Weekly Go problems: Week 41

Here are the weekly Go problems for week 41.

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

Easy Go problem

I think nets are fun. Can you see how to capture white’s cutting stone at A?


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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


Intermediate Go problem

If you just focus on the difference between important stones and expendable stones, you might realize it’s better to sacrifice sometimes.


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


Hard Go problem

Everyone likes to capture cutting stones! Right?


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. adfafdaf says:

    last problem is weird, I got it right on first try and seems incomplete

    on second thought however, seems no more variations

    • David Ormerod says:

      Well, black’s last move is final and there’s really nothing for white to do after that.

      If it comes to you naturally then that’s great :). You must already be quite strong.

  2. All problems are relatively easy to solve this time. The second one is instructive too. I’m not sure what’s the point of the third. There seems to be no catch.

    • David Ormerod says:

      My idea was to try to show enclosing moves of increasing complexity this week and point out that immediate capture (like in the first problem) isn’t always necessary. Perhaps I overcooked the last problem in the end by preparing the position too much. I made several harder versions that used the same technique and discarded them because I thought the goal might be too abstract.

      The point of the problem is really just to be able to see the shape that encloses white successfully and how it relates to black’s other stones. It’s a quiet move in the end, but if you don’t see it the game will immediately become chaotic and difficult. So for me, it’s just as beautiful as any other flashy tesuji.

      • Thanks David! We’re a spoiled lot and indeed the three of them make a nice little series. Congratulations with the craft.

  3. jangalf says:

    very intresting the second problem…. how often I tried to save useless stones…

    • David Ormerod says:

      If you can get used to seeing those kinds of moves, many other possibilities open up in fighting. You could try practising sacrificing for profit in your games for awhile, by looking for opportunities to offer a squeeze like this. You might find lots of players can’t resist capturing your stones :).

      You just need to remind yourself to take a moment to look at the whole board and decide which stones are strategically important and which aren’t.

      In this problem, white’s already made a living shape in the corner, so black’s cutting stones have little remaining value. That’s because they only offer potential to attack one group, whereas they can become a weak group themselves. They’ve already served their purpose of making white add moves in the corner.

      After that, it’s just a question of trying to find the strongest moves for sacrificing, usually by forcing a capturing race that you lose by one or two liberties.

      There’s a good section about this in Sakata’s ‘Killer of Go’. I think the chapter is called ‘Don’t Steal the Honey’ or something like that. That’s a proverb about a bear who can’t resist the beehive, even though he gets stung.

      Another useful proverb to remember is, “if living is going to lead to a loss, it’s better to sacrifice.” So instead of living small and giving the other player influence. You exchange a liability for influence of your own, then you can relax and play an attacking game.

      • jangalf says:

        You are right… The Otake book I recently bought, this topic is very important. The day I started to think in the way you say here I got two categories up…. It’seems to me that this is maybe one of the most important estrategic things in go, what stones are valued and what are not….. And what to do with not valued stones. And this concept is very near of the aji keshi concept, right?

  4. I found the hard problem to be very tough. I had the right intuition up to move 4, but black 5 eluded me. It is very interesting to see that a wider net can be more powerful that a tighter and more obvious one. Maybe it depends on one’s level, but I thought it was a very nice problem. No complaints from me at least. I think some people guesstimate the right answer but they may not realize that the interactive player is not going to offer the most obstinate resistance possible.

    • Well, I agree that after the looser net, the liberty race is not trivial. So while comments like mine above are easily said, crafting a nice series of problems like this is a fine body of work.

      No complaints here either!

  5. Michael Brown says:

    Could you put up harder problems next time?
    I do agree that the moves in the last problem were hard to find, however it follows a fundamental concept of nets. In my opinion, the more difficult problems should have out of the ordinary solutions and force the player to read the unthinkable.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Of course I can make it harder, though I’m not sure whether that makes in better in terms of having practical value. Anyway, I’ll try something different this week.

  6. A very interesting topic indeed, valuable and not valuable stones. A tendency that I see more and more in the modern top games it to not answer a move or a small set of moves, this being aji keshi. In a way the yosu miru concept comes into play: you play a move to see how the opponent reacts, and you go somewhere else. You don’t allow a move of the opponent to be sente. This leads to messy, very complex positions, too difficult for me at least, but very exciting.
    So, for instance in the second problem, white should not force the issue like shown, but play either another local move (which?) or not play locally at all and wait and see how the position develops later. Very nice to think about all this.
    Kind regards,

    • David Ormerod says:

      Yes, it can be very confusing when so much is left unplayed. I’ve also noticed the game changing as you describe. Sometimes when trying to play that way yourself it feels like you’re in an antique store – “don’t touch anything unless you have to”.

  7. This time I coul’d easily solve the first and third ones. But the intermediate problem was hard for me.

    Thanks a lot.

    • David Ormerod says:

      You’re welcome Damián, now that you’ve seen the quasi net in the second problem, I’m sure you’ll remember it. These sorts of situations come up reasonably often in real games.

  8. Embarassingly, I did not get the hard problem at all. Which just goes to show the value of practice and study. This is an elementary shape but one that’s easy to miss in the cut and thrust of close fighting.

    • David Ormerod says:

      I don’t think it’s just you Tony. I think even 5-6 dan players often miss ‘easy’ moves like this, especially in fast games. I’ve noticed that when watching games on KGS.

  9. Well, this is embarrassing. So many seemed to find the hard problem easy, but I found it almost impossible to read. 🙂

    After the given moves to O7, white plays P6 and black plays O6 and, after white exchanges H2 for G2(!), white plays plays O5, black cuts at P5, then White seals at Q6. Now black has to win a tricky semeai:
    1) If Q2, black plays O3 and R2. No go.
    2) If O3, P2 makes things tricky. On Q2 white plays R2. After O1, Q1, and there is no kill – black would like to play M1 L1 N1 but the H2 stone means damezumari. I assume seki or ko is not the answer…

    Presumably I am missing something, but I have to say this is really hard for me, especially from the initial position.

  10. Younggil An says:

    Thanks for your continuation Hippo.

    “After the given moves to O7, white plays P6 and black plays O6 and, after white exchanges H2 for G2(!), white plays plays O5, black cuts at P5, then White seals at Q6
    – 2) If O3, P2 makes things tricky. On Q2 white plays R2.”

    After that, Black can atari at P1 and it’s one eye vs no eye.

    Actually, this problem was very hard, because there’re so many possible moves in the open space. However, it’s clear that White can’t escape after Black 7, and that knight’s move is very nice to learn. 🙂

  11. Oh, I thought if P1 then R1 and the eye did not help. But of course you are right, black then plays simply N2 and the one eye vs no eye works after all, H2 becomes pointless. I think my mind was numb by then and I missed the play :-).

    Thanks for clearing that up! I guess I need to learn to look at every move more methodically.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your reply Hippo.
      Actually, there wasn’t any problem at all, and it’s easy to miss out a move in a long sequence.
      Other people can also learn that variation from your question, and it’s good for all of us. 🙂