Self Handicap

  Difficulty: Advanced   Keywords: Tactics, Strategy, Go term, Online Go


"Self Handicap" go is the ability to overcome the handicap set in your mind against any strength of opponent. The stronger the opponent the harder and more creative you have to play.

There has been some interest in this but has never really been documented in the past (from my current research). We never really know if someone does this or not. It would be very rude to tell your opponent you did do this at the end of the game, no matter what the outcome is. A thread on was started on this topic by me, and had some interesting topics come up. Reverse Komi was the best way to do a self handicap.

This is great practice and will change the way you look at a goban forever.

Sometimes the board does not seem as large as it used to.

Why would someone set a handicap against a stronger player?

It is great practice to a way to improve your own skills. You start seeing things that you have never seen before on the go board.

Reverse Komi:

Before you start a game, the rules you choose for a game will let you know how the handicap should go. I usually set about 3 stones above my ability.

Me 8kyu: white Opponent 15kyu: black Handicap: 6 Komi: .5 Mental Komi: -15.5

This can also work against stronger opponents, although do expect results to vary every game.

Me 8kyu: white Opponent 5kyu: black Handicap: 0 Komi: 5.5 Mental Komi: -10.5

Different komi:

Decide before the game starts how much you want to win/lose by and attain that outcome, without changing the preset komi of 5.5 or 6.5 you may be using.

Most common is on handicap or even games to always win by .5 Komi. This variation helps in counting. Increases the difficulty in simul games.

One Colour Go:

On some go clients you can change to stone graphics yourself. The idea here is to change the stones so they all either all white or all black. Conventional one colour go is all white. Your opponent would never know you are playing with only one colour.

This will help with your memory, as you must remember every stone on the board without assistance.

Captured stones:

Can be used two ways:

  1. To capture stones (removed from the board)
  2. To capture a group that stays on the board

To capture a preset amount of stones. Typically to capture 0 stones during the WHOLE game. That means no ko, and dead groups remain on the board (not forced off)

To capture a preset amount (or size) of groups (dead on the board) while leaving the rest of the stones on the board (no individual captures).

Self Handicap last edited by PJTraill on September 12, 2018 - 22:54
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