While nothing can replace the experience of playing games, one of the greatest mistakes that players make is to play games endlessly without any mind as to why they are winning or losing. There is nothing wrong with this approach as a whole, but it is contrary to the whole notion of getting stronger. After all, how can anyone learn from their mistake if they never knew it existed?
The one thing we have to remember as kyu players is that we often fall victim to being ignorant to fundamental go principles. It’s not so much that we’re not aware of them, but applying them in our game is a completely different story. Often times in the middle of a game, we will think one way and will not realize our mistake till later on. As a result, an extremely important aspect of getting stronger is to review your games.
Here is an overall guideline (in order of level of effort) as to how you should approach your game reviews:
#1. Start by reviewing the game on your own (or with a friend).
Casually go through the game and see what things you might have done differently, or how you think the game might have gone if you had responded differently. The important thing to remember is not to spend a lot of time going over the game, but to go over any mistakes you’ve made and learn from it as best as you possibly can. This is the absolute bare minimum you should do after each game.
#2. Get a stronger player to review your game (preferably at least 3 stones stronger than you).
Stronger players fulfill the gap that we lack when it comes to understanding why certain things work and certain things don’t. In fact, it is their guidance that helps bring us back from the edge of self-delusion when one of our “brilliant tesujis” turns out to be easily countered by a different response. So make no mistake, this type of review can do wonders for your understanding of the game.
#3. Come prepared to a game review with a stronger player (again, preferably at least 3 stones stronger).
If you want to get the most out of your reviews, come to a review prepared to with the following:
- Pick three moves that you are really proud of.
- Pick three moves that you were not sure about.
- Pick three moves that you thought were bad in hindsight.
By doing this, you will be doing yourself a huge favor since your reviewer will have a clear insight into how you are thinking. In addition, this will allow the reviewer to easily tailor the lessons towards your habits and style of play instead of making it generic.
So yes. While last week’s Weekly Go Wednesday focused on how playing against stronger players against stronger players is a good method for getting stronger, the game reviews that come afterwards can make the difference between feeling awful about yourself and having your eyes opened to brand new possibilities.