Weekly Go problems: Week 103

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 103.

Black plays first in all problems and all solutions are labeled ‘correct’. Have fun!

Easy Go problem

When you’re trying to capture stones, it’s important to play precisely.

ggg easy 103 picture

Download the solutions to the easy problem as an SGF or PDF file.


Intermediate Go problem

White’s offering you a trade: you can have either the outside or the corner. How about coming up with a counter offer?

ggg intermediate 103 picture

Download the solutions to the intermediate problem as an SGF or PDF file.


Hard Go problem

Even very lively looking groups can sometimes be captured when liberties are tight.

go problems 103 picture

Download the solutions to the hard problem as an SGF or PDF file.


Still want more Go problems?

You can find Go books packed full of life and death problems, tesuji problems and other valuable Go knowledge at the Go Game Shop.

Discuss other possible moves

If you have any questions or want to discuss any of these problems, please leave a comment below at any time. You can use the coordinates on the problem images to discuss a move or sequence of moves.

You can also download the solutions as a PDF or SGF file by clicking the links below each problem.

About David Ormerod

David likes teaching, learning, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught hundreds of people to play Go, including many children at schools in Australia. In 2010 David was the Australian representative at the 31st World Amateur Go Championships. He's a 5 dan amateur Go player and is the editor of Go Game Guru. You can find David on Google+ and follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.


  1. In the easy problem it looks like setting up the snapback with move 3 (playing just above the ‘correct’ move 3) works just as well, right? And it’s more fun!

  2. Actually managed to figure out the Hard Problem in only a couple of tries. Was it just me, or was the Intermediate Problem more complicated than the Hard?

    • David Ormerod says:

      It could be more complicated for some people. It’s less about reading and more about intuition or experience. For strong players, the intermediate problem can be solved at a glance, but the hard problem still requires careful reading.

  3. The Hard problem is not easier, just better defined. The Intermediate is of a problematic type since there are innumerable outcomes, 99% of which are hidden behind the “End of Variation” message. And yes, Andrew, you are correct. Plus the snapback is cooler!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Right, but I don’t think that’s a good reason not to show these sorts of tesuji problems at all, because these are the sorts of ideas that help people improve the most in actual play. The variations are still there for people to download and review if they want to.

  4. Just a note: for the hard problem, omitting the first exchange also works. It was a bit frustrating as it was not marked correct, so I second guessed myself and had to look through the solution. Though, I guess there would be an extra ko threat for white in that variation, so maybe a note for why that way is suboptimal?

    • David Ormerod says:

      I don’t think omitting the B9, A8 exchange works for black. In that case, it seems that white can just play at C4 and live (as is already shown in the solutions). If you think there’s a move for black after that, let me know.

  5. Good problems to me. Thanks David. I like the kind of problems like the intermidiate one; because the explanations, even for the bad moves, are very good.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Jangalf, that’s why I show these sorts of problems sometimes :) . They seem to be controversial, but I think people can learn more from them.

  6. @ Doug or any player more experienced than me: Could I ask what the difference is between “hard” and “better defined” as it relates to go? This is the first Hard Problem that I have been able to look at and immediately understand the answer (I got the last move wrong the first time, but otherwise I had the correct answer from the start), but the Intermediate Problem finally required me to look at the cheat sheet to understand it. Wouldn’t the many variations of the Intermediate Problem make it more difficult than the Hard? The Hard Problem only seems to require that you put a noose around White’s neck and then let it strangle itself.

    I’m just an inexperienced player trying to learn go jargon and theory so any help is always appreciated.

    • I think both problems are fairly clear in their purpose for an experienced player. The intermediate one is a little harder in the sense that there are multiple kinds of outcome: Black connects with good shape or breaks through White’s lines. The harder however is tricky because the eyes of the experienced player are drawn towards one particular point but you need to play the moves in one particular order only (and the “vital point” is not the first move). The hard problem has more tactical depth. The intermediate one has more strategic width. As such, they can arguably change places.

      • Without thinking hard about the shape of the hard problem I find it very unlikely that anyone can come up with the 3rd move spontaneously. It’s a counter-intuitive move.

  7. @ Dieter: It’s possible that I got the third move correct by sheer luck. Maybe I’m just so green that I don’t know how to look for the intuitive move? I was just trying to crush White’s shape to deny it liberties…and thank you for your input!

    Out of curiosity: what could be the “intuitive” 3rd move on the Hard Problem?

    • Hi Chris,

      The point that I describe as the “vital point” is one that jumps to the eye (to my eyes at least) as an obvious place for White to live, making a straight 4 eyespace. As Black I want to play there and nowhere else, at the first move, at the third move, at any move. Reading is required to see that it doesn’t work at move 1 or 3 despite its appeal.

      Full reading reveals what those moves must be. While move 1 adheres to the principle of reducing eyespace before playing the vital point, move 3 does neither of those and only gets its sense from the shortage of liberties it induces in later variations.

      That’s what makes this move hard and counterintuitive: there is no abstraction involved in finding this move. It’s heavily tied to the presence of all stones and would not work in most rearrangements that leave the main features of the shape invariant.

    • David Ormerod says:

      I agree with Dieter, Chris. For me, black B4 looks like a tesuji, so it’s the first place I would look for moves 1 and 3, but deeper reading reveals that black has to play the other moves first :) .

      Sorry for the slow reply. If you have any other questions feel free to let us know. Even if we can’t reply straight away, we’ll still get back to you and, as you can see, there are other friendly people like Dieter who visit this site too.

  8. Anonymous: omitting the first exchange does not work, White has the following sequence: A6, C3, C5, C4, A4, B4, B9, A5, A8, A7.

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