Strategy

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Go strategy is the planning and decision-making based on incomplete information about the details of variations and related decision-making. Preferably, strategy leads to victory or at least an improved position and considers the global position.

In contrast to strategy, Go tactics refers to reasonably complete reading of move sequences, their variations and related decision making. Tactics can, but need not, be restricted to a local area.

A good strategy will be based on:

Strategic Position

Factors that affect devising a plan include:

Strategic Concepts

Strategic concepts are ideas and techniques that can be applied to a global strategy, such as:

  • aji — possibilities remaining in a part of the board that is currently inactive
  • amarigatachi — an unsuccessful attack that weakens the attacker
  • amashi — an apparently passive strategy of steadily taking enough territory to compensate for advantages gained by the opponent
  • forcing moves (kikashi) — moves which force a response from the opponent and leave benefits that can be exploited later
  • furikawari — an exchange of potential territories
  • honte (sometimes translated as “honest”) — a solid play eliminating weaknesses, laying the base for a follow-up and (sometimes) provisionally settling the local position
  • kikasare — getting pushed around on the board
  • miai — alternative ways of achieving some objective
  • overconcentration (korigatachi) — a position where too many stones gain too little benefit
  • probe — a move requiring the opponent to commit to one of two or more courses of action, played when one has a satisfactory response to whatever they choose
  • sabaki — using light (easily sacrificed) plays to achieve some objective, especially settling a weak group
  • splitting attack (karami) — separating your opponent’s weak groups
  • tedomari — getting the last high-valued play before the temperature (value of moving) drops
  • tenuki — a play in a different part of the board that has little or no effect in the area where the previous main activity has occurred
  • thickness — a position that is very hard to attack and backs up other operations, usually better used to support an attack on opposing stones than to build territory directly

Strategic Principles

Strategic principles are guidelines that can help a plan be successful, such as:

  • counterattack — rather than playing purely defensively
  • avoid ippoji — a large or even single territory which can be too easily invaded without yielding compensation
  • motare — a leaning attack: pushing in one direction to build strength with which to attack elsewhere
  • priority — various considerations about when to play which moves
  • shinogi — skilful play in under pressure, such as making a live group in a limited space or responding skilfully to an attack; may also refer to winning a crucial game
  • avoid getting shut in — as your opponent’s enclosing stones will probably benefit them more

Strategic Plans

When you form your strategy, know the strengths and weaknesses of your plan. - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Further Reading

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Strategy last edited by PJTraill on March 29, 2021 - 22:02
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