As you know there are 3 main types of boards: 19×19, 13×13 and 9×9.

Each one needs its own attitude and style of play.

19×19 is for generally strategic games, 9×9 is for tactics and 13×13 is the mix of both.

9X9 board is recommended for beginners because it’s faster and simpler to understand the general idea of the game than on 19×19 one.

But don’t even think that small size means it’s easier to play. Even professional players struggle to play without mistakes on this board-size.

In this article, you’ll learn how to play well on 9×9 Go board

Why you should play on 9×9 board

There are several reasons to play 9×9 games frequently.

First one is that the game takes not much time to play. Average game on 19×19 takes approximately 40 minutes, while on 9×9 you can play 4-5 games in that time.

9×9 is also good for tactics. During a regular play, there are frequent cuts and sneaky moves that can turn the game around pretty quickly.

This board size is also very good for practicing Tsumego (life & death). They occur very often in the corners and playing more games will improve help you improve killing or living skills.

One of the main benefits of playing on this board-size is that it fits perfectly in a phone screen, while 19×19 is pretty hard as we often misclick due to very tiny spaces.

9×9 openings (“Fuseki”)

On 9×9 board, every opening move is good as long as it’s not on a first or second line.

If you want to get influence – Play near the center; If you want to get very active over-the-board influence – play in the center; but If you want to get the territory – don’t try to do that.

Here’s “Fuseki” for 9×9 board:

You can also check Waltheri and mark5000 9×9 Fuseki on by clicking the links.

How to play better at 9×9 Go

There is no “best way” to get better at playing 9×9, but here I list several ones that might make a huge impact on the quality of the game.

First of all, pay the biggest attention to the first 5 moves, because usually, those moves determine the outcome of the game.

Try to read ahead as many moves as you can. Doing this is not hard due to board size.

Keep in mind that you don’t have time for mistakes, as the board is too small and you won’t get a chance to correct it.

Try to find opponent’s cutting points and use them to deliver damage.

Lightly analyze every game you play. It helps you to realize the mistakes you and your opponents have made.

And lastly, solve Tsumego and Tesuji problems. These are essential parts of the 9×9 game.

Professional level game

Here’s the match between two legendary players – Go Seigen (Black) vs Miyamoto Naoki (White).

As a result, black won by 4 points (no komi).


That’s all for now; I hope you enjoyed the article. If so, please share it with your friends and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

About the author

Irakli Khizanishvili

Hi, I'm Irakli from Georgia.
I've been playing the game of Go for a few years now. During that period I've read lots of books about all aspects of this interesting and beautiful game.
In this website, I'm glad to share my game knowledge and experience with you.
I hope I'll be able to help improve your skills and proficiency in the magnificent game of Go!
Remember, it's never too late to learn new things!
If you want to support the website, please follow the link: https://patreon.com/SenteGo

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