Strategy for beginners - 4 questions
These 4 questions here are only one checklist, hence remote from anything comprehensive.
Presumably, this checklist could also be a NON-comprehensive guide to the things a mid-kyu player must learn to improve at go.
Nevertheless it has proven very useful with mid-kyu players (the range was 20-15kyu) to raise the level of play by about several grades in one game!
- 1.Do you have a weak group?
- If yes, reinforce it.
- 2.Does your opponent have a weak group?
- If yes, plan to attack it.
- 3.Can you make a big territorial move?
- If yes, do it.
- 4.Could your opponent make a big territorial move or does s/he have a big territory?
- Try to prevent, destroy or reduce it with appropriate measures.
Go through these questions in that order 1-2-3-4 (it teaches already "urgent before big points").
The very good characteristic of this list is its clear- & conciseness. It provides maximum effect for a small effort!
Not having (more) weak groups (than the opponent) is a big relief during the whole game.
Quite likely one can play with the order 1-2 and 3-4 respectively, but according to QARTS = Quantitative Analysis of Relative Territory and Strength, most stronger player keep the order 1-or-2 before 3-or-4.
(NB: The idea for this 4 questions comes from Gerald Westhoff, 6 dan (EUR). He deserves much credit for constantly teaching children classes and other beginners)
It would be interesting to check after 1, 3 and 6 months, and/or 1, 5 and 10 games what the experience of a kyu player with this list is?
It could avoid further fiddling around, just for the sake of it, (no matter at which relative skill, 15k or 1d) in (finished) local situations, with no (fewer) weak groups around, thus laying the basis for an easier game.
If one watches the games of stronger players, they often seem to play lighter moves than oneself had imagined (point 1 is treated differently).
This enables more ways of defense (point 1) OR easier discarding of the stones if shinogi is needed after an (tenukied) attack.
By taking sente earlier than oneself expected, they can establish a new position (1,3), reinforce (1) or attack (2) somewhere else.
So, I guess (I really don't know), stronger players still have this list in mind.
However, they additionally know more about the equivalence of the measures 1, 2, 3 and 4. (in the end, all proverbs are gone => = ShuHaRi in martial arts). E.g. attacking another group can have the same value as reinforcing your own, it just leads to a completely different game.
This can lead to spectacular furikawaris.
The stronger the players are, the bigger, more substantial and more daring the furikawaris can be.
This page could be referenced to:
- Go proverbs: Proverbs providing heuristics are of a great source and help for playing a game. However, the step from simply memorizing the words to understanding and applying the concepts is long, but will make anyone stronger.
- Mistakes: What everyone wants to avoid, are, mistakes.
- GoodPlay: Rather, you'd like to display good play.
- Basic Instinct: If you really are in a hurry and have no time to think, just let prevail the basic instincts (on local level).
- Priority: Related prioritizing the moves.
- QARTS QARTS is for Quantitative Analysis of Relative Territory and Strength.