Do I Have Sente?

I am in a study game right now. My understanding of Sente is somewhat loose. As far as I understand it, having Sente means that your opponent is in a position where they must respond to a threat of yours, or suffer a direct consequence for ignoring the threat. They are robbed of the opportunity to play where they wish without a direct correlating punishment.

Here is a picture of the board and an excerpt of the text I shared in game. I am playing White. I was hoping someone could comment on the situation, so I can then pass that information on with certainty.

Excerpt From Chat Log

Mulsiphix: At this point I imagine you are fearful of me playing at D7, G6, B5, and G4. All of these moves would allow me to undermine your shape, structure, and territory. I’m not sure if this counts as being in Sente or not. You don’t HAVE to respond to any given move at this point. Yet you are experiencing the pressure to respond to my threats, therefore robbing you of the safety of making a move wherever you like. That sounds like Sente, but I don’t know if this qualifies.

Well the whole usage of sente is somewhat loose :smiley:

"To have sente" - we usually mean not feeling the pressure of responding locally to the last opponent’s move and having the freedom of playing wherever we want.

"A sente move" - is what we call a move we excpect, the opponent to answer locally - as it would be too disadvantageous to allow you another move in that area. Basically thinking it is the biggest move on the board currently.

But as the saying goes “a move is only sente, if the opponent agrees”. There are never any assurances :slight_smile:

I am not quite sure which of the players (you or the opponent) wrote the text, so not sure whose perspective to talk about. I would kind of expect black to push and cut now, in which case the White move was technically sente (black answered locally) - but kind of feels weird to say it in that situation (and on 9x9 where almost every move is local). The term is much more common on 19x19 I think.


You have sente, when its your turn and there is no local threat you need to address, meaning you have time to evaluate the board and steer the game in a direction you think favours you.
Likewise, a move (or sequence) can be sente, when you are quite sure your opponent will have to answer it directly, giving you sente afterwards.

the board in question isnt really about sente imo, but about bad shape ^^


Whoops. I am playing White in this study game. I’ve updated the original post with a game link and added my name to the chat log excerpt.


Do you think both players have bad shape? White’s shape in the top half of the board is pretty awful, but the bottom portion seems pretty great. Black is seriously in danger of getting sandwiched IMO. Leela thinks White has a 37% or so chance of winning, which I cannot understand :thinking:.

As the game is in progress (though unranked and I assume teaching game) I do not really feel too comfortable talking about it in great detail (maybe I am just too sensitive though)…

Maybe we can wait until the game is over? But since you already analyzed with Leela, yes I would also rather have Black (though I am by no means an authority on 9x9) :smiley:

Perhaps you are right AdamR. I hadn’t really thought about that. As a study style teaching game I didn’t worry about it, since the point was only to study and learn. If you take a look at the chat log we both pretty much talk out loud, walking each other through how we are evaluating the board as we go along. There is nothing I could gain here that I wouldn’t share over there, as long as it was relevant to studying. I’ve already shared a link to this thread in the chat log, to ensure full disclosure :blush:.

Its whites shape that is bad (though black isnt golden either). with thin shape like that it doesnt matter that black is kindamaybeifatall surrounded. black will win any fight that breaks out.

anyway, we should wait until the game is over to analyse more :slightly_smiling_face:.

Yeah I shot myself in the foot on Turn 8. I could have played at F5 (as in the image below), but instead chose to play at E3 instead. ~smacks forehead~ Whoops! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Good call guys. I will let you know when it concludes. Thank you so much for your help this morning :wink:.


Your move is sente if you are secretly hoping that they will ignore it.

Your move is gote if you are secretly hoping that they will respond.


I like this!

Regarding your gote sentence, if they respond, do you now have Sente?

It depends on the response move - if it’s gote, then you have sente now. The proverbs also apply from the opponent’s point of view of course :slight_smile:


This from a 6kyu perspective. Looking at the board, black needs to; a. take either the top white group, b. build the left side while attacking top and bottom white groups. Since there is the option of plan b. the move is not definitely sente. (moves like f8 that threatens d8, or g3 that threatens d2 might be plausible for b)

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