Who's better in this position?


Just reading-with-my-mouse it looks like white has the ladder if that is the question… white gets to play at the head of the three black stones which usually would free black from the ladder, but white’s low stone blocks the escape so then white plays at the head of his two stones driving the ladder back down towards the right side. Or so it seems as I squint at it :slight_smile:

What? I’ve spent a while looking at that and I just can’t see how White could capture. :neutral_face:

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I don’t think the ladder works. So, it’s interesting that white has already played it out that far.

The bottom-left is in seki, but the stability of that seki depends on black’s group on the left surviving. Maybe playing out the broken ladder further puts some more stones in that area in order to ensure that black’s left side group cannot survive?

@S_Alexander, what is the context/source of the game position? I cannot read Japanese.


Here is a demo board:

A famous broken-ladder game:


I don’t even play 19x19 yet, but it seems that Black is ahead to me. If the ladder continues to play out, Black will win the ladder race by placing a stone at D14. Black can then follow up by placing a stone at D2 in order to secure victory in the bottom left corner.

Sure there is a lot of game left for White to develop territory on the right side of the ladder, but it seems Black will have quite the lead on territory ownership of the board at that point. Thank you @yebellz for the demo board. It was very helpful to me :hugs:.

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Ah - I missed where black’s stone gets played at C13 - somehow I visualised the white stone at B13 blocking it, but actually the white stone is at B14. #ddkreadingskills


Whose turn is it?

This question emerged within the chat inside the demo board.

All of my previous analysis and discussion was based on the assumption that it was white’s turn. However, @S_Alexander is arguing that it could potentially be black’s turn.

I believe it is white’s turn since there is what appears to be an ongoing ladder where it would be white’s turn to play.

Due to an unknown number of previous captures and handicap stones, one cannot say for certain.

I recreated the game as best I could. Still not right, but hopefully close. It’s Black to move in my demo.

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What is the source of this game? Is it not possible to find out?

The source appears to be a tweet of a photo, with a caption in Japanese. I cannot read Japanese so I cannot tell you more. I asked @S_Alexander above if he might know, since he shared it.

Google translate:

What are your insights on the game? Why do you think white played out that broken ladder? Is black’s left-side group already dead as is? It looks like he might have trouble making it escape, but with my limited reading ability I can’t decide for certain that he’s dead as is.

I shared a variation at move 105 in your demo board. If black’s left side group is dead, then maybe it seems like white’s gambit of playing out the broken ladder may have been a trick play that happened to work out (but could have been refuted with the variation that I shared)?

I did try Google translate, but I feel like something is being lost in translation with “change figure of Adachi VS first battle”. Also, I’m not familiar with who this account might belong to, which might provide helpful context as well. Maybe @S_Alexander would know since he first found and shared it?

The game reminds me of Lee Sedol’s famous ladder game, where he played out a broken ladder (two, actually) to get a single move to reverse the status of an important local situation.

It’s the same thing here. Before the ladder started, lower left White and Black were in seki. In particular, temporary seki. It other words, the seki is contingent on the upper black stones living. I’m not at all confident that my position before starting the ladder is right, but White started the ladder to gain an extra move against that black group, killing it and ending the seki. The result is that White captured every single black stone in the lower left quadrant of the board in exchange for a huge loss in the center from the broken ladder. It’s quite a trade.


From the original position, if we assume that it is black’s turn, is his left-side group immediately dead?

I guess black might see the problem at this point and then try to escape. I think one variation has black’s left-side group escaping at the cost of sacrificing the stones in the ladder. Or at this point, can white still force their plan of killing black’s left group to break the temporary seki. I shared some variations in your demo board.

Are you referring to this game? I was also reminded of that (and shared the link above).

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Yes, that’s the game. And yes, it wouldn’t be a very interesting position if White didn’t kill. See the variation I added to my demo.

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This translation is a little unfortunate. The sentence says that this is a variation from a game (battle) between Adachi (安達, presumably Adachi Toshimasa 6p) and Ichiriki (一力, presumably Ichiriki Ryou 8p, whose name literally means first power). Waltheri has only two games between them (although they are under the name of “Adachi Toashimasa”, presumably a typo), neither of which looks remotely like this board.

They have 8 games between them, on Go4Go, but none of those resemble this board either.

It’s the account from the Nihon Kiin, the Japanese go association. They invite a go player each week to write tweets. This week it’s Hirata Tomoya 7p who’s writing the tweets.

I’ve reached to Tomoya Hirata asking for a kifu and he replied with this:
This is likely the sequence. As it looks like, White is clearly leading.

I’ve created an updated demo board below:

(I did my best when it came to the captures, but corrections are welcome in case you notice I’ve done something absurd.)

Have at it. :slight_smile:


Thank you for getting this.

  1. The position is slightly different from the photograph.
  2. I wonder how the game continued.