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Improvement in general is obtained through the following three aspects

  • The acquisition of new ideas
  • The eradication of wrong ideas
  • Consolidation of acquired knowledge

Since Go is neither a fully solved game nor an exact science but instead relies on a combination of intuition and reasoning, these three aspects of improvement can be obtained on both the intuitive level as the analytical level.

It is widely believed that the following practices lead to improvement on some level:

  • Reading Go books or online articles and having a teacher enables one to acquire new ideas on an analytical level.
  • Playing fast games is a (the) way to test and consolidate intuitive knowledge.
  • Playing slow games is a (the) way to test and consolidate reasoning.
  • The analysis of games enables
    • the evaluation of analytically based judgment, as exercised in slow games
    • the evaluation of intuitive judgment, as exercised in fast games
    • the identification and eradication of wrong ideas, bad habits or wrong attitude

The overlying aspect of improvement is attitude. The willingness to acquire new ideas, to investigate flaws in one's own play, to reconsider what one thought was correct, are all indispensable in the quest for improvement. In particular, a preoccupation with rank - the desire to win or the fear of losing - can distract from the real objective of becoming better at playing Go.

See also:

External links

SL pages about improvement

What professionals say

  • In Commented games by Lee Sedol volume 1, Lee devotes page 203 to the issue of improvement. He says the key to improvement is to play relatively fast games (rather than long games) and review them afterwards. "Most of all, it is important to focus on the flow of the game along with the usual tactics". Reading books and replaying (other) pro games comes second only. He also warns against playing games without thinking, which will not necessarily lead to improvement. Somewhat surprisingly there is no mention of life and death in this context although another page talks about the way to do tsumego. Incidentally, the flow of the game is the main focus of the book itself.


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Improvement last edited by on August 27, 2023 - 03:23
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