Weekly Go problems: Week 129

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 129.

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

Easy Go problem

It’s easy to think that this shape is already alive, but look more closely. This sort of situation occurs very often in real games.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Intermediate Go problem

At some stage, if you want to get stronger at Go, you need to seek out the best possible moves instead of just accepting life.


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 shape can be confusing in real games. There appear to be several vital points, so watch out for counterfeit tesuji. As always, the only way to know for sure is to read.


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. Hi David. Just a small note about the mainline sequence in the hard problem. You have W connect at O3, and I guess this is to enable us to see why O3 does not prevent the Ko, but of course the correct resistance By W is to take the Ko at P1 instead of O3 so after Black spends a Ko threat, O3 becomes an internal Ko threat for W. Since anyway W does take the Ko first B needs to have two more moderate Ko threats than W to win this Ko. If that is not the case I guess B first move at Q3 is the correct endgame move as its worth about 10 points in sente (compared to B losing the Ko).

    Anyway I guess this is a digression ….

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, you’re right Gil.

      White should take the ko first instead of O3, but David just omitted that ‘ko’ part, because some extra moves and explanation are needed dealing with the ko.

      You’re correct that if Black doesn’t have enough ko threats or if he’s already winning, he can just cut at Q3. πŸ™‚

      However, since that is a Life and Death problem, the endgame move at Q3 could be a digression as you mentioned.

  2. Hi. Great problems, as usual. I was interested in the intermediate problem in this case. I am not convinced by the solution, since it seems that at the end w actually has splendid shape and sente. It feels like black might prefer not to play the sequence at all and simply allow white to take his two stones

    • I imagine that, like any other situation in Go, the sequence must be considered in a given situation. In this situation, with the rest of the board still open an playable, blacks moves may seem slow and desperate. However, if black has supporting stones to the right and/or center, we see this as more of a defensive attack, removing white’s base and eyespace rather than fumbling for a few extra points in gote.

    • Younggil An says:

      Your opinion makes sense nico. You’re right that Black would better not to save the two stones if White has a nice position in the bottom right. πŸ™‚

      However, if Black L3 is already settled, that sequence in the variation could be quite useful and nice as Nogitron explained. That depends on the situation and the surroundings, and you can choose to play like that or not if you knew that.

      Thanks Nogitron for your nice explanation!

  3. Wow Gil, I was just glad I figured the problem out. Didn’t even notice that! I actually figured all of the problems out this week without looking at the answers, but I must admit that the intermediate and hard were not the first try…

    • Younggil An says:

      Congratulations NGood. That’s good enough to figure the problem out without looking at the answers. πŸ™‚

  4. I was also a bit lost with this problem, but I have trouble reading those invasion sequences, so at the same time I’ve found it very useful.

    I’d guess that the result is excellent if Black has a strong group in the bottom right corner, and terrible if white has a wall there. The problem would indeed be clearer if it was stated that it’s the H3 stones that matter/that bleaching the L3 stone is OK.

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good idea. The problem would be clearer with a statement about the L3.

      By the way, an important move in the variation is Black E3 which can connect his bottom group and swallow White D2 at the same time. πŸ™‚

  5. “At some stage, if you want to get stronger at Go, you need to seek out the best possible moves instead of just accepting life.”

    Very deep. I’ve recently begun to take this approach in life as well. I’m still at a kyu level, but I’m confident I’ll reach high dan!

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, I like that quotation too.

      I hope you to become a high dan level, so that you can enjoy the game of Go more. πŸ™‚

  6. After a few months I have still not adapted to the new editor. I find it not very intuitive. I’m sure this has been said before but let me recover what I’m struggling with:
    1. when my idea has been proven wrong, I want to go back to the start. The back button is not doing that. No other button is doing that, so I have to go all the way back or go to solution mode.
    2. when my idea has turned out correct, I want to explore the variations, to see if I read those out correctly as well. In order to do this, I must be able to put down a white stone other than the one chosen by the application and then continue.

    These two features were available before. Also, at least three of the icons are not intuitive ( i ? [] ) but indeed you can hover over them.

    The solution explorer is better of course. And perhaps that’s the real message: either you are in solving mode (and then you don’t need editing capabilities) or you are in review mode (and then you get the full gamut). The software is good and I’m just having bad tsumego habits.

    • Thanks for taking the time to give your feed back Dieter — it’s detailed and specific which I appreciate. I will try to be specific and detailed in my response. tl;dr — I’d like to get rid of the [] icon. Once that happens, it should make it easier to add the retry-from-beginning icon back in.

      > 1. when my idea has been proven wrong, I want to go back to the start.

      Personally, this is the behavior I want in a problem solver and was the original behavior. I got feedback from people saying that they would prefer a back-one-move button. Probably, what needs to happen is that _both_ buttons need to be displayed — back one move and start over. Side note: I personally think it encourages bad behavior to have a back-one button, but sometimes I (and others, I think) misclick, and so it’s nice to have an undo-move. If I get rid of the [] icon, I’ll have enough space to add a retry-from-beginning-icon back in.

      > 2. I want to explore the variations, to see if I read those out correctly as well.

      I was hoping that the solution-viewer would solve that problem. It really has to do with how the back-button is configured. I wanted to have the modes be very distinct — there’s a mode where you try to solve problems and a mode where you look at solutions. Eidogo’s user experience confuses the two, which I find problematic.

      > Also, at least three of the icons are not intuitive ( i ? [] ) but indeed you can hover over them.

      Yes, I agree they’re not all that intuitive.
      (?) : This was originally a roadmap icon. I don’t if that was more clear — maybe it was.
      [] : I’ve gotten feedback before that the [] icon thing isn’t intuitive — and I definitely agree. Probably, I need to create a temporary correct/incorrect overlay. See https://github.com/Kashomon/glift/issues/25.
      (i) : Of the three, I think (i) — game info — is probably the most intuitive.

  7. OMG. I notice for the first and second after a few try. but can’t seem to figure out the third one until see the solution. hmm. is it not good to answer directly O1 (black) with P1 (white)?

    • Younggil An says:

      You’re right. White can take the ko first with P1, then (we assume) Black will take it back after exchanging a ko threat. πŸ™‚

  8. Please specify if it’s a ko or not. The past problems didn’t accept ko as an answer.

    • Younggil An says:

      This time, a ko is accepted because it’s the answer.

      If there’s a better way to avoid a ko, that’d be the answer, but Black can’t capture White without a ko, so making a ko fight is the best.

  9. Josh, would clicking the check/x reset the problem to the beginning be reasonable?

  10. Hi, I am new at Go and was wondering what the numbers that appear on the board are when you click on the question mark button (explore solution button) Thank you

    • Younggil An says:

      Hi Jay, you can see the possible variations from the question mark button. You can follow the sequence with the numbers on the board.

  11. Sophie Chown says:

    Hard Problem Variation:
    Black White
    P2 P3(variation 1)
    Q1 Q3(variation 1.1)
    O3(‘mistake’ variation 2 because white has more ko threats) …

    The response by White is O1; but Black has a follow up move of O4, and although white is still alive, it is alive in seki owing to the inability to capture those black stones.

  12. At the hard problem – take a look at the next line:
    Black P2, White P3, BQ1, WQ3, B03, WO1, BO4, WP4, BO3 – I CAN’T SEE SEKI, NOR KO, NOR LIFE FOR WHITE.
    please correct me if i am wrong.

  13. Younggil An says:

    Thanks hoodini for your question.

    After Black O3, White doesn’t have to respond, and it’s already alive as seki.

  14. I’m not sure I understand. In the hard problem, after the sequence of BP2, WP3, BQ1, WQ3, BO1 – If white plays P1 instead of O3, by rule of Ko, black has to play elsewhere, allowing white to play Q2 and to effectively create multiple eyes. Is there another way for black to kill white if white plays P1 instead of O3?