Liberty - introductory
A liberty is an empty point adjacent (north, south, west, or east) to a stone, shown by a circle in the diagrams on this page. Here, has two liberties, three, and four.
Stones in a chain share liberties. The black chain here has six liberties.
Here Black's chain has nine liberties. Diagonal adjacency - the relation of to the point marked with a square - doesn't give rise to liberties.
Each of these white chains has more than one liberty; and is safe from direct capture for at least another of Black's moves.
One liberty: atari
A stone or chain with one liberty is in atari. Each of White's stones or chains in the diagram has a single liberty. They are not yet captured, and remain on the board. They will be captured when their last remaining liberty is filled.
No liberties: captured
The Japanese word for liberty is dame, although that word has meanings in addition to liberty. The terms freedom or breathing space are also encountered.
See also liberty.