Would anyone like to teach me to play?

Hi. I’m a newbie who has been trying to learn to play go for a while, but I don’t understand nearly enough to play a real game and I keep getting more and more confused as to what basic principles like territory, eyes, life and death mean, and I can’t keep score at all.

I’ve (sort of) done the “Learn to Play Go” and “Lessons for Beginners” stuff on OGS, I’ve read some of the beginner stuff on Sensei’s Library, and I’ve watched many, many Youtube videos, but I’m still totally lost.

Any help would be very greatly appreciated.


I’ve been working on a set of articles that tries to break down the complexity of the 19x19 game for beginners. It’s a lot of reading, but hopefully this will mesh with your other learning resources. I would recommend reading these articles one at a time, and practicing using those skills or perceptual abilities in your games before moving on to the next one. Enjoy:

Introduction: Making Sense of Go

Part 1: Sente and Gote

Part 2: Settling Your Stones

Part 3: Playing a Balanced Opening

Part 4: Joseki Basics

Part 5: The Stages of the Game

Part 6: Shape

Also, I’d be willing to sit down with a video chat and walk you through some of these concepts. Ping me and we can see if our time zones / available free times overlap. Cheers.


Cool. Thank you.

Most of that is probably way over my head right now, but I’ll work my way up to it.

reads introduction

Lmao! It really does feel like getting endlessly whipped at Tron lightcycles.

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Do you know the solution to

Play games with humans instead of bots.
Ask them questions.
Or a review of the game.
Or a teaching game request here on the forums.


I got it right, but it was just a lucky guess. I knew I should click inside somewhere.

I don’t quite know what it means to “kill.” I’ve read about it, and sometimes I think I get it… and then I find out that I really don’t.

It took me forever to realize it didn’t mean the same as “capture” lol.


Here’s a good example of how much I know.

In the finished game at the bottom of the lesson in the link, my little beginner eyes see:

There’s still plenty of empty space to play in.

Nobody made any eyes at all.

White’s 2 groups dont connect to each other, but still apparently count as having fenced off their side of the board.


Why is the game done?

Why does anyone get ANY territory at all? (especially white)

(I’m not arguing that I’m right. I’m just showing you how wrong I am, and telling you that I don’t know why I am wrong, just that I am.)


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Since you don’t understand the answer to the puzzle
​- even though you got it right - I’m going slightly more basic.


one of White’s two groups is safe and the other of White’s two groups is doomed.
Can you tell which is which?


Honestly you studied much more as what you can assimilate as a newcomer to the game.

What you miss most is simply playing, play beginners like you are. Starting at go is always quite foggy but there are no shortcut to build your basic experience by yourself.

Hope the best for you and happy gaming!

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Because any stone played in the other territory will get captured without any doubt.

To kill means that you reach to avoid that your opponent group of stones will stay forever (we say alive) and ensure that you will be able to capture them later.
The way to stay forever is to get (or be sure to get) two eyes. So killing is done by denying the creation of 2 eyes in your opponent group.

How it is done is usually to restrict the space around that group and then to take the vital point, somewhere your opponent would like to play himself to ensure his life.


The left one is doomed, I think.


Now, do you see why White’s central group is doomed in
https://online-go.com/demo/view/1235666 ?


If none of the groups in the example game have any eyes (Do they? Do I not know what an eye is again? lol ) much less two, then why are they still considered alive?

How can the game be over -because no one can play anywhere else that can possibly do any good- if neither player has fulfilled the basic criteria for keeping any of their groups alive and uncaptured: 2 eyes? Since not two eyes, why not still try to capture?

Why does that half of the board count as white’s territory if they haven’t even fenced off that part with any group that has eyes and they dont connect all the way across the board like black does (unless diagonally counts here for some reason? maybe? no?)

I get that the ultimate answer is that they’d be captured if they played it all out all the way, but what’s up with all the stuff about 2 eyes = alive, 1 eye or less = dead if the game ending with nobody making a single eye on the whole board happens so often that they used it for the example of a finished game for beginners?

There’s gotta be some basic bonehead thing I’m missing… Like earlier, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get anything but static on my FM radio… and then I noticed it had a switch that was turned to AM. Works fine now.

You have to figure it by yourself. They can make very easely 2 eyes whenever they want, invaders are no threat.
But this is much easier to experiment as to explain.

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They are still considered alive because the opponent can’t stop them from forming two eyes.


Many crucial things never happen in the game. When you size a territory, a big one, that’s because if your opponent play inside he will die. He will not be able to get 2 eyes. So what? You will not see 2 eyes groups always, just sometimes because your opponent was a bit too ambitious (not always a bad thing in itself, i mean it can be a strategy)

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One thing is the mechanism of the game: the capture. We would rather say the threat to capture.

By using this mechanism you will generate sure space, where nothing can be done anymore.

So the next thing is the goal, get more as the other, control more space.

A very common mistake at beginning is to take the mean, the mechanism for the goal.


So… basically, this is NOT a “finished” game in the sense that it is actually “finished.”

It’s less like a chessboard in a a state of checkmate and more like a chessboard where someone just eyeballed their lousy position and resigned in the middlegame?

The game is “finished” because of a bunch of stuff either player might would do later, but they’re not going to, and I just have to already know how to see that kind of thing several moves ahead or I can’t really play… that’s kind of intimidating.


It’s not finished for you beginner but it’s completly finished for bit more experimented players.
As i said before don’t try understanding too much, better play (a lot)

You can find maybe a little bit of inspiration by looking other people games but nothing will replace playing

Yeah. I think so.