Showing posts tagged: sunday-problem


Sunday Problem #16

This problem is from Xuanxuan Qijing, a Chinese tsumego collection classic from the 14th century; its English translation is named ‘Gateway to All Marvels’. This collection, along with Gokyō Shumyō, forms a set of tsumego books that all aspiring professional players learn by heart.

All problems in Xuanxuan Qijing have a title; this problem is called or ‘An Old Monk Falls in Deep Contemplation’. This shape bears a strong resemblance to Sunday Problem #1, but finally the solution sequences are quite different.

Black to play.


Sunday Problem #15

This problem is from a classic tsumego collection by Hon’inbō Shūsai called or Shikatsu Myōki. This name is notoriously difficult to translate into English: while shikatsu means life-and-death, myōki is a Buddhist term referring to excellent adhering to Buddhist teachings. Presumably this is meant in the sense that ‘if you manage to solve all these problems, your reading will …

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Sunday Problem #14

This problem is from my recent teaching game against Daniel Hu 5d in the bga Strong Player Development Programme. A review of the teaching game can be watched here.

Black to play.

Solution
Slightly suboptimal solution
Black’s hane of combined with the placement of 3 is a strong combination – however, Black has to be wary of White’s resistance …

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Sunday Problem #13

This problem is from the Japanese tsumego collection, or ‘Collection of Shūkō’s tsumego masterpieces’ by Fujisawa Hideyuki (whose first name can also be read as ‘Shūkō’).

I have received some feedback that the Sunday problems have been too difficult, so this week I tried to pick a slightly easier problem. Still, in my opinion it is not fun if …

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Sunday Problem #12

This problem is from another of my favorite tsumego collections, or ‘Collection of tsumego masterpieces’ by Sekiyama Riichi, Sekiyama Toshio, and Sekiyama Toshimichi.

Sekiyama Riichi is famous for winning the first Hon’inbō tournament in 1941; Sekiyama Toshio is his son; and Sekiyama Toshimichi is Toshio’s son. As a fun trivia, the ‘Ri’ in Riichi is written with the same …

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Sunday Problem #11

This is a slightly modified version of a problem that came up in the league game between bellicose and yosai.

Black to play.

Solution
Solution
Black 1 is the key point. White 2 is forced, but Black can then form the necessary eye space with the descent of 3. After 4–5, white 2 is captured in an oiotoshi, …

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Sunday Problem #10

This is the cover problem of Mateusz Surma’s tsumego book series You won’t get dumber while thinking.

Composing go problems is tough work. It can take hours just to come up with one good problem and, once you publish it, the problems themselves are not even copyright-protected – only the problem collection and the answers. This is why I …

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Sunday Problem #9

Like Sunday Problem #8, this is also from Guanzi Pu.

Black to play.

Solution
Correct solution
Black’s 2-1 placement of 1 is the key to solving this problem. 2–6 are White’s correct resistance, and the result is a kō for White’s life.
Black fails
If Black starts with the hane of 1, white 2 lives unconditionally.

Sunday Problem #8

This problem is from Guanzi Pu – possibly my favourite of the classic problem collections thanks to its varied and relatively difficult problems.

While a (most likely illegal) pdf version of the book been posted around on Western go websites, its solutions often seem to be wrong. I would instead recommend interested players to invest in a six-volume physical copy, …

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Sunday Problem #7

Black to play.

Solution
The result may look like a seki at first glance, but White is actually dead in a bulky five shape.

Sunday Problem #6

This Sunday we have a set of two problems. What difference does Black’s extra liberty make?

Black to play in both problems.

Solution
KataGo’s solution
KataGo thinks the sequence from 1–5 is generally best for both sides: Black lives in gote while White makes a profit in the corner.
Tsumego solution
In tsumego terms, i.e., when life or death is …

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Sunday Problem #5

Black to play.

Solution
Black’s sacrifice technique with 3 and 5 is the key. This provides the two other black stones an extra liberty that allows Black to win a local capturing race with 7–11.

Sunday Problem #4

This problem was created by Lee Eodeokdung 1p. He showed to me at the European Go Congress 2017, and it quickly became one of my favourite tsumego.

Black to play.

Solution
White 2 is the strongest resistance to Black’s attachment of 1. Following...
...after black 7, White dies in a double ko. This is still better for White than dying unconditionally, as the group will supply infinite ko threats.

Sunday Problem #3

This is a famous tesuji problem.

If you can see the correct move at first glance, you have done your homework well! On the other hand, if you don’t, this can be a difficult nut to crack.

Black to play.

Solution
Initially, a and b look like miai: Black can either save her four stones with a and let White …

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Sunday Problem #2

This Sunday we have a challenging problem.

Problems with lots of open space or big eyes, such as this one, are difficult to read by brute force. Instead, you need to rely on your shape knowledge and, if that doesn’t help, on your shape intuition. The trick is to try to reduce the big and difficult-to-read shape into something smaller and more familiar.

Black to play.

Solution
Black 1 and 3 have to be played in this order. Following, black 5 and 7 reduce the white group to only one big eye.

Sunday Problem #1

Solving problems is a great way to improve one’s go skills, and is usually one of the most recommended activities to players who want to become strong. Playing many games is of course also important, but solving problems teaches you to analyse positions systematically. Additionally, you can solve problems whenever and wherever, while playing always requires an opponent – or …

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