I have been playing a lot of Go recently at lunch but we are playing on a 13x13 board instead of a 19x19. I can't seem to ever win! I am beginning to think that my opening is leaving me in a bad position.

I generally start by playing 2 of the 4,4's (my opponent mirrors) then I do a lower approach on one of his corners.

This is based off the same way I would start on a larger 19x19 board. Any advice?

  • The Stack Overflow site "Game of Go" is gestating! area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/11942/…
    – Smandoli
    May 21, 2011 at 17:14
  • 7
    @Smandoli IMHO those questions belong on this site. It just makes more sense to have a site that can say "Come here to talk about Board and Card Games!" and not "Come to here to talk about Board and Card Games that aren't Go or Magic: The Gathering". Unless that site starts getting mad traffic once it goes into beta, I'll stand fast by this recommendation. It's the same principle of having a separate site just for Java development, or a specific video-game. :D May 23, 2011 at 21:45
  • I don't think Smandoli was saying my question was misplaced. Just letting me know I could find more Go information over there. I have found the community here on B&CG very supportive so far :)
    – TurqMage
    May 23, 2011 at 21:57
  • @CJD -- Yes, yours is a worthy viewpoint, the debate will stay lively, and the "mad traffic" standard is appropriate. Probably you play Go and understand its transcendent quality. (If not, by all means get infected.) My "Plan A" would be for everyone to refer to (and invest in) senseis.xmp.net.
    – Smandoli
    May 24, 2011 at 14:11

4 Answers 4


A standard opening is often based on where you would put handicap stones. 4-4 is what you play and it's correct, but people more and more agree that 3-3 is better on smaller boards since it secures the corner and since you're on 13X13; it's not too small of a move like on 19X19.

For the fuseki you can try to use asymmetric stones 4-3 and 3-3 or 4-3 3-4 like black or white below: enter image description here

White also can play safety with two 3-3.

But maybe you don't lose because of the opening? 13X13 is a different game, the center is worth more points than on 19X19 (worth 2 corners + 1 side) and there is less middle game and more life&death + endgame (maybe this is where you fail?).

Usually, you shouldn't mindlessly launch an attack. Try to secure 2 corners and develop towards the middle while trying to reduce the opponent's territory.

On 13X13 the number of groups you can keep alive is smaller. On 19X19 you should make a maximum of 5 or 6 groups when on 13X13 I would make a maximum of 2, like on 9X9.

You could also try a variant of the Chinese fuseki for 13X13: enter image description here

In conclusion, I think you fail at appreciating what move is urgent since the board is smaller. Having your game reviewed would help you a lot.

  • 1
    Thank for all the info. I feel like it is my opening/early game because I tend to kill a small group or two... and still end up behind in the end. I have also considered taking center on the 3rd move, right after the corners. I'll put this to work and tell you how text game goes.
    – TurqMage
    May 20, 2011 at 6:00

13x13 is a bit of a faster game than 19x19, but the same general principles for fuseki apply. (This is the main difference between 13x13 and 9x9, where the board is small enough to preclude a real opening)

The 4-4 is a center-facing move, emphasizing influence over strength. It leaves you open to losing the corner with an opponants 3-3 and the resulting joseki.

The 3-3 is a corner-facing move, emphasizing reliable corner territory over influence.

Another option is the side-facing 3-4 move.

Opening Theory Made Easy by Otake Hideo provides reasonably good coverage of the logic behind these different opening options. At a more fundamental level, the Janice Kim introductory series does a good job of introducing the motivations for different opening moves.

  • What is the joseki if I open with 4,4 and the opponent continues with 3,3 (on 19x19 or 13x13 if it is that defined)
    – TurqMage
    May 20, 2011 at 16:04
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    The 3-3 invasion usually touches off a tradeoff of corner territory for outward influence, a basic summary can be found here: senseis.xmp.net/?33PointInvasion . The precise value of the territory versus the influence depends on the larger board situation.
    – jkerian
    May 20, 2011 at 19:06

The 4-4 spot in the corner is a well balanced move on the 19x19 board. It has some influence on the corner and gives you strength in the center. I don't like it as much on the 13x13 board because the center is small and strength facing outwards often turns into over concentration. The main use of a strong group is to attack weaker groups elsewhere on the board - it can of course help to do this on the smaller board as well, but it is usually not worth as much as on the bigger board. Therefore I feel like the 4-4 is too center oriented, I prefer to open with a more territory oriented move that goes for immediate profit.

My choices for opening on 13x13 are 3-3, 3-4 and 3-5. If you want some crazy fighting you can start with your first move in the center but have to know what you are doing with such a move. You should also choose more territory oriented josekis than you would in 19x19.

As a former 3dan I am by far no pro, so please take my advice with a grain of salt. 4-4 is not an unplayable opening in 13-13, but I find it harder to utilize than the other moves I suggested.


On a 13 x13 board, I'd make your third move on the center point, and try to "control the center," as in chess.

It can be done on a full 19x19 board, but that is a very sophisticated way of playing because the center stone can be more easily gotten around. It's worth more on the smaller board because it almost links your two corner stones together and makes it almost impossible for your opponent to do the same.

  • I am by no means an expert at Go, but I was under the impression that controlling the center is something you don't want to do on a 19x19 until late in the game, opting instead to fight for the corners, because it is so much easier to surround territory on the corners than in the center. Jun 25, 2011 at 1:06
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Controlling the center is always desirable in a 19x19 game, but usually not possible. If you actually can control the center early in the game, you are on the path to a big victory. However, if you try to do that, in most games you'll find that you don't actually control it. Oct 23, 2011 at 0:01

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