Articles from Sensei's Library

Would you like to link to interesting SL articles but don’t know where to put them?

Then this is the thread for you~

See also Do you contribute to Sensei's Library?

Here’s one I stumbled on just now: Bill Spight's Elf Positional Judgment Exercises at Sensei's Library


What’s the threshold for interesting? This description of the covers of the Get Strong At Go series has stuck in my mind ever since I read it a long long time ago, something about the matter of fact description amused me:

The covers all have pictures of angry warriors. Some of them are throwing a goban, some of them are standing on it. The stones are all over the floor.

Somehow I encountered this page back before many of these would have made any real sense to me, but I still found the list of parodies amusing too

As for actually interesting pages… I recently found this page to be a good jumping off point to some others: What Actions the Stones Are Doing

Some of these I had never heard before: Blighting, Inducing, …


These article lists are SL’s version of Quick positions or Questions that don’t deserve their own thread. They’ve been receiving response since the 2000s.


Go news 2005-15.

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This other thread about studying life and death shapes [Study Group] Essential Life and Death Patterns is quite like a curated list of Sensei’s Library articles focusing on essential life and death patterns

I found this page about fractional eyes quite interesting:

It’s based on a paper which (roughly speaking) applies the methods of combinatorial game theory on eyes instead of points. The results are surprisingly simple and quite applicable in real game situations (although the presentation on Sensei’s might give the impression that it’s simpler than it actually is, since some pathological cases are omitted).


Iwamoto Kaoru on SL

Link to his supreme “go for beginners” book included.

Dedicated discussion of the “Big Cross” opening at BQM69 at Sensei's Library

Questions about basic Japanese, especially for Go.

JBQM 2 at Sensei's Library (2004-5) addresses the etymology of mochikomi, which I was discussing last night with @Gooplet. To quote:

Mochikomi is an invasion which is a total failure - no redeeming features.

持ち込む - (mochikomu) (…) mochi comes from motu, to carry

The feeling for mochikomi is someone bringing you a gift.

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BQM 492 at Sensei's Library 2012-15 discussion of this “trick move” in the Kobayashi:


The supposed trick move had, in fact, already been played professionally at least four times.

  1. Han–Kong 2003
  2. Tan–Nie 2008
  3. Kanazawa–Takeda 2008
  4. Ida–Okuda 2009

and was played once later, in Kim–Lee 2016.

It’s clearly a sideline, but it feels a little harsh to call it a trick.


Go Seigen’s comments on shoulderhitting the keima (or “small”) orthodox system.

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I love that others in this discussion that you linked brought up rice cakes when confronted with the word “mochi”… My honest thought when you first used the term was “oh, this must mean ‘free points? om nom nom tasty treat’” :joy:



Strong players almost never play this way.

Something for the OP of a variants general thread, if one is ever made.

Some of the listed variants are:


A long study diary written by a teenager from 2004 to 2006.

Here are some quotes that I found interesting.

4/09/04– … So this is my recomendation for those who are experiencing these sorts of blocks. Look at external factors. You may just have to accept that you have higher priorities than Go right now and that as a result you are going to have to accept a certain amount of stagnation in your game. Also look at things like sugar, caffeine, or for smokers nicotine consumption. Do these things affect your ability to concentrate effectively? When you have done all you can about that I would recommend looking at some key area of the game you just don’t understand as well as you would like. Pick something that seems interesting. I often seem to get more out of following up on my interests than by studying what someone else tells me I need to even if they are dead on in their criticism or advice. Study that thing until you can say you have a substantially different understanding of that topic and how it relates to the game as a whole.

5/10/04– …It seems to me there are a variety of such losses. First there’s the ones where I make a mistake in the very very endgame but it’s one that costs me a group or something. Secondly there are the ones where I fight my heart out only to realize it wasn’t good enough and no matter how hard I search my memoryI can’t figure out how I could have played it better and there seems no hope for improvement. Thirdly there are ones like this one where it is very back and forth and yet in the end I believe I am winning only to find out it wasn’t as good as it looked. Lastly there are the humiliating ones where from the beginning my opponent has sente and the game rapidly becomes so lopsided I begin to make bad mistakes just out of dejection.

5/17/04– I’m thinking tonight more about the idea of what it takes to win. I think as I said in the last entry a lot of times I don’t seem to want to win. Tonight I sat there looked at a move that was clearly a bad move, no subtlety involved and played it anyway. It wasn’t a mouse mistake or clicko either. (…) I wonder if there should be something you are fighting for. Not in any literal sense maybe, or maybe so. Maybe just pride. Perhaps I should give up the game of go.

5/28/04– Well so much for my protestations and self doubt. I continue to play the game regardless and yes enjoy it. (…) Maybe go is a healthy way to vent anger. You can be as ruthless and destructive as you want on the board and as long as you can be civil in actual conversation there are no consequences. (…) [Go] is much more like business then it is like war. For example chess is very much like war. You try to kill the other player’s pieces, you try to checkmate the king, but mostly defeat is complete. In the end there is one victor one loser. This isn’t really true in go. Winner loser yes. But I think the most progress I have made in the game has come from not letting the small defeats in games prevent me from keeping on. You cannot prevent the opponent from scoring something. The way to victory is to score more.

5/28/04– Today I want to write a little bit about the big wins. (…) Firstly there are the crushing victories when you simply outlclass your opponent. Today I had one. I won by over a hundred points playing white with .5 komi against someone ranked one kyu lower than me. It in some sense is not the greatest form of big win as it is clearly in some sense an uneven match. Partly in this game I just separated a large group of stones. These are good to atleast remind me I have improved and I am not the lowest creature on the food chain. Secondly come my favorites. The hard fought .5 or 1 point wins. I have had several of these on KGS or IGS. I am not good at estimating the score so it is always something of a surprise when a game is counted up. There is something very satisfying in knowing that if you had given up even one more minor endgame point you would have lost. Knowing that basically I was stretched to my maximum and every move counted. Lastly are the fighting spirit games. Back and forth contests where you are both up and behind by a lot at various points. It is a lot of fun to come back after a big local loss and make it up somewhere else, not giving into the temptation to break down. I had a league game this last winter like this. These are the ones that truly feel deserved. Such are the ups and downs of go!

7/04/04– Happy Times! I won my first eight stone game against one of the 1kyu’s at my Friday night club.

7/06/04– Resigned as an assistant on KGS. Didn’t feel very comfortable with the authority especially in light of ambiguities in policy. WMS was very nice about it.

7/13/04– I think go is like sports in that there is that question as to how much of what makes a pro a pro is due to physical/genetic factors and how much of it is due to hard work. I like to think about the idea of turning pro. I tend to class my own thinking about it as fantasy but who knows if there were a web page out there to tell me how someone else did it maybe I would gain the hope to do it myself.

7/15/04– I have also been downloading some from the Collected games of Go Seigen collection at gobase. This is cool too though I tend to gloss over these games more, looking more for oddities like big kills, unusual corner plays, big ko fights etc. I can’t hope in some ways to get as much out of these as the commented games but hopefully they will help me with my analysis skills because I will be looking at games that are good examples. It’s extremely amazing to me to look at all the variations in the commented games. It’s almost as if most of the game were here. Both in the ones the players did see and the ones they didn’t. The cliche of the iceberg (used in Davies Tesuji for example) springs to mind.

7/16/04– I joined the Sabaki Go Club last night and had the most incredible welcome. I am now member #169. I have been assigned to House Hayashi.

7/25/04– Redid my homepage here and am feeling quite satisfied with the results. I think this is probably my best version. Otherwise I am still floundering in the low double digit kyu range. I know, I have promised not to worry about rank so much but it is hard not to sometimes. Looking at my first entry here doesn’t seem very helpful. Perhaps plateaus are a natural part of the learning curve and one shouldn’t invest too much energy in trying to “beat” them.

7/26/04– I think I am finally beginning to comprehend that there are four sides to a goban. And that it is symmetric in each of those directions.

8/03/04– I think I am beginning to understand how joseki lead to middle game positions. I have started to pick up enough joseki ideas that every once in a while I actually play one. It seems like the position I obtain as result is much better than before and I am beginning to see how you would actually be able to make a purposeful position that involved the whole board if you made the right sort of choices.

8/06/04– Joy! I finally got a copy of the English translation of Hikaru No Go! I felt like a kid at the comic shop with a feeling of real joy that it was in. I sat and read it all in one fell swoop and now I can’t wait till September when vol. 2 is supposed to come out. I really enjoyed it and am glad I finally caught up with this one. The only small point of dissatisfaction was the phrase “move of God”. I think they are referring to what I have seen translated here as “hand of God” which strikes me as a more apt and poetic translation. I really liked how seriously they treat the game and actually have real game set ups in the art work etc.

8/06/04– Investigating Murase Shuho at go base

8/11/04–I have just picked up a copy of The Protracted Game from my library and started reading it. One interesting thing I have noted is that this goes along with something Arthur Smith wrote in his book published in 1908. In comparing chess and go he makes the observation that chess resembles ancient warfare more with specific individuals who can make a big difference to the whole battle and the goal of capturing the king, whereas go is much more like modern warfare with lines of supply, and overall strategic maneuvering.

8/26/04–Another poker term I’ve been thinking about: “On Tilt” To me this means that if something goes wrong or I lose a game getting upset so that it affects my play in the rest of the game or the next game or even the next many games. Any one whose read a couple of entries here can see this is one of what I consider my biggest weaknesses as a go player (not to mention just plain lack of knowledge). I’ve been on kind of a winning streak lately. It seems to go that way for me. When I win I feel positive and little setbacks don’t affect me as much. I believe I can find a good move etc. I remember reading a book about chess by I.A. Horowitz. He talked about playing the person not the board. This seems like kind of a controversial idea as you will also hear people say the opposite. He wrote about his club where person A will almost always beat person B, and person B will almost always beat person C, but person C will almost always beat person A. It’s not about some absolute scale of power. Especially in a game as big as go where two players of equal strength don’t necessarily overlap in all or even most of their knowledge though of course there are fundamentals.

9/03/04– I’ve been studying the opening, both fuseki and joseki. If I remember rightly there’s a specific word for the two together. Either that or that the fuseki word is commonly misused. Any way that seems to be productive and hopefully will improve my game. Unfortunately I was unable to get into the Panda Net Amateur Championship tournament. I had to start a new account there 'cause I had lost my passwords but then even though I played over 40 games I wasn’t able to get the account rated in time. Maybe it’s for the best. I’ll probably never be a pro go player but philosopher yes as long as I pay attention in my classes. They definitely offer excitement of their own.

10/30/04–I am pleased to announce I did my first review for the Go Teaching Ladder this week. It was fun and I was happy to give back as I have gotten several awesome reviews there.

2/14/05– Not many chances for go, but have played a couple games with my girlfriend. : )

3/22/05–Well I have been playing and doing more go type stuff this semester despite not really having the time. On spring break I was in Minneapolis and got a chance to visit the Twin Cities Go Club that meets on Tuesday nights (it also meets several other days) at a coffee shop. I have nothing but good things to say about the club. The location was pleasant and the people were friendly. There were three games going on when I got there around 8 o’clock, and several observers. I was able to get two games and had a great time (1-1).

4/09/05–I won runner up at a small (8 players) go tournament at the Asian Culture Center at my school. The whole thing was very pleasant and good for go here I think. I’ve been playing against Gnugo a fair bit recently and have started winning a few games (on the easiest setting). I’ve also been thinking a little more seriously about the idea of go as a model for philosophy. Large groups, or moyos, etc. thought of like a philosophical position, and there being a variety of ways of approaching it. Specific sequences are like specific arguments. I think the analogy with math is basically not an analogy. Tesuji’s, for example, are like theorems in their general forms. This is because they are true deductively in the same sense as mathematical theorems. It really is math just a specific set of objects.

5/7/05–Well it’s summer time again. I have of course planned an ambitious daily regimen of 20 problem, reviewing 1 pro game, reading 5 reviews at GTL, playing 5 of my own, and reading one chapter from one of the go books I have accumulated and not read. I’ve been doing well in the last few days with the problems(goproblems .com makes that fun), I looked at a Lee Changho game today, I’m getting interested in him from some of the things I have read about his style here and other things I have read about his character. To be honest, though I have talked about the idea of style some here at SL as a concept, I am not very good at perceiving it except in some rudimentary ways (…) We’ll see, I will try to report how my study plans hold up

5/11/05–Well not so much luck with the study agenda. (…) I also lost internet at home. (i.e.: Neighbors with wireless moved out). As noted I have gotten interested in studying Lee Chang Ho’s games. (…) So I searched for games where the two have played. (Lee and Cho that is). I was pretty surprised gobase only contained one. That might be another error, but I guess I expected a lot. Any way that will give me a game for today.

6/04/05– right now I have an aching need for certain concepts. Because I have felt the pain of life without them I feel that helps me (gives me the right ?) to appreciate them more, because I have experienced the problems these concepts solve and I have gotten to the point where I understood well enough what it was that I lacked to go after obtaining it in a more serious way. That being said here are some ideas I have had recently. Fuseki is more important than joseki. Fuseki is truly the word/term that stands for all the things you want to accomplish with joseki. This is why all the books and pro’s etc. warn us beginners that it’s more important to understand the why of a joseki than the what. That is to say it’s more important to understand than to memorize. That being said, it’s quite clear that my total naive innocence of almost all joseki knowledge (save for the basic 3-3 invasion under the hoshi stone, and the joseki illustrated below) is a real problem.

7/12/05– I think I have been playing more consistently lately though I still find it quite frustrating that despite studying and practicing and trying to focus more in my games, the ones I lose are over things that feel preventable. An example of a fairly common type of mistake for me here is to have a group where I feel there are some weaknesses in the wall going into the endgame but that I do not defend, often because I am feeling kind of proud about being well in the lead. Then my opponent finds a weakness in my wall and exploits it to make a huge kill and reverse the lead. These types of errors seem frustrating to me because they seem stupid in comparison to the rest of the game. I don’t mean to slight my opponents (well maybe a little : ) it’s just that it seems these losses are more a result of lack of thought on my part than genuinely being outthought. That is it feels like I lost the game rather than that they won it.

7/23/05 – Go is noted for it’s immensity of variations in any situation. This is a significant part of what makes it difficult to write computer programs that can play go well. Because of this it seems that in most situations (meaning large scale for the most part), particularly in the opening, there are a variety of ways to play that can be called successful strategies, as well as there being the same for the opponent. Because of this it seems that one cannot plan too rigorously. (…) Usually we think of style as something specific. We say a player has a territorial style, or we talk about Takemiya’s Cosmic style. However, Sakata in his book Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go talks about this concept in a more general way. In the broadest sense then we can talk about playing good shape or staying connected or other such general proverbs of style. These are just points which without reference to the specific situation can generally said to be good. Obviously, as we all repeat ad infinitum you must always look at the specifics. The point however is that this good style isn’t so much related to a specific sequence but is more related to the general maximization of possibility for a player. Thickness for example is also much like this, as well as kikashi. They are valuable not because there is necessarily a specific sequence spelled out which requires them but because they raise the general probability of success in that area.

7/23/05– I have started trying to develop a mathematical theory of go treating the game as an abstract space and then trying to talk about the abstract structures of and in this space. Basically I would describe the project as trying to use abstract algebra to try to construct a model of the game.

10/8/05– Definitely not enough time for go right now.

1/14/06–Well, I certainly haven’t been spending much time here lately. (…) I really feel that the reviews I have done have helped my game. I’ve been hanging at about the 14+/13 k level which is ok for me. I am advancing, albeit slowly. I have been playing on IGS exclusively recently. I kind of felt like KGS was getting kind of commercialized, and real social with a lot of sex chat and stuff. On the other hand, it was pretty neat in some ways the different stuff they were doing with streaming video lessons and a lot of small clubs giving lessons on schedules. For some reason I’ve just felt more comfortable at IGS lately. Maybe I will pop in to KGS just to see what’s going on, if it isn’t exclusively for customers with good credit by now!

3/21/06–Ok, now my report has to do with NYC go. I don’t claim it’s an exhaustive but here’s my experiences. I got the names of some places to play before I went from the AGA site. I don’t have much opportunity to play live where I’m from so I was excited about being in the big city where I would be able to, not to mention that I was on break so I would have the time and energy. I’ve been playing on IGS and have been doing pretty well moving up to the top of 13k/13+ range. I played first at the Manhattan go club. This was a little bit less polished than I expected because this place theoretically has Nihon Kiin affiliation. It was friendly but apparently has fallen on somewhat hard times. I only visited once though so I can’t say for sure but this is the report of the “locals” also. I found a player that was about my rank (luckily as he was one of the quite few people there) and we played several very enjoyable games. I also had a very interesting conversation that touched on some of my writings here. They had plenty of boards and books and journals in several languages including english. It’s easy to get to and quite friendly, a good place to start playing go while visiting the big apple. Fee is $7 to play and hang out for as long as you can and they are open.

Secondly I went out to Flushing. Flushing seemed pretty safe and there were plenty of police around, including a police station right near the go clubs. I will give the address because at the other address I had I was met with a very unpleasant attitude. This was a Friday night and I had already been to the other place out here and had had a very positive experience, so I was prepared to have a good time, and found the new address just a couple of blocks away. I went in and asked for “wei chi” because that was how the club identified itself on the web. At the other place I used the word “baduk” because that is how they described themselves on the web. Now I don’t know if I used an unintentional tone of voice or spoke in a rudely curt manner, either is possible. But the girl pointed to a guy sitting at a table, and he proceeded to make it pretty clear I wasn’t welcome on any terms there. I tried to work the situation out for a minute, then just decided I would head back to the other club.

This club is at 36-18 Union St. This is a Korean club. The atmosphere is different than the Manhattan place because that one seems more geared to Americans. There’s no smoking there and english is the lingua franca. Here, there is almost no english spoken, though the players are friendly and willing to offer tips and lessons of kinds. There is also smoking and drinking here which may appeal to people or not. There is something of a men’s club atmosphere, but as I say, I felt welcome and was treated respectfully. The players here are quite strong and they don’t mind showing it. They mopped the floor with me, giving me several stone handicaps. There is also betting on the games, though I was only invited to bet once and it was totally ok that I didn’t want to. I enjoyed the time here the most and had a really great night the second time I came after trying the place above, playing baduk till 7 in the morning with a couple hour break to eat at the 24 hour Korean restaurant downstairs. The fee here is also $7. Baduk makes good friends.

3/28/06 Watched the 2nd Judan title match the other night. Pretty exciting stuff. I thought it was particularly cool that after the first 30 moves or so, even dan level kibitzers were saying stuff like “this isn’t a joseki, it’s death for black!” Then the really amazing thing, a few moves later it looks even bleaker and they started claiming one of the players misread the situation. There are these two small black groups that look totally insecure, like little rabbits under a rock slide, and then 15 moves later, it looks totally the reverse.

4/8/06 Well, I’m a little disappointed about Cho’s loss in the third game of the Judan. I’m becoming a Cho Chikun fan.

4/17/06 Go Cho! Congratulations on defending the Judan title.

4/23/06 Right now I would like to think of myself as working on trying to play thick without playing unbearably slow. I think the key to this still has to be found in finding the biggest moves. But the ability to make meaningful sense of these kinds of things seems to necessitate a deeper understanding of how parts of the position relate to other parts. How the orientation and height of various groups imply that some moves are better than other. I also think I need to work on getting more out of pincer joseki because I basically hate them. I don’t like fighting too much because it seems too complicated. I can read out different options but they don’t ever seem to mean much compared to the actuality of what happens so mostly I just keep playing the most intuitive move hoping that at some point I will have some kind of breakthrough or develop a feel for fighting.

8/16/06 I think I realized I am not such a horrible person at strategy games, it’s just go is very complicated. It’s very difficult to know what to think about and when to think about it in go because there is so much going on. I guess a lot of times I have felt like I just don’t know where to begin, what part of the game to learn, and then, it never really seems so simple as learning any one piece because they are all so complicated.

As for the author, Nathan Austin, I don’t know how active he still is in Go. He is probably the owner of the OGS account which was created in late 2015 and has no games. Perhaps he’s even long-time active US-flagged player Nathan although that’d be an off-chance.

I’d be interested to know whether his IGS or KGS accounts are still in use, or if anyone’s seen him on Sensei’s Library lately.

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((5) connects at the capture)


This article is about wedging into the orthodox at the point where a low Chinese side stone would be.

Wedging like this is a very rare professional idea. Here’s a rundown of its play:

Game Result
Sometani–Shuko '54 B+6.5
Mukai–Shinohara '63 W+0.5
Park–Yoo '08 B+0.5
Terayama–Kim '09 B+R
Luo–Yun '09 W+1.5
Yuki–Takemiya '09 B+R
Anzai–Yamashita '10 W+R

One of the more obscure six-move branches. With the declining popularity of the keima orthodox in hypermodern Go, we may never see it in professional tournament play again, or not for many years.

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Go Places in the USA

There are many versions of this directory extending back to 2002, which probably makes it a good resource for studying the history of American social Go in the 21st century.

old versions

GoDiscussions discusses online Go history:

GoDiscussions .com was a moderated English language go discussion forum on the Internet. It ran successfully for several years before closing down due to a lack of maintenance. It was replaced in early 2010 by Life in, a site set up by the GoDiscussions community, and the GoDiscussions .com domain was allowed to lapse in July 2010.

In comparison this forum, ofc, was founded in 2014 on the third-party software Discourse.

The “ugly descent”.

This semeai tactic famously occurs twice in the inward turn line of the ōnadare (large avalanche) joseki.