Go - Strategic hints

Beginning of the Game


The game usually begins with players markers spread out. with a move toward the outside of the board. The skill is about finding the right location to take. If you try and take too much area at once, then your opponent can easily split your area up into areas he controls.

Two Eyes

After you have played a few games, you will have noticed that your opponent can sometimes capture a large group of your stones in one move. One strategy is to develop two eyes. See here.

Zwei Augen

In the example you can see two black groups, which have 2 eyes each marked with an "X'. If white wanted to capture these stones, then he would have to play in both places at the same time. To play in any of these spaces at any time is forbidden according to the suicide rule.

Groups, which have two eyes, are safe or strong. Strong groups always have an advantage!


Note: Always ensure that stones are connected on all sides (unless on the edge of the board. In this example this is a false eye and white will win. If white plays on A, then black would have to connect his two groups ny placing on X, thus leaving white with the option to place in B and take all.


If black places on C instead, he forms a further eye on A and secures with his position.



In this example, none would typically want to play on one of the Xs Why? This situation is called Seki. The position stops anyone from playing on the board since if one person plays here, the other takes.This area is therefore a neutral area and does not score.



White has just captured the black stone on X. Under Ko ruling black cannot immediately retaliate by taking back as this would make an ever ending retaliation between white and black. He must therefore place elsewhere.


Black makes a so-called Ko-threat, i.e. he plays to make white answer immediately to his move, if white does not want to risk losing 2 pieces in the lower right of the board.


If white answers, black can strike back the Ko and now white must find for his part a Ko-threat.


If white covers the Ko instead by placing a white in the middle, then black captures the two stones at the bottom right as reconciliation.


If the game approaches the end, then the marked out areas are ever more clear, and the sides of the board are increasingly closed in, iproviding only isolated “gaps”. You should consider where to place to gain the most points. It is better to play a position, which scores e.g. only one point, but threatens major damage to the opponent, rather than play a position, which makes more points, but leaves the initiative to the opponent.


In this example, white can play either on A or B. If white plays on A, black is forced to prevent by placing on C. Subsequently, white on on B can connect its two groups.

If white plays first on B, black closes the border in response on A. Thus black gains one point/space.