Atsumi/ Discussion

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Local / Global Thickness

Robert Jasiek: On what grounds are atsumi called local thickness and atsusa called global thickness? I think that these must be wrong translations from what I understand of John Fairbairn's desciptions. One might consider local versus global as aspects of thickness and, as I prefer, ordinary versus great thickness but such distinctions do not seem to meet atsumi / atsusa.

Bill: I agree that the local/global distinction in not accurate. However, the -sa suffix indicates something that is a matter of degree. As such, it may apply to the board as a whole. E. g., this whole board position has greater thickness for Black than that one. The -mi suffix does not indicate that something is a matter of degree. So if a corner fight produces territory for one side and thickness for the other, astumi is the appropriate term for that thickness, even if it is not very thick. OC, atsumi does not apply to the whole board. But the linguistic question is not local vs. global, but distinct vs. fuzzy.

DieterM okay I'll undo

Thickness = Strength + Influence

Atsumi, 厚味, is a Japanese go term meaning "(the influence of) strong stones". Its literal meaning is thickness. In order to be thick, a group of stones must be strong and it must have influence in a certain direction. See also Thickness/Atsui.

Thickness, strength and influence are often used as synonyms of each other, hence the discussion mentioned above.

The Go Players Almanac defines it as thickness, power, or strength, particularly facing the center or an open area.


A strong group is a group with no defects: the stones belonging to the group are connected and have sufficient potential for eyespace. Strength is the local property of a group of stones to stand on its own, the ultimate strength being the group living regardless of what the opponent plays in the neighbourhood.


Each stone has a certain influence on the board. Captured stones have an influence close to zero. Surrounded stones that make a live group, influence only the surrounding group. Stones that are in open space have an influence on that open space and the stones bordering that open space. Influence is a long range effect. For example: a ladder breaker changes the balance in the opposite corner.

  • The stronger a group, the greater its influence on a neighbouring area.
  • The more open the neighbouring area, the greater the group's influence.
  • The weaker the other groups neighbouring that area, the larger the group's influence.

In Go, maintaining the balance of territory and thickness is very important.

Further reading and discussion


Atsumi/ Discussion last edited by Dieter on October 2, 2019 - 15:52
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