Weekly Go problems: Week 39

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 39.

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

Easy Go problem

You want to make two eyes, but bigger isn’t always better in Go.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Intermediate Go problem

The tesuji here isn’t as decisive as in many other problems, but it’s a situation that could easily arise in your games.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Hard Go problem

This is from an amateur game. Sometimes in Go there are fleeting opportunities that go unnoticed. The timing for white A isn’t very good. Why?


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. Damián says:

    Very nice as always. Thanks a lot. Especially the easy one, you can easily make a mistake.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Damián. It’s important to practise easy problems because they’re the ones people usually get wrong.

  2. great problems, thx for take your time and put in the web for us. as damian says the easy one is specially deceiver. greetings from Colombia 🙂

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Fabian, it’s nice to meet you and you’re welcome.

      I’m sure Colombia is a big place just like any other country, but I wonder if you know Juan Carlos Pachón? I met him at a Go tournament in China once.

      Now I feel like one of those people who asks me if I know ‘Tom’ when I say that I’m from Australia… 🙂

  3. I actually worked out the hard problem for myself with only 1 re-try (didn’t even have to go to the SGF to follow out the answer) – a first for me! Not that I would have spotted it in a real game 🙁

    • David Ormerod says:

      That’s great Martin. Spotting it in a problem is the first step and eventually you’ll start to spot it in games if you keep at it ;).

  4. scwizard says:

    For the easy problem, it was in my blindspot somehow 😮

    For the medium problem, I could see the first move, but no the followup (even though it was obvious…)

    As for the hard problem. I have a very hard time seeing the sort of weakness that black can exploit here, and

  5. I think the intermediate problem deserves special praise. This is a very useful sequence.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Tony.

      I’m sure you knew this one already though :).

      We don’t really have a good word in English for this kind of play to develop in the center. I called it tesuji, but it’s not quite tesuji or shape. Younggil says it’s a type of haengma.

  6. scwizard says:

    I still don’t understand the hard problem after looking at the solution.


    A is bad because why? After A black can play G2 sure.

    However then white plays L7 or something similar, and then what?

    Black needs to connect at G1 then which is gote right?

    So black playing G2 induces L7 is in gote, so is it really the best move in the circumstances?

    • A HUman says:

      scwizard, otherwise white is sente H2, otherwise corner dies. So firstly, black has to save his group somehow. It is obvious that G2 is the best way. This alone is enough to justify the problem.

      Secondly, it robs White of all eyeshape, so white can be attacked rather than black. =)

      • David Ormerod says:

        That’s right. Connecting two groups with one eye each is nearly always big and efficient.

        In addition to the points above, it’s worth noting too that if white played C1 at L7 (which I think is the best move), the possibility of black G2 would dissolve. Timing is so important, C1 isn’t a bad move in general, but it’s bad here because of the timing.

  7. A Human says:

    Interesting problems, I would rate the difficulties as kyu level at maximum. Where do you get them?

    • David Ormerod says:

      I get them from books or make them up. Sometimes, like this week, the idea comes from a real game.

      The difficulty varies from week to week and person to person. And personally, I think a lot of the game deciding mistakes made by 5-7 dan players are in solving ‘kyu level’ problems during a game.

      I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve let a group die when it should’ve lived, killed a group that was supposed to be alive or overlooked a simple trade to get out of trouble. You only need to make one blunder to lose, so I don’t think you can solve too many kyu level problems :).

  8. For the intermediate problem, is placing the last b stone one point closer to the w stones significantly inferior, ie a 1 space pincer instead of 2 space pincer as it were?

    • Flandre says:

      If B plays Q7 instead of Q8, W will answer with R8 and instantly become unattackable. It’s much better for him than correct variation.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Finding the two space high pincer might be the hardest part of the solution and I thought about leaving that move out. However, it really is part of this technique and it’s the best move for controlling the situation in this case.

      Look at black’s four center stones as a shape. They work together well. In general, you want to think about a long knight’s move when a short one lets white jump in front like Flandre explained. The objective isn’t to crush white, but to develop in the center by threatening containment.

      Another similar shape is to play black’s pincer one line to the left, even more as a press than pincer. That would be good if white’s position on the right was a bit different, for example if white had already extended to Q5 earlier.

  9. The ladder would have to work for B in order for the hard problem to work, am I right?

  10. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks Flandre, right on two counts :).

  11. In these weekly go problems I usually manage to solve the easy and intermediate but not the hard. But this time I got the hard on my first try, and missed the last move of the intermediate! I am certainly not used to seeing moves like that large knight’s move.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Maybe because Go problems don’t usually test things like that. Anyway, I think you’ll probably remember it now :). Try to experimenting with it in some games.

  12. Hao Sun says:

    the last move of the intermediate problem is hard to find and somewhat situational

  13. The last move of the intermediate problem is in some ways the most interesting. I got it on my third try only :-(. Still not sure why it is best. R9 would seem reasonable too, to me at any rate, especially with some backup. Q9 looks wild, fun! 🙂

    Some discussion of alternatives or reasoning for the move would be interesting, I haven’t seen this kind of move explained in text before…

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question Hippo.
      You’re right that there’re other possible good moves for Q8. R9 is also a good place, and that’s one of other possibilities.
      Since it’s an open area, there’re more options, and you can choose whichever you prefer. David chose this way (Q8), because it can show you that there would be a better move than the knight’s move which is common at Q7.

      We can talk about this sort of long knight’s move later again! 🙂