Centre Board Strategy Question

Hi all,

I’m pretty new to Go, having just gotten into it really in the past two months. For the most part, I’m trying to learn by playing. I’m starting to get a handle on 9x9 and 13x13, but the part of the game I find most confusing is the mid-late game in 19x19 matches.

Generally, my strategy is to surround my opponent, allowing them to capture stones so long as I can force them to close the potential eye right after. The goal here is to force the opponent to make a giant block of stones that, eventually, I can capture by not allowing him/her to create two eyes.

For example, here is a recent game where I did as much: https://online-go.com/game/6723960

I made an error at move 240, where I should have played p13 rather than q14, which ultimately lost me the game. Up until then, I thought I had a secure victory.

My question is whether this is a valid strategy, or only something that can be reasonably done in double digit kyu, or not at all. It seems that you have to keep a very close eye on all the possible variations to ensure your opponent can’t make eyes, but it also seems like a good way to capture large swathes of territory by sacrificing some stones.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Why was move 240 an error? Seems like you should’ve played N12 instead of H11. The huge black group at O9 still only has one eye after N12, P14, P15 (see variation).

Exactly. Whatever works is fine, but your technique creates many cutting points so you can’t afford to fall one move behind. In your case, I think black could easily have won the game at move 235 but made a big mistake with T12. Playing S11 at move 227 also looked good enough for black. I posted two variations (it’s complicated).

Keep in mind that most of the time you don’t need to kill to win. Just keeping black in a confined space (like you did in the top right) is enough.

1 Like

In general: yes, your approach is most often correct. First surround the opponent, restrict all their escapes, and only then think about their eyes. However…

Go is not at all about capturing groups. Rather, your goal should be to dominate and surround the largest open spaces on the board, turning into the most points. To play in an already overcrowded area, as both you and your opponent often do, is inefficient.

I highly recommend that you look at some professional’s games to see what their moves look like. You can find such games in Go magazines and on the internet, e.g. here.

You can learn more in the Beginner Study Section of Sensei’s Library. Just skip the first 5 or 6 headers. And a very specific piece of advice: in the future, please Attack From A Distance :slight_smile:

Do not attempt to learn Go entirely on your own. Get someone else to teach you. Ideally, you can find other players at a Go club in your local area.

Good luck!


Thank you for the attack from a distance advice… That seems like a much better way of doing it. I’ll be sure to implement that from now on!