In this tutorial you’ll going to learn main principles to play Go as well as general strategies of the game.

The tutorial is perfectly suited for people who have just started to play the game (approx. rank 25-20 Kyu); Though it can also be useful for ones who just want to learn playing techniques that will help them improve.

If you take the tips from this tutorial into account while playing the game, you’ll improve much faster and become a better player.

All right, let’s start.

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General strategy

Go game general strategy

The general strategy of Go is divided into 3 parts: opening, middlegame, and endgame.

Each part has its own idiosyncrasy of play that players have to follow in order to have a good game.

Openings

In Go, an opening is called Fuseki.

When starting a game, it’s important to follow the principle of “corner, side, center”. This means first, you have to play in the corners, then fill up the sides and finally go into the center.

First moves in the corner are usually 4-4, 3-4, or 3-3 points. If you want you can play elsewhere, but it’s recommended to follow the theory created and developed for more than 3 thousand years.

When playing in the corners, there are some combinations of moves called Joseki, that you have to follow in order to have a good game.

After all 4 corners are filled, then you should start placing stones on the sides. Sides are very important in order to get as much territory as possible.

Also, keep in mind that in the opening, it’s recommended to play on the 3rd or 4th line, because 2nd line is too small for such a big board and 5th line is too big to secure territory below it.

The final part of the Fuseki (opening) is going into the center. This is a phase where all corners and sides are filled and the fight starts.

The opening lasts for 30-50 moves, and then comes the middlegame.

Middlegame

In Go, middlegame starts when the principle of “corner, side center” is completed.

In this phase, Players try to build the area of influence or area of territory. Usually, this turns into a fight where neither sides want to give up something.

Simply speaking, middlegame is the place for life and deaths situations, invasions, reductions, and sacrifices. You’ll learn what they mean later in this tutorial.

This phase usually lasts for 150 moves until the endgame starts

Endgame

The endgame starts when most of the fight is over and players start to calm down a bit.

In the endgame, counting is the most important factor. Player has to decide which move gives him more points and Sente.

The ending part might seem too small, but it can turn around a won game. Small influential moves are the key to get ahead of the opponent.

The last part of the endgame is filling the dame (if you’re playing with Chinese rules). After that, the game ends and counting starts.

8 main principles of Go

8 main principles of Go

There are several principles you have to keep in mind in order to play well and improve fast.

here I list the top 8 principles you should consider while playing Go.

Connection

The connection is very important in order to get a strong shape and fewer cut groups to defend.

Cut

Cutting stones helps you to divide opponents stones into weak groups and easily attack them.

Invasion

Invasion is important when an opponent is trying to make a big Moyo. If the Moyo is too big, it’s easy to invade by finding strategic weak points.

Reduction

The reduction is needed when opponents territory is not as big to invade but it has the potential to grow bigger. Most normal reduction move is shoulder hit.

Sacrifice

In Go game, sacrificing a stone or a group is normal if you get an adequate outcome in a more important area.

Seki is better than dying

Seki happens when opposite-colored groups share the same liberties. If you happen to be in this situation, then you wouldn’t want to ruin that; Otherwise, your group will die.

Look for Sente

Sente is important to keep the initiative and make an opponent follow your gameplan. So always try to find the moves that must get answered by your opponent.

Play globally

Don’t over-concentrate on a single part of the board. Take strategic points at the beginning and try to make your stones work altogether.

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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.
On 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!

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