Stone Capturing Tutorial for Beginners
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This tutorial is meant to help beginners get an understanding of stone capturing techniques. This tutorial will not touch on killing of groups (see Killing versus capturing). To get good at killing requires a steady regimen of tsumego practice.
It is important to remember that the primary objective in go is not to capture stones, but to accumulate more territory than your opponent by playing more efficient and stable moves. However, learning how to capture stones and the theory behind it can be very useful in helping one achieve that aim of maximum efficiency when correctly applied. Furthermore, it is often quite gratifying to kill stuff. In a game of go, both players play the same number of moves (give or take one), and the game is decided by the average efficacy of all the stones played by both players. Capturing stones is often a high efficiency venture, because any opponent stones you capture tend to lose their function, naturally reducing your opponents average efficiency. However, if you spend more moves than necessary to capture stones, then your own efficiency is negatively affected.
In the opening, capturing the proper stones can have great implications on thickness, directly affecting the influence you exert over the board for the rest of the game. In the middle game, capturing vital cutting stones can prove to be the only way for your eyeless group to survive. It can also be the key that shifts momentum in your favour. In the endgame, successfully capturing stones can be the difference that turns defeat into victory.
The tutorial will assume you understand the rules of the game (particularly the ko rule). In this tutorial, I, jwaytogo, aim to cover the basic concepts of atari and liberties, and the burden of having a shortage of liberties. These concepts will then be applied to basic stone capturing techniques: ladders, nets, snapback, and connect and die. The tutorial will be tiered at two levels. A true beginner level (Part A) for double digit kyu players to get the hang of capturing stones, and a more advanced level (Part B) with problems of higher difficulty for single digit kyus to expose themselves to more sophisticated stone capturing scenarios.
The main impetus for writing this tutorial is to organize the pages pertaining to stone capturing on Sensei's Library, which seems a bit disorganized, and while it explains individual stone capturing techniques well, it does not give a holistic approach to capturing stones. I must acknowledge that this tutorial is inspired by Minue's Haengma Tutorial for Beginners, and there will be stone capturing problems taken out of various sources that I will cite if possible. It will focus on even more basic concepts than Haengma, hopefully complementing Minue's tutorial in helping new players play beautiful games.
This tutorial is work in progress. Completed segments are published below.
Part A (aimed at Beginners 30k to 11k)
- Liberties and Atari Part A
- Using the Edge and Corners Part A?
- Ladders and Nets Part A?
- Snapbacks and Throw-ins Part A?
- Connect and Die Part A?
- Shortage of Liberties Part A?
Part B (more advanced concepts for 10k or stronger)