Go Learning Help

This wiki file sets out the rules for the Game of Go and some elementary principles.

Aim of the Game

The aim or objective of Go is to surround territory.

That's it. That's the objective of Go - territory.

What is territory?

Think of territory as like slices of cake - at the end of the game you want to end up with more “cake” than your opponent.
Birthday Cake
On a Go board territory (slices of cake) is made up of the number of a player's living stones on the board plus the number of the unoccupied intersections he or she has surrounded.

The winner of the game is the player with the most territory.

Here's an example:

GO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black
GO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Black
GO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

So in the example above Black as many more stones on the board (25 black stones compared to 14 white stones). However, White wins the game because it has surrounded many more unoccupied intersections (40 in the White area compared to 2 in the Black area). So the total territory for Black is 27 and White 54.

There are 361 intersections (or points of territory) on a 19x19 board, 169 on a 13x13 board, 81 on a 9x9 board and 49 on a 7x7 board.

How do you surround and keep territory?

For that we needs the rules ...

The following topics will be covered:
  1. The Rules
  2. Important Concepts
    1. Connection
    2. Groups
    3. Eyes
    4. Life and Death
    5. The Ko Rule
    6. Seki
    7. Ending the Game
    8. Komi
  3. Some Strategies
    1. Opening and Play Generally
    2. Handicaps
    3. Ladders
    4. Tsumego

1. The Rules

Here are links to the rules for the various games of Go available here at GoldToken (the rules are in fact exactly the same for every board size)
Rules of Go 7x7
Rules of Go 9x9
Rules of Go 13x13
Rules of Go 19x19

The above rules can be expressed and supplemented as follows:

1. It’s a game for two players:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO Side Right One Black
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO Side Right One White
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

2. Players take turns placing stones on the board – Black always moves first. High five

3. The stones are placed on any empty intersection – including the edges and corners of the board.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO Side Right So you can play on any of the 9 intersections on this grid/board.
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

4. Any number of stones of the same colour that are “immediately connected” (joined by a line) is called a "group" of stones.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side Top1 White1 WhiteGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO Blank1 WhiteGO Side Right There are two groups on this board - Group "1" and Group "2"
GO Side Left2 WhiteGO Blank1 WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side Left2 WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

5. A single stone or a group of stones may be captured (removed from the board) by being completely surrounded by the opposing colour.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right When White plays a stone at the green dot intersection
GO Side LeftGO WhiteBlack MarkerGO WhiteGO Side Right the marked Black stone is captured and removed
GO Side LeftGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right This is what it looks like after capturing the marked Black stone.
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankWhite MarkerGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

6. Players are not allowed to place a stone (make a move) which results in self capture.
(Also known as the "suicide" rule)
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right So Black cannot play at the point in the middle of the White pieces
GO Side LeftGO WhiteEmpty IntersectionGO WhiteGO Side Right because that would result the immediate capture of the Black stone.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right (there is an exception to this rule ... but see below)
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

7. No board position may be repeated – the “Ko” rule (see below).

8. After two consecutive passes the score is calculated in three steps:
  • first the “dead” stones of both colours are removed from the board.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO WhiteGO BlackGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO White Cross The two marked White stones and the one marked Black stone are "dead".
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO White Cross That is, if play were to continue those stones would inevitably be captured.
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO Black (“dead” or captured stones do not count towards the final score)
GO Black CrossGO WhiteGO BlackGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO WhiteGO BlackGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO Side Right So the "dead" stones are removed.
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO Black
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
  • the Black player’s score is calculated based on the number of Black stones on the board plus the number of empty intersections surrounded by Black.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO WhiteBlack MarkerGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteBlack MarkerGO Side Right Black has 7 black stones and surrounds 5 intersections
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteBlack MarkerGO Side Right for a total of 12 points.
GO Side LeftGO WhiteBlack MarkerBlack MarkerBlack Marker
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO WhiteBlack MarkerGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
  • the White player’s score is calculated based on the number of white stones on the board plus the number of empty intersections surrounded by White plus “Komi” points.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopWhite MarkerGO BlackGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankWhite MarkerGO BlackGO Side Right White also has 7 white stones but surrounds 6 intersections
White MarkerWhite MarkerWhite MarkerGO BlackGO Side Right for a total of 13 points plus "komi" (usually 7.5 points)
GO Side LeftWhite MarkerGO BlackGO BlackGO Black making a grand total of 20.5 points.
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftWhite MarkerGO BlackGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
    • the player with the highest score wins.
  • White wins by 8.5 points (White’s 20.5 points less Black’s 12 points) Smiling

2. Important Concepts

A fundamental concept in Go is that if you want any of your pieces to still be on the board at the end of the game they must be connected to, or inside of, a group of yours with at least two "eyes".

"Connected to", "a group" and "eyes" are explained below.

2.1 Connection

There are essentially two types of connection - immediate connections and hanging connections.
An immediate connection is one where the pieces of the same colour have a line joining them directly.

Immediate Connections:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
The stones on each of the three boards above are "immediately" connected

A hanging connection is where two stones are in close proximity to one another such that an immediate connection can be formed. There are three types of hanging connections - Strong, Moderate and Weak.

Strong Hanging Connections:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right While these two stones are not immediately connected it only takes
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right one stone to make an immediate connection.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
There is only one Strong hanging connection.

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackBlack MarkerGO BlankGO Side Right The placing of the marked stone means all
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right these stones are now immediately connected
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
Strong hanging connections are difficult to break. That is, it is difficult for your opponent to separate your two stones.

Moderate Hanging Connections:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Likewise a single stone will create either an immediate connection or
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right a Strong connection.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackBlack MarkerGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right So here placing the marked stone creates an immediate connection, a Strong hanging
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankBlack MarkerGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftBlack MarkerGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right connection and an immediate connection.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
Depending on the surrounding circumstances Moderate hanging connections can be easier to break than a Strong hanging connection.

Weak Hanging Connections:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO BlackGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Weak hanging connections require at least two stones to make an immediate
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right connection. This gives your opponent much more opportunity to break/separate the stones.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

2.2 Groups

What is a group?

A group of stones is simply stones of the same colour that are immediately connected. The examples above of stones that are immediately connected also all create groups of stones.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Here are some more examples of groups
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO BlackGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right GO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO BlackGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

In the examples below there are examples of three groups, two groups and two groups
GO WhiteGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO BlackGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO Black GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
Important: In the second example of two groups the two Black groups are not connected. This is a very important principle in capturing groups.

Capturing groups

Capturing a group is done in the same way as capturing a single stone.
You can think of the lines coming directly out of each stone as an escape route, sometimes referred to as "liberties" or "breathing space".
So a single stone will have 4 escape routes (the green dots) whenever it is not on the edge of the board. On the edge of the board a single stone has 3 escape routes and on the corner it has 2.
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftEmpty IntersectionGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Likewise, the lines coming directly out of the stones that are part of a group also count as escape routes. Below is an example:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankEmpty IntersectionEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO Side Right
GO Side LeftEmpty IntersectionGO BlackEmpty IntersectionEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
As you can see this group has 10 escape routes. Also, it is possible for the stones of the group to share escape routes. In the above example there are two sets of stones that share a green dot. One set is the stone that is 4 across and 3 down shares a green dot with the stone that is 5 across and 4 down and the other set is the stone that is 4 across and 4 down shares a green dot with the stone that is 3 across and 5 down.

So for White to capture this group of stones it has to put a stone at each of the group's escape routes like so:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

As soon as White places the last stone in place the Black group is captured and removed from the board and the result looks like this:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

2.3 Eyes


What is an eye?


An "eye" is simply a group of stones with at least one empty intersection inside it. Here are some examples (the green dot is the "eye")
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteEmpty IntersectionGO WhiteGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Black
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO WhiteEmpty IntersectionGO WhiteGO Corner 4 Bottom Left GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackEmpty Intersection

In the section on capturing groups the rules of Go allow for the capture of connected pieces or groups. However, because of Rule 6 (the suicide rule) the opponent cannot place a stone in an eye because that would be a suicide move ... and here is the exception I spoke of:

A player can make a suicide move IF and only IF that move is the final capturing move.


Again an example - here is a group with one eye:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right White cannot play at the green marked intersection because that is a suicide move and not a capturing move
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

However, if White can surround the Black pieces first - like so:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right The Black group is completely surrounded (there is a White piece on each of its outside liberties)
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right Black still has one last liberty - inside at the "eye" (the green dot)
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

White can now play in the middle marked intersection like this:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right Ordinarily this move is illegal because it is a self capture move
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right except when the move is a final capturing move
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO Side Right This move takes Black's last liberty and captures the Black group
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Now the Black stones have been captured they are removed:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

2.4 Life and Death


What is a living group?


The term "living" simply means a group of stones that cannot be captured (sometimes also called a "safe" group). There is only one way a group can never be captured - and that is if a group has at least two "eyes".

Here are some groups with two "eyes" (the green dots):
Empty IntersectionGO WhiteGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
Empty IntersectionGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO Side Right
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO WhiteEmpty IntersectionGO WhiteEmpty IntersectionGO WhiteGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Each of these groups is "safe" or "alive" - that is, they cannot be captured. Cheerleader
Let's see an example:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right This White group has two eyes on the edge of the board - 4 across and 6 across from the left side.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Black can place one stone on each of the outside "escape routes" or liberties.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right However, White still has two liberties or "escape routes" - they're inside - the "eyes"
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right So, to capture this White group Black needs to fill in the last two liberties
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right (positions 4 across and 6 across from the left)
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO BlackGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO WhiteGO BlackGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right The problem is Black can only place one stone at a time. However, each eye is a suicide move for Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right and it does not capture the White group (because White still has the other liberty or eye) so Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right would have to place two stones at once - which is not allowed.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGO BlackGO WhiteGO Black CrossGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO WhiteGO BlackGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

So a group with two (or more) eyes cannot be captured.

2.5 The Ko Rule


Essentially the Ko Rule (Rule 7 above) was created to prevent the situation where there is an ever repeating game position with neither player conceding or giving up the position.

Diagram Ko1:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Here White has the marked Black stone in "Atari"
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right A Japanese term which means having only one liberty and so can be captured on the next move.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO Black CrossGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right This leads to the situation in Diagram Ko2 (see below)
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Diagram Ko2:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right But now the marked White stone is also in Atari.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO White CrossGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right So Black can capture it back immediately.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Which leads straight back to Diagram Ko1 (see above)
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Because of the set up of the stones the sequence between Diagram Ko1 and Diagram Ko2 can be repeated forever Dancing

To overcome this sort of situation the Ko rule states that "a player may not make a move that repeats a previous board situation".

Essentially, when the above situation occurs (that is, once White takes the Black stone) Black is not allowed to retake the White stone immediately, Black must therefore play somewhere else. When Black plays somewhere else White then has the opportunity to "break" or stop the Ko by filling in the Ko like this:

Diagram Ko3:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right White stops the Ko situation.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlackGO White CrossGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Of course, Black may make a move somewhere else that White feels it must reply to and choose not to fill in the Ko. If White does not fill in the Ko Black then is allowed to retake the Ko. Once again, if Black does retake the Ko White is now prohibited from immediately retaking the Ko and must likewise play somewhere else first - which of course gives Black the opportunity to fill in (or "break") the Ko.

2.6 Seki


A "Seki" is a special situation in Go. Sometimes the placement of the stones is such that if either player makes one more move to try and capture their opponent's stones their own stones end up being captured instead.

Diagram Seki 1:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black As can be seen in the diagram if Black places one more stone
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White inside the White stones to capture them then the Black stones
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlackGO Side Right end up with only one liberty and White would be able to capture
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO Black the Black stones (See Diagrams Seki 2 and Seki 3).
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Go_terms#Seki)

Diagram Seki 2:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO Black1 Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO Black1 Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White2 WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black

Diagram Seki 3:
GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlackGO Side Right GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO Black2 Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White1 WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White1 WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO Black GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Black
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO Blank
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO BlackGO BlackGO BlackGO Black

As can be seen from Diagrams Seki 2 and 3 if either player plays a stone inside they end up being captured themselves.

This situation is called "Seki" and both players agree to leave that area as it is.

At the end of the game to score the area in Seki each players' stones are counted in their favour and the empty intersections that are surrounded by both colours are not counted as anyone's territory. In some more complicated Seki situations if one player's colour completely surrounds an empty intersection then that player gets that point Winking 3
So the scoring in Diagram Seki 1 White would get 9 points for the White stones still on the board and Black would get three and no one would get points for the empty intersections.

2.7 Ending the Game

Many beginner players find this part of the game the most difficult - when does the game end?

Basically, the game ends when both players agree that there is no point in making any more moves.

How do you know if there are any more moves to make?
The following list is one way to determine if there are any more moves to make:
  • Can I make a move that will prevent any of my stones or groups from being captured (do all my groups have at least 2 eyes)?
  • Can I make a move that will capture any of my opponent's stones or groups (do all my opponent's groups have at least 2 eyes)?
  • Can I make a move that will prevent my opponent from reducing (making smaller, eroding or eating into) my territory?
  • Can I make a move that will reduce (make smaller, erode or eat into) my opponent's territory?
  • Can I make a move that will get one or more extra points (for example, by filling in those empty intersections that are not anyone's territory)?

If you answer "No" to all the above questions then you should pass to indicate you think the game is over.

This stage can be difficult - knowing when to stop. Sometimes you will pass and your opponent will keep playing. That's
fine - work out if you need to respond to the move and if you believe the last move requires a response - do so.

Otherwise just pass again Smiling

The game will go into scoring mode once both players pass (see above at Rule 8).

Also remember - if you're really far behind and/or there's no hope of winning you can always resign.

2.8 Komi


Komi refers to the number of extra points that White gets at the end of the game (usually between 5.5 and 7.5 for a standard 19x19 board).

Why does White get extra points? The reason is that Black gets the first move and this gives Black an advantage in the game over White. Komi is "compensation" to White for Black's first move advantage.

Why the 1/2 point? The half point ensures that there can be no ties (known as "jigo") - that is, if Black's score and White's score are the same the half point breaks the tie Smiling

Here at GoldToken the Komi is as follows:
Board sizeKomi
19x197.5
13x137.5
9x97.5
7x79
All handicap games0.5

3. Some Strategies

In the game of Go there are some elementary strategies that can be applied to almost every game.

3.1 Opening and Play Generally

Start by playing in the corners, then play on the side/middle, then centre.
  • Why? Over the thousands of years that the game of Go has been played it has been found that playing in the corner is the easiest area to hold territory and/or making two eyes (to prevent your stones from being captured). After the corner it is next easiest to hold territory and/or make two eyes along the side of the board and it is most difficult to hold territory and/or make two eyes in the centre.
  • Interestingly enough, AlhpaGo Zero (arguably the strongest Go playing AI in the world as at 2017) "rediscovered" this same approach as the optimal way to play. AlhpaGo Zero is an AI created by Deepmind (part of Google) that was given only the rules of Go and then essentially left to its own devices (no human input) to "discover/learn" the best way to play. AlhpaGo Master (the forerunner of, and now weaker version of, AlhpaGo Zero) beat every single human opponent it played against!
The three most common corner starting positions are below:
Diagram Openings:
GO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right Bulletb GO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right Bulletw GO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletb GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Bulletw GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right

Just some very quick remarks on these three positions in reverse order:
  • The third diagram shows the "3-3" (sometimes called the san-san point). This point is known as a "territorial" move because of its low position (on the 3rd line) and the ability to quickly form two eyes making it difficult to capture. This point also has a fairly well know pattern of moves (known as a "joseki" - which can be found here - https://senseis.xmp.net/?33PointJosekis). It is also a well known "invasion" point for later in the game (which can be found here - https://senseis.xmp.net/?33PointInvasion).
  • The second diagram is the "4-4" point. Taking this point stakes a claim for territory in the corner which can be built upon but is vulnerable to the "3-3" point invasion (see above). It also helps when trying to build territory along either side of the board and keeps an avenue open to the centre of the board as well.
  • The first diagram is the "3-4" point. This is probably the most flexible starting point in the corner. It represents a sort of balance between territory in the corner and building territory along one side of the board. There are many opening patterns or joseki using this point (see here - https://senseis.xmp.net/?34Point). A common follow up move to the "3-4" point is the "5-3" point which is known as "enclosing" the corner.

Make sure your groups have at least two eyes.
  • This may seem obvious but ensuring your groups have two eyes can be a challenge to even the strongest players! In other words, if you think your group is safe - check again! (See section 2.4 above)
Stay connected
  • Generally, stones that work together are stronger. Isolated stones are easier to capture. A common tactic in Go is to disconnect stones or groups of stones. This means that the player now has to watch out for two groups instead of one (see section 2.1 above).
Urgent moves before "big" moves
  • An "urgent" move is one that is necessary or vital to keep your group alive or keep your stones connected.
  • A "big" move is one that tries to claim new or large areas of territory such as a move along the side of the board or taking a corner.
  • The principle is that before leaving an area you should be satisfied that it is safe to do so - that is, before playing somewhere else ask yourself if your stones are attacked can they either make two eyes or "run away" or "escape" to the centre or side of the board.
    • What is meant by "run away" or "escape" - it means placing a series of connected stones leading to another part of the board, as for example the marked Black stones in the diagram below:
GO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO White
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlackGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlankGO Blank1 BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Blank2 BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Blank3 blackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
    • There is nothing of course to stop White from placing stones in such a way as to try and block Black's escape.
What will my opponent do?

It is generally important when considering your next move to "take a step back" and ask yourself two questions:
  • What is my opponent's next best move?
    • That is, looking at the whole board where would my opponent want to play next (and it might be a good idea that I play there instead Winking 3 )?
    • Also, looking at my groups can my opponent attack any of them?
    • And, looking at my opponent's groups can I attack any of them?
and/or
  • If I place a stone there how will my opponent respond to that move/where would they play?
    • Ask yourself - "Is that a move my opponent must respond to?" - if the answer is "No" then there may be better moves elsewhere.
    • Try to think through "If I play there and my opponent responds here is that good for me/is that what I want to happen?"

Just asking these two questions will really help your game. There are lots and lots of online guides for how to play Go.
Here are some:

3.2 Handicaps

The game of Go has a handicap system. On a standard board there are 9 "star" points - small black dots arranged around the board (the one right in the middle of the board is also known as the "tengen") - see below:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO PointGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

The way the handicap system works is the weaker player gets one extra black stone for each "rank" they are below the stronger player as their "first" move. These black stones are placed on the "Star" points. Go has traditionally used the same ranking system as used in martial arts - that is, beginners are described as "kyu" players (20kyu being an absolute beginner going down to 1kyu for a very strong amateur) and experienced and/or professional players are titled "dan" (1dan being the lowest and 9dan the highest possible rank). GoldToken does not use that system. GoldToken gives players a rating after they have played some games (see http://goldtoken.com/games/info?infoid=2). As a rough guide for the handicap system here at GoldToken the weaker player gets an extra black stone for every 100 rating points below the stronger player's rating - some examples below:
Stronger Player's RatingWeaker Player's Ratingdifferencenumber of black stones
23002200100plays as Black
230021002002 black stones
230019004004 black stones
197511758008 black stones
14009005005 black stones
11001000100plays as Black

At GoldToken the handicap is set when starting a new game and player creating the new game decides the number of stones. Black doesn't actually play that first move (except when playing as Black of course Smiling ) - GoldToken does it for you. Also, the maximum number of handicap stones is 9 stones.

3.3 Ladders


The term "ladder" refers to a type of situation or configuration of stones that very frequently occurs. It looks like this:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

The ladder is created when Black puts the white stone in atari like so:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right White's stone has only one liberty (the marked intersection)
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Once White's stone is caught in this configuation then it cannot escape and will inevitably be captured (except as noted below).
Here is what happens:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right White moves to escape (the marked stone "1") and this move gives
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right the white stones two liberties.
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankEmpty Intersection1 WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

When black responds with black "1" the white stones are again reduced to one libery and the ladder is created:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO Blank1 Black1 WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

So if White continues to run by adding more stones to create more liberties (white 2, white 3, etc.) Black can continue to reduce White's liberties to one (black 2, black 3, etc.) hence making the ladder.
The ladder continues to run until it reaches the edge of the board and White is captured with the marked black stone like so:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
Black MarkerGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlackGO WhiteGO White2 BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO Blank3 black3 White2 WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO Blank1 Black1 WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Exceptions:
There are two exceptions:
  • a "ladder breaker" stone, and
  • a situation where the ladder itself has a shortage of liberties

A ladder breaker is a stone along the line of the ladder that allows the captured stone to escape. Below is an example:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right So the stone 3 across and 4 down is the "breaker" stone.
GO Side LeftGO BlankWhite MarkerGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Effectively the ladder collides with the breaker stone and White can escape - like so:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right Once the white stones reach the breaker they connect and now the white stones have
GO Side LeftEmpty IntersectionWhite Marker4 BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right three liberties and Black now can't reduce the white stones to only one liberty and
GO Side LeftEmpty Intersection5 White4 White2 BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right White escapes.
GO Side LeftGO Blank3 black3 White2 WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO Blank1 Black1 WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

The other situation is where the ladder itself has a shortage of liberties such as below:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

In this case when White makes the next move (marked "1") the marked black stones are now in atari like so:

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO Blank1 WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankBlack MarkerBlack MarkerGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

Black must now save the marked stones giving White the chance to escape (for example with White "2"):

GO Corner 1 Top LeftGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGO Side TopGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankEmpty IntersectionGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankEmpty Intersection2 WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO BlankEmpty Intersection1 WhiteGO WhiteGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Side LeftGO BlankGO Blank1 BlackBlack MarkerBlack MarkerGO WhiteGO BlankGO Side Right
GO Corner 3 Bottom LeftGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGo Side BottomGO WhiteGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Side BottomGO Corner 4 Bottom Left

3.4 Tsumego

Tsumego is a Japanese term for Go problems. They are similar to chess problems. Players are presented with a situation, usually in the corner, and a challenge - for example, Black to play and "kill" (that is capture) the White group. Here is an example (created by adum from http://goproblems.com/):

GO Side TopGO Side TopGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO White
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO BlackGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
(solution at the bottom of this page under the apples Smiling )

Many players, including strong and professional players, study tsumego to improve their game Thumbs up

Hopefully this guide has been of some help in getting started with Go. There is lots and lots of material available on the internet on how to play and various strategies. The West of the Setting Sun Club has some links on its Welcome Page (shameless plug Grinning ).

Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider
Apple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple DividerApple Divider

Solution to the tsumego above:


GO Side TopGO Side TopGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO Blank2 White1 Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White3 blackGO WhiteGO White
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteEmpty IntersectionGO BlackGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right

After Black plays move "3" if White tries to play in the marked intersection it makes a group of 4 stones with only one liberty which is then immediately captured by Black - like this:

GO Side TopGO Side TopGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlankGO WhiteGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlackGO WhiteGO White
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White1 WhiteGO BlackGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right

GO Side TopGO Side TopGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White2 BlackGO WhiteGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO BlackGO WhiteGO White
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO White1 WhiteGO BlackGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right

GO Side TopGO Side TopGO BlackGO BlackGO WhiteGO WhiteGo Corner 2 Top Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlackGO WhiteGO White
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO Black
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlackGO BlackGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right
GO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO BlankGO Side Right

After capturing the 4 white stones White is left with one group with only one eye - so it will inevitably be captured - they're dead!

You should try out other moves White could make to see if there is any way to save the White stones Winking 3
Wiki Options

This page was last edited by Begadoonie at 1:37AM on 3 April 2022

Edit this page
Find referring pages

Wiki Start Page
Recent Wiki Changes