Your beginnings with Go

See also: Your beginnings with Go

mods: and maybe merge with that?

[Edit]: Done. Thankyou mark.


Excellent, thanks

Haven’t seen this thread since my before I went to ME 3 years ago. I didn’t come on the forums again until recently.

I started when i was 9, (I’m 11 now) but since then I’ve always been 8~12 kyu on OGS
even though my Go school graded me as 6 kyu. :sweat_smile:

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Well since Im having a break, I guess I could answer these:

How long have you been playing Go?

  • Tomorrow its gonna be 11 days!

How were you doing at the beginning?

  • I won 2-3 games, but usually I get lost in my own plans… I get an idea, I focus on it
    and in mean time whole damn board falls apart!

How old were you when you started? (Btw, I’m 18, almost 19)

  • 11 days ago would be… 34

Why did you pick up Go, how you got in touch with it for the first time, what was your motivation at the beginning?

  • A friend suggest me go like 10 years ago and never looked it up. During these quarantine days, I decided to play a bit chess…after some 20 years or so. Than I remembered “maybe I should try that go thing. So here I am”

How you progressed since the start?

  • Well I learned rules, shapes, some basic attacks, some basic life and death forms and so on. Got some literature and videos, so I recon I can get a bit better.
  1. How long have you been playing Go?
    Since December 2015, just before AlphaGo shook up the world.

  2. How were you doing at the beginning?
    I played pretty randomly, not knowing where to start. My first instinct was to cover the board as homogeneously with the stones as possible, and then start fighting over the spoils. The 19x19 board always has been more attractive to me than the 13x13 or 9x9 boards. I remember discovering sensei’s library, and learning a few joseki. Then I spent a whole lot of time reading more articles on sensei’s…
    Apart from playing against my girlfriend, I didn’t really want to play against other humans (no easy way to take back mistakes and explore alternative routes), so I played a lot of games against AI, in particular against Steenvreter, GnuGo and Cosumi. This brought me to what I would now estimate to be around 12k.

  3. How old were you when you started?

  4. Why did you pick up Go, how you got in touch with it for the first time, what was your motivation at the beginning?
    I’ve already told this on another topic once:

  1. How do you think a person should do at the beginning? What would you expect from a beginner in the first few weeks since they started?
    First I expect them to play all their stones right next to each other, in a very small corner or somewhere in the middle of the board. Then I would expect they will learn that they’re always too slow and overshoot by playing too loosely.
    They will get very frustrated when they’re facing the same stupid mistake yet again, for the 50th time (not discovering an atari, putting their own group in atari, filling an eye, hane on the 1st line and being cut).
    They have potential if they survive long enough to discover a snapback before playing it.

  2. How you progressed since the start?
    As stated before, I played a lot on my computer and phone against bots, until I was about 12k. After discovering correspondence, I played some games here on OGS, which got me to SDK rank quite smoothly. I think what mostly helped me to get to SDK was to start planning moves, force myself to actually read (something which I still have to do regularly) and watch the NHK cup.
    I also still feel I’m actually more towards 10k if I have to play live games, I don’t like the stress and halfway through the game I tend to lose focus.


Did you feel overwhelmed, frustrated maybe?

I do not think that there is need for frustration. Go is a game and just like any other game we learned to play, it is not really expected of us to be good at it from the beginning. That doesn’t stop us from having fun and enjoying it either. :slight_smile: I’ve been playing basketball for 25 years and now, finally, I got to pour in some time to it and improved my left hand, my jumper and my handling. I am still pretty bad at basketball, but I still plan on having a lot of fun playing, so I am not frustrated about my shortcomings at all and I work on them when I can.

The difference of Go from other games is that even though the rules are simple, the complexity it is generated is very very large and it does seem sometimes that the more you know, the less you seem to really understand. The consolation is that great players and pros seem to have that exact same experience as well and they strive to dwelve deeper in to the game. So, there should be no frustration there either. If it was something that I alone didn’t understand, but everyone else did, I’d get frustrated. But if pros say that there is always something more and they keep getting surprised by the AI, then why would I be frustrated for being in the same boat as everyone else ? :slight_smile:

Sure, some people work harder and have more talent, so they ride the ship in the higher decks and we go on the trip in the lower cabins, but we are all on the same game, the same trip and the same fun is to be had. At least that is how I see it.

As Im slowly learning bit more about the game, I feel like I know less and less … and my playing seems to be getting even worse than it was. Would really love to hear other peoples experiences…

So, that is more or less natural.
As for my experience, I went through phases and tried a little bit of everything.

In the begining I read some books and watched some video-lectures from Nick Sibicky and Dwyrin and took some ideas on how the game is played. Then while playing I saw more ideas and started trying them out so I had the “pincer everything” phase in my game. Then the “sen-ren-sei” phase, the “kobayashi fuseki” phase, the “fight fight fight” phase, the “greedy invation of everything” phase (that didn’t last long :stuck_out_tongue: ), the “let’s tenuki at most joseki and pretend to know what I am doing” phase, the “let’s go for influence phase” and now I am in the “ok, let’s try territory now” phase … I tried so many stuff that sometimes I look at some not-so-older games of mine and I think “did I really play that? Hmmm”

There are so many things to explore and since I do not study and watch too many Go videos anymore, what I like to do is challenge constantly much stronger people and see how they play, how they react to invasions, how they reduce and learn and adapt. I usually lose as you will see in my record in the past 2 years :

But it is still a lot of fun (losing does not matter imho, if you had a great game) and I can say that when I find the energy to review all those loses thoroughly, then I will gain a much better understanding of the game, so I am not really worried.

So, hang in the game, try to have fun and do not worry about ranks too much. Those will come naturally on their own. The important thing is to enjoy the game, because if you do, you will want to know more about it, you will want to play more and you will become better at your own pace. :slight_smile:

And one question, at which kyu does the game start feeling to make sense?

15 to 12k I would say is the ranking where things start getting to be more organised in someone’s playstyle.


Thank you for your wonderful input.!! And maybe Im wrong, but I feel like Im approaching this game with chess mindset and that just doesnt work


Up to a point, I would agree. Playing Go as a zero-sum game is a recipe for failure, where Chess is ultimately all about the fight.

An apt analogy I heard is that the Go board is like a pie, where you and your opponent each have a knife. You are obliged to take turns making a single cut and claiming the resulting slice as your own. There is no way to claim the whole pie for yourself. Winning means you must only claim SLIGHTLY more than your opponent, when all is said and done.

In addition to slicing pie, you may also fight with your knife, stabbing and parrying. But you must balance your efforts, as it is possible to draw much blood yet end up with very little pie.


How long have you been playing Go?
I played actively between 2008 to 2010 or so, and then started again in October/November 2019.

How were you doing at the beginning?
I read the rules at home and then went to a go meetup, without knowing anyone there yet. My first game was a 9x9 against a 1d, and he was surprised about how relatively well I was playing.
But that was already the beginning of the end for me: My general self-esteem was so low during that phase of my life that I was very anxious when playing go (and when interacting with other humans…), and I think that 1d’s positive remarks even made it worse, because I thought I couldn’t meet people’s expectations.
However, I did play some more and even took part in a tournament, but each time I played, I feld pretty bad and stupid and took a long time for each move. I got especially nervous when others were watching me play. I also couldn’t play online, because playing against a stranger I couldn’t see made me even more anxious. So I guess I never lost my first 100 games, as the saying goes, because I didn’t play that much.
Somehow I still learned the basics and made it to about 16 to 17k. And then I stopped playing.

How old were you when you started?
And 37 when I started again.

Why did you pick up Go, how you got in touch with it for the first time, what was your motivation at the beginning?
I can’t remember why I looked up Go on the internet, but I found it fascinating from the first moment I read about it and just wanted to try it out and learn more. :slight_smile:

How do you think a person should do at the beginning? What would you expect from a beginner in the first few weeks since they started?
Well, I guess the best would be simply to play a lot (against humans, not bots) and to get to know some other players. If that beginner had similar mental barriers like those I had, I would tell them that most go players won’t judge someone as a person based on their rank, and that beginners often take a long time to progress. And if you feel bad when people watch you, play in private, and only play against people you feel safe with. It’s just a game after all, and should not be taken too seriously.

How you progressed since the start?
Like I wrote above, I did not play go for about 8 years, and only started playing again half a year ago. My life had completely changed over the years, I’m a much happier person now - and I’m better at playing go, simply because I now worry less about what my opponents (or others) might be thinking about my moves.

  1. I’ve been playing properly since January 2016.

  2. I got stuck around 18k until April 2016, took a long break, and returned in January 2017; having returned, I settled in at about 15k and then rose steadily into the stronger DDK ranks, making SDK in early 2018 iirc. It’s impossible to tell now that the ranking system has been changed multiple times.

  3. I was in my late teens.

  4. I learnt about it on a forum which was mainly about TTRPGs.

  5. I don’t think I can tackle that question.

  6. I’m currently 3k OGS and 4k EGF. From reviewing my older games now, I’m confident that I’m improving, in skill if not in rank.

  • How long have you been playing Go?

When I was twelve or thirteen (early seventies) my father went to Taiwan for business and apparently got to know of the existence of go. At that time a Ravensburger go set with those pesky little plastic stones was bought. My brother and I played some games, but soon lost interest, as we hadn’t the faintest idea of what we were doing.
Late eighties I discovered that Nijmegen hosted a go club. I joined and played go for about 15 years, before I quit in 2003 (although still playing one, maybe two games a year). In 2019 I joined again and soon after discovered OGS.
So how long? Half a century, 30 years, 20 years? I don’t know.

  • How were you doing at the beginning?

Well, the proverb “loose 100 games” was in my case very optimistic.
But I had fun playing and learning new tricks was chill also.

  • How old were you when you started?

My real beginning was late eighties, when I was nearing 30 years of age.

  • Why did you pick up Go, how you got in touch with it for the first time, what was your motivation at the beginning?

It looked fascinating (especially the graphical aspect of go). Liked to play, but was also into the apres go (drinking some beers and playing silly go games in Cafe 't Haantje).
Don’t think I was very ambitious about it.

  • How do you think a person should do at the beginning? What would you expect from a beginner in the first few weeks since they started?

Play, play, and have fun. Don’t be too serious.

  • How you progressed since the start?

I started with the assigned rank of 25 kyu and got better over the years. OGS: 4-5 kyu.

  1. How long have you been playing Go?

Started in late 2014. Stopped mid 2017.

  1. How were you doing at the beginning?

Pretty bad. . I was really directionless until I got weekly lessons from Clossius.

  1. How old were you when you started? (Btw, I’m 18, almost 19)


  1. Why did you pick up Go, how you got in touch with it for the first time, what was your motivation at the beginning?

Never liked chess, and Go wa really aesthetically pleasing to me, plus I had a copy of shonen jump back in grade 10 that had a chapter of hikaru no go, and my friend was into it but I wasn’t, so…

  1. How do you think a person should do at the beginning? What would you expect from a beginner in the first few weeks since they started?

I’d expect them to know when a group is definitely alive and when a group is definitely dead. Otherwise, maybe “corners first, then sides, then centre last”. Not much more than tht though.

  1. How you progressed since the start?

Made it to 2d. I reached my goal of hitting dan and then fizzled out. I also burned myself out when I went ham and did like 8-12 hours a day for a couple months one summer. I still find it hard to get back into the game.


Uhm, so you were 24 when you started, and now you’re 18? :smile: Welcome back, paradoxical time traveller.

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Nah it’[s just copy-pasted from the OP.

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I discovered go the same year The Bangles were taking the radios with “Walk Like an Egyptian”. I was 21.
In a kind of private party, there was a game going on, I asked and they invited me to be teached another day.

That day in a private appartement, they were again two players, not sure they were the same players, but one was 2k he said. They show me the rules quickly and propose me to play (19x19, no handicap). They said my second move was really good, I had no idea why.

After the game, they started a review (2 hours?). I was in a very new and unknown situation, where people use words I understand but logical reasoning completely obscure in fields that I was thinking to be not that bad (game, strategy, space and time…) It hurt I couldn’t stand that ignorance and just wanted to understand .
So next day my first visit was to the local bookshop. Bought two books written by a navy french admiral of very medium quality ( I learned at least the one space jump with them). I teached a friend and we played dozens of free spirited 19x19 games together.

“How do you think a person should do at the beginning? What would you expect from a beginner in the first few weeks since they started?”

At the beginning a person should play real life games (don’t be shy,19x19 is great) with players of same level. He can have a stronger and wise player around to give him very few advices like how to close boundaries. I said wise because the stronger has to restrain himself to teach and that’s hard. After a few weeks I expect the beginner to see the Atari and get more interest in tactics and strategy and start to study a bit by himself.

Last question need a long answer, maybe later if I don’t forget.


In addition to this one, people have similarly discussed their beginnings with Go in other threads as well

Self-reference for completeness

And in a broader, but related vain, here are some other threads focused on forums users talking about themselves…


I’m struggling to remember how I learned that the game of Go was even a thing and why I started to play. The videos with Michael Redmond commenting the first AlphaGo match had an impact on my interest, I remember that much. I might have stumbled upon them looking for videos about artificial intelligence, but I somehow think I heard about Go before that.


Thanks @Kosh for pointing out this thread, apparently nobody here used the word “introduced”, so I didn’t find it via the search function.


Did you find it via Go Commentary on YT after watching Hidetchi’s Shogi videos? That’s how I found Go.