False Sense of Security

As a game progresses over time, it is very easy to lose track of the connections between your groups. After all, if you’re intently staring at the board for a long time, it’s not so far fetched to start seeing groups being connected when in fact they aren’t. In fact, if you take a quick look at the kifu snapshot above, it would seem that the top black group is doing alright. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

While I’ve played a number of games recently where either I or my opponent failed to keep track of our connections, the kifu for today’s game is one that demonstrates this concept very well. As you go over the kifu, you’ll notice that for the most part, Black has done a pretty good job keeping all of his groups connected. As a result, White had to be careful about his own connections and determining whether a cut will actually work or not. Unfortunately for Black, the game progressed to a point where he got so caught up in the running battle that he failed to realize that White was aiming to disconnect his group the entire time.

Remember, it’s critical that you are never lulled into a false sense of security at any point during the game. It is precisely during these times that the opponent will find the game changing move to turn the game in his/her favor.

To help you avoid the false sense of security, always be sure to check on the following whenever your opponent makes a move:

  1. Are my groups alive?
  2. Are my groups connected at the key locations? Or in another sense, is it easy for my opponent to cut my groups apart and get away with it?

If you can answer those questions with confidence, then it is irrelevant whether your reading abilities fall short. You did the basic steps of being sensitive to your stones. The mistakes will come, and you will learn from it. By following this path, you will inevitably get stronger.

And as always, if your groups are fine, the fun part comes when seeing whether or not your opponent’s groups are prime for attack and even death.