Table shape

  Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Shape, Go term

The table shape is a shape of four stones, in its abstract form looking like this:

Table shape  

Origin of the term

The term was coined by Charles Matthews in his book Shape up. There doesn't seem to be a designated name for the shape in any of the oriental languages. "Table shape" has since been widely adopted in the western world.

Application and examples

The table shape is seen in close encounters with enemy stones, typically aiming to stay connected while also providing some eye potential. It's not as firm as the bamboo joint which has stronger connectivity. Its eye potential can be derived from its similarity to the mouth shape.

In surrounding  

Here White has surrounded Black. If the squared stone were at a instead, forming a bamboo, there would be a cut at b. In this shape, such a cut is caught in a net.

See Gokyo Shumyo, Section 1, Problem 15.

In escaping  

From the Shinogi page we take this example, where B1, B5 and B7 create a double table shape. In both cases the moves aim to stay connected, while they also create eye potential.

In Joseki  

B4 creates a table shape. The development of the corner is more efficient than what a bamboo would achieve.


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 can wedge into the table shape:


If B2, then W3 creates shortage of liberties and captures the cutting stones.


If B2 here, then W3 White gets this nasty squeeze

Squeeze ctd  

B5 lives in the corner - actually there is a ko (see tripod group, "extra leg" section). White can now continue pressuring Black with W6

See also

Table shape last edited by Dieter on May 17, 2023 - 12:46
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