Almost sente

    Keywords: Go term

A play that doesn't really force a local answer, but has a large follow-up, can be called almost sente.

"Almost Sente" is also the name of a go comic strip by Kamil Budzinski?.
See [ext] --> seems to be gone for a long time?

Adam? You can buy the strips as a comic book now, see [ext]

If you ignore too many plays that are almost sente, your overall position can degrade. That is, play tenuki too often and you become thin all over the board. Charles Matthews

Bill: Too doctrinaire. If you have ignored several large plays to play elsewhere because other plays were larger, what is the problem? Perhaps lack of a plan or a failure to play the whole board -- although *not* playing tenuki is more likely to be that kind of error -- or loss of tedomari, but not thinness per se. If you regarded certain stones lightly to play tenuki, and have not erred, you can still regard them lightly.

By contrast, if you answer too many "almost sente" plays, then you have lost ground.

A mistake is a mistake, whether it is answering a play or playing elsewhere. An "almost sente" is a gote.

Charles Well, I've seen this happen (to EGF 5 dan players) with an opponent who is effectively inviting them to ignore such plays. Scary.


I'm sure it happens, but I think that the usual result of ignoring plays that are not quite large enough to be sente is positive. And when it is a mistake, I think that becoming thin overall is not the usual result.

It would be nice to see an example of what you have in mind. :-)

Charles I was thinking of a long series of club games, a few years back, after the local 6 dan had figured out that the local 5 dan was vulnerable to temptation along these lines.

Skelley: Does 'almost sente' really exist? I'd think a move is either sente or not. If you don't see that a move is sente and you play elsewhere then you'll be in trouble right away or later. Playing sente moves is not a good habit though, so called sente moves tend to make your opponent stronger and/or nullify aji that may be useful later in the game. You should not play a move because it is sente, but because it is a good move that strengthens your position and/or weakens your opponents position for instance. A good 'gote' move will create many (sente) possibilities later on in the game.

Bill: Yes, almost sente plays do exist. In fact, let me fault myself for being too doctrinaire, with my statement, "Almost sente is gote." There is no clear division between sente and gote plays, either in theory or in practice. As the followup plays to gote get bigger, they approach sente, and as the threats of sente get smaller, they approach gote. Gote plays that are almost sente should frequently be answered, and sente plays that are almost gote should frequently be ignored.

See Ambiguous Play and Tedomari for more about this.

PurpleHaze: I've always used almost sente in the sense: a play that must be answered, but first there are some (perhaps many) kikashi that should be played.

willemien I am a bit confused here now, is there not a difference between sente (your opponent loses points and will need to answer locally sometime) and forcing / ko threat (you need to answer my move NOW) and is almost sente just sente only the answer is not forthcoming yet?

I once heard a proverb on kgs "almost alive=almost dead" so while this may seem like a major leap, perhaps "almost sente=almost gote" applies by the same logic. Your thoughts? ~srn347

Almost sente last edited by on January 29, 2015 - 09:01
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