Help for a complete noob

Hi all,

I have been threatening to learn go for a number of years and today for my Birthday my wife finally got me a board.

I have been trying to get to grips with the basics of eyes, two eyes etc.

However, I am stuck on what I can only imagine is because I lack the parlance to articulate what I am confused about!

Here is an image that I will try to explain:

Let’s say that black captured the territory in the corner of the board prior to white being in that area of the board at all. A silly example but just to illustrate of course. As I understand the rules, unless white can get two eyes in that territory so it is impossible for black to play, then black will claim all of that territory at the end of the game. Is this correct?

In this rather silly example, white has managed to surround completely the black player. Does that mean that all of this territory is now white or still black?

In the second example, and this is where I am going to sound even sillier I have a second image:

In this example, both white and black have taken roughly half of the board each. What decides which half belongs to which color? Is it that there are two eyes? In an even more contrived example, lets pretend both players had straight lines down the board with no eyes. How is this then decided?

The reason I ask is that during my first game with my wife we descended into arbitrarily joining lines that split whole sections of the board.

I apologise for the rather long post but I am not sure how to approach learning this stuff yet. If there is a resource to read would be great to know.

Many thanks!

I’d be happy to give you a teaching game sometime if you’re interested. As for your two questions, the first one, the black has ‘territory’ but also there are weaknesses in the shape so depending on who has the next move white can either kill black, or black can live

for the second question, thee territory is decided with the area inside the colors shape. So black would have the left, and white the right. the big thing to learn is what life is. the two eye part is important, and once you learn what is alive, you can see what’s also dead, and then possible ways to kill a group. If a group on the board has no way to invade it and enough space for two eyes, then it is alive with territory.

… hope that helps a little. might try this to help learn the basics


Hi and welcome to OGS. :slight_smile: I’ll try to address each question.

1st image. Yes, you are basically correct. Let’s define territory. Territory means the empty points that are completely encircled (orthogonally) only by stones of one color. Applying this definition to the image, there are 11 empty points that are completely encircled only by black stones. Thus, if the game were to end there, it would be Black’s territory.

It is not White’s territory because none of the empty points “reach” any white stones. Also, White has not surrounded the black stones completely, just on one side. If White wants to capture anything, White has to play on all sides (orthogonally) of the Black stones. That means inside as well as outside.

Second image. Applying the territory definition above, the 28 empty points on the left that are completely encircled only by black stones are Black’s territory. Similarly, the 27 empty points on the right that are completely encircled only by white stones are White’s territory. It is not necessary to form two distinct eye spaces to be considered territory.


Thanks man and appreciate all the links you sent.

I think some study is in order to begin to understand what I need to learn!

Thanks Mark!

Great insight and advice. I appreciate you taking the time to answer all the points.

I am going to study a bit more and get some board time before posting again. It is a crazy cool game. It feels as much philosophical as it is strategic. i

Thanks again!


I have the same board. :slight_smile: