Eye-Stealing Tesuji

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  Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Tesuji, Shape, Proverb

Chinese: 点方 (dian3 fang1)
Japanese: 目を欠く (me wo kaku)
Korean

The eye-stealing tesuji is a tesuji that prevents the opponent making a proper eye, leaving them at best a false eye.

A Go proverb says “Learn the eye-stealing tesuji” and it is indeed useful, not just to prevent eye-formation but also because it can force bad shape on the opponent.

Table of contents Table of diagrams
The basic position
Vital point for making an eye
The tesuji in action
Clumsy shape, no eye
Nice shape, making an eye
Eye-stealing with fewer stones in place
A false eye
[kaketsugi]
Playing an adjacent point
White threatens to cut, steals an eye...
White can't cut...
but... W1 breaks both ladders

The basic position

[Diagram]
The basic position  

The marked stones show the basic situation. White 1 is the eye-stealing tesuji, taking away the potential eye at circle: a simple but very useful move. A Black play at W1 instead would make an eye there for black.


The typical shape

The eye-stealing tesuji typically involves the following shape:

[Diagram]
Vital point for making an eye  

The point circle is the crucial point for making shape.

[Diagram]
The tesuji in action  

If White plays there, the shape is destroyed. Usually, the white+circle stone is in place, so that Black eventually will have to prevent the cut and connect at a, ending up with a clumsy shape.

[Diagram]
Clumsy shape, no eye  

This shape-destroying move effectively steals an eye from Black.

[Diagram]
Nice shape, making an eye  

Compare this diagram with the result of the tesuji in the previous diagrams.


Variants of the tesuji

Variants of the tesuji can occur in simpler situations:

Variant with fewer stones in place.

[Diagram]
Eye-stealing with fewer stones in place  


Suppose Black tries to make an eye:

[Diagram]
A false eye  

With white+circle in place, even after Black plays both black+circle, any one of a, b, c makes the eye false. White can play whichever is convenient and Black will have trouble defending them all.


The hanging connection

An eye can also be stolen from this hanging connection:

Black cannot get a real eye here; a and b are miai to make it false.


Playing an adjacent point

[Diagram]
Playing an adjacent point  

Sometimes White can play W1 adjacent to circle, here or at a; in this case Black cannot even threaten to make an eye there. If possible, this may give White better shape, but the usual tesuji may be the only way to steal the eye.


Attacking a large group

In some cases, the tesuji can be the start of an attack on a large group. Consider this position which fairly often arises from a 33 invasion joseki:

[Diagram]
White threatens to cut, steals an eye...  

This is not much of a threat in isolation, but if there are a few other white stones about or if it can be played as a ladder-breaker or a ko threat so White gets more than one move in the area, it might lead to an attack on the entire black group, perhaps splitting it into two weak groups.

tapir: Stealing an eye where black doesn't need one more eye isn't very useful, IMO. But the question is how to threaten the cut in the most beneficial way.

[Diagram]
White can't cut...  
[Diagram]
but... W1 breaks both ladders  

If the cut is something to fear for black (white stones along the left edge) W1 may well gain something.


See also


Paths: <= Basic technique =>   ·   <= Eyes Collection =>   ·   <= Killing techniques   ·   <= Tesuji =>   ·   <= Go Proverbs =>
Eye-Stealing Tesuji last edited by hnishy on May 16, 2018 - 06:25
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