Strategies in the Game of Go

go7The strategy of Go involves preparation and decision-making founded on piecemeal information garnered from the multiple variations of move choices, and linked by strategic decision-making. The game of Go has modest rules that can be understood very rapidly but, as with chess and comparable board games, intricate strategies may be used by skilled players. Strategy leads to success, or at least a better position, and to a degree determines the overall position. A good strategy is always centered on four factors that include creating a strategic position, working with strategic concepts, following strategic principles and defining the strategic plans.

A strategic position is influenced by intuition, a sense of direction, the importance of stones (disposable versus key stones), and positional judgment (counting territory and evaluating impact). Strategic concepts are thoughts and methods that can be utilized towards creating a global strategy. Strategic principles are rules that can support a plan and make it fruitful. A strategic plan comprises of a plan of action to achieve a particular goal in relation to a global strategy. To discuss each and every aspect of Go strategies can be a difficult and long process, but here is a summary of the basic, intermediate and ultimate strategies:

The Basic Strategy

  1. Always keep your own stones linked and your opponent’s stones separated.
  2. Seal in your challenger’s stones and do not allow yourself to get sealed in by your opponent.
  3. Keep your own groups alive by confirming they have room for two eyes, by linking them to other live groups or open space, or using them to kill your opponent’s groups.
  4. Try to avoid forming weak groups. Kill your opponent’s groups by sealing them in and stopping them from establishing two eyes.

The Intermediate Strategy

  1. Always sustain the initiative and perform moves that have numerous autonomous purposes, also known as double-purpose moves.
  2. Utilize your own stones resourcefully by placing your own stones to create a good shape. This way you can inhibit your opponent’s stones from establishing good shapes.
  3. Utilize your own stones to establish structures, first in the corners, then along the boundaries, then in the midpoint to lessen or occupy your opponent’s frameworks.
  4. Make your own groups resilient before confronting your opponent’s groups and strengthen your own groups by confronting your opponent’s groups. Utilize your own stones to create either territory or power.

However, avoid too much concentration of stones in one area, be it your own or your opponents.

The Ultimate strategy

  1. Always be autonomous: do not simply reply to your opponent’s coercions; develop your own threats as an alternative. Allow local losses, especially if you receive some compensation in return.
  2. Play belligerently when behind, carefully when ahead.
  3. Play moves in the “right” format, which may imply re-ordering the above goals