Learning to play go: The KO rule

Welcome to the last lesson for beginners. A lot of things can happen on the go board and one of the most complicated situations is the following:

Figure 1:

In situation A, when it’s white’s turn to play, he can capture the black stone that is in ATARI (Has only one liberty). If he does that then they will end up in situation B, and this time black can capture the white stone who is in ATARI, and this will lead back to situation A, where…. Well in short if the two players want, they can stay stuck in this loop forever. Luckily for us, someone can up with a ko rule. This rule does not allow any player to bring the board back to the previous board situation.

This means that when white captures black in situation A, that black can not recapture the white stone on the next move. He first has to play a move somewhere else on the board, so that on his next  turn the whole board situation will have changed and that he can finally capture the white stone that will be in ATARI (Situation B).

There you have it, All the rules have been explained. Play fair and enjoy the game.

Learning to play Go: Life and death

We just learned how one’s stones can be surrounded and ‘killed’. Forgive the somewhat agressive language but in times go can become an aggressive game. The most inportant rule to remember is that every stone or groups of stones which are in ATARI (who have only one liberty left) can get killed in one move by the other player.

The reason why you need to know this is the following:

Figure 1:

 In the first case of A, we have a group of black stones which are not in immediate danger of being caught. A white move at A is not even allowed that’s how crazy it is. This is because if white would put a stone there then his stone would be on the board with no liberties… which means it would be dead straight away. This point in a formation where the other player is not allowed to play is called an EYE. Continue reading