Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Question

You're My Only Hope

I'm working my way very slowly through a Chinese book of a thousand death/life problems. (Seeing as I don't read Chinese this is going, as you can guess, very slowly.) I have come across a problem I just can't for the life of me figure out. I'd appreciate any help I could get on explaining this.

Black to Live  

The Problem

This looked pretty straightforward to me. Black can play at either A16 or C16 and will live. Escape is just not an option so far as I can tell. I played through this a dozen or more different ways and it always comes out the same: Black lives. I couldn't even see why this was a problem. So I flip to the solutions page.

Black to Live -- Solution?  

The Purported Solution

Well, colour me surprised: it shows Black playing at A16 for the win. But it also showed some other symbols in there that usually indicate some kind of commentary. So I started the process of painful translation. Now according to that commentary if Black plays at the spot marked a, White plays wherever it likes (I imagine filling in one of the escape routes Black has), Black plays at B1, White answers back at the point marked with a circle and Black dies. And that's where my problem is. I can't for the life of me see a scenario where Black will die without going out of the way to play stupidly.

Am I missing something obvious (or inobvious, for that matter!) here, or is the book just plain wrong?

Black Dies 1  

Goantti: Hi! You overlooked the throw-in.

If Black starts with B1, White adds one more stone at W2. After B3 White throws in one stone at 2 giving:

Black Dies 2  

Now the shape point at a and the throw in at b are miai for White to kill Black.

Michael Richter: Nasty. And yeah, I completely overlooked that option. I was mapping the shape into five internal liberties which I had decided long ago were always a guaranteed life. I didn't notice that the white stone at B17 would turn things into a false eye.

So just how embarrassed should I be for not spotting that despite dozens of tries?

unkx80: There isn't the need to feel embarrased. Everyone makes mistakes anyway. =)

Andrew Grant: But just add one white stone and ...

Black is Dead  

Can you see why?

Chris Schack: Took a while, I had to actually go through the original solution for Black, assuming White is stubborn ...

Black to Live Solution  
Black to Live Solution (2)  

... and Black runs White's group in the corner out of liberties. Playing 2 at 3 would let White play at 2, and the second eye is false. Now, after the first three moves of the original with the marked stone added ...

Black is Dead Solution  

... a and b are miai for the kill.

BQM62 last edited by Hu on November 23, 2003 - 10:04
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