What is the fundamental mistake here? (9k disaster)

I have a problem. I suck and I don’t even know what I am doing wrong. For example, in this game, I was really doing my best but everything collapsed anyway (I realized at the end that the opponent has too much territory and tried a desperate deep invasion that failed).

The AI pointed out a few tactical mistakes, but they are hardly worth the 40 points that I lost with (or?).

  • I was trying to play influence.
  • I was really satisfied with how the black group on the left came together (move 55) but in the end it was worth nothing.
  • Every game ends up basically the same way, so I must be doing the same thing wrong consistently.

What is the basic idea that black got wrong in this game?

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The left side seems to be the biggest issue here. Once you saw in the bottom right corner that your opponent was playing a joseki that let him devour a huge corner without you knowning that you can still invade there, you should not had repeated that exact same sequence on the top left side as well, letting the opponent run away with it (I am not that good at corner invasions, but I will mae a review with some ideas). Whenever you see the opponent try to force you to do something, think how you can play something else and spoil his plans. :slight_smile:

This video might help you (it is not the exact same case, but you get the idea):

Now I am looking at every move slowly, you need to remember that influence is not there to be defended and turned into territory, but it is there to be used as strength to attack the opponent’s stones. I will leave some ideas in the review.


Imagine you’re learning a foreign language as a beginner, and that a typical newspaper uses about 5,000 common words. You currently know 100. You pick up a newspaper every day and you cannot understand 95% of it. This happens every day, so you ask, “The same thing keeps happening every day, so there must be one fundamental thing I’m doing wrong. What is it?” The answer is there is not just one fundamental thing. There are 4,900 new vocabulary words you need to learn (in addition to grammar, etc.).

This is often, but not always, the case with Go. It depends on the individual, of course. For some people, certain topics can help them improve tremendously. Examples: awareness of liberties, contact fighting skills, sacrificing stones, etc.

In your game, look at moves 21, 25, 27, 59. For each of them (and others with huge drop in winrates), ask yourself: how big is this move, does it have any good follow-ups, how does this move help you win globally?


(2k player comments)

It is true that the two corners are big and I wouldn’t like playing like this (for example, at move 53, I would invade the last corner). Nevertheless, AI says you are fine up to move 60 so this cannot be the big problem.

The main problem is that playing influence requires you to attack, and your two main attacks (groups on the right) failed for direction reasons. These mistakes cost a lot when you play influence-oriented.

  • Bottom right group, you invaded at move 63. I suggest blocking at M6 instead. Even if the group lives in gote, you can attack the bottom and make something in the center. Instead, you wasted moves inside trying to kill when the opponent could flee easily.

  • Top right group, your direction at move 75 was wrong. You have to attack from the top to push him towards your influence and kill it. It is risky but, if you count the game, you see that you will not have enough points otherwise. Your choice would be fine if you counted and had enough points with the slack sequence.


I think my way of thinking improved a few stones after reading your replies, even if it will take a while for my ability to catch up. I see what the problem is now: when using influence, you have to play much more aggressively, and I was using influence the wrong way all along.

Attacking groups that try to run away has always been a weakness. Most of the time they end up as really long dragons / sticks that eventually live, but die in 20% of the cases (usually against weaker opponents who don’t understand that the group is not alive yet and play irrelevant moves instead of saving it). Direction of attack seems to be wrong.

Thank you very much for the replies, and especially for the great review @JethOrensin. I have played through every variation. There were a lot of missed opportunities in this game. Indeed @Station_11, many moves seem to be very small looking back at them.

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I’d say you need to realize that moyo is for attacking, not making points. You have to have a plan how to make profit from chasing opponent out or making them live surrounded inside. Making moyo that if successfully invaded leaves you with no compensation is bad strategy.

Also don’t focus so much on defending points. A lot of really good moves you can play often are actually about forcing opponent to take or defend their points they would get anyway so you get something for free essentially. Sometimes it is better to reject such line of play entirely and take local loss to beat opponent to key point.

The great exemplar of latter problem is your whole left side that ended super small and reducible in endgame while white got to solidify and enlarge corners in sente.

I think you would really benefit from this amazing and quite affordable series.


Author spends a lot of time on how to make attacks that create profit and how to use and handle moyos.

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Thank you. I will read those books.