Basic Instinct

  Difficulty: Introductory   Keywords: MiddleGame

Go is a game of tactics and strategy. There are, however some basic techniques that in itself require no reading or positional judgment, but which make a fundamental part of good play.

We will list these techniques here, and call them basic instincts. Below, we will elaborate them further or refer to other pages where they are elaborated.

Many basic instincts have been immortalized as proverbs.

Table of contents Table of diagrams
Atari -> extension
Tsuke -> hane
Head of two stones -> hane
Kosumi-tsuke -> stretch
Diagonal block
Diagonal block (ii)
Diagonal block (iii)
[Peep] -> connect
Thrust -> block
Bump --> stretch

Introduction

How to use your Basic Instinct

In all cases, the suggested move is the first move one should think of. They are natural moves. If this move seems to bring no bad result, then it is highly probable that this is the best move. Of course, there are always exceptions, but investigating other options first is likely to be inefficient usage of the brain. See Basic Instinct Counterexample or Basic Instinct Counterexample2.

Advantages

The advantage of knowing the Basic Instinct is twofold:

  • You increase the probability of finding the best move
  • You reduce time and mental effort in finding it

List of the Basic Instincts

From an atari, extend

[Diagram]
Atari -> extension  

A stone in atari can usually increase its liberties by extending. This is basic instinct.


Reasons

  • Increasing liberties. Even if the stone cannot be saved, extending can give you free moves on the outside as your opponent needs more time and stones to capture yours. See "Add A Second Stone And Sacrifice Both" for more.
  • The stone is important: giving it up gives White a ponnuki or worse, influencing the whole area.
  • The stone is a cutting stone; saving it allows you to split the opponent's groups apart.

Exceptions

  • The stone is caught in a ladder or a net. Extending only increases the loss or destroys aji. Basically: when increasing liberties is not possible.
  • The stone is not important enough to save: it represents merely two points.

Answer the tsuke with a hane

[Diagram]
Tsuke -> hane  

Tsuke means stone played next to an opponent stone, while disconnected from any friendly stone. The hane blocks it, bending around it.


Reasons

  • Decreases liberties of opponent stone
  • Blocks development of opponent stone into that direction

Exceptions

  • When the cutting point (at a) left by the hane is cumbersome
  • When the opponent is seeking sabaki and aims for a counter-hane or a cross-cut
  • In either of these cases, you should generally stretch (e.g. at a)

If one considers the hane and stretch below the two stones as well, there are generally 4 reasonable responses to an unsupported contact play.

See Respond To Attachment With Hane, How to attack

Hane at the head of two stones

[Diagram]
Head of two stones -> hane  

See Hane at the Head of Two Stones.

Reasons

  • Reduces opponent's liberties
  • Getting ahead
  • Pressing down
  • Creating a weakness

Exceptions

  • When the cut at a is a serious threat .

Stretch from a kosumi-tsuke

[Diagram]
Kosumi-tsuke -> stretch  


Reasons

  • Increasing liberties
  • Denying a powerful hane, which would block with a tiger shape.
  • Making the opponent's diagonal formation weak (White b or c will be powerful later).

Exceptions

  • When it is the opponent's intention to make you heavy, and you need sabaki. In that case, the one-point jump (to a) is an option.

See also how to attack, and the related 'Diagonal attachment - as inferior shape.'

Block the angle play

[Diagram]
Diagonal block  

W1 strengthens White's stone and weakens Black's. It also blocks Black's approach to the area below. The next diagrams show related positions.

[Diagram]
Diagonal block (ii)  
[Diagram]
Diagonal block (iii)  

Sometimes it is better to push and cut (White a - Black b, White c).


Reasons

  • Increase your liberties while decreasing your opponent's liberties.

Exceptions

  • Specific tactical reasons

Connect against a peep

[Diagram]
Peep -> connect  


Reasons

  • Connection

Exceptions

  • Avoiding kikasare (getting pushed around)
  • Specific tactical reasons

See also Even A Moron Connects Against A Peep.

Block the thrust

[Diagram]
Thrust -> block  


Reasons

  • If the opponent cuts, he will be cut in return.
  • Make the opponent choose the side to cut

Exceptions

  • Specific tactical reasons (extra stones on the empty spots)
  • Local weakness forces one to dodge

More at Block the thrust

Stretch from a bump

[Diagram]
Bump --> stretch  


Reasons

  • Attachments are usually answered with a hane, but here the attachment is strengthened by the marked stone. If Black hanes instead, White cuts and is the first to extend from a crosscut.

Exceptions

  • The cut is not important, or is protected
  • Specific tactical reasons

About this Page

Please write your comments in the /discussion page.

See also


Basic Instinct last edited by 109.66.12.224 on October 23, 2016 - 11:39
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