Playing Check List

  Difficulty: Beginner  

As I was studying playing techniques, I found it worth applying them to my games :) .

But while playing, my mind is totally focused on the next move, not on remembering those items I wished to acquire.

This is why I had the idea to use a check-list: it is a simple sheet of paper where I wrote the points I have to remember for that particular game.

I would advise not to work with more than 5 items in a row, as it quickly interferes with the game itself.

I use it in two ways:

  • before the game, to keep in mind what to do (it also serves as a mental preparation).
  • after the game, to check how seriously I could apply each item; and I write in front of it the level of acquisition.

I usually use values like '100% done' 'not understood' 'forgot it' and so on.

I find it is a good improving technique as it helps to keep track of one's progression following a self-built list of rules to apply.

Here is a sample skeleton of items for the list; they are ordered by theme. Reader: feel free to reorder as you wish or to add any new item to the list.

Of course I know that the following is very redundant with SL's material: could there be a link to such a 'principles list' as ToBeDiscovered?. Or could we imagine that this list is a kind of summary of the later page ?

By the way, I guess that an automatic "check-list generator" would be best. Coming soon ;)

General principles


  • Attacking is for getting ahead, not killing
  • Choose your target
  • Evaluate your position


  • Keima is for attack
  • Contact is for defense
  • Read carefully and move only when you're certain of your reading (or as certain as you can be given your limits)

For each move

  • Count the empty points of each group your opponent's move touches (if they're 5 or less)
  • Think of 3 moves then choose
  • Urgent before big (check liberty count of each group; strengthen a weak group; make a big move)
  • Shape
  • Consider follow-ups (by you and opponent) when evaluating moves.
  • Avoid self indulgent reading.

Tamsin: Sometimes I think it is helpful to devise a checklist as a way of re-grounding yourself, of imposing some discipline and structure on the way you play. I've been doing badly recently, and I am sure the reason is that my thinking has become rather woolly. So, I'm going to use a three-point checklist to remind myself of three things I tend to neglect:

1) What's urgent? Do I have to play somewhere? Did my opponent omit a move they ought to have made?

2) Think big. Go for the largest empty area of the board.

3) If I must defend in gote, how can I do it so that there's a severe follow-up? In other words: if the opponent has forced my hand in an area of the board, how can I leave behind some poison aji there?

It seems to me that checklists should be a tool rather than a method of playing go. No checklist in itself is going to form a complete strategy for the game (if it did, it would be too long to be of much use), but one that focussed on correcting your own most persistent problems might help you to apply everything else you know more successfully. Finally, everybody's different: a checklist that helped me might only hinder you.

Playing Check List last edited by RobAnybody on September 24, 2004 - 09:54
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