Weekly Go problems: Week 120

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 120.

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

Easy Go problem

When your groups are solid enough, even relatively thin looking moves can work.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Intermediate Go problem

NeverΒ stop reading just because a stone is in atari.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Hard Go problem

This sort of double ladder problem is very hard to solve in an actual game, but knowing that there is a solution can help a lot.


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. I solved the hard question at the first time but if I face it in the real game, I would not play it correctly. It is hard to notice the ladder breaking move. By the way, it is a good one. Thank you.

    • David Ormerod says:

      That was my feeling too. You rarely see this kind of opportunity in professional games, which I assume means both players saw the possibility and avoided it, but as amateurs I think there are opportunities to use that tesuji from time to time.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hard problem a good visualisation workout. Thanks πŸ™‚

  3. Arthur Yeh says:

    haha got lucky with the hard problem this time πŸ™‚ just saw it in a lee changho game on this very site.

  4. Yes, the hard problem is really nice πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Easy was easy. Intermediate was solvable for me. Hard one is ridiculous (in the amazing sense).

    • David Ormerod says:

      The same tesuji (from the hard problem) can also come up in a joseki, in the shape that the intermediate problem is based on.

      If E2 and F4 are removed from the board (they’re just bookkeeping stones for simplifying the problem), then it’s a joseki shape that arises after Black’s low approach to 3-4, White’s three space pincer, Black’s tenuki, White’s knight’s move and Black’s attachment at 3-3.

      In that case, there are two ways to prevent the double ladder if it’s her turn, but the best way is wF6, bF7 (force before defending), and wG9 (double ladder tesuji).

  6. Charlies H (2D) says:

    Oh. My. Loving the tesuji in the hard problem, it’s purty. Very nearly didn’t get this one, thought about it for ages and was gonna give up and look at the pdf if I hadn’t got it by 5pm (BST). The beginner and intermediate problems are both on shapes that do pop up, so will be be useful in real games. Many Thanks for the problems.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Charlie, that’s right. The beginner and intermediate problems are both based on variations that sometimes appear in real games. As I just said to Dieter above, the tesuji from the hard problem can also be used in an actual game variation on the intermediate problem πŸ™‚

  7. kaan Malçok says:

    Hehe found the right answer to the hard problem with a misclick, amazing problem!

  8. Yudong-nick says:

    How about K9, J10, I11, … instead of L8 on the hard problem?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question.
      In those cases, White can extend at L7 and L4 and O9 are miai next. You’ll see that White can capture Black’s center stones by a net after W O9, W N9 and W L9.

  9. The solution to the Intermediate problem depends on a ladder to a part of the board not shown in the diagram. Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought go problems usually either showed the edge of the board where the ladder ends or a black stone that completes the ladder. When I was looking at this problem I found the provided solution but I thought that I had failed to solve the problem, because I didn’t think I could assume the ladder worked.

    • David Ormerod says:

      The convention is that any stones that are relevant are shown. That means that ladders to other parts of the board always work, unless there’s a ladder breaker as part of the problem setup (e.g. in this week’s easy problem).

      In other words, you can always use a ladder unless stated otherwise. That doesn’t mean that a ladder is always the best solution though, even when it’s possible.

      As far as I know, this is the normal approach in problem books and it’s also the principle we stick to with our problems.

      • Thanks for your reply. I’m sure you would know better than me. Glad to have this clarified.

  10. Problems are great, but…

    The problem with most tesuji and Life/death problems is they put you into a mind set of finding “THE solution”. In a game there is often a choice of “solutions”. If you are not careful, you find a solution and, with that problem mind set, feel it is “the solution” and play it without further consideration.

    I think it was Emmanuel Lasker (the great chess player) who said something like “When you see a good move, look for a better one”. How about some problems where the optimal solution is the goal?

    For example, where there is more than one semiai winning move, but the best is clearly better as it leaves no ko threats, or a smaller one? Basic problem might be something like choosing to fill from the outside. More advanced would be kikashi first, or finding a move that increases liberties so you are winning a semiai by 2 moves.

    Just a suggestion…

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you.
      When David and I were making problems together, we often saw comments which said ‘The hard problem is too easy’ and the problems were getting more difficult to solve.
      Recently we realized that the problems were sometimes too hard, so we downgrade the level of difficulty.
      The weekly problems will be a bit easier to solve and more fun next time.

  11. To continue, I realise there is that aspect to many problems already, I was just thinking of making the choice of move the central point of the problem, as a more direct exercise.

    I am sure all strong players can recall games where capturing in a specific way to avoid certain forcing moves – or add some aji – turned out to be critical later on to winning the game.

    • bobiscool says:

      Perhaps the audience of these problems are more beginners-low dans… they’re not pros or seriously studying to become pros… most completely open-ended problems like that would be extremely difficult for amateurs, which is the target of these problems.

  12. bobiscool says:

    In regards to the hard problem: after determining that there is only 1 possible first move, the only hard part is figuring out white’s toughest response. After that, you just look everywhere for a solution. On the other hand… I have no idea how to solve the intermediate problem, not even by randomly clicking places.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your opinion bobiscool.
      Yes, I agree with you that hard problems are too hard. However, even if you can’t solve, it still doesn’t matter. You can see the answer and you can try again next time. The intermediate and hard problems are similar problems, so it would be easier for you to guess if you can solve one. If the solution is new to you, you just learned something new, so that’s not bad I think. πŸ™‚

  13. Bobiscool, there are lots of ways to use problems.

    1) Do lots of fairly easy problems fast. This makes common shapes and tesuji them second nature, and is a technique I believe some Japanese pros use – Youngil might tell you if it is used in Korea too :-). It also makes harder problems easier, as they often contain one or more easier problems.
    2) Try to solve a problem for a couple of minutes. If you cannot, look at the answer, learn something and move on.
    3) Worry over a problem till you have solved it, even if it takes an hour – or a week. Good for your reading depth and analysis, but time consuming.
    1) and 2) are probably most useful to us amateurs. But, do what is fun! (For 1 & 2 you really need a few easy problem books – I have loads).

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a useful tips Hippo.
      Yes, 1) is helpful for everyone who wants to improve one’s strength. πŸ™‚