Enemies inside!


You know this one already. The white stone is dead.

Black doesn't have to capture it. He just leaves it alone until the end of the game. When both sides have passed and the game is over, he can take it off and keep it as a prisoner, like this.

This gives Black 4 points ... 3 for the territory plus 1 for the dead stone.

Prisoner:   prisoner
It's a bad idea to capture the stone during the game, like this. If you do, you end up with only 3 points instead of the 4 you should have got.

Prisoner:   prisoner

You know that the seven White stones are dead and Black can take them as prisoners at the end of the game.

But what about the Black stone inside them? Can White take this stone at the end of the game too?

No, he can't!!!

Taking the black stone off would make it look like this. The White group would no longer be dead, but unsettled! That isn't allowed.

In fact the Black stone was alive all the time, even though White can capture it! Here's why.

If both sides play on, White captures the stone. Then ...

... Black gobbles up all the white stones!

And then there's a black stone exactly where there was one before!


If dead stones surround stones of the opposite colour, the surrounded stones are alive!

In a really hard situation like this, would you play on, or would you pass?

If you don't know whether something is alive or dead, it's best to play on until you do know.

Black could try something like this. The idea is to try and squash White into the corner and make sure he only gets one eye.

Now there will be a fight to see if White can live or not. Nobody can say what will happen - it depends how crafty the players are!

If it's White's turn, he could try to stretch out and make room for two eyes with a move like this.

There will be a fight here too, but this one is easier for White, because he got the first move.

If White manages to live, it might end up looking something like this. Black's territory is much smaller than it was, and White has made some for himself too.


If you're not sure whether some stones are alive or dead, play on until you know.

Just in case ...

As you know, dead stones can be taken off at the end of the game, but only if both sides agree they're dead..

Go players almost always agree about which stones are dead. If we aren't sure about some stones, we don't pass, we play on until we know. When both sides pass, it means they both know. Usually, they get the same answer!

But it's just possible that someone makes a mistake and both players pass with different ideas about whether some stones are dead or alive. If that happens to you, don't worry. Here's what you should do.

Stay calm and polite. Explain your reasons to him, and listen carefully to his reasons. If you still don't agree ...
Don't play any more moves. Remember: you don't have to play extra moves to capture stones that are already dead. If you do so, you'll be filling in your territory and losing points.
Call the tournament organiser. He or she will help you sort it out. In the UK Go Challenge, you'll be asked to play on with special rules that make it fair for both sides. If you want to, you can read them yourself.


Black to play! It's very near the end of the game, but there's one thing he badly wants to do. Can you find it?

After Black has played his good move, both side pass. How many dead stones can you find? Who wins the game?

get answer

Just for fun.

Can you figure out which stones are alive and which are dead here? It's quite tricky. This problem is just for fun.

get answer

Play some games!

If you've read everything up to here, you already know a lot about Go. You know some ways to trap stones and capture them. You know how to make your stones alive and your opponent's stones dead. And you understand about territory.

Now would be a great time to take a break for a while and play some games. Playing lots of games is how people get really strong!

You can come back here and read on whenever you like.

gatecrashing table of contents big moves and small moves

UK Go Challenge home 1 November 2003