After the student has become familiar with the rules and the methods of play, and perhaps has played a few games either with another beginner or with a Japanese master, the impression left on the mind is likely to be that the game is too vague, and that there is too wide a latitude of choice of positions where stones may be placed. This impression might be corrected by the study of illustrative games, or of “Joseki” and end positions, but such a course is rather dry and uninteresting, and, in the opinion of the author, by far the best way of attaining a correct idea of the game is by means of problems.

Many of us are familiar with Chess problems, and I think Chess players will agree that they benefit the student of Chess very little, because the assumed positions are not such as arise frequently in actual play. The opposite is the case in regard to Go problems. These are for the most part taken from actual games, and the typical problem is a situation that is quite likely to arise in actual play, and some of them are positions that occur again and again.

If the student of the game will set up these positions from the text and attempt to solve them, preferably with the aid and encouragement of some friend, he will find that the task is an interesting one, and he will be impressed by the great accuracy which is necessary in attacking and defending difficult positions.

With the knowledge obtained in this way, he will be able to judge with far greater skill what to do when a position is threatened in actual play. He will be able to distinguish whether the danger is real, and whether it is, therefore, necessary to reply to his adversary’s attack, or whether he can afford to ignore it and assume the “Sente” in some other part of the board. He will also be able to perceive when an adversary’s group is vulnerable so that it will be profitable to attack it.

The collection of problems which I have given in this book are rearranged from Korschelt’s work, and they were in turn taken by him from a Japanese treatise called “Go Kiyo Shiyu Miyo.” Necessarily the collection here given is a very small one, but if any reader of this book becomes so much interested in the game that he desires to study other examples, he will doubtless find some Japanese acquaintance who can supply him with further material, as the Japanese literature of the game contains large collections.

The most important kind of problem are those in which the question is how to kill an adversary’s group, or how to save one’s own group when threatened. It is also often very important to know how a connection between two groups can be forced.

Malweth: (The Problems in this chapter are given using coordinates. These have been changed into individual SGFs and zipped. They are linked via their section headings below) [1]

For greater clearness these problems are arranged under seven heads; to wit,

  1. [ext] Saving Threatened Groups. (24 Problems)
  2. Killing Groups.
  3. Playing for “Ko.”

The advantage gained by this operation is not apparent in the group itself, but depends upon which player has the larger threatened group elsewhere.

  1. Reciprocal Attacks or ‘Semeai.”

This is a combination of the first two kinds of problems, and it only differs from them in that both players have comparatively strong groups which are so intertwined that both cannot live, and the question is, which can kill the other first.

  1. Connecting Groups.

The problem here is to force a connection between a small group having insufficient “Me” and some larger group.

  1. ”Oi otoshi.”

This really means a “robber’s attack.” It arises where a group is apparently engulfed by the opponent, and when, by adding further stones to it which the opponent must take, the threatened player can force his opponent to abandon a part of his surrounding chain in order not to sustain greater losses. The attack is so sudden and unexpected that the Japanese compare it to the methods of a highwayman. It is an example of the finest play in the game.

  1. Cutting.

This is another method of escape, and the problem is to cut off and kill part of the adversary’s surrounding chain.

In the following examples, the side having the first move is given in italics.

[1] The problems in this "beginner" book easily range from 5 kyu to 5 dan.

TheGameOfGoTheNationalGameOfJapan/Problems last edited by malweth on June 20, 2005 - 12:05
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