Go strategy and tactics

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The game of Go has simple rules that can be learned very quickly but, as with chess and similar board games, complex strategies may be deployed by experienced players.

Contents

Go opening theory

The whole board opening is called Fuseki. An important principle to follow in early play is "corner, side, center." In other words, the corners are the easiest places to take territory, because two sides of the board can be used as boundaries. Once the corners are occupied, the next most valuable points are along the side, aiming to use the edge as a territorial boundary. Capturing territory in the middle, where it must be surrounded on all four sides, is extremely difficult. The same is true for founding a living group: Easiest in the corner, most difficult in the center.

The first moves are usually played on or near the 4-4 star points in the corners, because in those places it is easiest to gain territory or influence. (In order to be totally secure alone, a corner stone must be placed on the 3-3 point. However, if a stone is placed at a 4-4 point and the opponent invades, the first player can build a surrounding wall as the second (invader) is forming a live group, thus exerting strong influence on a large area.) After that, standard sequences (Joseki) can be used to develop corner positions, and extensions along the side can be made. Usually, the center area is kept empty the longest. Plays are usually on the third or fourth line—the second makes too little territory, while the fifth is too easily undermined by a play on the third. A play on the fourth line is directed more towards influence to the center, a play on the third line more towards making territory along the side.

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