Table shape

  Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Shape, Go term

Etymology: Unknown, Year 2003(?), Coined by Charles Matthews in Shape Up

There is a key shape (normally good shape) that doesn't have a Japanese name, and hasn't been christened in English - up to this point (...which was several years ago, and the name seems to be pretty widely accepted in english now, as of October 2009 .) Sometimes called a "loose mouth" due to similarity to the Mouth shape or loose bamboo joint, due to similarity to bamboo joint.

Table shape  

This may be more efficient than the bamboo joint, while doing a similar job - typically staying connected in an important, contested part of the board.

Depending on just what white stones are around, there is also probably a greater chance of an eye being formed in the table shape due to shared properties with the Mouth shape.

Good shape cut  

Here's an example from a game in which I (Charles) was taking a handicap from a pro. Black wants to cut White. There are several ways to do this. B1 and B3 make good shape, because now White a, Black b would be the table shape.

Ear point contains another example of using the table shape.

Good shape though it is, the table shape does have some vulnerabilities if there are stones of the opposite color nearby. In this diagram Black might feel that the two white groups have been separated. Note that the marked stones form a table shape:


However, White has a tesuji to cut through the table shape and connect her groups:


Trione: What if black plays 2 at 3? I see no way for white to connect.

Uberdude White simply extends from the atari and black can't connect: a/b are miai and c/d are miai.


Trione: If black plays c and white responds d, then black plays 3, something like below, doesn't this cut white's groups in question we were trying to connect, white+circle and white+square? Apologies for any oversight on my part.


xela: Yes, I think you're right. I nearly posted the same diagram as Uberdude, then realised that white+circle in the diagram below is short of liberties so black can escape. But white can still squeeze, so the black stones to the right are eyeless. I can't decide whether or not this is better for black than letting the two black+circle stones be captured. I think it depends on what the lower right corner looks like.

I think the next diagram is best play for both sides. B7 at white+circle, black 11 at a and there is still some ko potential in the corner (see tripod group, "extra leg" section). And now white has sente to play an attacking move on the outside.


See also table building. See also tippy table.

Table shape last edited by xela on April 12, 2020 - 11:05
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