Sacrifice the Tail


Sometimes when a group is under attack it is best to give up a few stones to save most of them. This is called sacrificing the tail.

A large group that has come under attack is often called a dragon, and by analogy the stones trailing off one side of the dragon are its tail. The opportunity to sacrifice the tail often comes after the attacker plays a dual-purpose move which threatens to cut off some stones but also aims to undermine the dragon's eye space.

If the defender simply judges that saving the tail would saddle him with a heavy group (or worse, a dead one), sacrificing the tail is an example of an exchange. If sacrificing the tail provides the defender with a number of forcing moves against the attacker's cutting stones that help settle the defender's group, then sacrificing can be thought of as a tesuji.

An Example

Problem 209  

This example comes from problem 209 of Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems. B1 is an incorrect way to kill.

Problem 209  

White can sacrifice the tail of white+circle stones with W2, and save the main body of her group by making life in the corner.

Sacrifice the Tail last edited by on May 17, 2013 - 04:28
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