Connecting On The Edge

British Go Journal No. 17. June 1972. Page 7.

John Tilley

The object of this article is to examine the necessity for and effect of connections in yose made on the first and second lines.

Diagram 1

Diagram 2

Diagram 3

Dia 1. This is a simple problem. It is obvious that, after white cut at 1, black is in trouble. Black should have made a connection. The two connections shown in Dias 2 and 3 readily spring to mind, but there is a difference between them. The connection of Dia 2 is a solid connection, but that of Dia 3 is a hanging connection. The difference is that white could play A in Dia 3 as a ko threat. This may seem trivial, but in a ko fight every threat is important. Therefore, as we don't know what may happen later in the game, we should always connect as in Dia 2 to avoid this extra ko threat.

Diagram 4

Diagram 5

Diagram 6

On the other hand, a hanging connection may be used to avoid further complications which would otherwise arise, as in Dia 4. Following black 1, white A will be gote. A solid connection as black 1 in Dia 5 would be bad, as white 2 and 4 reduce black's territory by a further point and retain sente for White. Moreover, if White plays 2 as in Dia 6, the corner will become seki and white will even emerge from the exchange with sente.

Diagram 7

Diagram 8

Diagram 9

Diagram 10

In Dia 7, Black has played 1 and 3 with the intention of next playing A. Is this good or bad? When the frightening possibility of white 4 and 6* in Dia 8 is considered, it is clear that a play at A is dangerous. Instead of playing 3, as in Dia 7, black would do much better to quietly connect at 1 in Dia 9. If white decides to invade with 2, black 3 secures his position. A play such as black 1 in Dia 10 should not be made, since the same situation as in Dia 8 arises and black will be hard pressed to save his group.
* [BGJ had white 4 and 8.]

Diagram 11

Diagram 12

Dia 11 shows a very common end game position. Black 1 sagari is the correct play. Should black connect as in Dia 12, white 2 and black 3 result in the loss of an extra point. Beginners sometimes tend to play 1' at 3 and then white can play 2 to create a ko if he so desires. *
* [BGJ phrased the last sentence differently.]

Diagram 13

Diagram 14

Diagram 15

Diagram 16

Diagram 17

From what we have seen so far, black 1 in Dia 13 seems to be correct. Black's alternative connection at 1 in Dia 14 is not so good. However, black would do better to play 1 in Dia 15. This is an excellent move as it reduces the advantage of white A, thus protecting two weak points at once. If black makes the solid connection, white can play 2 and 4 as in Dia 16, reducing black's corner and keeping sente. White 1 to 5 in Dia 17 are of no use because of Black triangle. Following white A and black B, black will emerge from the exchange with sente.

Diagram 18

Diagram 19

Finally in Dia 18 black 1 is the only correct play to save the group. Black 1 in Dia 19 invites white 2 and black can only manage a ko with 3.

It will be seen therefore that seemingly insignificant plays at the edge of the board can have considerable importance, and merit some care and attention.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 17
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

Last updated Thu May 04 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.