Bruce Wilcox’s Go Dojo : Contact Fights

Contact happens often throughout a game and most players screw it up royally. One sees dan players making mistakes with rules a 20 kyu could master. Obviously there is a need for a thorough training on the subject - this is it! The Dojo is a computerized interactive tutorial targeting four groups of students:

Squirm with the Abysmals (to 20 kyu) as you realize fundamentals you’ve never grasped
Commit with the Acolytes (to 10 kyu) to acquire the rules of good play
Study with the Ascendents (to 1 dan) to hone the skills you need to progress
Marvel with the Adepts (to professional) at the advanced thinking of master strategists



This screenshot is of the version suitable for smaller monitors with the text window shrunk.

The board size is adjustable. Fonts and font sizing are completely customizable.


Each level covers how to see the board and what rules to follow. There are interactive tests to confirm you understand the rules and a printable crib sheet to glance at as you take ‘live action testing’of your understanding in whole board games. You play along with the original players - guessing the correct move for your level of understanding and seeing where the original players got it right or so very wrong. Should you get it wrong, Dojo reminds you which rule you’re breaking and lets you try again until you get it right.

"What is this product about?" The product is two things. First, Bruce Wilcox's Go Dojo is a Windows compatible software program (also works under WINE in LINUX) used to display teaching material that includes text, go diagrams, quizzes, etc with an interface designed to support large amounts of text. (For those of you familiar with SGF annotated games, think of Dojo as the next-generation SGF viewer. SGF was designed to display positions, text and annotation, but has no hyper-text linking capabilities, no testing support, etc, and most games with SGF commentary actually say very little at a node. Dojo goes way beyond all this.)

Then there is the specific chapter of teaching about Contact Fights. When enemy stones come into contact, there are several different kinds of behavior (areas of Go knowledge) that can come into play. One is "Life and Death:, where you try to kill or live. Two is string capture and connectivity (areas where "Tesuji" come into play). The third is "Contact Fights", where players struggle to build walls, influence, and avoid having their contacting stones fall into one of the other two areas of behavior. Proverbs like "Play hane at the head of two stones" or "When crosscut play extend" come from contact fights. The Contact Fights chapter is broken into 4 levels of study (from beginner through dan level). Each has teaching, rules to learn, quizzes to test your understanding of the rules in board situations, and whole games at a variety of levels wherein you get tested continually on the application of a range of rules and see commentary of play and misplay involving those rules. Contact Fights is 1400 pages.

At the adept level, deep game commentary about contact fighting illuminates the sophisticated rules governing play. At last you can grasp why stronger players make those enigmatic moves and why some people stay weak for so long.

Also included is Kogo's Joseki Dictionary ( for studying joseki.


Wilcox’s Go Dojo: Contact Fights (Windows/WINE only) is available on CD or via email (for accounts accepting a 1MB zip file)

To order use (click Send Money) of $25 or 15 British pounds, or 20 Euros to email:

Specify delivery method (email strongly PREFERRED)

Quotes from users:

"Went through the beginner contact lesson three times and finally think I am getting a little of it. today played my first two games and it seemed a revelation to watch stable and unstable stones appear before my eyes. I also felt I was on the lookout for weak opponent stones, I thought I knew about contact by reading your books but this really clarified the basic principles" CZ (4 kyu)

"You've send me dojo ten days ago and since then I'm using it daily. It's fascinating to see how the filters allready start to work and alter my perception. Dojo keeps what EZ-GO had promised. Congretulations!" PH

"I love the program and the contact fights material! It's so precise it almost feels like these were rules for a game engine retrofitted for human consumption... It's interesting to see how often I would choose make a dangerous hane or keep pushing even after 'super stable'; such simple rules can make me think twice. Thanks for putting this together!" AF (9k)

"For me, it really is a far better learning tool than the vast majority of go books I've read so far. For $25 I would say it is an amazing deal...It has really transformed the way I think about the stones on the board and is exactly the kind of information I needed. I wish I'd had this program three years ago, but tough. My game has always been of the whole-board, no-read variety, with the technical aspects of contact fighting very mysterious to me, even though I have carefully studied such books as Davies' Life & Death and Tesuji. So suddenly getting a theoretical backbone kind of clue to what's going on with contact on the board is a revelation for me." BH (2k)

"There is certainly a lot of teaching material in this program. A typical page repays a couple of minutes' consideration, and there are almost 1400 pages, so I reckon it would take about 48 hours to give it the attention that it merits. This compares well with most Go books, making it well worth the price." NW (1dan)

I just wanted to heap some praise on you for Go Dojo.  I've read books and solved Go problems, but I felt like there was some underlying comprehension that I was lacking.  My game was stagnant and I was no longer improving.  So I started looking for Go software that would teach me a deeper understanding of the game, so I could improve as a player.  I figured that in this day and age there would be plenty of software choices out there.  To my surprise a search of the internet was not turning up anything.  Finally I came across your Go Dojo software and it seemed to be along the lines of what I was looking for.  At first I was a little skeptical, your website was really basic, no shopping cart or instant download, and the screenshot showed some pretty basic graphics.  Now I know that graphics aren't an indicator of the material that's being presented, but that was just my initial feeling.  I decided to get Contact Fights from you, and figured worst case I'd lose $25.  I've been studying the material over the last few days, and I cannot believe how much it has changed my view of the game.  Seems like all the material I've seen before this, whether it be books, puzzles, or online tutorials, has all been about memorizing patterns or sequences or openings, and none of it really dealt with the underlying principles that determined why any given move was played.  Go Dojo has totally unlocked that secret.  I've never had any source of information about Go completely change my perception of the game the way that this has.  And that's based on going through roughly half of the material presented in Contact Fights.  Here I am back again, eagerly ordering Sector Fights.  Since going over some of the material I've played some games on KGS where I'm ranked 12kyu, and almost instantly I felt my game was improved, the board looked totally different to me.  I did find myself relapsing into some old habits at times, but I know that further study will lead to my game vastly improving.

Can't thank you enough, this is a really great product, hugely valuable.” J.C. (12 kyu)