Weekly Go problems: Week 5

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 05.

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

Easy Go problem

ggg easy 05 picture

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


Intermediate Go problem

ggg intermediate 05 picture

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


Hard Go problem

go problems 05 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. David Ormerod says:

    By the way, the problems were a bit late this week. Here’s why:

    Yesterday I finished the article, scheduled it to publish at the normal time and then went to the airport hopped on a plane. Today I checked the site and saw that nothing had happened.

    It turned out Go Game Guru had a big spike of visitors (more than ten times the normal number) and the web server had some problems. Even though it stayed online, the problems failed to publish properly, so I’ve republished them now. :)

    The hard problem might be a bit more difficult this week than in previous weeks. Have fun, and let me know what you think!

  2. Hi David,I am surprise that I am the first one. After a few times, finally I have got it right. But I have to say I have just got it by lucky. My question is what’s the best way to read and find the correct answer? You may need to write an article about this. I am sure it will be interesting and helpful. Cheers Daniel

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Daniel. You’re right, it might take an article to explain that completely.

      One thing that you might notice in this problem is that there’s a key point that’s used over and over by white to defend against your different attacks. Once you realize that, you can discover the vital point, even if you didn’t know what it was at the beginning.

      You then need to work out a way to take the vital point before white does. Often that means playing it on the first move, or sometimes after making one or two quick forcing moves.

      If you have enough experience, you can spot the vital point in this problem intuitively. But if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, because you can use the approach I’ve just explained to discover the vital point.

      This works quite often, both in real games and Go problems. That’s why there’s the Go proverb ‘my opponent’s key point is my own’.

      Have a look at this problem again, in that context, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

  3. Damián Bacalov says:

    For me, the first one was more dificult than the second one. The third was very hard. Thanks.

    • David Ormerod says:

      It’s sometimes difficult to see the solution in that kind of shortage of liberties problem because it’s slightly unusual.

  4. Easy – width 2, depth 4
    Intermediate – width 3, depth 5
    Hard – trial and error

    I think the problem level nomenclature applies to dan level players.
    The hard one was really hard, even requiring calculations after the “end of variation” was reached.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Dieter. The hard problem does require a lot of reading, but I think understanding this kind of technique is useful, because it’s one that can be applied in real games from time to time. I’ve seen a number of games at the Go club and online where both players missed the possibility of a sequence like this. It’s partly because it relies on the outside liberty count, so the status of the corner can change mid-game after a slightly-too-ambitious push and cut :).

  5. I didn’t get the hard one.

  6. I liked that the intermediate one was counter the “normal” direction for the first move.
    The hard was very hard for me. I think it approched the “it is better to solve 15 problems in 5 minuts than one in 15 minutes”. for me anyhow. I liked it.

    • on teh Hard one looking at it again I think my solution fails, lol

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yes, in the second problem that tiger’s mouth shape is usually not the first thing you think of. With the hard problem, the occasional challenge is good – even if you don’t solve problems like this regularly. I’m glad you liked it.

  7. LucNoSensei says:

    This hard one was the first one I actually found hard. I’m really bad at this type of problem. Don’t know how to explain what “kind” it is… The kind without fancy moves I guess.

    • Same here. I think it’s the “kind” of problem where all moves seem equivalent. There is no move that feels like it must be right and just needs to be read out. You need to read every move.

      I had the hardest time coming up with move 3. Once you figure out that one, the path narrows. Move 9 is a fancy one and by that token “easier” to find.

      • David Ormerod says:

        I understand what you guys mean, sometimes when I look at problems I get that feeling of not knowing where to start too.

        There is a vital point to this problem though, it’s just not as obvious as in easier problems. The solution is also a technique that be learned and applied, just like a combination of tesuji.

        When you find a problem where you don’t immediately see the vital point, you can still discover it through investigation, as I explained to Daniel above: http://gogameguru.com/weekly-go-problems-week-5/#comment-2109 – repeatedly applying that technique will solve this problem.

  8. Oddly enough, I find the first one the hardest of all. It still has me stumped.

  9. I solved the easy problem but failed on the intermediate and hard ones. I should have found the intermediate solution, but the hard problem is indeed really hard.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yes, probably too hard now, because the difference between the intermediate problem and the hard one is quite large now. I think I’ll choose an easier one next week, but I wanted to see how people went with this one.

  10. I don’t get the last one… tried everything i can think of. I’m convinced 2-2 is the right way to start, but can’t find the proper sequence @.@

  11. Nice hard problem xD
    It feels as if you just stroll in and kill white, and she can’t do anything about it (yet, I didn’t get the answer so easily >3.<)

    • David Ormerod says:

      Right, the correct solution does have a certain amount of style to it, usually they do with problems like this ;).

  12. The hard problem is too hard for me.

  13. I just peeked at the answer for the hard problem.

    There’s a lot more I’ll need to learn before I can solve a go problem like that. Going over the answer was educational for me.

    I’m sure the dans had a good time :P

  14. I think its good to have hard problems like this every now and then. Even if a kyu player can’t solve it, looking at the answer will show them techniques they might have not seen before potentially broadening their reading.

    I like this one especially because I have seen this shape before in my games, and now if I see it again I have a chance of remembering some brilliant life and death moves I can use to catch my opponents off guard.

  15. Got them all first try :)

  16. I wonder. I didn’t manage to get “correct” from the hard problem, but it looks like my solution kills white anyway: (if you haven’t solved it already, don’t read any further)

    . Spoiler alert!

    b2 – c3 – c2 – a2 – a4 – a3 – a5 – b3 – b1 – f1 – d1 – d2 – g1

    Did I break it?

  17. usually I need some time even for the easy ones, but this time it went smooth from start to finish. I could even get through reading the hard one without a mistake before even playing a move on the diagram

  18. Martin-Michel(SLO) says:

    Hard one took me a while, but then I got it right, pretty hard one :)
    Hard as it should be (=

  19. For the last one, I am satisfied with ko lol…

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