Too Many Weak Groups

British Go Journal No. 19. January 1973. Page 4.

J Diamond 4d and J Tilley 1d

This is a game from the 1971 Leeds Congress. The comments are designed for beginners and low kyu players.

Black: Dr G. Gray, 5k
White: C. Edwards, 6k

The game-file in SGF format.


Figure 1 (1-90)


















  • 1-7: A good start, no mistakes at all. Black plays 5 in the left corner, so that, when White plays 6, Black 7 is an ideal extension cum squeeze attack. This occurs frequently and should be learnt.
  • White 10: White correctly decides to live in the corner.
  • White 12: Very bad. White has no base if Black plays A and this group will be left floating and subjected to a fierce attack. White must play sagari (one point left of A).
  • Black 13: A is better to undermine Whites position.
  • White 14: A is essential. For the rest of this game A is a key point for both.
  • Black 17: A little heavy. An attack with keima at B maps out more territory and keeps up a more aggressive attack, but A is still more important.
  • White 20: Very bad. This move is too close to Blacks strength. White need not worry about Black making too much territory on the upper side as Black needs three more moves at least. White should play 30 or C. Later D is a useful point on the upper side.
  • Black 21: Good. A move around 22 would gain territory but would weaken Blacks three stones.
  • White 28: In this case essential. Black 28 would be too big.
  • Black 29: Not so good. There is no need to play on the third line as Black shouldnt expect to make territory there - it was Whites position after all! 52 is the vital point for both - "the head of three stones" - White E would be the best answer and then Black C is big, threatening 29.
  • White 30: Black 29 left a very wide gap between Blacks positions on the lower side, and White should play C. There are more important things than territory now.
  • Black 31: 52, White E and Black C better.
  • White 32: OK. The gap between 23 and 31 was too wide.
  • Black 33: Horrible. Dont attach to weak stones. A simple one point jump to 41 is best.
  • White 34: Better to play 37. White wants to develop to the left of 33, so he should play to the right first.
  • Black 39: This move fills in liberties and doesnt help Blacks shape.
  • Black 41: Bad. Must play 42 to capture.
  • White 42: Correct. Black is in trouble here.
  • Black 43: Too loose. 46 would be better.
  • White 44 & 46: Good.
  • White 48: A game-losing move. Must play 49. Moves like 48 are sometimes good, but here it goes against the rhythm of play.
  • Black 51: White has lost everything he had here.
  • White 52 & 54: Good. 52 is a vital point.
  • Black 57: Rather reckless. A better sequence would be B 63, W 58, B F, W 57, B G.
  • White 62: No. He must strengthen his very weak group 60 etc. If he plays G then all will be well.
  • Black 63: Better to play H - attack at a distance.
  • Black 65: F is correct.
  • White 70: A little too solid in this position. White must try to make eye shape and protect the cut at the same time. W I, B J, W 71 is recommended.
  • Black 71: Good. White has too many weak groups to have much hope now.
  • Black 75: 90 correct. Dont play atari unless necessary. "Extend one stone in a crosscut".
  • Black 77: 90 correct.
  • Black 79: Should capture as now White K is no longer sente.
  • White 80: K first then B L, W M. Later White N is good.
  • Black 83: Good.
  • White 84: Must play atari one line to the left.
  • White 86: Meaningless. Must play A.
  • Black 87: He should jump out to P.
  • Black 89: Q correct.
  • White 90: White must play Q, Black takes, White 90. This squeeze is a 'must'.

White now has three weak groups and no real hope. He could play A, O, or R next, but one group must die.

White lost this game because he failed to strengthen his weak groups. The attack and defence of weak groups comes before everything else in Go. It was a pity White played 48; if he hadnt, he could have made Black suffer for his weak moves on the lower side. Black handled the lower side badly. He made too many overplays. He was too greedy in trying to make territory.

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This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 19
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.



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