Tsumego Puzzles

I’ve been going through beginner puzzles in the Tsumego Pro app. I’ve gotten pretty good at winning capture races via throw-ins, finding the right ataris, and forcing my opponent to take moves that reduce his liberties.

What I’m terrible at are life/death puzzles where you need to find the critical spot that makes eyes. Especially when there is a wide open area that needs to be turned into eyes. What are some tips for narrowing down your search for the right next move to create life or your opponent’s such next move so you can block it?

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Reduce the eyespace to its minimal state, ideally to shapes you know how to kill, e.g.:
6 (hanaroku)
5 (bulky five, cross)
4 (dumpling, L, hat)
3 (stick, triangle)

Overview of killable shapes.


Hope something in here is helpful :blush:


Trying to visualize where a killable eye shape can be forced has helped for a few puzzles. Take a look at this board I created. https://online-go.com/demo/view/392202 The review section walks through five “easy” puzzles where I just don’t see how one would know to zero on on the correct next moves. In each case black moves next. What is your thought process for any of these puzzles?

shrugs Somewhat unusual request but I gave it a shot.

Thanks! Your bulky 5 for the first one is spot on.

For the second one, I agree that probing the cutting points is where I’d start, but B15 is the only move that kills. Is there anything that would make you think that B15 would be a promising start?

No, I wouldn’t start with a “fancy” move. You resort to fancy moves once the most likely candidates turn out to not work.

My tsumego heuristics: 1) shape points (space dividers) 2) atari/cuts 3) eyespace reduction 4) tesuji

You only have limited time, so you shouldn’t look for tesuji first.

Once you figure out that the ‘most appealing’ moves don’t work, look for moves which make miai of two spots or lead to damezumari, etc. This is because in a real game, you are unlikely to recognize right away that there is an unintuitive play that works. You are, however, quite likely to find out upon inspection whether regular moves fail.

You could argue that eyespace reduction should be no.1 though. Personal preference. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯