Game Reviews

Game Review, 19k

I derped all over, fair warning. Here’s the link to the full game:

I’m white. I’ve never really seen someone open like this. He walls off the entire middle with some territory to the left, while I get influence on the top, bottom, and right side. I think that at this point I’m in the stronger position, but it’s hard to say for sure.

He tries to break up my territory in the top, but I connect the two pieces that were at 7E and 8D, and then manage to surround his two intruders at F7 and F8.

He expands his middle wall into my territory, but I defend my pieces by connecting them to what’s becoming a base in the top right. I realize around this point though that he’s totally unanswered in the left side, and I don’t have a good way to break in there. It will make getting any of that territory extremely difficult.

We play more along the bottom, and I try expanding to the top to break up his influence there. Ultimately it doesn’t matter because this move is a “thank you” move since he wanted to take the piece at E3 already.

After he captures my stone at E3, I try to expand my group at D5 and D6 but he blocks at B5. That group is dead, so I expand along the top left trying to reduce his territory some. I have no idea how I could have infiltrated his left side at this point… I needed to do it earlier.

We go back and forth some more in the bottom right, and I manage to capture a few of his invading pieces giving me a stronger hold on the right. He plays at J6, but there’s really no way he can get a capture or two eyes so I’ll ignore it.

I try a few more times to break into his territory but am unsuccessful, and we end here with him having a considerable lead over me.


  1. Take sente (initiative) early, don’t let them dictate the game and push into your territory
  2. Don’t make thank you moves!


Game Analysis 3, ~19kyu vs. 16kyu

I’m skipping ahead to more recent games. Also it turned out there was a problem with how online-go was calculating ratings, so I bumped up to 19kyu. Here’s a link to this full game:

Here are the first six moves. I’m black. The first three were to the corners, then on 4 he played at D7. I applied pressure with E7, but that was a mistake. Look at the influence he now (roughly) has from that one move counter-threatening my piece. I lost influence towards the bottom, as well as some influence on the top. It was a very good move on his part.

I applied some counter pressure on top, then blocked his expansion downwards. This secured me a bit more space on the bottom, but doesn’t solve my problem on top. He still has more territory influence than I do, which is bad when you add in Komi.

We finish building towards the top, and play a few moves in the lower middle. As you can see (sorry for swapping the colors) he clearly has the dominant position.

At this point I actually have a very slight territory advantage (30-26) but that would have still been a loss with komi. I placed an aggressive piece at C2 which he took.

My move at E1 was a mistake, I didn’t have to do it right away and I could have blocked the attack at F5. This is kinda where things go to shit.

Another mistake, this stone at F3 let him continue the snake into my base and eventually lets him put some pieces in Atari.

Because of that mistake he was able to kill off my group on the bottom and most of my territory. I tried expanding into his area, but it didn’t accomplish anything.

So I lost this one pretty badly.

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t be aggressive early if it’s going to let them secure extra area
  2. Let a piece go early to go secure other areas
  3. Don’t make a move if there’s another move available that you won’t be able to make later

Game Analysis 2, ~30 Kyu

Still hanging out at 30 Kyu according to, here’s another game analysis.

There were the first six moves. I’m black. I don’t like the spread out triangle I made in the middle. It feels very weak and doesn’t secure position for me along any side or corner.

White does a good job blocking off the invasion of that one piece in the upper right. I don’t know why I tried to defend it by adding a piece, I should have let it go and secured territory elsewhere.

I tried threatening his group in the upper right when he had the clear liberty advantage. Again I should have gone for control elsewhere.

He expands towards the bottom, and starts threatening my group of three while I back up to defend what space I have.

I’m trying to secure some territory on top, but he already has my pieces mostly surrounded. There’s not that much hope for securing a base here.

He easily surrounds my pieces in the upper left and captures them as well, cementing his control over the top left corner.

I close off what I can of the bottom, and he keeps control of the top. He wins by 16.5 points since he made some captures and has the komi advantage.

I think that if I had spent more moves in the beginning gaining influence on the top left instead of trying to protect my stones on the top right, I could have won. I also shouldn’t have made moves that gave him free atari plays, or “thank you” moves.

Key takeaways

  1. Don’t play “Thank You” moves
  2. Let a piece go so you can secure territory elsewhere
  3. Don’t focus on the middle in the early game

Game Analysis 1, ~30 kyu

This is my first game analysis. I’m going to go through one of my games and try to figure out what I did wrong. It started playing about a month before starting this blog, so the date will be a little off. says I’m at ~30kyu which is as low as it goes, so a total beginner.

Here’s a link to the game if you want to see every move. (Feel free to send a friend request too!) I’m going to focus on the parts I think are most important.

I was black in this game. This was not a great starting move. The 4-4 point is fine on a 19×19 board, but on a 9×9 board it does very little. White can easily infiltrate the top, left, and corner, and I haven’t given myself much security.

I did a good job expanding around the board while white focused on blocking off that one stone. I think I should have gone closer to the right  wall though, since it’s still very invadable by white.

By playing like this I gave away the top of the board to white, and I put my stones in the top right in jeopardy by not connecting any of them. Meanwhile White got a strong footing in the top and started working into the right.

I protect some of my pieces on the top right, and prevent white from extending further downwards. His group of three on the right should be dead, but we’ll see if I kill it off.

Nope. I get distracted by his plays on the left side and he’s able to come back and save his pieces in the top right. Lesson: If you can make sure a group will die, secure that advantage before moving on.

After some more play on the right he does a Hane to J4 and I respond with… H3. I don’t know what I was thinking here. I could have played at J3 and put him in atari, then connected at H3, but I did this for some reason.

I realize the mistake and play at J2 after he expands to J3, but I’ve already given away more territory than I had to. You’ll notice he’s slowly chipping away at my territory in the bottom while his territory on top goes untouched.

After some more play on the left, the game is effectively over. Neither of us should be able to capture the other’s territory at this point if we play intelligently, and it looks like he’s won by 11.5, at 32.5-21 with 6.5 komi included. We keep playing though.

This wasn’t a smart move. I don’t know if I didn’t notice the atari at D6, but this move did nothing. If I had played at C6 I might have been able to capture something, but I didn’t. Oh well.

He tries to infiltrate the bottom but I put an end to it by making both of his eyes fake.

If I had extended the four group he would have captured my pieces later anyway, so I suppose this was the best move

He takes my group, I do a return capture, and the game is over. White wins by 16.5 points.

Key Takeaways

  1. Start closer to the walls in 9×9
  2. Don’t make careless errors, look carefully before moving
  3. Make sure a killable group is dead before moving on
  4. Stop territory advances as soon as possible