“Playing many games will make you strong!?” Not necessarily

I’ve recently learned that both Ootake Hideo 9dan and Iyama Yuta 9dan claimed that “in order to get strong, one should play a lot of games.”

I confess I was rather shocked to hear this- in my experience, adults who make an effort to play a large number of games at the expense of studying develop a playing style in which many common mistakes become solidified. I have visited dozens of Go clubs and witnessed hundreds of adults who play common mistakes over the years.

I have great respect for these pros- after all, they are some of the best in the world- but I could not understand why they said this. So I decided to look into their biographies and playing experience. Some relevant facts I discovered:

1. Both Ootake and Iyama had wonderful Go teachers when they were kids.
2. They began learning Go when they were young, so they learned everything very quickly (young children often learn something once and never forget).
3. In addition, they also happened to be extremely talented Go players.

When Ootake was a child, he went to a Go club near his house and played with many adults. In this Go club, there were some strong players. When I read his biography, I can infer that those strong players had a properly training, so they knew advanced tesuji and techniques. He also had a 5dan Go teacher (at that time, the rank of 5dan was equivalent to what we would today consider 7dan or higher). Under his tautologies, Otaka improved miraculously. Later on, he became an apprentice of Kitani Minoru 9dan.

(It is important to have a good teacher and / or to be surrounded by players who have been well trained. As far as I know, in a majority of Go clubs in Tokyo many of the strong players never have proper training, so they don’t know tesuji or good shapes. But their styles still work because their opponents are also not properly trained.)

When Ootake started living in Kitani Minoru’s house, there were already many talented Go prodigies who were pros and insei (Go apprentices), living in the house. Ootake played stronger players all the time.

Iyama also had a good Go teacher. His grandfather was a 6dan amateur and taught him for a year. Iyama stared playing Go at the age of 5. He became 5 kyu in half year and then became 3dan in another half year. It appears to be like the grandfather had a proper training, so he could teach his grandson well.

Then, he was introduced to Ishii Kunio 9dan pro who entered the Meijin and Honinbo Leagues. About 95% of the Japanese pros cannot enter these leagues. Some pros enter it only once. So the fact that he entered three leagues prove that he was one of the top pros when he started teaching Iyama.

Ishii 9dan taught Iyama twice a week. At first he played a six-stone handicap games and gave the commentary over the phone. Ishi continued to teach Iayam even after he became a pro every week.

Also another pro, Kenmochi Jyo 7dan, played with Iyama once a week before Iyama was a child. He also went to Kenmochi’s house in summer and winter vacations and played with him, Takao Shinji pro, who later became Honinbo, and Akiyama Shinji pro, who later becamse 9dan.

One day Iyama also joined the late Fujisawa Hideyuki Go camp and played many games with top players.

Ootake and Iyama were prodigies, had great Go teachers who played a large number of games and reviewed their games.

But not all pros had this kind of wonderful environment.

For example, Fukui Masaaki 9dan did not have a Go teacher when he was a child. He had only famous Honinbo Dosaku Games. Dosaku was once the strongest player during the Samurai period. Fukui played those games so many times that he eventually memorized all the games.

I was once an assistant of Sensei Fukui’s class and taught with him for three years. During that time, I never heard him say “amateurs should play as many games as possible”. He seemed to give advice differently to a different student.

Consequently, pros’ advice has a lot to do with their personal backgrounds.

Also the advice of Ootake’s and Iyama’s may not apply to adults becuase most amateur adult Go players have different situations.

1. Most adults don’t have very good Go teachers. So they may study for years without learning proper tesuji, shape, joseki, etc.
2. When adults learn tesuji, shape, joseki in a Go class, they have a hard time remembering it. (Kids who are dan level can learn shapes, tesuji, patterns and retain this knowledge for a long time.)
3. Most adults are not Go prodigies like Ootake or Iyama.
4. Most adults started learning Go when they were an adult, not a 5-year-old.

In my experience it takes adults a certain amount of time to learn just one tesuji; it may take up to a month. That’s not what happened with Ootake or Iyama. They could learn one tesuji and begin using it in their games immediately, and they would never forget it.

This is not to say that all children are natural Go players. There are many children who are not as talented as Ootake or Iyama; quite a few stop playing Go because they cannot
improve quickly.

Also without a Go teacher who teaches and cares about kids, it may not be easy to improve or enjoy playing Go. The other day I had an email from Mimura Tomoyasu 9dan, who has entered the Meijin and Honinbo Leagues many times. He runs a Go school for children. Quite a few kyu players quite because there aren’t a Go teacher there. All the pros are busy teaching dan players.

In conclusion pros tend to give advice based on their experiences. But that may not be applicable to anyone.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1EyRIQh

May 28, 2015 at 12:17PM


Playing many games will make you strong?

I’ve recently leared that that both Ootake Hideo 9dan and Iyama Yuta 9dan assert that “in order to get strong, you should play lots of games.”

I was shocked to see that because in my experience lots of adults kept playing lots of games and developed their own styles that are mostly common mistakes.

I have great respect as some of the best pros, but I didn’t understand why they say that.

I decided to investigate what they mean and their experiences.
So I read Ootake’s biography and that of Iyama’s.

Then I leared the following:

1. Both Ootake and Iyama had wonderful Go teachers when they were kids.
2. They started learning Go when they were little, so they learned everything very quickly. (Often talented children learn something once and never forget that.)
3. They both were extremely talented Go players.

When Ootake was a child, he went to a Go club near his house and played with many adults. But he had a 5dan Go teacher. Many years ago 5dan was worth today’s 7dan or higer. His Go teacher had a very good Go training, so he could teach Ootake not only basics, but also advanced things.

Ootake kept learning very good tesuji, shape, etc. from his teacher. Later he became an apprentice of Kitani Minoru 9dan.

Iyama also had a good Go teacher. More importantly he was introduced to Ishii Kurnio 9dan pro and played with him many times. Of course, he had proper lessons.

Ootake and Iyama had wonderful Go teachers, played lots of games, had reviews from their Go teachers. They also loved Go, so learned everything very quickly.
There are significant differences between them and most adults, however, as you can see below:

1. Most adults don’t have very good Go teachers. So they cannot learn proper tesuji, shape, joseki, etc. for a long time.

2. When adults learn tesuji, shape, joseki in a Go class, they cannot remember it. (Kids who are a dan level canlearn shapes, tesuji, patterns and remember them for a long time. )

3. Most adults are not talented Go players like Ootake or Iyama.

In my experience it takes adults time to learn one tesuji; it may take a month. That never happened to Ootake or Iyama. They learn one tesuji and could use it in their games immediately, and they never forget it.

Also there are lots of children who are not as talented as Ootake or Iyama. There are quite a few children who stops playing Go because they cannot improve quikcly.

I’ve recenlty had a conversation with Mimura Tamoyasu 9dan. He runs a Go school for children. Quite a few students at at 20kyu or 10 kyu leave his school because there is not a Go teacher who could teach kids at 20kyu or 10 kyu.

I’ve met quite a few adult Go students at the age of 40s, 50s, 60s who started playing Go in their teenagers in a local Go club (“Gokaisho” in Japanese) and played lots of games, but never learned basics. They were in a Go club where most people kept playing common amateur mistakes, loved killing stones, and never cared about basics.

Naturally my adutl students also developed Go with lots of common amateur mistakes. Until they had lessons from me, some of them never even looked at basic Go books. Since their mistakes were ingrained in their mind for many years or decades, it was really hard to get rid of them. Even if they learn basics, their common amateur mistakes always came up when they play a game.

I do have great respect for Ootake and Iyama. But considering their experiences as a child, and considering my experience of teacing adults over 15 years, their advice seems to work only for certain talented children who have a good Go teacher.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1CFYWpm

March 31, 2015 at 12:48PM


I can’t helping thinking about a move for a long time! Well, pls read this!

Recently a student asked me about how he should manage the time
because he loves to think of a move for a long time. In fact
since he likes to think each move for a long time, he likes to play offline.

I answered as follows:

To be honest with you, since I was a child, I always couldn’t
play quickly. I had to think, think, and think…
Even if I became an insei, and even if I had 4 hours in the final insei
tournament, I couldn’t stop thinking. I spent 4 hours in 100 moves or so.
It was a terrible habit.

Interestingly, after I quit an insei (Go apprentice), I could start playing fast.
Over the years I have also observed many people, teenagers and adults who couldn’t stop thinking.
Based on my experiences, I’d like to tell you what I have discovered and learned over the years.

1. Thinking a move for a long time does not necessarily help you play a better game.

2. Thinking a move for a long time in a game does not necessarily make you strong.

3. When you play a game, there are points at which you have to think; that is a life-and-death situation and a capturing race.
But there are many situations where you will never know the best moves.

Let me elaborate on these.

With regard to 1. and 2., I need more explanations.

The reason thinking a move will not help you is that
without solidifying the strong basic foundations, you may not be thinking
correctly. If your thoughts were incorrect from the beginning, you may very well
end up with an incorrect result.

( My definition of basic foundations is that there are basic foundations for 10 kyu players, for
5 kyu players, for 1 dan players, and so on. I believe that you should learn various levels of
basics as you improve. )

This happens often because you still have to learn a lot about tesuji,
life-and-death, shape, etc. at your level. It takes time to learn one tesuji.

This is why I always emphasize learning basics.

With regard to 3., there were interesting Go articles in Japan, asking top pros to play where in the middle of a game.

Almost always every top pros play different moves. This means that even top pros may not know what’s the best.

Go is that deep, I guess.

Cho U 9dan wrote in his book that he always intentionally plays fast. He’s been
doing that since he was an insei and even now. The reason is that when there
is a crucial moment in a game, he needs time. When he has time, he could find
the best move or a winning move. His opponent often doesn’t have time and makes a mistake.

Of course, he is one of the strongest Go players, and that’s why he has won
lots of titles in Japan. But even for him, how to manage the time is strategically important.

I do understand that it can be very frustrating not to have time in an online game
when you need time. I send the following advice to those who play tournaments.
But I’m pretty sure that these are also helpful to you, too, when you play online.

☆ Go advice ☆

★ The time ★

When you play a tournament, you have only limited amount of time. You shouldn’t spend time on the opening. You should use your time in the middle game, especially fight and life-and-death.

And in the endgame if you don’t have time, you often end up miserably. Even if you are 20 points or 30 points ahead, your opponent could turn around the situation if you don’t have time to think. I have experienced this so many times when I was an insei. So use your time wisely.

When I play a game, as soon as I play a move, I try to think of possible opponent moves and come up with a response. So when an opponent plays a move, I can immediately respond to it without spending the time.

When I made a mistake and was way behind in the middle of a game, this strategy really worked well because towards the end of a game, my opponent had little time left, and I had more time, and I managed to find a move to turn around a game.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But that may be something to think about.

★ The openinge ★

In order not to spend time in the opening, I think the following advice helps.

When you’re Black, you should certainly play your favorite opening.

The problem is White. When you are White, you should try to prevent your opponent from playing her / his favorite opening such as the Chinese opening (fuseki).

The Chinese fuseki is really hard to tackle unless you have studied it extensively. Even if you have studied the Chinese fuseki, new patterns come up often, and it’s very hard to keep up with everything.

Later on when I played a tournament in Tokyo, and when my opponent played the first move at Q16 and the third move at Q3, I played my fourth move at Q5 immediately (for kyu players, I recommend Q5 and not R5 because R5 has far more variations). After this, he and I had to face a new fuseki. So whoever strong was likely to win (and I won).

If I had let him play the Chinese fuseki, he would have played the fuseki just like top pros play. So all his moves were as wonderful as top pros up to a certain moves. But when I played the fourth move at Q5, he had to play his own moves rather than top pros’ moves. So it’s much harder for him to good moves.

In addition, if you let your opponents play their favorite fuseki, it’s very likely that they don’t spend time because they know what to do, but you probably have to spend time on finding out how to tackle an unfamiliar fuseki. So you may lose your time very fast in the opening.

To prevent your opponents from play their favorite fuseki may also be helpful psychologically. If you prevent that, they can be discouraged.

I’m sorry that this is getting too long.

I really hope this helps.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1I3RTWv

January 02, 2015 at 04:42PM


Playing many games will not make you strong. Acquiring basics will.

I always think adults play too many games.

Adults need to learn basics.

I know there is a myth that “you have to play lots of games if you want to be strong”.
But that’s wrong. That’s for pros and children at 5dan, 6dan, or 7dan level.

They learned basics when they were 8, 10, or 12 years old. They already knew all the basics.

Not adults. Adults lack a lot of basics.

In my 15-year teaching experience tells me that adults play too many games
and learn too little basics.

Without having basics, adults play too many games. Then they keep acquiring their
own styles, which is far from basics.

I have taught many adults for many years in Japan. Many of them are full of common amateur mistakes and of very little basics. They had played 10 or 20 years with their own stysles. Then I started teaching basics. Even if I taught them for 5 years, it was still very hard to acquire basics for them because their own styles were completely ingrained in their mind.

I once learned karate as an adult and repeated practices 6 hours or 8 hours a week
and did a fighting only once in a while. Fighting doesn’t last long. It’s usually a minute for 5 or 10 bouts.

Yet, I have improved quickly and got the black belt in 5 years.

When I studied English, I practiced speaking by myself for many
hours everyday without speaking with native speakers. Yet, I learned
basics and learned English well.

If you ask someone who knows me, I speak much better English than
many Japanese people who speak English fluently in terms of intonation and
pronunciation because I learned basics for many hours.

Please read my blog to see how important and how difficult it is to acquire basics:

In my experience, playing one game a week is good enough for adults.

If they have time to play games, they should learn basics.

If adults have 10-hour free time, I believe that adutls should study 9 hours and play 1 hour a game.
That’s my suggestion. If you want to improve fast, if you want to win, that’s what I suggest.

Of course, adults don’t have time to study Go for a long time.
Then studying an hour a day is still very good. One of my students, George, is making a big progress by studying an hour or an hour and a half every day.

He started playing Go in his 30s. Now he is in the 60s. He started taking my offline lessons in July, 2014. At that time his KGS rating was bouncing around between 4-6 kyu. In November he is currently a 2 or 3 kyu player.


I hope this advice helps.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1xNKxmZ

November 19, 2014 at 09:39AM


The importance of repetition and the continuation of reviewing

I had a student who didn’t improve much and decided not to take my
lessons anymore. I asked him how many times he has reviewed my problems.
His answer was once or twice. Sometimes more, but not many.

Then I thought I should tell all of my students about the importance
of reviewing and the importance of reviewing continuously.

I’d like to ask you to review my problems, preferably several times
a week, if not every day, because repetition is the only way to improve Go.

If you spend 5 minutes to review my problems maybe 3 times a day
for example in the morning, at noon, and at night, it should make
a difference after six months.

Of course, the more you review, the faster you improve.

I think it’s a good idea to make it a rule to review my problems.

I’ve taught hundreds of students, and some of them don’t improve much
The fact is that they don’t review my lessons enough.
Solving my problems once or twice is not at all good enough.

Please take a look at my blog on these pages:

I reiterate “Repetition is the only way to improve Go.”

If you stop reviewing my problems, you will fall back into your old,
bad habits, and soon your Go will be back to your original level.

Then your time and money to have taken my lessons will be wasteful.

If you forget everything I taught, and one day you decide to take
my lessons again, you have to do the same thing all over again.

But if you continue to review my problems, even for 5 minutes a day,
you could still build a certain basic foundation. One day if you decide
to take more lessons, then you will be able to learn new things
more easily in the future.

Endurance makes you stronger.

I’ve been studying Chinese by myself. Like I studied English
by myself, I repeat listening to some Chinese every day and
many times at lest for 10 minutes a day and often more.

I’ll listen to the same lesson not once, but 20 times or 30 times
or more until I master them and be able to use them in conversation.

“Repetition is the only way to improve Go.”

I hope you understand the importance of repetition
and the importance of continuing to study.

Incidentally, some of my students have been reading various Go books. I’ve been making problems based on their weaknesses and mistakes. No books are written based on their weaknesses or mistakes. So it makes more sense to solve my problems rather than reading various Go books.

Besides, all of my students pay money more than a Go book. So they should make the most of my lessons. To do so, they should repeat solving my problems far more than Go books.

I just want all of my students not to waste their money and time.

Good luck to all of you.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1pFGsLv

October 06, 2014 at 12:57PM


An ideal invasion and an ideal attack

In my commentary, I often state the following:

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: In the opening and in the middle game you should avoid a fight in a place where you’re outnumbered. Instead you should try to fight in a place where you outnumber an opponent’s stones.

Yet, many people invade an opponent’s moyo or territory first, which is unnecessarily. And then their invading stone gets attacked; they give an opponent’s a chance to get an advantage.

I understand that “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” But you have to overcome this.

If you get Black, you always have one stone ahead. So in many cases it is White who has to invade first. If you are Black and make a moyo by making the three-star point opening or the Chinese opening, it is definitely White who has to invade. This means that Black will attack a white group.

If you have a chance to attack a weak group, you will have various opportunities to attain an ideal attack such as the following:

1. You attack a weak group while increasing your territory.
2. You attack a weak group while expanding your moyo.
3. You attack a weak group while erasing an opponent’s moyo.
4. You attack a weak group while reducing an opponent’s territory.
5. You attack two or more than two weak groups at the same time by making a splitting attack. (I’ll elaborate on this below.)

As you can see 3. and 4., you should let an opponent invade, attack an invading stone, follow it, and then invade an opponent’s moyo. You usually follow a weak group and get an influence in the center, so your invasion becomes safer and easier.

If you invade first, you will get attacked and let an opponent invade your moyo or your territory more easily, and that’s not good.

So if you play Black, especially if you make a moyo, a person who has to invade is White, not Black.

In fact, even if you have White, this strategy works.

If you are White and make a moyo by making the three-star point opening or the Chinese opening, and if you keep expanding your moyo, most people as Black will invade your moyo because most people have “green-eyed monster” hidden in his or her mind.

So if you see an opponent’s invasion, your strategy works. But that’s not enough.

The question is how to attack an opponent’s invading stone. If you attack incorrectly, then you will not attain an ideal attack above.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Before you attack, you should look at the entire board, find where you can make the most profit, and then consider which sequence of moves will lead you to an ideal attack.

As I have stated above, making profit can either make a bigger territory, expand your moyo, erase opponent’s moyo, or reduce an opponent’s territory.

But you can also make a splitting attack (A splitting attack is attacking two or more of the opponent’s groups at the same time.)

An ideal splitting attack is to separate two group right before they are about to connect.
(This is why ‘Romeo-and-Juliet shape’ is really effective because they split two stones right in the middle, right before they are about to connect. If you haven’t received ‘Romeo-and-Juliet shape” yet, please ask Kaz to send problems in the near future.)

BTW, if you read this blog and follow my advice, and if a game didn’t go as well as I explained here, please you MUST tell me that. I’ll find out why your strategy didn’t work or where you made mistakes.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1ucT3tR

September 02, 2014 at 01:40PM


Emotions can make you four stones wweaker. Be optimistic if you want to be strong!

If you play a very bad move, you may get angry or feel depressed.  
If you have a tendency to become like that, then you have a very hard time turning around a game.

In fact, the more angry or depressed you become, the more you make a bigger mistake, and you lose more stones. Then you will get even more angry or depressed, and you will make a even bigger mistake. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you do that, you will never learn anything from that kind of emotional game.

Believe me. I’ve experienced it many times when I was an apprentice.

In my case I tried to study at least 10 hours, often 15 hours every day, Monday through Sunday, for 365 days without going to high school. Then I lost often for almost 3 years. Can you imagine how angry and depressed I was?

If you think you made a terrible mistake and lost a game, feel free to resign a game. Then watch a movie, walk outside, or do anything to refresh your mind. If you think you calm down, then you can review your game. If you don’t want to review it, then study a Go book.

Your main goal is to become strong. So don’t let your emotions control you. You have to manage yourself to control your emotions.

People who don’t care about their mistakes and / or people who are optimistic, tend to have a higher winning ratio in general. So it’s important for you not to get angry or depressed.

My first Go teacher was really good. He taught me that when he played a mistake, he naturally got mad at himself. But then he closed his eyes and counted 10 seconds. Then he often calmed down. When he opened his eyes, he could often find a move to minimize the loss or find a move to turn around a bad situation.

So you might want to write that down, put the note on your computer before a game, and when you make a big mistake, you should read it, close your eyes, and count 10.

Also you should keep in mind the following:

1. Regardless of how strong you become, you will always experience making a mistake or a flop. We are all humans, so we all make mistakes. So you might want to live with that. Even top pros make a serious blunder. A top pro couldn’t resign a game and resulted in 35 point loss. Pros usually resign a game when they are losing 10 points or so. So counting a 35-point loss was such a shame. I guess this pro really lost his mind during a game. In fact, he did it more than once. Later he never lost his mind during a game and won more than 50 titles.

2. You may think you make mistakes more than your opponent, but that may not be true. Your opponent also makes lots of mistakes, maybe more than you do. But people tend to feel that you always make mistakes more than an opponent. When I look at my students’ games, their opponents often make more mistakes or bigger mistakes. But I don’t pay much attention to it because they are not my students.

3. You may think that you made a mistake, but it can often be a good move. I have had experience like this many times. I thought I really played badly. But when my first Go teacher reviewed it, he told me that my moves were good. When I review my students’ games, the moves they thought were bad, were not necessarily bad. Some moves are good. So be optimistic.

A state of mind can make you two stones weaker very easily, sometimes four stones weaker. I’ve experienced it many times. So the psychological effect is really big.

As long as you’re my students, I’ll help you. So be optimistic. So be optimistic, then you may very well increase your winning ratio.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1qw4sBP

August 01, 2014 at 02:58PM


If you think my problems are too easy, I need to explain why I give easy problems.

Those Go players who are very passionate and eager to learn new things tend to overlook the importance of solving easy problems. Many of them think they know that stuff (some of them did say “I know this, so I don’t need them. Give me something more worthwhile” ), so they think that solving easy problems is a waste of time, and they try to solve hard problems.

So some people think that some of my problems are too easy and dissatisfactory. I hope you don’t feel that way. But if you do, then I’d like to explain why I do that.

First it takes time to learn new things.

Learning one tesuji can often take a month. “I know this problem” is not good enough. You have to be able to do that in your real game regardless of how complicated a situation is. Even if you’re drunk, you should be able to play that without thinking. (I’m not suggesting that you should get drunk and play Go. You shouldn’t. ) If you didn’t play that in my lesson or in your game, that means you lack basics. If you think my problems are easy, I have to ask you to be patient. If you cannot patiently solve easy problems, you will not be able to solve harder problems. I could give you a 6dan problem relating to a tesuji, but you won’t learn it because of the following reason.

Second you have to learn things step by step.

I know most Go teachers teach 6dan tesuji or pro level tesuji to kyu players, even 15 kyu or 20 kyu players. But that’s not a good way to teach. In fact, it’s impossible to learn a 6dan tesuji and to be able to play 6dan moves continously without learning 4 kyu tesuji, 1 dan tesuji, 3 dan tesuji, and 5 dan tesuji. You have to learn these things step by step. You also improve the ability to read many moves.

If you’re a 6dan, I expect you to learn at least 20 moves easily. I also expect you to know lots of 6dan tesuji and shapes. If you cannot read 20 moves easily, and if you do not know 6dan tesuji and shapes, you cannot see a danger ahead of you. Then it’s really dangerous to try a 6dan tesuji. It’s like flying a jumbo jet even though you just started learning how to fly..

I explained the importance of learning things step by step on my blog; http://ift.tt/1q5h6Mq

The other day, I was commenting on a 4dan student in his mid-20s, who started playing Go at the age of 16. He is much, much stronger than most of my Go students. But he made some mistakes about not hitting the head of the two stones. He knows “hitting the head of the two stones”, and he knows how important this tesuji is. Yet, he couldn’t see them in two of his games in the middle of a game. In the first game a situation was rather simple, and in the second game a situation was very complicated.

People often don’t see an important tesuji especially when there are many stones and things are very complicated. Even if you’re a 4 dan or a 5dan players, it’s still not easy.


Answer: They haven’t practiced basic problems a lot.

How are they able to see that?

Answer: Learning basic problems once or twice is not good enough You have to solve them repeatedly with regard to that tesuji. Then they can try harder problems and solve them repeatedly.

( I sometimes suggest an opening in which that tesuji comes up often. But this doesn’t work for all tesuji. But the fact is that the more he plays that tesuji in a real game, the more easily the tesuji will become part of him. )

Only then will they recognize a particular tesuji even in a complicated situation.

I can present a 6dan tesuji, but that will only be harmful to you. So I won’t do that.

But you don’t have to learn 4dan or 6dan tesuji if you want to become a 1dan or 2dan.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1oTaUVL

August 01, 2014 at 08:38AM


“If you want to have a high winning percentage, this is what I recommend” 2

In my last blog, I sated that some of my students often do the following during a game:
1. Some Go players are too kind and allow “undo” often.
2. Some Go players chat during a game.

I’d like to talk about “chat” this time.

When I see a chat even once or twice briefly in a game, I wonder how destructive that is for a player. A chat is not only very rude, but will prevent you from improving your Go.

I’ve taught hundreds, probably a thousand of people. Those who improve have something in common. When they play a game, they concentrate on a game from the beginning to the end.

Those who don’t improve also have something in common. They don’t look at their game until the end. They often look around and see other players’ games, not just once, but many times. They have a short attention span.

During a game, you must avoid any destruction, including a chat. To do so, here is what I suggest.

Before a game, you should turn off your cell phone and even a landline if possible. You should go to a bathroom, too, before a game. You should ask your family member not to disturb you (Of course, I’m assuming that you don’t have any children. If you have a child, that’s probably impossible. )

You might want to look at top pros’ games or the World Amateur champion’s game if they play a game at a U.S. or European Go Congress or on the internet. They never chat. Not even once. It’s because they are concentrating on a game. They want to concentrate and hate any destruction that would lose their concentration.

If I played a tournament on KGS, I would never chat with an opponent or anyone. If an opponent tries to chat with me during a game, I think that’s very rude. I would not respond because that would be very destructive to my concentration.

Think about this.

If you look at a chat, read it, think about a response, and type it. It may take you a few seconds or a minute at the maximum. You may think that it takes only little time.

To me, that’s a matter of life-and-death. Once you lose your concentration, it may take more time to get back to a high concentration level. That means that I would lose more than a couple of minutes. If you get a chat more than twice, and if you have only 30 minutes, that can be lethal. You should expect that you could lose a game.

In each game, your time is very limited.

Many people play a game with 30 minute-time and then 30 second-byoyomi or 1-minute-byoyomi. This means that you literally have no time to chat. Even for me, that’s very little time. Even if I had an hour, that’s still very little time. That means that you never have time to chat or look at something else. Every second counts.

During a game, you have so many things to think about.

When stones are attached, you have to read. If you’re an adult, you should pay attention to the shortage of liberties throughout a game. You also have to look at a situation globally, think about an attack, defense, invasion, etc. You also have to think about territory to see who is winning and losing. If you’re losing, you have to find a move to upset or turn around a game. It takes a lot of time to find a move like that.

Since both players have very little time, whoever has a higher concentration usually wins a game and improve fast. There is no time for chatting.

If someone constantly chats, I doubt that he or she is not interested in improving his or her Go. During your game, if a viewer tries to chat with you, I think he or she doesn’t know a manner. It doesn’t matter how strong they are. It’s very rude to chat with someone who is playing a game.

I was an insei (Go apprentice, like a Jedi knight) and recorded many games and watched hundreds of pros’ games.

There were pros who chatted very briefly during a game once or twice. But those pros never became a top pro or title holder.

Top pros, especially title holders like Cho Chikun 9dan and Kobayshi Koichi 9dan, never chatted. The late Sakata Eio never chatted with anyone during a game. Never. From the morning to the mid-night, his concentration was always amazing (He always had the eye of the tiger). He stayed at the top even when he was over 60 years old.

If you want to have a high winning percentage, there is no time or no room for chatting because that will destroy your concentration.

there is no time or no room for chatting, You need to improve your concentration. This is crucial. (I talked about how important it is to improve the ability to concentrate in my blog below: )

Yes. I assume that you might think “Hey, come on! We are not top pros or amateurs. We play Go for fun. We don’t want to lose Go friends.”

Yes. I understand that. It’s definitely good to be friendly to fellow Go players. But you can be friendly after a game or a before game.

If someone interrupts your game often and prevents you from improving your Go, do you think he or she can be a good friend for a long time? There are many people who never interrupt your games. You might want to make friends with them.

So if your opponent often chats with you even once during a game, this is what I suggest.

Before you play a game, you might want to tell your opponent why you want to avoid any chat during a game. Please feel free to show this blog. Then your opponent will blame me, not you.

Also you might want to play a game “private”, so no one can enter your game. In order to make your game “private”, this is how you do it.

When you can click “Custom Game”, please take a look at the top. In the middle, there is “private? “. Please click that. Then, during a game, no one can enter unless you allow them to enter.

If someone tries to chat with you during a game, please copy this “Sorry, I’m playing now and need to concentrate. I cannot answer this right now.” After a game, you should leave the same message. Then, eventually no one will chat with you during a game.

Please remember that trying to chat with someone during a game is very rude. Please also remember that whoever has a higher concentration usually wins a game and improve fast.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1pee0Vg

June 10, 2014 at 09:59AM


If you want to have a high winning percentage, this is what I recommend.

Many of my students take my lessons in order to get strong as well as to have a high winning percentage.

Recently I’ve noticed that some people are missing a chance to have a higher winning percentage. Let me point that out, and then I’d like to make some suggestions.

Some of my students often do the following during a game:

1. Some Go players are too kind and allow “undo” often.
2. Some Go players chat during a game.

First I’d like to talk about “undo”.

Some people think that it’s a good manner or a friendly manner to let your opponent “undo” during a game. If it’s a teaching game, yes, I do that. But not in a serious game.

Please remember three thing:

A. If you let “undo” once in a game, you could lose almost all your games even if you’re two stones stronger than your opponent. This is true at any level, kyu level, 1dan level, 5 dan level, 8dan level.

B. At my level as an amateur 8dan, I can tell whether or not my opponent miss-clicks. But in most amateurs’ games up to 4 or 5 dan, it’s very hard, almost impossible even for me to tell which move was a miss-click. When it comes to kyu players’ games, I cannot tell which moves are miss-click. This means that you probably cannot tell whether your opponent miss-clicked it or not.

C. I’ve taught hundreds, probably a thousand of people in a Japanese Go club and Go school where they play Go face-to-face Those who improve have something in common. They never undo during a game. Those who do not improve Go often undo.

First you should know that “undo” is against the rule. If a pro does it in a face-to-face game, he or she will lose a game instantly. Recently there are internet tournaments for pros. Still undo is against the rule. That’s true in an amateur tournament as well.

Those who play Go as a hobby, undo in a Go club in Japan. But those who undo often get disliked. It’s against the rule and one of the worst manners.

Personally I don’t know the manners on the internet. But I think “undo” is made because some people do miss-click sometimes. Only sometimes. Maybe once in every 5 games. (Some kyu players seem to undo often.)

If someone asks you to undo once in every game, I seriously doubt that this person doesn’t care about a manner. At least he or she doesn’t really care about your feelings.

In fact I’ve seen many moves that are not miss-click, but a clear mistake, but still undo, and turn around a game.

Like I said, unless you’re a 5dan or 6dan, it’s almost impossible to tell whether one did a miss-click.

And if you let an opponent “undo” once in a game, you will most likely lose a game. One “undo” can be worth countless points. If you want to win a game, you shouldn’t allow “undo”.

You may worry about losing Go friends.

But think about this. Those who undo often don’t care about manners or your feelings. They may not even care about improving their Go. All they care about is win a game by any means. Would you rather have Go friends who respect you as a Go player, know manners, and want to improve Go?

It’s possible that no one ever told them manners and rules. In that case you might want to show them this blog.

If I miss-click it, I would never “undo”. Miss-clicking is one of the things I should improve. I’ll think about why I miss-clicked it, and I’ll try not to make the same mistaken again. It’s the same the mistake as forgetting to press the clock in a face-to-face tournament.

Sometimes pros miss a train, arrive late at a tournament place, and lose a game. But that’s a rule. Everyone has to abide by rules. They cannot undo.

If it’s hard for you to tell your opponent that you will not accept any undo from now on, you might want to say “my Go teacher told me not to undo yourself, nor should I allow undo. So I won’t undo, either.”

If you cannot say that, please feel free to show this blog. Then at least your opponent blames me, not you. So you won’t lose a Go friend.

I’ll talk about a chat soon on this blog.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo http://ift.tt/1uO0jMP

June 10, 2014 at 09:01AM