Elementary moves

  Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Shape, Go term

Many moves have been analyzed in amazing depth. Some of this analysis is already to be found at Sensei's. This is no more than a list of the most basic moves, their shape-names (form) and typical usage (function). If it has a name know it.

The stones don't really move. Rather the ability of a stone or group of stones to connect to a stone played nearby is how the stones move, that is, how the stones expand their area of control or influence. This is sometimes known as haengma. The focus here is on the relation between the new stone and nearby[1] stones already on the board[2]. This old stone may be friendly or hostile. The names refer to these relations.


A stone placed on any of the lettered points generally has a good relationship with the W1 stone.

If the newly placed stone is White, the first of these names applies (e.g. stretch). If the newly played stone is Black, the second name describes the play (e.g. tsuke).
a: stretch / tsuke (attachment)
b: kosumi / katatsuki (shoulder hit, from above) or kado (from any direction)
c: ikken tobi (one-point jump) / ikken gakari+
d: keima (knight's move) / keima gakari+
e: niken tobi / niken gakari+
f: ogeima / ogeima gakari+

+ These 'kakari' terms are used against a corner stone.

Moves in relation to friendly stones

  • Closer moves are slower;
  • Closer moves are more strongly connected.

In order of distance [3]:

Relations between two friendly stones that are even further away from each other do not have their own generic names, independent of board geography. In specific situations some do for instance extensions and opening formations.

Moves in relation to one friendly stone

Moves close to hostile stones

In order of Manhattan distance[2]:

Moves in relation to one hostile stone

Moves close to friendly and hostile stones

These moves aren't as elementary as the earlier moves. On a scale from elementary to compound, however, they are much closer to the simple side than e.g. a snapback, throw-in, nakade plays or crane's nest tesuji [01].

Moves close to friendly and hostile stones


For replies see Basic instinct.


[1] Very distant relations do matter, for instance ladder breakers.

[2] At the beginning of the game there may be no stones on the board yet.

[3] Basically, distance is proportional to speed and inversely proportional to strength of connection -- JasonD

See also haengma.

Authors: mAsterdam

This page is in need of attention.

Elementary moves last edited by hnishy on March 3, 2023 - 23:04
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