Weekly Go problems: Week 1

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 01.

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

Easy Go problem


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Intermediate Go problem


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Hard Go problem


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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 is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Chris Welsh says:

    The hard one is genius. A very nice trick to engineer sente, and may come in handy in a real game.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yes, it’s a nice technique. I like problems that have practical applications :).

      • In my opinion the hard one’s solution is false. What if instead of capturing the black stone, white goes to G2 in the move number 4 ?

        • David Ormerod says:

          Radu, if black C2, wB2, bB1 and then wG2… then bG1 and black can still live. Next if wE1, bH2 and J1 or F1 are miai for black to live because F1 catches some white stones in a snapback. Other variations are similar because white will always have to take time to capture at C1 eventually, otherwise her stones will be captured in the snapback.

  2. Nick Krempel says:

    In the easy problem, after white’s response to black’s first move, black does not need a further move.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for letting me know Nick, there was a misclick in the original solution (I made a large number of these in one go and solved them all at once to save time). I’d already updated the file to fix the problem earlier today when I checked them. It seems the server was still caching the old file. I’ve cleared the cache now, so you should see the proper variation. Please let me know if you still don’t see the updated version.

    • well it probably have been changed, but if you don’t add a second move as b white can just live by playing Q1.

      also, isn’t it better to kill by playing 2 at Q1 as it doesn’t leave a ko threat there (at Q1)? (it’s obviously not seki since the two stones are cut).

      • David Ormerod says:

        You’re right that there is a second way to kill and I’ll add a variation for that into the problem.

        In a real game it depends on the situation a little bit, but most of the time it’s better to kill from the outside when you can, because that stone is more useful for other purposes and it leaves better aji overall. Giving white one extra ko threat is one form of bad aji, but if you play to remove the ko threat you leave bad aji along the bottom towards the left.

  3. Wow, the hard one is nice, I just had a major blind spot there!

  4. Great addition. Great Go site!

  5. I’m struggling on the last one – I know it must be a beyond my current skill level, but now I just can’t stop without finding the answer. Can anyone give me a hint?

    • I did it!

      Nick, I’ll try to give you a hint: You need to play in E1 and inside the group at the same time, right?

      Well… that’s it.

    • David Ormerod says:

      How’d you go Nick? If you’re still thinking about it, the first thing you should establish is whether black has a simple move to live. If not, you need a way to get one move in sente, so you can add two stones. Have a look at the corner and think about what the possibilities are there if you could just play some stones, then try to contrive the right move order from that.

    • Nick, I was in a similar situation and finally gave up and downloaded the sgf. I rather regret it now. I was on the right path but gave up too quick.

  6. Oo, I didn’t know the EidoGo can also be used this way! This is going to be very useful~

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yeah EidoGo is great! Maybe you could use it on your site for some of the problems you’ve been posting on Facebook :).

  7. Interesting problem O_O
    Easy ones will be useful for beginners, keep posting them too.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yes, easy is relative, but I’m trying to provide a range of difficulties. Glad you liked the problem.

  8. I believe that White can do better than the correct solution, by sacrificing a stone. There is 1 point difference.

    • David Ormerod says:

      You’re talking about the hard problem? That’s interesting to think about. I remember thinking the same thing the first time I saw this problem. However if the right side is white’s territory black will be able to reduce white by at least one more point after being forced to live that way. Meanwhile white has also used a ko threat, so it’s hard to say there’s any net gain.

      As usual with Go, the real answer is ‘it depends’. I’ve found over time that adopting a ‘softer’ approach in preserving useful aji often pays back big dividends though.

      • True! So if it is a global problem, the correct solution is indeed best.

        Incidentally, when tweaking the white moves, your tool will remember those and I have to refresh (F5) the page to see your original responses.

  9. Not all navigation buttons and text field, etc., are appearing under the problems in Mac OS X with both Safari and Firefox. I had to download the linked sgf files to see the problems properly.

  10. Oh, the extra navigation buttons are not required, my mistake.

    But there’s still something funny. In the hard problem, if I download the sgf file, white plays his move 2 at c1 (capturing), but when played on the Web site, move 2 is at g2. Why is this different? If black continues with g1, etc., black lives but the variation is not marked correct. Confusing.

    • David Ormerod says:

      The first variation in the file will be the correct solution. All the other lines have to be there so that there are refutations for other moves people might try. The player will respond differently depending on what moves you play. For the hard problem, I believe there’s only one move order that lives for black (white can respond in several ways though).

  11. In the hard go problem, 2nd move is B1.

    • I don’t think we’re supposed to reveal the moves here.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yes, as Dieter said, it’s probably better if you don’t write the solution here because it could ruin the problem for others. However, please feel welcome to discuss the problems and help other people without telling them what the answer is.

  12. Very nice problems. Yesterday night late I looked at the hard problem for quite some time but could not solve it. Just now I looked again and found the solution in 10 seconds. What is this, did my brain look at the problem while I was sleeping?

    • David Ormerod says:

      Paul, you have magic powers :). It’s a pity that you can’t have a nap in the middle of your games! I believe that’s a phenomenon that occurs with difficult problems in a range of areas (not just Go). Sometimes people have a sleep when they can’t solve difficult maths problems, for example. With Go, you might find that you have greater insights if you record your game and then review it the next day. Why not give it a go?

      • This is very true. The other day I had been staring at a cryptogram at my mother’s place for an hour; when driving home I needed to park after 5 minutes to tell her the solution. It is definitely objectively harder to do a crypto in your head, but the shift of context seemed to make it easier somehow.

        Likewise, when we’re reviewing a game right after it’s played, although we sometimes rudely awaken the other, we often are in the same “dream”. The next day, another review will show silly mistakes or simple answers both had overlooked

  13. cool idea 😉 got it all done, yep last problem is pretty tricky ^^ mind I ask what lvl is last one problem? 😉

    • David Ormerod says:

      I’d say it’s a dan level go problem, but it’s really difficult to assign a rank to problems in my opinion. That’s why I’ve just grouped them loosely as easy, intermediate and hard problems. Glad you enjoyed them.

  14. For the easy problem got it wrong because I did b1 b2 d1 which also kills but loses a point.

    For the hard problem, why does w capture at A1 after b E1 instead of cutting at G2 which lets him capture 5 stones in gote later

    • Oh wait white can capture the stones in sente, because b still needs another move to live in the corner.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Your solution to the easy problem kills as well, see the conversation with yuwalW above.

      Regarding the hard problem, trading the corner to capture five stones, as you suggested, is another possible variation that white could choose. You need to have read this out to really have solved the problem completely.

      My reading of that variation is that black lives in gote, and compared to the main solution: Black loses 4 points territory, while white gains 11 (2×5 captures + 1 territory at L1) for a total gain of 15 (4+11) for white.

      Meanwhile, white loses 9 points in the corner (2×2 captures + 5 points of territory up to A4/B4 which are lost). Black gains 9 points in the corner (2×4 captures + 1 territory at A1) for a total gain of 18 (9+9) for black.

      That means the net gain for black is 3 points in gote, but in a real game, if the cut at K4 is a concern at all white may well decide to play this way to eliminate it.

      • I’m sorry, in the hard problem, I still can’t find how black can live after this sequence : c2-b2-b1-g2? Don’t black corner dead too? Great site by the way!

        • David Ormerod says:

          Thanks izhar. After G2, black can play G1. After that black can next capture G2 no matter what white does next. Black will make two eyes at the bottom because black can also atari at E1 to create a snapback using the B1 stone.

  15. The Hard one had me stumped for a bit… Had to get past my mental block with sacrificing stones. Thanks for these problems! Can’t wait to see more 🙂

  16. Great problems, love the hard one took me some time to find the solutionm.

    On the hard one, can white answer F2 followed by G1 rather than A1?

  17. Dear David, that’s the first time I write here, even if I follow you from a long period and I admire you and what you’ve done with this website.It’s really wonderful.
    However I’ve a question about the hard problem.After the second correct move by black, in the variation you posted white recaptures and gives black the chance to live. But what happens if white plays G2? black has to reply taking to C2 and with H2 white kills the G3 group. After that, black is still in danger and, if there isn’t the corner right there as in the position above (where the sequence should then be, after white H2, black B3, white B4, black A2), he has to struggle very hard to live. I would be very pleased to know what do you think about it. Thank you and sorry for disturb

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Braket, it’s very nice to meet you and I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying our site.

      It’s no problem at all to ask questions. I should have included that variation in the problem originally, because a few people have wondered about it. That way, black lives and gains 3 more points than in the ‘correct’ solution. I know it doesn’t look like it, but if you count the difference you’ll see.

      I’ve updated the file now to include some discussion of that, so you can download it or view it on the site after refreshing this page. I also wrote a detailed explanation on how to count the difference for another reader who asked a similar question.

      If you have any other questions, please feel welcome to ask.

      • I realize this is a nice, old thread, but with some hope of reply, I have a question.

        I looked through all the comments and cannot find anything regarding this variation: at move 4 on the correct thread, (after BWB,) what of WG2? The above comment almost seems to address what I was thinking, but then doesn’t.

        move 5 option: BG1
        I see a conservative white playing out WE1, BH2, WC1, BF1, WC2, BJ1. then, compared to the solution, I count a one-point gain for white. I read a more vicious white playing WJ1 at move 6, which can be followed by BH2, WC1, BE1, WC2, BH1, which ends badly for white. For the variation with a one-point gain, am I reading something wrong?

        • David Ormerod says:

          Hi djandus,

          Your reading is accurate and black’s territory is one point smaller after white sacrifices one stone. Depending on the situation this could be the best solution.

          In this case, after black’s connected solidly with J1, white will very likely lose one more point after black plays L2 or M1, so the result is very similar.

          • Thanks David,

            I see what you mean about the danger on the right. White could preemptively play L1 immediately after either the solution or my sequence, and black would only have to respond in the solution sequence; in mine, white loses sente.

            Thank you again for responding!

  18. Hi, I am sorry but I can’t read the solution of the hard problem…and I cannot read the sgf file (I am a mac user).

    I really like the kind way you approach go, the way we should respect our opponents, the simple ways to progress… As a competitive chess player who loves go for years, I try again to make some progress, especially in reading – because reading is not the same thing as calculate in chess. The other thing that fascinate me is the use of tewari, that I am only beginning to understand, which we can apply in chess, but which is much more subtle in go.
    Thanks for your efforts, I am a fan.


    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Eric, I’m glad you’re finding it helpful and thanks for your kind words. Tewari analysis is indeed a fascinating and powerful way of thinking about some positions. For viewing sgf files on Mac, you might find some useful info here: http://senseis.xmp.net/?MacintoshGo – when you say you can’t view the solution, do you mean the website doesn’t display properly on Macs?

  19. Hi again, actually I can watch the variation when I try some moves, but there’s no solution available if I don’t find the moves… (which is the case…) ; ) Maybe it’s normal and not a case of using a mac. Sorry to be so naive but I am not very good in computers.

  20. I don’t get it… What am I supposed to do??

  21. For any of them! Are you supposed to capture stones? What are you supposed to do??

    • Younggil An says:

      For easy and intermediate, you’re supposed to capture white, and you can save your group for the hard problem.

  22. I’m a beginner in Go and there are times I don’t see why some moves won’t work… How do I improve my ‘reading ahead’ skills?