Go game

Go game

Concepts in Go
by Ian Davis
Go is a game of territory, whoever controls the largest area wins.
It also involves life and death – killing stones or making stones live is very important in
the game.
In life and death the concepts of shape and liberties are important.
Influence is another important factor in our games.
Infact much of the game involves striking a balance between territory and influence, At
the beginning, when we are learning how to play Go, these concepts can be hard to

1 - Territory
After putting down so many stones, you reach a point where the game ends. Both players
agree that there is no point in continuing. At this point we count territory.

Marked white
territory is
shown with a
white dot, black
with a black dot.
Each dot is
worth a point.
Black – 71
White – 50
Black wins.

It is possible after one player passes for the other player to continue.

Black invaded and
made two eyes for
his small group.
The eye at a is
worth 3 points
The eye at b is
worth 1 point.
When you begin
playing, it is very
hard to decide
whether or not you
should pass. If
there is a big
enough space,
often it can be

Can White get his own back here?

2 – Shape and Liberties

The previous struggle for life and death took place in a closed corner. At the beginning of
the game, the board is wide open during any fighting. In order to keep our stones safe we
use the concepts of shape and liberties to help us.
Stones start with 4
liberties, try not to
place them in
situations where
they have fewer.
Forming a chain of
stones increases
liberties, so makes
them harder to
Note the difference
between the
straight line and
the empty triangle.
The empty triangle
is bad shape
because it has 1
less liberty.

Playing good shape is very important in Go. It is said that you can be rubbish at most
other aspects of the game, but nevertheless, just by playing good shape you can...

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