What Grade are Problems for?

Last Updated 13 November 2002

Many Go problem books have grades on their covers. But these can mean anything from "These problems should be instantly familiar to players of Grade X" to "Players of Grade X should be able to solve these problems given an hour of concentration on each one". This page is an attempt to measure the books of Go problems currently available to the English speaking Go community. I will be happy to include any other titles, provided that there is some indication of where they can be obtained from.

A well established part of professional go training is to work through books of easy problems as fast as you possibly can. Professional players are all able to solve very simple problems extremely fast, but it is hard to tell cause from effect. Can you really become stronger just by speeding up your atari spotting ability? Or is this just a side effect of learning to handle some of the harder concepts in the game? This page is concerned with collecting data towards answers to these questions.

To start with, it will simply be a table of the times people report to me. With luck there will soon be enough information to start including some graphical representations of the results.

What we are measuring is the time it takes you to work through the whole of the book in question. If you need to check the answers then try to subtract off the time you spent looking them up.

All contributions are welcome. Just send me an Email, giving

If the book is one you have already worked through many times, say so.
If you don't want your name to appear here, say so and I'll enter you as anonymous.
If you only worked through part of the book, say which part. Some of the harder ones may need to be divided up

Here are some titles to start with. More can be added when I have any figures for them:

Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol 1
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)9 m. 50 02.5s
S. Fawthrop5 Dan (USA)13m.15s 03.3s
D. Fotland3 Dan (USA)22m 0.8%5.5s
S. Goss2 Dan (European)31m. 07.8s
K. Healey1 Kyu (European)25m. 06.3s
S. Bailey2 Kyu (European)30m. 0.4%7.5s
B. Hearn4 Kyu (USA)25m 0.4%6.3s
P. Evensen5 Kyu (European)24m 0.4%6.0s
T. Collins6 Kyu (AGA)49m. 0.4%12.3s
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Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol 2
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)21m. 03.9s
S. Fawthrop5 Dan (USA)37m.23s 06.9s
S. Goss2 Dan (European)95 m. 2%17.4s
P. Clarke1 Kyu (European)70 m.1.5%12.8s
M. Kegelmann1 kyu (European)117 m. 4%21.5s
S. Bailey2 Kyu (European)115m. 7%21.1s
C. Nentwich4 Kyu (European)48m. 3.2%8.8s
D. Schmidt4 Kyu (USA)114m. 6%21.0s
T. Collins6 Kyu (AGA)177m. 6.7%32.5s
P. Spacek16 Kyu (European)201m.48s 3%37.0s
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Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol 3
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)32m. 04.6s
S. Goss2 Dan (European)155 m. 2%22.1s
D. Hanotin1 Dan (European)279 min7%39.8s
D. Keeble1 Dan (European) 11%
P. Clarke1 Kyu (European)150 m.5%21.4s
D. Schmidt4 Kyu (USA)364m.12%51.9s
D. Keebleat 6 kyu (European) 13%
D. Hanon14 Kyu (European)5 hr.20%42.8s
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Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol 4
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)59m. 1%9.1s
S. Goss2 Dan (European)373 m. 15%57.4s
D. Hanotin1 Dan (European)289 min26%44.5s
P. Clarke1 Kyu (European)210 m.9%32.3s
D. Hanon8 Kyu (European)3 hr.15%27.7s
D. Hanon11 Kyu (European)6 hr.20%55.4s
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1001 Life and death problems
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)234m. 1%14s
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Rescue and Capture
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)23m. 4%17.3s
V. Laatikainen5 Dan (European)39m.9%29.2s
S. Goss2 Dan (European)72m. 15%54s
D. Keeble1 Dan (European)100m. 29%75s
P. Clarke1 Kyu (European)75 m.20%56.2s
S. Bailey2 kyu (European)22m. 20 s. 7%16.8s
K. Healey1 Kyu (European)4 hr.33%180s

Note: Steve Bailey's time followed a period of study of this book.
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Maeda Volume 1
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)91m. 4%24.3s
P. Clarke1 Kyu (European)210 m.16%56s
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Get Strong at Life and Death
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)102m. 5%26.6s
D. Keeble1 Dan (European)211m. 49%55s
D.Verhofstadt1 Dan (European) 0%8s
(Note, the first section of this book is at a lower level than the rest)
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Get Strong at Tesuji
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)125m. 2%14s
S. Goss2 Dan (European)303 min. 10%34s
D. Keeble1 Dan (European) 26%
(Note, this large collection (534 problems) is a very good candidate for the "do lots of easy problems fast" exercise)
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Maeda Volume 2 (Middle)
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)143m. 10%40.9s
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The Art of Go vol 1, Connections
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)147m. 11%48s
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The Art of Go vol 2, Sacrifice Techniques
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)122m. 22%80s
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Maeda Volume 3 (Hard)
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)135m. 12%54s
(Note: This looks like Maeda vol 3 is very similar to vol. 2 which I do not believe. I haven't looked at this book for about 15 years, but I studied it very thoroughly when I was getting past 1,2,3 dan in the late '70's. This sort of thing sticks).
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Life and Death Intermediate level / Slate & Shell 2001
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)55m. 6%30s
(This is of a similar level to volume 1 of the old Maeda series, but with rather more of the problems which are difficult first time round, but well known 'textbook' shapes if you read a lot. Back to list of book titles

Yang Yilun's Ingenious Puzzles Vol 1 (Elementary and Junior)
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)115m; 156m. 20%; 25%105s; 213s
R. Jasiek5 dan (European)25 hr.50%13.6m
Dieter Verhofstadt1 dan (European) 0%15m
(Note: Pairs of numbers separated by ; refer to "Elementary" and "Junior" sections)
(Note) Dieter Verhofstadt's figures are only for the first 15 problems)
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Yang Yilun's Ingenious Puzzles Vol 2 (Senior and Advanced)
Name Grade Time TakenNo. WrongTime per problem
M. Macfadyen6 Dan (European)671m. 51%7 min22s.
(Note: I found little difference between "Senior" and "Advanced" standard, until the last 15 problems, which took over 4 hours and I still got 10 of them wrong).
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