Stopping space-invading "snakes"? (15kyu looking for insights!)

Hi All,

I find I’m regularly running into situations in which fully connected “snakes” (a line of stones that are fully connected to otherwise safe groups) break my lines and start invading my territory. Are there “best practices” for stopping those kind of snakes? (besides not letting them in in the first place?)

Example: my best attempt is at Move 104 here, though seems like this comes up a lot.


I think the situation was made worse by your move 91, where black was forced to turn into your territory. Playing move 91 at O6 may have helped.

In general, snakes, or dragons often occur when an opponent’s group is running because it is weak. In that case, you can often profit by steering the group around the board (not always). What to do about a healthy snake problem when it is running into your territory? Try to anticipate whether trying to seal it in will do anything useful. If not, play lightly to gain sente, then tenuki to another part of the board. If your opponent presses with the snake, your light moves should be able to prevent further damage.


Thanks @majamin!

Interesting re: 91. Hadn’t thought about that. Better to let him connect but bound him in? I’ll think about that.

Re: playing lightly: ok, good idea. Is move 104 fit that bill?

@JSeaTurtle Yes, I think 104 light. This is the idea: don’t attach directly, and try to build soft connections. If Black really insists on pushing the snake through, try to profit elsewhere as he wastes slow moves (after all, most of the damage has already been done; move on and focus on other parts of the board).

However, with the head poking into your territory already, very difficult to defend “on all fronts”. This is a case for “preventative” measures to be taken! (again, 91 as I mentioned, or similar). I left a comment and variation as a possible continuation in your game. Although my moves are not light, they are pressing a bit more because black can only push so hard.


Great, thanks @majamin!

I found the term “Squeezing out the toothpaste” very helpful, it really sticks to the mind. :slight_smile:
majamin explained 91 better than i could :+1:

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Another way to look at this problem is a conflict between strategy and tactics. (I had the same exact problem for a long time)

Around move 88, your fighting tactics kick in (“I can kill these stones”). However, in doing so, you forgot to consider your whole board strategy (“I’m building a moyo in the bottom left”) In this case, the moyo > dead stones, so you got a bad result.

Don’t be afraid to sacrifice small groups if what you gain in return is better! And, as majamin points out, playing at a distance from your opponent’s stones is often better than directly attaching to them.

I left a review that shows what I mean. Take a look and let me know if you have any questions!


I left a few comments early in the game, but the ones addressing your question starts at move 80

@Swabby8 Thanks! And you’re surely right about the mistake at 88. :slight_smile: That’s obviously the first thing I need to work on, just also trying to figure out what to do AFTER that kind of mistake to recover! :slight_smile:

Thanks. Learned a lot from your review.

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