suggest enclosing the lower-right corner like this, and the AI actually agrees. Otherwise blacks stones in the corner come under attack. And it is also worth a lot of points.

Move 80

The G6 misclick is unfortunate, but now it is important to recognise that the connection between the black groups in the center are thin. I heard that the biggest difference between pro strength and amateurs is their center fighting skills. Probably the same can be said about kyu players. So from a practical point of view I would recommend spending a move there to make sure the eyeless group around N6 will not get in trouble.

Move 94

Here is an example of how to make good shape in a fight. Playing the hane is important to capitalise on whites shortage on liberties:

The AI agrees here and gives the following natural continuation (except for the 7 - 8 exchange, which is not so important really)

Note that black makes good eye shape and connects to the outside.

Move 112

After the dust settles at move 112, the black group is completely surrounded. At this point it is very important to make two eyes as indicated:

White really has to answer with 2 lest allow black to gain many forcing moves against the four white stones around K4. Making two eyes like this is worth a ton of points and the biggest place to play.

Move 132

White jumped out with P11 and prepares to surround the black stones around M10. Here I suggest trying to connect them to the upper side like this:

Note that the AI still wants to play L4 at this point, but I feel like the attention of both players already turned elsewhere. It is what it is :smile:.

I hope this was helpful. Good luck in your next game!


The hane for move 94 I didn’t even consider, I need to catch liberty shortage sooner. (mine for defense, but also opponent’s for opportunities, hm I need to train on that)

Lol that was my note above about “I see your suggestion AI, but what about over here???” :stuck_out_tongue:

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One thing to remember is that the tournament format makes handicap rules favorable for stronger players, the bigger the rank difference the more advantage a stronger player gets. Say, at 9-12 stones you’d have had better chances to save some of your groups, making a big point difference right away.


The most important idea to remember about Martin’s comments regarding moves 70 and 80 is:

  1. Identify your weak groups
  2. If you plan to save a weak group and not to sacrifice it, then do it as soon as possible, do not start a new weak group.

As always in go, there are exceptions to any rule, but before transgressing rule 2, think twice: if you don’t defend your weak group now, does the opponent have a good attack? Can you endure the attack?


We could try that if you want. Biggest I’ve given is 11 though.

To live: play equally strong opponents, stay connected, stay closer to edges.

This is nice, giving black stones stable footing and something close to territory:

Here already, B might be better because it goes along the edge, enclosing corner as opposed to center-oriented move A.

Here black encloses the corner → points and stability. The cut in black’s shape isn’t a problem, although at your level it might be.

Here also you need to stand your ground in the corner:

This is the sort of center-oriented moves that should be avoided. There’s still stuff to do along the edges.

Also at various points in the game I noticed that black tried to cut and fight white everywhere, like this.

It’s a bit too aggressive. When you go for a cut that doesn’t work, you usually make yourself weaker and strengthen your opponent. So first you need to make sure the cut works and only after that cut. It’s doubly true when playing stronger opponents, because they understand cuts better so you need to be even more careful. In handicap games generally black should take more care of black stones, rather than seek weaknesses in white stones.


Some issues are common around your level (and even quite a lot higher).

  • Passive moves: defending strong groups, playing small endgame moves in the early game.
  • Overaggressive moves: starting risky fights with no clear reason/benefit.
  • Missing urgent moves: not identify and defend serious shape defects in time, not identify and defend weak groups in time.
  • Misdirected focus: paying too much attention to the center (“flying stones” stones on the 5th line or higher) and too little attention to securing corner/side territory with moves on the 3rd and 4th line. Remember this order: first corners, then sides, then center.

Many examples of this have been pointed out in other comments, but I just wanted to make a short list to keep in mind when deciding on your moves in future games.


On the topic of nine stones handicap being insufficient, I did propose this thirteen-stone formation yesterday: