How To Play Go - Part 3

A Two-Player Go Fight Over Cocaine Supply Centers

Richard Nguyen-Marshall

22 June 2022

If you are not already familiar with traditional Go, reading through this example will give you a sense of how a territory struggle between two players might unfold.  If you are already familiar with Go, the part to pay attention to in this example is toward the end when the Kiss The Ring rule is applied.

Let’s start with the situation shown in Diagram 32 in which it is Red’s turn.  Notice how the Red cell only has one liberty left.  Red wants to save this cell so it must place another cell there and make a larger group to gain more liberties.

red cell almost surrounded by three blue cells in Northern Colombia. Red must defend quickly or tht cell will be catured.

Remember:  When your cell has all its liberties occupied by opponents, your cell is captured and must be removed. However, when you place a cell next to another one of your cells, they become one living group.

Red places a cell on the empty intersection immediately to the east (R1 in Diagram 33). 

Now, the two Red cells form one living group and have three liberties.  These are shown by the three hollow red circles in Diagram 33.  In order to capture them, Blue has to surround the now growing group of Red cells.

Diagram 33 showing Red adding a cell in a defensive move.

Blue decides to place their next cell on the intersection immediately north of where Red had just placed (B1 in Diagram 34).

Diagram 24 showing Blue player extend its line to the east trying to stop Red from going north.

Now it is Red’s turn.  Red decides to expand the group, making it harder to surround.  Red places a cell on the intersection immediately to the east (R2 in Diagram 35) thereby creating 3 new liberties.

Diagram 35 Red extends further east adding another cell to its group.

Blue decides to partially block a potential southward expansion of the Red group by placing cell B2 (Diagram 36).

Diagram 36. Blue adds to its group in the south extending the line to the east.

Red extends northward with R3 (Diagram 37).

Diagram 37.  Red extends northward, placing a cell in the Caribbean.

Blue cuts off Red’s northward extension by placing cell at B3 (Diagram 38).

Diagram 38. Blue places a cell north of Red in the Caribbean, cutting off Red.

Red decides to put some pressure on Blue with R4 (Diagram 39).

Diagram 39.  Red places a cell in the Caribbean just west of Blue's last cell.

Notice now that one of Blue’s cells (B3) is suddenly in danger as it has only two liberties.  Blue also now has a two-cell group that is potentially threatened with two liberties remaining.

Now Blue must consider defensive measures but at the same time wants to put pressure on Red.

Blue decides to aggressively press the attack on Red’s main group with cell placement B4 (Diagram 40).  So as not to clutter the diagram too much, I have not included the small hollow circles to indicate threatened liberties.  By now I’m sure you are familiar enough to spot the liberties yourself.

Diagram 40.  Blue applies more pressure in the east threatening Red's core group.

Red sees that its larger group is potentially in trouble, but also sees that it can put considerable immediate pressure on B3 and potential pressure on B4 by cell placement R5 (Diagram 41).

Diagram 41. Red puts pressure on the cell Blue just placed by placing Red cell R5.

Blue defends against the immediate threat with B5.  This saves cell B3 from immediate capture. (Diagram 42)

Diagram 42. Blue defends its endangered cell by extending northward in the Caribbean.

Red places R6, thereby threatening B4 with imminent capture (Diagram 43).

Diagram 43.  Red puts pressure on Blue cell B4.

In desperation, Blue plays B6 (Diagram 44). 

Diagram 44. Blue adds to its position in the eastern Caribbean but now Blue is boxed in.

While Blue's move keeps the B4 cell alive for the moment, it is a mistake because now both B4 and B6 are doomed!

Red places cell R7 (Diagram 45).

Diagram 45. Red seals off Blue's escape to the north.

At this point, Blue should abandon B4 and B6 since they cannot be saved, but the Blue player is a novice and mistakenly deploys cell B7 into a certain death situation (Diagram 46).  What a waste!

Diagram 46. Blue places cell B7 hoping to save its group of two cells in the east but it is a mistake.

Red places cell R8 (Diagram 47) onto the last remaining liberty for those three Blue cells.  Now the three Blue cells must be removed.

Diagram 47. Red places it next cell on the last liberty for Blue's group of three cells in the east.  These blue cells must now be removed.

The three Blue cells are removed from the board (Diagram 48) and are set aside, out of play for the remainder of the game.

Red now has the option of invoking Kiss The RingRed decides to use Kiss The Ring on the Blue cell that was immediately south of R7.  Red places an unpurchased cell on that intersection (see Red cell designated KTR in Diagram 48).

Diagram 48.  The blue cells are removed and Red utilizes the Kiss The Ring rule, placing an extra cell.

Beware of Having a False Eye

In having placed the Red KTR cell where it did, Red has created a structure with one eye and one false eye (Diagram 49). 

A false eye is an internal liberty that can still be captured because it involves a cell that is not part of the chain.  In Diagram 49, the R8 cell could still be captured.

Diagram 49 showing how Red has created one eye and one false eye.

Now let’s pretend that Blue’s next cell deployment is B8 (Diagram 50).

Red responds with R9 (also shown in Diagram 50), and in so doing, Red has turned the false eye into a real eye.  Now the overall structure of cells that Red has created has two eyes.  With these two eyes, this structure cannot be surrounded and the Red cells that comprise it shall survive the rest of the game.

Diagram 50 showing how Red now has two eyes thereby ensuring this group of cells will survive the game.

So, that was a Go fight between two players.  Earlier you saw how it can look with up to six players placing cells on the board. 

Now, to play GoCaine, you'll need to learn a few rules about the economic aspect of the game.  The reason you are trying to conquer these territories is so that you can build an expansive network of supply centers, transit zones, and lucrative retail markets.  Now that you know the basic rules of Go, and the special rules we've introduced for multiplayer Go, go to the Rules pdf or watch the instructional videos and in no time you'll be ready to play!  Cheers!