Traditional Alak


These are examples of how traditional Alak (normal Go rules) might play for boards of different sizes. Some board sizes have the complexity of a simple Go puzzle; others are worthy of many replays.

Depending on the board size, either White or Black has the advantage.

To reduce the length of the page, a series of moves are shown one line after another; this should not be read as a single 2D Go-board, but as a series of Alak boards, each showing one or more moves.


Advantage White.

5-square Alak works as an example board, to explain the game.


Opening in position 3 loses. a loses after Black ends up with an 'inelegant' Alak shape, with pieces on the edges:

Black plays a  

A short-lived clearing of the board by Black ends with a solid shape for white. Black is forced to pass on move 7. Final score: 8-2 White.

Other moves also lose after that first move:

Black plays b  

Both pass, white has 1 extra capture.

Black doesn't always lose 5-Alak. Opening in position 2 can lead to a quick tie:

Best final position for black:  


Advantage Black

The smallest board where a novice who knows the rules might still make he wrong move. Played out in full on the Alak page.


Advantage Black, not interesting.

Black can win in 3 moves by opening in position 4:

Black to win  

If White follows at p2


If White follows at p3


Advantage Black?

Let's look at Black opening at p5. White can respond at p2 or p3.

White responds at p3  

s can lead to a draw, but a wins immediately: the next turn Black can ignore a play at b (inside White's territory), and captures c or d.

White responds at p2  

r would be captured leading to a swift loss. s leads to a symmetric position with no good moves for Black (shown here). So Black should respond at a


Black must choose b or c.

Black plays at b  

Here Black fills in at d on move 9 to prevent White from clearing the board. Having an empty space at the edge, and a stone on the space next to it, seems similar to having one eye in Alak. White is able to keep black from forming that shape, forcing Black to form a vulnerable shape that connects at the edge.

Black plays at b  

White has a move she can make elsewhere on the board, letting her close in for the win. If Black passes on move 17, White can play at p8 and clear the board. So Black fills in, but White still wins.

If instead Black plays at c at move 7, this happens:

Black plays at c  

Now it is White who fills in to avoid a worse defeat.

White tries to recover  

Black wins.

Other Examples?

I'd like to see an analysis of 8- and 10-Alak. 11 doesn't see to be that interesting with traditional rules; 13 might be more fruitful. -- Sj

Traditional Alak last edited by PJTraill on December 12, 2018 - 11:58
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