Life / Death situation

I came upon this situation. Now if black would have played B8 at this point, would it have been possible to create Seki or capture the white group? I thought about it for a while and didn’t at least yet come up with a solution - maybe white just lives.

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Good question! :grin:

I don’t know the answer. I tried reading it but I’m a bit tired now so not really getting anywhere. Looks like something might be possible though…

After black B8 I checked white answers at E9 or C8 or A8 or B9

White looks dead, there is even not a ko to grasp.


After black B8 the only move for white to avoid being entirely killed is C8. It leads to a seki.

I’m pretty sure that’s the case if there’s an extra black stone at G7. Without it I still think so but less confident.

Yes true. Life on seki. Needs careful reading, only one way!

Without G7 white E9 can aim a placement at G8 but this doesn’t give white second eye so still seki.

Thank you very much for the replies.

I have quite big trouble with these corner situations, I feel it might even be the biggest thing setting me back right now.

Like, I can link to one of my games here, where my top right corner was taken (at move 198):

And I just wonder how I was supposed to have seen that. Now you could reply, by carefully reading it all out. But at first look I just think: Big territory, can’t possibly be only 1 move removed from dying.

Any tips about that?

Until you lose all the liberties outside it’s usually safe. When time comes that you only left with one, and got some weaknesses like a few opponents stones inside, a free vital point, cutting points… Then time to check.
There are different ways to kill from inside, one is to create a nakade, a dead shape, which induce first to reduce a bit that inner space to not get a seki instead. Another one is to get a chain with more liberties (by threatening connection with outside, cutting points and peep…)and win the semeai, which induce a different attitude to not reduce this inner space. Last thing to care is the lack of liberties of your different groups which can deny you the capture of some of the invader stones.

Besides, as always, tsumego and gaming experiences

The following vital point is important to know:


That said, you had a better response than the game move:

There is no easy way. Practice tsumego and read carefully during the game.

Thanks a lot; keeping an eye on outside liberties is already one great tip.
And of course looking for vital points; which I think I can kind of intuitively recognize with some accuracy.

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Ok, hope this is not a too stupid reply, but in your demo answer, you call the white group dead:

But this looks like a Ko to me; black plays D9, White captures, and then black needs a ko threat to win. Correct ?

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This variation is seki if It’s white turn (w D9) and if white don’t play D9 then both players can force a ko. (unfavorable for white)Well i didn’t check very well because in the next post we found a way to live with white C8 (thanks @terrific ) but i left how to kill sequences if white play another move as C8.
There are various variation there but my final conclusion was that only C8 makes life on seki. So here, in this dia you post, black should kill (and indeed made a bad choice before in the variation you checked)
If white play E9 first then variation 1-1 kills.
If white play A8 first then variation dead 3 kills
If white play B9 first then variation dead 4 kills
If white play C8 black cannot kill, It’s seki.
(Variation seki or seki2)