Structurally moving forward in Go

So after playing a few months now I have been making progress, however the progress has been very slow even when I play daily (mostly 9x9). One big thing I don’t really get is that in go the theory is far more fluid than in hess, which imo makes it much harder to digest. I was reading the fundamentals of go, a book that was recommended to me, and at times it seemed like it was a semi-philosophy book! Not my cup of tea, unfortunately.

Is there some sort of training regime the solid players follow? Or is it just a case of “play a lot” (which I am doing, just not winning that much)? Besides playing a game or two every day I also do the occasional tsumego exercise, but those are very hard and even if I do manage to solve one, that skill does not seem to translate that well in an actual fight. In chess, I would calculate my move, in Go I just sort of play it based on…I guess I could say my gut feeling, which more often than not is wrong xD

So getting better in a structural manner not unlike chess, can people share their methods? :smile:

Ironically I just played a 19x19 game and managed to win! Could some one review the game briefly? Would be immensely appreciated! I felt like I probably made some bad mistakes especially in the beginning, but during the midgame I regained my composure and managed to squeeze out some nice tactical fighting point :slight_smile: I tend to get a little overwhelmed when my opponent plays rather aggressively like he did (particularly at the beginning) and I like to play more passively.

I especially like how my tactic from move 218 onwards managed to work, that was a gamble…

Link to the game:

DDK here. I second this post. Those two specific pieces of advice have made my learning process much more enjoyable.

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AFAIK it is usually deprecated to ask for a review of a game that you have won. Also, you will learn a lot more from the review of a game that you have lost :wink:

And re: Charles Matthew’s much-praised book: Shape Up! (PDF)


I reviewed the game to move 100 or so.

Summary lessons:

  1. basic instincts: extend from cross cut, extend from atari
  2. look for the biggest points and don’t get too caught up in the local situation

I like your style, so I hope you enjoy the review and keep improving!


Oh wow thanks a lot! I really need to shake this feeling of playing where my opponent plays, I often feel like Im following instead of actually leading and it makes me feel uncertain about my stones/groups. The suggestions you made about playing the biggest possible moves are great, it makes a lot of sense really when looking at this game now.

I also really appreciate the fact you made some variations for my “more calm and timid” play style, as I did indeed prefer those variations to the more aggressive ones haha. Its funny because on that note I was watching a Go lecture on youtube (Nick Sibicky) about a Korean player nicknamed “the stone buddha” and all of the moves he made for the opening and a part of the midgame resonated so much with me, as in: I could guess his moves beforehand just on instinct!

Oh and sorry everyone, I didn’t know it was considered bad etiquette to ask for a review of a game Id lost! I have plenty of losses to share so it wasn’t out of any foul intentions :smiley:

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Heh, I wouldn’t go that far as to call it “bad etiquette” … it’s just that I’ve read it over and over again on the L19 forum that I assumed it was more than just a forum-specific dislike.

Peace, Tom

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What is the general opinion on learning joseki? I get that it isn’t like chess in the sense that rote memorization will yield significant results, but is it wise at my current level to even learn a few basic 3-4 and 4-4 joseki patterns?

Sure, joseki are important. But the value of memorizing them is pretty low if the individual steps don’t make sense to you. Some joseki are simple and obvious (i.e. “basic” joseki). Others are too complex for a prudent amateur to realistically memorize (skip these for now). I recommend learning a few simple joseki for each corner move, and increase your knowledge on a for-fun basis as you like. Personally, I find it helpful to look up joseki that were played in my own games to see how I could improve the next time.


Uhm … I replied too quickly … to clarify: It is usual to ask for reviews of lost games, not for games that you won.

Thanks for making that review. I looked over it and it helped me too :slight_smile:

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You can get plenty of help from the groups, such as Go Basics and the newly formed OGS Teaching ladder. Generally you’d ask for reviews for games you lost, but if you just won by a narrow margin, a review could be helpful too. Sensei’s library is a good site for theory, albeit not very structured.