Check escape routes first
Check your opponent's escape routes for a weak group very carefully before moving in for the kill.
That is, don't play nakade moves, in particular, against a group that may still escape or connect out. That doesn't mean that one shouldn't remove the base; that's a typical way of chasing a group while making profit.
- it may force the opponent into desperate measures;
- if there is some other way to live, it may be damaging to you;
- nakade moves played prematurely may throw away points.
A situation where this proverb might be applied is when the territories are already defined, and collapsing a group's eye space forces it to flee into territory you more or less control. A vicious tooth-and-nail fight inside what was your own territory is not something you want unless you know you can win, or you know you will lose the game otherwise.
(I think invented this one. -- BlueWyvern)
Edited - Charles Matthews