These are methods and ideas I have come up with to give players of all levels a way to approach the game and find good moves. These ideas are also meant to be applicable in %90 of all board situations.
Note: While I came up with this guide, not all the ideas are my original ideas but rather ideas and concepts I have gathered from my various experiences and teachers over my Go career. Some honorable mentions are, but not limited to, the following people.
Shygost (KGS username)
+ Should be noted that he learned various things from Yuling Yang 7p and Feng Yun 9p. Some of his methods he learned from them.
Jennie Shen 2p
Blackie 9p(Blackie’s International Baduk Academy)
Diana Kozegi 1p(Blackie’s International Baduk Academy)
Inseong(Yunguseng Dojang teacher)
Decided what size board to play.
Kids should start off on 5×5 and you can use our custom beginner rules to play with them.
New players should start on a 9×9. You can move up when you can…
- Finish a game and count without help.
- See liberties.
- Can do the stone removal phase without help.
- Solve a basic life & death problem. (Know if a group has two eyes or not.)
Moving on the 13×13. You can move up when…
- You can make territory on the 3rd and 4th line.
- You can seal off your territory.
- You can see second line cuts.
Starting on 19×19 – I made a video playlist to cover this section.
How to Study (per Rank)
1: Tsumego (Go Problems)
- You should always be doing daily Tsumego
- Do between 5 minutes a day to 1 hour a day depending on your time investment.
- You should always try to solve the problem without looking at the answer.
- Tsumego levels are different from skill levels. (Rank doesn’t matter.)
- Do problems that are just slightly easy for you.
- Don’t only do Life & Death!
- Tsumego books are almost always worth buying unless they are too easy.
2: Play Games (and measure progress)
- Don’t forget to review!
- Don’t fall into the playing fast pitfall. Use your time!
- Review by yourself or with your opponent before reviewing with others.
- Play between 5-20 games a week depending on time investment.
- Pick an opening to play for 30-50 games.
- Review pro games with your opening.
- Review with Leela on direction of play and joseki options.
- Don’t focus on the best variations with Leela! (Pick useable variations for your level.)
4: Early Middle Game
- Focus on your attack and defense timings.
- Focus on timing and goals.
- Light reading and judgement is important here.
- Someone will most likely have a lead in or after this phase.
- Be wary of using Leela in or past this point without understanding goals and reading.
5: Late Middle Game
- Focus on reading.
- Look for the timing to start Yose.
- Look for wasted moves due to time and focus issues.
- Double down on your focus at this timing.
- Watch out for comebacks!
- Comebacks are found here. Don’t rush it but look for it.
- Game losing mistakes are found here. Focus!
- This is not the time for crazy!!
6: Yose (End Game)
- Sente is king!
- Look for 2nd & 1st line sente first.
- Sente is king!
- Practicing on 13×13 can be helpful to learn basic yose.
- Books are good for this section.
7: Pro Games
- Reviewing pro games will teach you the new openings and joseki.
- Watch their timing and efficiency in middle game.
- Counting yose and comparing it to pro moves is good practice.
- Guessing the next move can be helpful for improving judgement. Requires reading. Focus on the goal more than the exact move. (Does take a lot of time to do this so isn’t the most efficient.)
- Keep doing tsumego but having a day where you do less can be helpful.
- Taking a day off can be helpful for not getting burned out.
- Don’t sacrifice your life for a game! This is a hobby and passion but your life is more important.
- Have other hobbies and interest can be helpful for not getting burned out, developing other skills, and giving different perspectives on life which can translate well in the game. (Broaden horizons)
9: Have fun!
- If you are not having fun. STOP. Go do something else.
- The fastest way to improve is to have fun doing what you do.
- If you don’y enjoy studying, don’t! Play and have fun!
- This is a game for your enjoyment, enjoy it!
Note: 9×9 and 13×13 with friends or on apps like GoQuest can be helpful if you want to have fun playing them. 9×9 helps with reading and 1st and 2nd line shapes. 13×13 can help with yose and 3rd and 4th line shapes. Tsumego is better but small boards can be a nice bonus or change of pace.
* Am I weak?
- – Do I have a base?
- – Do I have more than 2 ways out?
- – Can my opponent gain a lot from attacking?
* Is my opponent weak?
- – Do they have a base?
- – Do they have 2 ways or less to defend?
- – Can I gain a lot from attacking or gain in sente?
* Where is the big move?
- Biggest Area
- Open sides
- Open Corners
Enclose Corner, Extend, Approach (Extensions are 5 space jumps.)
Jump up to increase the framework to the center.
~It should be noted that choosing between a reduction and invasion is difficult and highly depends on the board. You must judge the board accurately, and consider both options before choosing one over the other.
* Most valuable move.
- Double Sente moves are 4 times the value.
- Sente moves are double the value.
- Gote moves are the value as they stand.
~These are basic guidelines. At higher levels your will need to apply two or three in one move at times as well as make combination plays.
~The value of a move is determined by how much the territory changes when both black plays first, and white plays first and then added together.
How to Attack:
~Note: Attacking is meant to gain profit. Never try to kill until step 4.
1: Make/Take the base.
2: Surround/Run Away.
3: Reduce/Expand eye space.
4: Play the vital point.
— Sometimes 1, 2, 3 or 1-5 reading works here. (Check below for explanation.)
~These are basic guidelines. There will be exceptions at higher levels.
~As stated above, never try to kill until step 4, however at higher levels some invasions or group can be killed. Killing a group before step 4 is only good when you read every possible variation and see that it can be killed. Otherwise, you should be aiming for profit.
Finding the Vital Point:
Reduce the eye space from the outside first to see the shape on the inside.
After reducing the outside space, try playing moves in the inside to make it 1 eye or less. If you find the other color consistently playing a point to live, then that point is likely the vital point.
* Invasions are usually on the 3rd line.
* Invasions have multiple follow-ups.
* Forcing moves are good for making shape while defending.
* Single stones are not worth saving unless they are cutting something important or worth a lot of territory/influence.
* Don’t take your own points. Defend only if you HAVE to defend.
* Read before you play.
* Take your time to make sure you understand the board before playing a move.
* Don’t get overly focused on one area.
* Tenuki as fast as you can.
* Don’t kill yourself.
* Killing groups are dangerous, make sure it is valuable before investing the moves to kill something.
* 1,2,3 reading means If I play 1, my opponent plays 2, and I play 3, then I should think about playing 3 first.
* 1-5 reading is the same concept as above except playing move 5 first. This is rare but sometimes useful.
* 3rd line wants to go up to the 4th line and 4th wants to go down to the 3rd.
* 3rd line for security and territory. 4th line for development and influence.
* My opponents vital point is my vital point. This means that my opponents move is sometimes my move.Type your paragraph here.