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A Guide for the Complete Beginner

Step 3: Get Stronger

If you have played 100 games, whether online or against a human or computer, perhaps you have glimpsed a bit of the depth, the challenge the game presents. Now you're trying to figure out how to get stronger -- like the rest of us! Just playing game after game may not be enough. Here are four suggestions to improve your play.

Play Stronger Players: Find the strongest player who will give you a game, put some handicap stones on the board, and carefully study how White accomplishes the result.

Review Your Games Figure out where you went wrong in the games you lose, and how you achieved your victories. Ideally, you will review the game with your opponent, or with a strong player or Go teacher, but self-review is also useful.

Study You can choose among hundreds of books to find the ones that suit your needs. Visit the AGA's book page for a good listing. You'll find a bewildering array of titles, literally hundreds from numerous publishers and vendors. One place to start is Kiseido's Elementary Go Series, six small volumes with in-depth analysis of the fundamentals -- the opening, joseki, tesuji, life-and-death, attack and defense, and endgame. The four-volume Graded Go Problems for Beginners series is more challenging than the name might suggest. Slate and Shell and Yutopian also offer large selections of Go books in English.

Study Pro Games Playing through pro games, with or without commentary, is a good way to get a "feel for the stones." Don't try to understand everything, just get some general impressions. The links listed below will help you find thousands of game records, and collections of up to 60,000+ games are available from vendors.

Useful Links There are hundreds of sites devoted to various aspects of the game, everything from game collections and tournament coverage to art galleries. Here are a few "mega-links" to get you started:

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