Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz's original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo: Killing all-the-stones syndrome is not good!

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

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 in Japan and in the West 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, 7dan, or 8dan level.

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

But not adults. Adults lack a lot of basics.

Also playing many games will not improve pros or 5dan, 6dan, 7dan, 8dan children, either. Pros review their games for many hours. Cho U 9dan often reivews his games 10 hours or even more if he has time.

Most adults never review their games and keep playing the same mistakes.

Keep in mind that learning one tesuji can take a month. Being able to apply that tesuji to your games can take even more time.

If adults play more than 10 games a week, I don't think they will ever have time to master even one tesuji.

There are so many things to learn.

There are lots of tesuji. There are opening, middle game, and the endgame. Adults also need to learn basic tesuji, joseki, fighting pattenrs, sabaki, shinogi, etc.

Compared to children, it takes adults 3, 4, or 5 times to learn things.

Yet, adults have much less time than children. Adults have to work, take care of a family, meet friends, do social activities, go see a movie, etc.

It's not easy for adults to find time to study Go, let alone learning basics.

Still, many adults keep playing without learning basics.

In my 16-year teaching experience tells me that adults play too many games
and learn too little basics.

I've seen hundreds of adults who keep playing and never improve. I've never seen any adults who improved without learning basics.

Many adults claim to be a dan player, and they can win among other adults who have never studied basics. But when they play with a pro or a child with a strong basic foundation, they are always beaten badly.

When adults play too many games without solidifying basics, they will only build their own styles, filled with common amateur mistakes, which are 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 styles.

Then I started teaching basics. I taught many of them for 5 years, but it was still very hard for them to acquire basics because their own styles were completely ingrained in their mind.

Despite my advice, I've found that many of my students still keep playing more than 10 games in a week or a month. Each game lasts 3 hours or more. This means that they are practicing their common amateur mistakes for 30 hours. Instead, they should study basics. If they play only one really serious game in a week or in a month and study 27 hours a week or a month throughout a year, they will definitely improve in a year. But very few people do.

If playing many games is a way to improve, then most adult Go players in Japan and in the world would have to be much stronger today and be filled with strong basic foundations. Why isn't that happening? It's because they are only practicing common amateur mistakes.

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, and each bout lasts only a minute.

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

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

In my experience, playing one really serious game a week is good enough for adults, maybe 2 at most. (If you're serious, you should concentrate a game from the beginning to the end. Chatting during a game is not a serious game. That's for fun.)

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

If adults have 10-hour free time, I believe that adults 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.

Why is killing a group of stones not good? Part II

Why is killing a group of stones not good? Part II

This is the continuation of the last go blog.

4. Why Kaz doesn't recommend killing a group of stone in Go, Part II.
"killing-all-the-stones syndrome."

If you're obsessed with killing a group of stones,
you often have difficulty becoming a stronger go player.がく〜(落胆した顔)

You might even get weaker.

If you are so obsessed with killing, you may be in a danger
of being addicted by killing-all-the-stones syndrome. ちっ(怒った顔)

This addiction is very much like smoking or drinking.
It's not helpful to become a better player.

Actually it's harmful.


Well, it's because once you get addicted to it, you
tend to crazily overplay rather than try to find
a right move. This addiction is hard to get rid of it.

Believe me. I've experienced it. And I've seen so
many addicted people.

You get more and more addicted and become greedy
for killing a group.

You may even become greedy for money, food, love,
power, fame, and so on... At least in my case. がく〜(落胆した顔)

Because of that, I became selfish and lost friends...もうやだ〜(悲しい顔)

So I'm afraid that if you keep trying to kill an opponent's
stones, you may even lose your go friends.

I don't think that's what you want.

I've found that go reflects your emotions a lot.
If you're greedy, your go becomes greedy as well.

Being greedy is not equal to becoming a better go player.

My ideal world is that you make your go friends,
you and your friends help each other to become
a better player, and as a result, peace and harmony
will develop in the go world.

But killing an opponent's group make you do opposite,
I think.

Take Preventive Measures:

When you realize that you're beginging to be addicted
to the "killing-all-the-stones syndrome", I strongly
recommend that you don't play go for a while.

Those who are addicted to the "killing-all-the-stones
syndrome", you get emotional, and you can't help
killing stones.

  You play go to kill stones; you play badly.→
→ You play another game to kill stones; you play even more badly.→
→ You play another game to kill stones; you play even more badly.→
→ You play another game to kill stones; you play even more badly.→

It's a vicious circle.

So instead of playing a game, you should see a movie,
or a read a book, or go hiking or driving.

When you think you're not addicted to killing, if you
feel calm, you might play a game.

Or before playing another game, you might want read
some basic go books, the books which teach you the
foundations of go, or a tesuji, or a fuseki, whatever
you like to study.

I recommend the latter highly.

I've found that this advice is helpful not only to
those in the "killing-all-the-stones syndrome",
but to those who play go emotionally.

Why is killing a group of stones not good?

Why is killing a group of stones not good?

I was writing about a Go article, "Why killing a group is not good".ちっ(怒った顔)

I realize that it's so important that I have to write it on my go blog
to let people know this.ひらめき

There are possible killing situations, of course.

I mean that you could justify such action.

First, please take a look at the following exceptions.

ぴかぴか(新しい)Exceptions of trying to kill a group of stones.

Part 1:

Suppose your opponent group is completely surrounded.

In that case, it's a pure life-and-death situation.

Trying to find a move to kill a surrounded group
is natural.

But I've observed thousands of amateur go games, and I
realize that a majority of them try to kill a group
when a group is not at all surrounded.

The group is wide open to escape everywhere.

That's not a life-and-death situation; it's far away
from it.

Part 2:

Suppose you're playing an important go tournament,
and suppose you're losing 30 points.

Now the only chance you have is to kill an opponent's
group stones. In that case, you have no choice, but
to try to kill the group.

Like I said, those are exceptions.

Now here are reasons Kaz wouldn't recommending killing
a group of stones.

Keep in mind the follwoing reasons:

1. It's not easy to kill a group of stones.

Killing a group of stones is very difficult and rare.

2. The rason killing a group is not easy.

One of the resons is that your opponent doesn't want to be

So she or he tries the best to survive or escape. Unless she or he
makes a stupid mistake, or unless you trick your opponent,
you usually can't kill a group in a go game.

3. Why Kaz doesn't recommend killing a group of stones in Go, Part I.

The reason is that Go is not a killing game.

It's a competition of making territory.

Playing Go is a long time game. It's like a marathon race.

It takes a long time to win a game. And it takes a longer
time to become a better go player.

You can't have an overnight success or glory.

If killing a group made you strong, then I would certainly recommend it.
But such action not helpful, and actually it's harmful.

Why is it harmful?

The answer is in 4, which will be written tomorrow...