Should analysis be enabled?

I’m curious to hear opinions on if the “analysis” feature should be used. From what I gather, it seems to be quite a divisive issue, and I’m quite interested in the various perspectives held across the broad community.

To start the conversation, here are some of my personal opinions on the matter:

  1. I appreciate that this site has both an analysis feature and offers the option to disable it, since either choice could be preferable for different situations and for different people … to each their own.
  2. I can see why disabling analysis could be reasonable in live games. After all, in an over-the-board game (i.e., in meat-space), one wouldn’t be able to play out hypothetical sequences to aid in reading.
  3. I can also see why enabling analysis could be reasonable in live games. Since both players have access to this feature, neither is getting an unfair advantage. Also, disabling it seems like a somewhat arbitrary limitation to impose when the technology makes it easy without having to disrupt a physical board.
  4. I think the issue of analysis in correspondence games is quite a different matter that must be considered separately from the case for live games, due to many distinct characteristics of these longer games. I prefer enabling analysis in this case, and I’ll explain why later in a more detailed follow-up post, but I am curious about people’s various opinions against using analysis for long games.
  5. Many specific circumstances makes the choice obvious (e.g., teaching games, mutual agreement), but I’m mainly wondering about what the general opinion/etiquette/expectations seems to be in other cases.

Also, just to be clear, “analysis” refers to the OGS feature that allows the playing out of hypothetical sequences visualized on the virtual board, not to be confused with “reading”, which is only mentally visualizing those sequences.


Some people can’t find the time to play live games and so will never truly get to improve their reading skills. Even if they are able to play blitz games, those don’t really give enough time to try reading out sequences. While they could simply opt to not use analysis to help improve their reading, that means that they would have a distinct disadvantage compared to other players who do use the analysis tool. Disabling analysis in correspondence games doesn’t guarantee that no one will use 3rd party software, but it does establish what’s expected of the players involved. For that reason, I think allowing no-analysis correspondence games is just fine.

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In my oppinion it is extremly annoying to disable analyse in NEARLY ALL tournament games recently. I loved the old OGS, were you could download the position with one mouse click and store it in e.g. Smartgo Kifo for analysis purposes. I play on OGS, because formerly it was a CORRESPONDENCE game server in the good times of the “old” OGS. If i want to read positions out in my mind, I will play online on KGS, IGS, WBADUK or TYGEM etc. Each of them is far better then OGS for online play in my opinion. I want to analyse my CORRESPONDENCE games to LEARN from this to play a better game. I am not interested in losing or winning by reading errors. For the training of my reading abilities, I chose to play on online Go servers. The nearly completely missing possibility in OGS nowadays to analyse deeply, to learn from that and from letting your oponent playing the same better game moves through analysis will defenitely make me quit my account here soon. I will finish all my running games due to fairness reasons of course but then - good bye OGS without any regrets. The new OGS became very worse compared to the old one.

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Goodbye Elwood.

For everyone else, I feel like there is some misunderstanding in this thread: If analysis is enabled in a tournament is decided by the tournament director when he creates the tournament. If his decision makes any sense is up to the personal opinion of the TD, and we are not forcing them to enable analysis in their tournaments.

The official sitewide tournaments, however should have analysis disabled for Live tournaments, and analysis enabled for Correspondence tournaments by default. In some of the recent official ones, it was disabled by accident, and I apologize for that. It’s a small box to uncheck, and forgetting that can happen. With the new tournament system, it will be automated, so the standard settings will be used. (see above)

Why someone would quit his account over a few games without analysis is not understandable to me, though. If the other servers handle this so much better, I wish you the best of luck. :sunny:

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This kind of statement has occasionally popped up since the merger, and it always leaves me scratching my head.

Reading skills are trained by doing lots of problems not by playing games. Well, I suppose that you could technically learn anything by playing enough games, but doing problems is widely accepted as by far the most efficient way to improve reading skills. Also, the problem with most kyu reading is not knowing which moves to read out anyways.

Playing correspondence games on OGS was one of the key factors that finally allowed me to cross the elusive dan barrier. Instead of reading the same hopeless options over and over again in many live games and pretending that I was getting reading practice, I learned to think about many options that I did not have time to consider (or just plain afraid to consider) in live games. It was then when so many fundamental concepts that we often hear about really started to click in my head. It opened up my reading horizon so to speak. Correspondence games with in-depth analysis actually made me stronger at live games played on other servers.

People who complain about analysis being available in correspondence games don’t really understand what correspondence games are. They are not just live games with long time limits, no matter how many people erroneously treat them as such. The whole point of correspondence is to enjoy the realm of in-depth analysis that is normally not open to us.

If playing correspondence is not helping kyus improve their reading, that’s because they’re doing it wrong and also because they’re not doing more problems. It has very little to do with the analysis feature.

And this is another complaint that baffles me. What does it matter what the opponent is doing as long as they’re relatively consistent in their habits? What my opponent’s “true strength” is never concerns me. Why do I care? I am just an amateur who wants to enjoy go not some pro whose livelihood depends on winning and losing. What I care about is the strength of my opponent’s moves on the board. Why should I care whether my opponent is a “real 5 kyu” instead of someone who plays exactly like a “real 5 kyu” with the help of the analysis feature? I’m playing against the moves, more so than the person. This should be the case even if we temporarily ignore the absurdity of concepts such as “a real 5 kyu”. Such talk just seems like sour grapes along the lines of saying that “9x9 is not real go” after losing to a lower-ranked player who is very good at 9x9.

My 2 cents. End of rant.


This shouldn’t have to be said, but each go move is its own go problem. There’s a proverb that tells you “Lose your first 50 games as quickly as possible”, the basic idea being that the experience of playing go, even when losing, is valuable in terms of one’s development in go.

Regarding the sentence that you quoted, the response to your objection is thus: read the sentence again. Some people can’t find the time to dedicate to working out go problems, and go problems most assuredly require dedicated time.

Even if they can find the time to do go problems, that still doesn’t give them the time to play live games and improve their live reading (which is a skill separate from deep analysis). Some people would like to be put in a situation as close to the real thing as they can get. Why is that a bad thing again?

It concerns people who enter tournaments expecting that most matches will be even or close to even. If two players are equally strong under equal circumstances, then the one that doesn’t use analysis is at an obvious disadvantage. You might not care about a tournament having tightly contested matches, but other people do. That’s why those people would opt for correspondence tournaments where analysis is disabled - to get an even playing field.

You seem to be under some impression that I think analysis should be disabled for all games. That would be wrong. Rather, this topic is quite specifically about whether the option to disable analysis should be available at all. If you think that removing that option is a good idea, then I have some nasty words for you.

This is just red herring. Yeah, we need to play games, but ask any teacher or pro (or even just a high dan player). The answer is universal. Reading is trained by doing problems. Trying to artificially broaden the scope of the discussion to something as hopelessly general as “one’s development in go” takes us far away from my disagreement with your very specific comment that people who don’t play live games will never truly get to improve their reading skills.

Also, how much do people learn while losing their first 50 games? We can sort of approximate that by looking at their rank after 50 losses. It’s usually still DDK, i.e., it’s not much.

Let us now examine the logical holes in this more recent statement.

If you have time to play a game, you can do go problems. In fact, you can do a lot of problems in the amount of time it takes to play a game with actual thought. If you have so little time that you cannot cut down on a game or two to do some problems, then you are playing too few games to learn anything by experience anyways.

Then there is the following gem, which seems to ignore the fact that ranks on OGS are decided by moves played and not by some hidden “true strength” level.

This is a nonexistent problem. If your opponent is using analysis in correspondence, then his OGS rank and playing strength will reflect that. So you will be evenly matched. All you need to get even matches is for the players’ ranks to reflect the strength of their moves. This is not controversial.

I was not under that impression and I never even hinted that might be the case.

No. The OP, which opened the topic, talks about whether the feature should be used not whether it should be available.

Nice warning for people who might be inclined to disagree with you in the future. Unfortunately, I like options. Maybe I should have lied to find out what those nasty words might be.

Are you being intentionally obtuse? The point is that playing a game of go is never a bad idea when you want to get better at go.

A baseless claim. Correspondence games aren’t anywhere near as time intensive; you can think about one move long and hard and then make follow-up moves based on your earlier read. With go problems, you have to think long and hard for each individual problem. It takes time to do them because they’re all independent of each other, whereas a game of go has a natural flow to it.

Simply put, people who have time for correspondence games don’t necessarily have time to do go problems.

Totally right. Except not. You’re making the assumption that everyone who wants to play a game without analysis doesn’t lose any playing strength in the loss of analysis. But the counter-example - someone who wants to play without analysis, but whose rank is only as high as it is because of the use of analysis - would clearly lose a rank or two with the loss of analysis, resulting in an uneven match if the opponent does use analysis. A wonderful and simple solution to this conundrum is to disable analysis for both players when they enter a tournament where analysis is supposed to be disabled. How ingenious!

Au contraire. The fact that you responded in a way that made it seem like I had something against analysis was a clear hint that I was some anti-analysis bogeyman. See below.

Am I one of these people who complains about analysis being available? No (on the contrary, I appreciate that analysis is an option), and yet you were clearly directing this at me. As a result, your post paints you as someone who thinks that there shouldn’t even be an option to disable analysis.

Fair enough. But then why did you try to make this topic about people who don’t like analysis when my post is clearly in favor of having options? See below.

And yet you felt compelled to argue against my post. Doesn’t that make it seem that you’re completely against the option of disabling analysis??

My grandfather used to say “All roads lead to Rome.”

I have the feeling this applies to Go aswell. Some ways are a lot faster then others, but in the end you improve by just being with Go. And enjoying it.

I doubt there is a universal truth about getting stronger.


I’m too lazy to read this wall of text, so I’m just gonna say my cup of tea.

Live games, should imo never have the analyse option, as a part of a live game is to sit on each side of a board and play normally. An idea would be that a mutual agreed analyze option (with live feedback) could be implemented for the occasional interest of analysing in live games (both players should be able to view what’s being analysed)

Correspondence games, Personally, I don’t see any reason to disable the functionality, as one of the concepts of a correspondence game is that the players should be allowed to think and consider their moves as long as they want, and disabling the function does not prevent anyone to do this, it just makes it more troublesome as it’s not integrated. However, this with a shared analyse could be an idea here too (less sure how this could be nicely implemented as this shouldn’t be live feed in the same way as the live version of it)
Also, the concept of being able to do conditional moves, speeds up these kind of games.

In the discussion about if people should use analyse feature or not, I’m leaning towards both. As a mayorly correspondence player, the analyse feature is making me lazy and sometimes, instead of thinking how it should result, i just hit analyse and play it out. Sometimes this is for the better as it allows me to consider moves in another way, but most of the time, it just limit my training of reading stuff out.

The live analyse feature, how i think it should function:
*player A’s turn.
*either player A or player B can request analyse
*the other player has to confirm
*player A has control of which player is allowed to place stones in the analyse option, and is also the one controlling when it ends.
*time ticks down normally when in the feature

somehow i would prefer it to not be tightly connected to the actual game, just as i want the conditional moves not to dissapear just because something else happens… less certain how this should be implemented in a good manner

Pempu-level server flooding incoming…

This avoids the main point and latches onto a point that I offered with enough caveats to dispel the notion that I would disagree with the obvious statement that playing is needed for improving go. I should be the one asking you if you are being intentionally obtuse. In fact, I made it quite clear that you were making an invalid leap (or just intentionally obfuscating the issue) by somehow trying to defend your claim that people should play live games to improve reading by pulling the old switcheroo and replacing it with the argument that people should play live games to improve at go in general.

Baseless claim my flat bottom. Yeah, I suppose it’s baseless if you start with perverse assumptions. If you’re thinking so long and so hard about each go problem that the activity is an unbearable burden on your spare time, then you’re doing problems that are too hard for you! Put down your pride and do easier ones.

Go problems are all independent of each other? Most problem collections are actually organized so that they are not. In fact, sometimes the problems become easy very quickly because each series of questions often shares a theme. Sure a game has a “natural flow”, but most players (I include myself in this category) don’t know what the natural flow is and what we perceive to be the natural flow is mostly wrong. It is doubtful that even players as strong as 5 dan know what the natural flow of a game is. Now, most of us perceive a flow that feels natural to us, but that’s all that is: Perception not reality. This is so vaguely defined. You’re probably Go Seigen posting in disguise if you truly understand the natural flow. The so-called natural flow is often easier to correctly identify in many problem books.

Again, I hate to repeat myself, but if you’re so pressed for time that you barely have enough to play a few moves a day, then you’re not going to be playing enough games to learn by experience anyways. This isn’t rocket science. How is someone who plays 10 games a year going to learn much by experience?

Totally right. Except not. I’m making no such assumption. Nice straw man. You might be confusing yourself with contortionist attempts to square the circle. According to your own words, Person A has a rank based on playing with analysis. If Person A’s opponent can use analysis, Person A can do so as well. Person A’s stated rank still matches the quality of his moves. The quality of play that A’s opponent expects will match A’s rank. This is not even an interesting scenario.

In fact, the uneven matches that you are so afraid of arise in the supposedly “ingenious” solution you have proposed. If Person A (whose server rank is based on self-selecting into matches with analysis enabled) enters a tournament with analysis disabled, then the quality of his moves will drop below his server rank. If his opponent’s server rank (equal to Per son A’s) is based on self-selecting into matches with analysis disabled, then the match will be uneven.

Hmm, come to think of it, the uneven matches you are so worried about would actually occur the least if analysis availability was uniform (one way or the other) across all correspondence games. Perhaps you may want to switch your position to taking away options?

At any rate, people’s ranks are not magically decided by the ghost of Sai uploading your “true skill” to As hinted above, people self-select into the games they want to play. Their ranks will be based on the distribution of game types they self-select into. For example, I’m terrible at blitz, but I also almost never play blitz. If I played a lot of blitz, then…I would probably still suck at blitz, but my rank would decrease enough to reflect my suckitude at blitz. In other words, the fact that a person’s server rank and preferred game setting are jointly determined means that it’s really a waste of time to worry about people whose ranks are based on using analysis mucking up matches with analysis disabled (or vice versa).

Simply put: Their ranks became based on analysis because they played games with analysis! They won’t be joining games without analysis often enough to cause significant problems. If they did, then their ranks would change!

Let’s not develop a persecution complex. It’s not always about you, especially if you are not directly addressed in that part. Hence “rant” in a public forum, not a dispassionate 1-on-1 chat.

The part about people who don’t like analysis was a rant. The parts of the post that concerned you were (yet again):

It just so happens that I have seen others (yeah, not you!) using these fallacies to argue that analysis should always be disabled since the merger. You can consider my post an answer to your specific statements AND others who use similar statements to support a conclusion that you yourself do not.

Lastly yet another rant:

I really like the new OGS. The interface is nice. People are friendly. Developers are active. Admins aren’t crazy. The tutorial is brilliant. Live games and sweet variation sharing in kibitz. That said, there is one thing that I do miss about the correspondence-only OGS: Ranks truly did not matter. In some sense, this is something that we should accept when games are played over many months. The strength of a player’s moves may change dramatically during a single game as he studies over many months. Improvements in strength took too long to be reflected in ranks because correspondence games take a long time to finish. The same went for decreases in strength due to age, absence, new children, interruptions in study or whatever.

Yet, I rarely heard a peep out of the old OGSers about ranks. Strong players accepted the fact that games against weak players was a price paid to get games against players stronger than themselves. Furthermore, the time commitment needed to play a weaker player in correspondence is way lower than the time commitment needed to play one in a live setting (where you have to sit in front of the screen until the game ends). Once you have a big enough lead, you just play obvious moves and concentrate on the more interesting games.

Weak players were happy to get games against strong players as opportunities to learn. Matched against someone several ranks higher in the first round of a tournament? The correct response: Hellz yeah! What a great learning opportunity. Wrong response: Boohoo. I expected a more even match up. In many smoke-filled Asian clubs, a weaker player often had to pay if he wanted a game against a stronger player. Getting such a match for free seems like a great deal.

A recent pet peeve of mine has been seeing rank-related whining pop up in the chat nearly once a day like clockwork. I suppose that this thread was the last drop that made the dam break. Rest assured, the rant-y parts had less to do with you than it may appear.

I do realize that I’ve been a just a tiny bit (just? haha) snarky. I apologize if the snark is too much. It only comes out when pet peeves are involved.

I think I’ve already said more than I usually say in several months, so I’ll leave things as they are. Feel free to have the last word.


Here’s a reasonable assumption: on OGS, you are far more likely to run into opponents who use analysis when it’s available to them. When you enter a tournament where analysis is enabled, your opponents are very likely to use analysis. As such, you are less likely to have an even match when you eschew the use of analysis. In contrast, when you enter a tournament where analysis is disabled, your opponents are very likely to have ranks that reflect their strength when using analysis thereby resulting in even matches. (Neither of us can say that any given match will be even, but I’d wager that my case scenario is the more likely one.)

The bulk of my argument is thus: disabling analysis is valuable for people who want opponents similar to themselves. If they get beat by someone who is better without analysis, that’s life. But we can reasonably expect that most matches will be made based on a rank that was achieved through the use of analysis, meaning that those lopsided matches that you fear would be far fewer than the number of even matches that would result.

Go problems are supposed to be challenging. If you only do go problems that you can solve in a minute then you’re never going to improve.

It’s more likely that people who play correspondence games are playing around 5 matches at any given time. They have time to sit down for a few minutes per move per day, but can’t necessarily find the time to spend more time on go problems.

If you’re suggesting that they should sacrifice the time spent playing go to do go problems, then I suppose we could agree that that would be the best way to improve. But if we can agree that people who like playing go shouldn’t have to sacrifice their time playing go, then the only way they can improve is by playing the game. As such, it’s reasonable to suggest that they enter matches that they believe will help them improve the most given the limited time that they have to spend on go.

No worries. A pet peeve of mine is when someone responds to your post and then claims that part of the response wasn’t meant for you. A simple, “Disclaimer: This next part doesn’t apply to you” would suffice.

By the way, I don’t have a problem with facing higher level opponents. I just think that there are situations where even matches are intended and should be enforced (e.g. handicap games).

Feel free to contribute to more discussion in the future. Arguing is one of my favorite pastimes. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Slightly relevant post* Should you be able to analyze previous moves even if analysis is disabled? Sometimes during correspondence games I like to look back at my moves just to review a little when waiting. You can argue this still gives an advantage but I’d like to know your opinions.

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That’s a good (and very relevant) question. I’d probably err on the side of disabling any type of analysis because “Disable Analysis” implies that it’s disabled - period. There’s nothing wrong with analyzing what happened in the game after it’s finished of course. (In fact, analyzing your games afterward is a very good thing to do. Similarly, analyzing professional games can be a good learning experience.)

By the way, one of the things I do to review an ongoing game (including games where analysis is enabled) is simply skim through the game from the start to the current move. I don’t need to see what could have been; I just need to see how the game has progressed up until the present - to get a feel for the flow of the game and where it’s heading.

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I am astonished that go discussions both here and on other sites have such a strong moral undertone and lots of blanket statements. Often, it seems to be more about being a good or bad person than about pragmatic evalution of advantages and disadvantages.

I have started playing a month ago, practically only on OGS and for me, the analysis function in live games is very important to learn without a teacher. I regularly use it to check on my estimate for the score (by roughly connecting the borders), to check on something I think I know (something bad happens if I do not protect here, let me check what it was), to play out alternatives immediately while it is my opponents turn, especially alternatives to my opponent’s move if I do not understand it, and so on. I think that it is very useful, and I also do not see what would stop anyone from playing out things on a physical board next to the computer if analysis is disabled.



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LOL, that was funny.

I’m very glad we have options here.

Off: the two guys on the top should argue in a private chat, most of what you guys said didn’t have anything to do with the main topic, no offense.

ON: Live games are good with or without analysis, if you don’t like it, just don’t accept the challenge.
However, I do think that correspondence game should have analysis. The reason is this: I have no way to know if my oponent is using a software or another board on the page itself; if he is using it, then I’ll use it; but wait! what if he isn’t using it? Then I’m cheating!! And it’s even worse if I was the one to make the challenge. So the best way is (in my modest opinion, as we say in my country) yo just enable it, and if you don’t want to use it, then don’t.
Tournaments should, again, in my opinion, have analysis, cause of the reasons I just wrote. It’s unfair with honest people to leave an open door to cheat (and more given the fact that it’s so easy to just open another board). If everyone thinks this way, probably everyone will use another board, so it’s nonsense to disable it.

Sorry about the post being so long D:



  1. I appreciate that this site has both an analysis feature and offers the option to disable it, since either choice could be preferable for different situations and for different people …[/quote]

So do i, and because of this i don’t see any reason for this discussion.
If i want a game where in-game analysis is disabled, i disable it when setting up the challenge.
If i want a game where in-game analysis is not disabled… well, try to figure it out yourself…