Difficulty: Introductory   Keywords: Go term

Chinese: 脱先 (tuo1 xian1)
Japanese: 手抜き (tenuki)
Korean: 손뺌 (sonppaem)

Tenuki, a Japanese go term adopted into English, denotes playing somewhere else. Black plays tenuki by not answering White's last move locally, but instead adding a move in another part of the board [1].

Table of contents

Why tenuki matters

One of the most common novice mistakes is getting locked into the local fight and continuing to play there when there are larger plays elsewhere. Tenuki is always an option.

A debatable proverb says: If it's worth only 15 points, play tenuki.

Yet another debatable proverb counsels us to play tenuki when at a loss as where to play locally, When in doubt, tenuki.

Following this advice many advanced amateurs acquired the habit to make coffee breaks regularly, that is playing tenuki - often from fights - to play a small move somewhere.

When tenuki matters

Stronger players will lead weaker players around by the nose, choosing the agenda. This is because the weaker player will simply not know as much in several areas of the game.

For example, in life and death, a weaker player might be able to play tenuki, gaining sente, but instead answers, simply because the player does not understand the life and death of that shape.

In another example, a balanced corner situation (joseki) that is best left alone, may be immediately disturbed by the player who does not know he can play tenuki, and make a more balanced move from the point of view of the whole board.

[1] To be precise, when he makes a move, not directly affecting the local position. A ladder breaker namely, can be played in the opposite corner, but it affects the local position. A ladder breaker is therefore not to be considered as a real tenuki play.

See also


Wiki master edit by Dieter

Tenuki last edited by TheBigH on November 17, 2019 - 00:38
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