Solving go problems

As a beginner, the best way to become better at playing go is to solve many relatively simple problems. Any problem should be so simple so that you can solve it in under half a minute. The better you become, the more difficult problems you can solve within the same time frame. You do not get better faster by trying to solve harder problems than suits your level, rather the contrary.

I would say that 90% of the players strength comes from how good one can correctly "read" a number of moves forward. A good way to practice this skill is to play many games of go but it's even better is to solve lots of go problems. As a beginner, you can barely manage to read one move ahead, but with a little practice, you can soon read ahead 2-3 moves correctly and with a lot of practice 10 moves or more.

When you have solved a problem, you should be so sure that it is the right solution so that you do not need to look at the correct answer. Therefore some problem books are lacking a section with solutions. So you have to have read out the entire problem with all possible variations before deciding to look at the answer. Sometimes you are still wrong and then it is important to try to understand why it was wrong and why the correct answer is right.

You do not have to spend hours on end to solve problems, but it is perfectly OK to solve one problem here and one there. Eg when sitting in the subway, before going to sleep, sitting on the toilet, waiting in line, when there are commercials on TV, etc. So buy / borrow some problems books, spread them out in your home and always have one with you wherever you go. ;)

On the internet, there are some problems collections to come by and the best is undoubtedly goproblems.com. There you can easily start with the problem that suits your personal level and then advance. There are currently 8035 problems, of which I've made three.

There are also some "apps" for smart phones (Android / iOS), which has many go problems. I have yet to find any that is easy to use and that I think is good for beginners, but I have not been looking so hard. Those that cost money are probably also the ones that are best. Please tell me if you find a good app.


Unknown said...

SmartKifu is probably the best app out there. It's a pity it's only available for iOS products. Great suggestion on goproblems.com. Another recommendation I would add is GoChild.

Glad to find another go blogger!

Unknown said...

I think you bring up a great point. So much of getting stronger at go is simply solid reading. I will be sure to keep that in mind as I try to gain another stone!

Martin Philipson said...

I would sincerely recommend some variant of the SmartGo app for the iPhone! I love the interface, and it comes with 2044 problems for all levels. I bought the "Pro" variant for 100 swedish crowns, but it seems to be discontinued... They also had a much cheaper version with fewer pro games in the database, but with all the problems. They now sell something called the "SmartGo Kifu" for 150 SEK, probably just to make more money.

Boywing said...

Personally I'm an Android user and so far the best app I've been using is gobandroid.

Three levels of goproblems included. The "easy" ones are good for my level at European 4 kyu. I would suggest the developers to add another level of "beginner".

Unknown said...

I have an Android phone too. I will have to give Gobandroid a shot then. Thanks for the tip!

mwmcclintock said...

GoGrinder (iOS, Android, and Java) is free and allows you to add your own sets of problems using a desktop app. http://timkington.tomcathostingservice.com

I've used SmartGo Kifu, and it's really good too -- but mostly for the other functionality, the problems don't seem to be as organized.