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All About Thickness

Understanding Moyo and Influence

Ishida Yoshio, 9-dan
translated by
Stuart Dowsey
The Ishi Press, Inc.
Published by
The Ishi Press, Inc.
CPO Box 2126
Tokyo, Japan
Copyright 1990 in Japan
by The Ishi Press, Inc.
All rights reserved according to international law. This book
or any parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form
without written permission from the publisher.
In North America this book may be ordered from:
Ishi Press International
1400 North Shoreline Blvd., Building A7
Mountain View, California
USA 94043
ISBN 4-87187-034-0
First Printing April 1990
Printed in Japan
All About Thickness iii
About the Author
Ishida Yoshio was born in 1948 in Aichi prefecture. He be-
came a disciple of Minoru Kitani at the age of 9. He became a
professional shodan in 1963 and was promoted rapidly there-
after. In 1971, he defeated Rin Kaiho in the 26th Honinbo title
match to become the youngest Honinbo in history and held
the title for five succesive terms. In 1974, he defeated Rin in
the 13th Meijin title match, thus becoming the third contem-
porary player, after Sakata and Rin, to hold the top two titles
concurrently. In recognition of this feat, he was promoted to
9-dan. Ishida has also won and challenged for many other
major titles and is recognized as one of the leading players of
his generation. He is an outstanding all-round player but is
particularly skilful at overall positional judgment and at the
endgame. In this regard he is know as the 'computer'.
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Translator's Notes
Example 1 Connect Up the Star-points
Example 2 Blockade The Enemy
Example 3 The Attach-and-Extend Joseki: A Good Example
of Thick Shape
Example 4 Thickness and Extensions from a Star-point Joseki
Example 5 Keep Your Nose in Front
Example 6 The Large-Scale Push
Example 7 Make Thickness During the Opening
Example 8 The 3-3 Invasion
Example 9 Creation of Thickness Requires Flexibility
Example 10 Variations on a Joseki Designed to Take
Outside Influence
Example 11 The Power and Range of Thickness
Example 12 Pincers and Extensions
Example 13 Attack or Defense
Example 14 The Grand Sacrifice
Example 15 The Enemy's Vital Point is My Vital Point
Example 16 Combining an Extension with an Approach Move
Example 17 Use Thickness in Your Strategy
Example 18 In a Case of Opposing Thicknesses,
First to Play Has the Advantage 72
Example 19 Take Territory While Attacking
Example 20 Protecting the Cut is a Thick Defense
Example 21 Choose a Thickness Joseki According to
the Corner Situation
Example 22 The Ladder and the Outward Facing Joseki
Example 23 The Ideal-Thickness Trap
Example 24 Taking the High Ground
Example 25 Thickness and Profit in Simple Versions of
the Taisha Joseki
Example 26 One Line Can Make All The Difference
Example 27 Maneuvering For a Territorial Moyo
Example 28 Pushing Out to Utilize the Sanren-sei
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Example 29 Inviting the Opponent Build Thickness is a
Grave Error
Example 30 How to Make Territory and Thickness in
Actual Play
Example 31 The Balance Between Territory and Thickness
Example 32 Turn a Wall Into Large-scale Real Territory
Example 33 Clear-cut Spheres of Influence and
Settled Territory
Example 34 The Perfect Solid Connection and
the "Thousand Dollar' Bend
Example 35 The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Example 36 Don't Get Too close to Thickness
Example 37 Playing at the Boundary of Influence
Example 38 Play in the Corner and Build a Large Moyo
Example 39 The Point That Connects in Three Directions
Can't Be Bad
Example 40 Imperfect Thickness Can Be Erased Completely
Example 41 Thickness as the Basis of Large Moyos
Example 42 Eliminate the Cutting Point
Example 43 Cover the Center With Thickness
Example 44 The Capping Move and Thickness Makt
Good Partners
Example 45 Widen Your Horizons
'Thickness' in Go Proverbs
Index: Types of Thickness
vi All About Thickness
What is thickness? Ifs difficult to define in just one sen-
tence. If forced to, we could say it is the power of solid, secure
Beginners can understand the concept of territory with
relative ease. Moreover, they can count the number of points
in a piece of territory more or less accurately. However, it is
much more difficult for them to handle and use what is called
thickness or thick shape.
As regards thickness, large territories can be made in its im-
mediate vicinity, thickness can aid attack on an opponent's
weak stones and in other circumstances, its power enables the
creation of new territory elsewhere. This explanation is
straightforward, but words alone are inadequate.
For this book, we have chosen situations that occur fre-
quently in actual play, in joseki and in the fuseki, in even
games and in handicap games, to develop in the reader an
intuitive grasp of the subject and to show him how to use
thickness, how to make thickness and how to cope with an
opponent's thickness. Also, as it is useful to know how many
points thickness is worth, we have touched on this subject to
a limited degree.
Ishida Yoshio, 9-dan
December 1985
All About Thickness vii
Translator's Notes
The term 'thickness' is a direct translation of the Japanese
word 'atsumi'. Its use in the game of go is quite specialized
and not readily understood. The nearest equivalent is
'strength', but it is that special strength which radiates from a
strong connected position into empty areas nearby. Perhaps a
brief explanation, starting from basic principles, will help.
Every stone placed on the board is in direct relationship
with the adjoining points, its liberties. By placing a friendly
stone on any one of these adjacent points, stones can be con-
nected together. If the adjacent point is occupied by an enemy
stone, the number of liberties and the directions in which con-
nections can be made are correspondingly reduced.
However, the same single stone also exerts an effect on the
other surrounding points. The further from the stone the
weaker this effect is. A stone situated by itself, in isolation,
will have an equal effect in all directions. The presence of
other friendly stones nearby add to this effect or in the case of
enemy stones detract. When this effect is unimpeded we say
that the stone or stones are strong and vice versa.
The strongest positions arise when stones are securely con-
nected together. Connected stones combine their effect and
have a strong influence on the surrounding area. The larger
and more secure a group of connected stones is, the greater its
influence will be. However not all strong positions are called
thickness. This term is reserved for lines of connected stones
at right angles to the edge of the board and quite often walls
of stones facing in towards the center. When the strength of
such a position has a significant effect on adjoining areas and
must be taken into account, it is referred to as 'thickness'.
Vlll All About Thickness
Proper use of thickness in games is most enjoyable. This
book contains examples of every conceivable type of thickness
making that pleasure attainable by more and more players.
Stuart Dowsey
March 1990
aji: potential
aji-keshi: erasing or destroying potential
atari: the threat to capture a stone or a group of stones on
the next move.
byo-yomi: overtime. The time given a player (usually 30
seconds or 60 seconds per move) to complete his move after his
clock time has run out.
furikawari: a trade, a swap
fuseki: the opening
hane: a diagonal move played against an enemy stone
joseki: a standard pattern of good play (usually in the corner)
moyo: territorial framework potential, not actual, territory
sabaki: settling a group by making a flexible and resilient
sensei: literally 'teacher'. Professional go players are usually
referred to as sensei.
tesuji: the most skilful move in a local situation
All About Thickness
All About Thickness
Understanding Moyo and Influence
Forty-five examples from handicap and non-hand-
icap games, graphically teaching you how to build
thickness and the fundamental principles of how
to use it once you have constructed i t
Example 1
Connect up the Star-Point Stones
Settled territory
2 All About Thickness
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Playing here
is misdirected.
The settled territory
here isn't very large.
4 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. In 5 or 6-stone handicap games, Black has to utilize
his handicap stones from the beginning in such a way as to
constantly outdo White. This is the actual sequence leading to
Example 1. The pincer of Black 2 is a positive move. After the
double approach by White 3, attaching and extending with
Black 4 and 6 is easy to follow. After White 7
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Dia. 2. The steady block of Black 1 leads to a simple,
elegant joseki. Following White 2, Black wedges in and con-
nects with 3 and 5 which is the thick way of playing. In con-
trast to White's many cutting points, Black hasn't a single
weak spot.
If White plays 6 at 'a', followed by Black V, White V,
Black 'd', once again Black gets thickness.
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Example 2
Blockade the Enemy
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This sanren-sei isn't bad, but . . .
The black and white
strengths overlap.
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Dia. 1. This is the start of the sequence which leads to the
previous diagrams. After White 3, Black splits the white stones
with 4. The double approach by White 5 is quite a common
tactic. Black then plays contact with 6, extends out with 8 and
looks for a way to create thickness.
All About Thickness 9
Dia. 2. If White pushes in towards the corner with 1, Black
is almost certain to play the bamboo joint of 2, as this is the
thick way of playing. Taken as an isolated situation, Black will
play 'a' after White 3, but in this context, to utilize the marked
pincer stone, he will bend round at V and blockade White on
a large scale.
10 All About Thickness
Example 3
The Attach-and-Extend Joseki
A Good Example of Thick Shape
Anywhere around here is big.
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harmony and balance.
12 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Following White's extension to his marked stone,
the one-space defense by Black 1 is steady and reliable. White
can now enter the lower side with a midway placement at 2 if
he wishes. Black 3 blocks White off from the right White 4 is
inevitable, even though he has to accept the diagonal contact
play of Black 5. The sequence to Black 7 is to be expected and
represents a satisfactory development
All About Thickness 13
Dia.2 Dia.3
Dia. 2. Going back to the example diagrams, Black might
not feel able to extend as far as the marked stone if he doesn't
know how to handle White's counterattack, the push through
and cut of White 1 and 3.
The descent of Black 4 is sente threatening a cut at 'a'; 5 is
White's strongest response, but Black seals him in with 6 and
Dia. 3 The diagonal move White 1 may look disconcerting,
but Black simply descends to 2. When White jumps to 3, the
wedge in by Black 4 is a tesuji. The sequence up to White 9
leads to ko after Black's atari at 'a'. As Black has the cut at V
to provide him with ample ko threats, he cannot lose.
If White plays 5 at 9, Black can then atari from 7 and again
is in no danger.
Al l About ThirWnpss
Example 4
Thickness and Extensions
from a Star-Point Joseki
The right point is around here.
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A good extension, achieving both
vertical and horizontal balance
16 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Black can also consider playing the high extension
at 1 but this is vulnerable to a deep invasion. For example, the
invasion at 'a', the peep at White V in combination with 'c',
and so on. In many instances, when building a position on
the fourth line, it is necessary to be aware of possible in-
vasions on the third line.
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Dm. 2. The lower move, Black 1, will probably result in the
capping move White 2 but Black's reply at 3 is quite adequate.
White 2 is well inside the sphere of influence of the marked
stones, so sabaki will prove difficult. When surrounded by
reinforcements, the low extension of Black 1 has great ter-
ritorial potential.
18 All About Thickness
Example 5
Keep Your Nose in Front
The sequence in this corner follows
a standard handicap joseki.
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Black is virtually guaranteed
30 points of settled territory.
20 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. In this situation, White can further enclose the right
side with moves such as 1 and 3. To make counting easy lef s
assume White 'a', Black 'b'', after which White's territory on
the right side is worth about 30 points. This is equal to Black's
settled territory on the lower side, but remember White only
has one position on the right while everywhere else is Black's.
All About Thickness 21
Dia. 2. Many players might play Black 1 to reduce the
thickness of White's two marked stones. However, this allows
the hane of White 2 and is a mistake. The shortage-of-liberties
trap White 'a', Black ' b' , White V now comes into play. To
avoid this, Black had better play 3 at 4, which, though bad
shape, is the only way to fight back.
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The white territory here is about 10 points.
Example 6
The Large-Scale Push
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The shaded area could
be as much as 30 points
This white area is still
only 10 points or so.
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Dia. 1. Black 1 is considered the proper move as it prevents
White coming to the aid of his isolated stone with a jump out
to 'a'. Black can expect to get territory between the dotted line
and the edge. However, if you want a really large-scale
utilization of the black star-point stone on the right side then
play as in the previous diagram.
All About Thickness 25
Dia. 2. This is the actual sequence which produced the ex-
ample position. The sanren-sei of Black 4 is a fine move. Black
could equally well have played the large knighf s move at 'a'.
Black 6 is also good. The 3-3 of White 7, leading up to
White 15, is a common joseki. After this, Black 'b' is the way
to make thickness.
26 All About Thickness
Example 7
Make Thickness During the Opening
The sequence in this corner follows
a standard star-point joseki.
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The one-space jump here Pressing down with
instead Black 1 is a bit weak.
B l a c k 1 i s v e r
s e v e r e
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Dia. 1. This is a possible continuation. Once Black has
pushed ahead as far as the marked stone, White may choose
the capping move of 1, a familiar tactic, but once again the
proverb 'answer the cap with the small knighf s move' proves
White is going to find sabaki in the middle of Black's
sphere of influence hard to come by, while Black still has the
blocking move of 'a' as a treat to look forward to.
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Dia. 2. Returning to the earlier sequence (page 27), White
may counter Black 1 with the push through and cut of 2 and
4, but this is nothing to be afraid of.
The battle will unfold from Black 5 to 11 and thereafter
White will forever be anxious about the situation around the
two stones 4 and 6 lest they be ensnared by Black.
30 All About Thickness
Example 8
The 3-3 Invasion
White's territory is 6 points.
Up to Black 6 is
a typical joseki.
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White's territory is 6 points.
This block is the
only forcing move.
32 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Here is another example of the 3-3 invasion when
Black has played the one-space jump. After Black 2, the hane
and connection of White 3 and 5 is normal. White 3 at 'a' is a
bad mistake, as the block by Black ' b' is nigh perfect.
Dia. 2. The slide to White 1 is the right move. Black can
stop White at 2. The sequence up to Black 8 is one joseki.
Compared with White's 7 points in the corner, Black's outer
thickness is extremely powerful.
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Dia. 3. The 3-3 invasion by White 1 is not so good against
Black's small knighf s shape. One has the sense of burrowing
away in a tight little spot. It is quite different from the large
knighf s shape and life will be very restricted.
Dia. 4. Black blocks confidently at 2. After White 5, Black
has the highly efficient small knighf s connection at 6 to make
his thickness almost impregnable. Set against White's 7 points
in the corner, Black is even less worried about White 'a' than
in Dia. 2.
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Example 9
Creation of Thickness Requires Flexibility
Start with this atari.
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Black 8: captures
Black has sente.
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Dia. 1. If White plays 'a' and so on after Black 1, as seen in
the previous diagrams, he allows Black substantial thickness,
so perhaps this is the moment to think again. How about
giving up the chance of capturing two black stones in the
corner and sacrificing two white ones instead?
Dia. 2. The more correct way to proceed is push out at
White 1 and take away Black's liberties. Then White 2 would
put Black on the spot. Black is forced to play 2 to capture the
two stones, White extends to 3 and finishes with a satisfactory
shape. In consideration of this, Black had better choose the
alternative answer to the crosscut, as shown in the following
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Dia. 3. After the crosscut of White 1 and 3, Black typically
strengthens himself with 4 for a far more peaceful joseki. The
proverb says 'Against the crosscut, extend'. Now there are no
complicated variations.
Dia. 4. White will play atari at 1, followed by the double
open connection at 3. Black must take the crucial point 4 to
safeguard the corner. Black 6 brings this episode to its natural
conclusion. Black has a secure position, and White, through
the sacrifice of one stone, has taken sente.
38 All About Thickness
Example 10
Variations on a Joseki Designed
to Take Outside Influence
White's territory is
about 10 points.
All About Thickness 39
This is to prevent Black
getting outside influence.
Whichever way he pushes,
his stones get tangled up.
40 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. To avoid the trap laid in the previous diagram, after
White 4, Black 'a', White 'b', Black V gives a good result, but
Black 5 straightaway is much easier to grasp.
Dia. 2. The ensuing moves to Black 8 form one pattern.
Black hasn't constructed thickness, but he is satisfied to have
positions along both edges.
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Dia. 3. Up to Black 5 is the same as Dia. 1. However, in
place of 'a', White has simply played the contact move at 6.
Dia. 4. Black pushes out with 1, followed by atari with 3
and 5. The outward influence gained here is even thicker than
that shown in the initial diagrams, so Black has done well.
42 All About Thickness
Example 11
The Power and Range of Thickness
The value of the star-point
stone is 10 points.
Against White 1, Black 2 to 12 produce thickness.
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White has 6 stones.
Black has 7 stones.
stone than White, his area can be thought of
as about 20 points.
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Dia. 1. Taking the thickness in the upper left corner as our
starting point, Black can develop his position as far as the
marked stone. The reasoning behind this relates to a white
entry at 1. Because White is unable to make a two-space jump
in the direction of the arrow, he cannot get a stable base on
the side.
A deep invasion such as White 1, given insufficient room to
make a two-space extension, is very dangerous. That is why
Black can develop as far as the marked stone.
All About Thickness 45
Dm. 2. In view of the strength of his thickness, Black might
also consider extending as far as this marked stone. However,
if White now invades at 1, he has sufficient room to make the
two-space extension to 'a'. For this reason, as a general rule,
Black will count 5 spaces from the leading marked stone in
the wall to V to find the limits for an extension.
Moving away somewhat from this example, we find the
same principles apply when making pincer moves against
enemy stones. So as not to allow the opponent to make a two-
space extension, the limit is set at a three-space pincer. Four
spaces left open would allow room for a two-space extension,
so such a move would not qualify as a pincer.
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Example 22
Pincers and Extensions
serves also as a pincer. ^axe not good.
The full extension
Narrower extensions
All About Thickness 47
If it were White's move, he
would play this extension.
The two-space extension
is appropriate.
This is too far.
48 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. For White to extend with 1 to 'a' comes too close to
Black's thickness. Black could then aim at the invasion point
of V. Even though it may be a little limited, the two-space
extension of White 1 is the right move. Black will probably
play the diagonal contact move at V, and White has no op-
tion but to extend up with 'd'.
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Dia. 2. White might think of the slide into the corner with
White 1 before extending, because if Black answers at 'a',
White ' b' is ideal. However, Black is unlikely to answer with
'a'; instead he will choose the pincer at 2.
The black position after White 1, Black 'a', White V is
without merit.
50 All About Thickness
Example 13
Attack or Defense
This move utilizes
Black's thickness,
and also acts as a
pincer against White.
All About Thickness 51
If White were to play first, he
would play a three-space extension.
According to circumstances,
this move is also possible.
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Dia. 1. When Black, using the formula '3 up, 4 across', ex-
tends four spaces with 1 from his three-stone wall, this be-
comes a three-space pincer against the marked stone, a good
move which kills two birds with one stone.
Faced with the squeeze, White can play the sequence from
the diagonal contact at 2 up to 6 in order to settle himself.
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Dia. 2. If White chooses to neglect the marked stone by
playing elsewhere, Black can play the diagonal-contact move
of 1, followed by 3.
As the two white stones have no secure base and are under
attack from Black 3, things are looking very difficult for
54 All About Thickness
Example 14
The Grand Sacrifice
This is 'Kaizen's Great Masterpiece'.
An evaluation of Black's outside thickness is
difficult but it is correct to say that Black's
position is superior to White's settled territory.
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This is the start of the sequence which
leads to the previous diagram.
An aggressive block
56 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Continuing from the previous diagram, after Black
cuts with the marked stone, White is able to pull out to 1 be-
cause he has a stone at 'a'; if the ladder didn't work he
wouldn't have been able to play here.
For example, after White 1, Black 7, White 6, Black 10, Black
can start the ladder with V.
Suzuki Tamejiro, honorary 9-dan, commented that it would
have been better for White to play 11 simply at 13.
All About Thickness 57
Dia. 2. Black plays atari at 1, followed by the capture of 3. If
White plays 4 at 'a', he can capture five black stones, but it
would be enough for Black to capture at 4 in sente. Similarly,
after the loose geta at 5, if White plays 'a', Black can force
replies to 6 and 12 to build a flawless wall in the center. As
these results are bad, White resists with 6 in an attempt to
hack his way out into the center.
58 All About Thickness
Dia. 3. Yet again Black produces an exquisite loose geta at
1. White plays atari after atari from 2 up to 8 in the hope of
eventually breaking out into the center.
Black plays 11, which, while reducing White's liberties,
seems to knock him on the head. White's retreat from 12 to 16
is galling.
All About Thickness 59
Dia. 4. Black plays the forcing sequence from 1 to 5 and
finishes up with the capture by 7 of one white stone in the
center. Thickness billows out like towering clouds, wondrous
to behold.
Kaizen was a monk at Zojoji Temple in Sanenzan Moun-
tain, Shiba. He was an extremely strong 5-dan with no profes-
sional status but on a par with Shinomiya Maizo and
Sekiyama Sendaiu.
60 All About Thickness
Example 15
The Enemy's Vital Point is My Vital Point
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The enemy's vital point
is my vital point
White to play this extension.
62 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Faced with the attack by Black 1, White will settle
himself with moves such as the diagonal contact move of 2 ,
then 4 and 6. After Black 7, White has two ways to reduce the
black area: either lightly with 'a' or more forcefully with the
shoulder-hit at ' b' .
A deeper penetration at 'c' is out of the question because of
the presence of the marked stone.
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Dia. 2. The standard 5-4 point joseki ends with Black 7.
Applying the extension rule '3 up, 4 across', Black's three-
stone wall with 3 and 5 should provide the basis for a four-
space extension by Black 7 as far as 'a'. However, Black 'a'
allows White the small knighf s move ' b' and next the quite
severe invasion at 'c'. To guard against this would require an
extra move, one which negates the purpose of the extension.
Although Black 7 is one line narrower, if s a very thick and
reliable extension.
Moreover, in Example 15 Black chose to play 7 as the small
knighf s move at V and it was that shape which decided the
ultimate extension.
64 All About Thickness
Example 16
Combining an Extension with
an Approach Move
Black to play
A three-high wall gives
a three-stone thickness.
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Black 1 is a four-space extension
in keeping with '3 up, 4 across'.
Four lines
The '3 up, 4 across',
four-space extension
is a good point
66 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Black can also give serious consideration to the ap-
proach move 1 to prevent White making a corner enclosure.
White now needs to stop Black extending to 'a', but White 2 is
as close as he can come to the wall.
Black makes good his position with 3, getting another fine
The choice between the two is a matter of taste.
All About Thickness 67
Dia. 2. After Black 1, White might try to order Black about
with the contact move of 2. If Black responds with 3 and 5,
then he has done White's bidding. In addition to settling the
corner, White can play 6 on an ideal spot which is both an
extension and a pincer move. It is better for Black to extend
with 3 to 6, in which case the exchange of Black 1 and White
2 is counted as a black forcing move.
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Example 17
Use Thickness in Your Strategy
Strong thickness
The wily 5-3 point
Black 1 to 5 is a splendid development
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Black is satisfied
with his structure.
Pressing from above
is a good method.
70 All About Thickness
Did. 1. The 3-4 point of Black 1 is of course another way to
play. While standing a little further from the thickness on the
left, this move uses that thickness indirectly while getting
profit in the corner. The midway placement of White 2 is a
calm move, to which Black plays 3 and White 4. If White
decides to approach the corner stone instead of 2, Black will
play a pincer move backed by this thickness.
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Dia. 2. The 5-3 point of Black 1 is a little too contrived and
is somewhat unsuitable. White 2 is a good point; after Black 3,
White's extension to 4 is well away from the black thickness
on the left side. In other words, Black has just been reduced in
strength, so this is unsatisfactory.
72 All About Thickness
Example 18
In the Case of Opposing Thicknesses,
First to Play Has the Advantage
Prospects of about 30 points Good aim
White to play:
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Black to play:
he can extend as far as this.
White's moyo has
been sharply reduced.
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Dia. 1. The black one-space enclosure in the lower right
corner is by no means weak and has quite a powerful effect
along the lower side. For this reason, Black 1 isn't overex-
tended, and when White invades at 2, Black can fight back
satisfactorily with 3.
The slightly more restrained Black 1 at ' a' is another fine
All About Thickness 75
Dia. 2. The high extension to White 1 is a bit problematic.
There are two bad aspects. Firstly, because White 1 is a lit-
tle too close to the influence of the two marked stones, it
amounts to a duplication of effort. Secondly, as Black can slide
underneath with moves at 'a' and so on, it is a bit weak ter-
76 All About Thickness
Example 19
Take Territory While Attacking
White to play:
White's thickness to
the left is reduced.
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This stone seals off
White's boundary and
stops Black's entry.
The only move
The close pincer works
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Dia. 1. After the pincer of White 1, Black is likely to poke
his head out at 2. White will push up again at 3; by attacking
like this he transforms the lower left thickness from a ter-
ritorial moyo into real territory. White could also play 5 at 'a'.
A two-space pincer at ' b' instead of White 1 is a little on the
All About Thickness 79
Dia. 2. If, for argument's sake, Black were to play first, then
the two-space extension to 1 would show correct judgment.
To extend any further to the left would only invite an in-
From Black's point of view, the long-range reduction of
White's thickness in the lower left is quite satisfactory.
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Example 20
Protecting the Cutting Point
is a Thick Defense
If White has a stone on any intersection
^ - ^ i i i - I I I . I I I . I I I U i ...I |
also be here.
i his is an excellent move
to defend against White "A'.
All About Thickness 81
The two-space
extension is
very secure.
An unbroken
wall of thickness
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. White 1 may have been played to reduce black
thickness as much as possible but it is somewhat over-ex-
As White has come so close to the thickness of the marked
black stone, Black's invasion at 2 hits the spot White won't be
able to fight effectively.
All About Thickness
Dia. 2. In a case where the ladder works, the cut of White
'a' being successfully countered by Black ' b' , the defense just
seen would be omitted in favor of an extension up to Black 1.
This is an example of 'Attack linked to defense'.
Black 1 could also be played back at V.
All About Thickness
Example 21
Choose a Thickness Joseki According
to the Corner Situation
This joseki works when there
is a white stone in this corner.
This pincer is to Black's profit
All About Thickness
If this were Black, the
joseki wouldn't be used.
86 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. White plays the marked pincer stone with the back-
up of a white stone in the corner. If Black decides to get his
stone out into the open, White will attack by capping him
with 2. Against Black 3, White plays 4 and now has the pos-
sibility that the left side will become territory. This result was
possible because of the thickness on the upper side. The
balance between thickness and territory is very important.
All About Thickness 87
Dia. 2. If earlier, after White had pressed Black down along
the upper edge with 1 to 5, Black wished to avoid White's
pincer, he could have extended to 6 or 'a' down the left side.
White wouldn't miss the chance to play the thick block at 7.
In this case, White has made thickness toward the upper
right. This is quite different from the previous diagram and
will lead to a different game.
All About Thickness
Example 22
The Ladder and the Outward Facing Joseki
If a white stone lies on any of these
intersections, Black's ladder will not work.
The cutting stone is captured
All About Thickness 89
The cutting stone
is captured.
White gets the outside.
90 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. When Black, in face of the push by White's marked
stone, doesn't want to answer directly, he can play the
diagonal to 1. Then again, he can play elsewhere.
After this, White and Black exchange 1 and 2. Black's posi-
tion may seem a little flattened, but his corner territory is
secure while White has made outside thickness.
All About Thickness
( Wo ,
Difl. 2. If White doesn't play the push at 'a', then 1 becomes
the vital point for Black. If White replies with ' b' , then this
Black 1 becomes a forcing move. In addition to territory in the
corner, Black has gained influence along the upper side. In
the ensuing fight, the white position can still be attacked.
92 All About Thickness
Example 23
The Ideal Thickness Trap
with White's eyesight?
What can he be thinking of?
All About Thickness
If you remove the same number of black and
white stones from inside, this is exactly
the same as the previous shape.
Six black stones
have been
Six white stones have been
returned to the opponent
94 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. The usual response to Black 1 would be either White
8 or 3 but the indirect reply at White 2 is a famous trick from
ancient times. To an inexperienced player, this would seem
too good an opportunity to miss, so Black pushes down with
3 and blocks at 5.
Once White pushes out and cuts with 8 and 10, if s too late
for Black to pull back.
Dia. 1
Dia. 2
8: connects
Dia. 2 After Black 13, the slide into the corner in the pre-
vious diagram, White pushes down at 1 and cuts at 3. Against
Black 4, White plays 5 and the first stage of the sacrifice
strategy unfolds.
This sequence has become a one-way street; Black cannot
avoid being caught in White's web of intrigue.
All About Thickness 95
Dia. 3. White now turns his attention to the right side with
the block at 1. Black descends to 2, whereupon White plays 3
and 5 to enclose Black in an ever-tightening noose.
Even Black 6 offers no reprieve. Black is forced to occupy
the remaining liberties as White cracks his whip with 7 and 9.
Finally, with the exchange of White 'a' for Black V, Black
has been completely tricked.
Dia. 3 Dia. 4
Dia. 4. Ifs very easy to sidestep the trap. After pushing
down to 3, Black calmly steps back with 5. White plays 6 to
defend against 'a' and Black embraces the left side with 7.
White's position on the upper side is kept low while the
white stone on the left side is under pressure and almost sur-
96 All About Thickness
Example 24
Taking the High Ground
To extend to here instead
of White 8 is uninteresting.
The lower right corner
All About Thickness 97
In this position, it is White to play.
In one bound, the jump
takes control of the game.
This area has increased. This black area
has been reduced.
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. In actual play, the position in the lower right was
arrived at. The jump of White 1 has come to occupy a crucial
point and exert profound influence towards the center.
If Black replies with 2, the right side almost certainly be-
comes black territory but in comparison, White 1 is a much
larger-scale move, in a class of its own, affecting as it does the
upper side down to the center.
All About Thickness 99
Dia. 2. If White, instead of playing the jump in the previous
diagrams, decides to go for settled territory along the left side,
Black now expands his influence with 2 and 4. The sequence
to Black 8 can be expected and this time it is Black who has
taken the high ground and whose game is on the larger scale.
100 All About Thickness
Example 25
Thickness and Profit in Simple Versions
of the Taisha Joseki
ends the
All About Thickness
With this move,
Black takes territory.
A different version of the joseki
in which Black takes profit and
White is granted thickness.
his is
Black and White have used
the same number of stones.
102 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. After White 1 to 7, Black can cut at 8 to produce
another simple version of the Taisha. Black neatly avoids
White's provocation which could have led to more tortuous
and convoluted variations of the joseki.
Black 4 takes ko (to left ofl); Black 6 connects (to left of 2)
Dia. 2. White captures at 1 and by 7 this stage has ended.
Viewed locally, White's position is superior but then as
Black's aim was simplicity, this can't be helped.
All About Thickness 103
Dia. 3. Another version of the joseki, which avoids compli-
cated variations, starts with Black playing 2, a solid connec-
tion, after White 1 and leaves the points of 'a' and 4 as miai.
This version is hardly ever seen nowadays as it gives White a
much better shape than the joseki in Dia. 4. White can also
restrict Black severely with V.
Dia. 4. Lef s have a look at another joseki, which starts with
White 1, proceeds to Black 4, and which resembles Dia. 3
somewhat. The result is even, but this time White cannot pin
Black down with 'a'.
All About Thickness
Example 26
One Line Can Make All The Difference
This is the only
move for White.
4 rows
5 rows
All About Thickness
One line lower
brings problems.
106 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. This is the sequence which leads on later to Example
26; it gives us another example on the lower side of the im-
pact of thickness. The strength of White's three-stone wall,
comprising White 8, 10 and 12, points to a four-space exten-
sion to the strategic point of 'a', following the maxim 'three
up, four across'. However, Black has prevented this.
All About Thickness 107
Dia. 2. To continue, White plays the first move of the
Taisha at 1, Black avoids unnecessary complications with 2
and 4, and by 10, we have an example of a joseki which
produces profit for Black. On the other hand, White has built
thickness in the result up to 9.
The example presented in the previous pages dwelt on
how best to utilize this thickness.
108 All About Thickness
Example 27
Maneuvering For a Territorial Moyo
This approach is
the only move.
The original sequence
to produce this joseki is
shown on page 110.
It is White's move and he should make
All About Thickness 109
This extension
misses the point
He reduces White's
thickness in a
controlled way.
110 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. The sequence from White 4 up to Black 9 also ap-
peared on page 109. White connects at 10 and from 12 to 16
strengthens his thickness toward the lower side.
Dia. 2. Following White's good approach with the marked
stone, Black counters with 1 and the crosscut of 3, intending
to make White over-concentrated in relation to his right-side
All About Thickness
Dia. 3. When White takes on the black stone with 1, Black
settles things with the atari at 2. White's lower side thickness
becomes settled territory, but Black has achieved his aim of
restricting White's development. Now Black plays 4 and 6 to
get a good development on the left
After this, 'a' becomes a vital point in the contest between
the two moyos.
All About Thickness
Example 28
Pushing Out to Utilize the Sanren-sei
The small knighf s
Sphere of influence
All About Thickness
This becomes White's
sphere of influence.
This move heralds
the disintegration of
Black's strategy.
114 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. If, after the exchange of the two marked stones,
Black plays the approach move at 1, this too marks a break-
down in his strategy. When White bends round the corner at
2, this is very thick move and occupies a make-or-break point
for both players. By taking liberties from Black's three stones,
White's thickness becomes stronger.
All About Thickness 115
Dia. 2. In other words, Black must not miss the chance to
play 1. At this point, White can turn his attention to the lower
side and play 2. Against this Black has three alternatives: the
small knighfs move at 'a'; enlarging his moyo with Black ' b' ,
then White V, followed by Black 'a'; or he could leave the
lower side and block White's path along the upper side with
All About Thickness
Example 29
Inviting the Opponent to Build
Thickness is a Grave Error
This white move takes territory while
directing Black to build thickness.
All About Thickness 117
118 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. If, after White has played the shoulder-hit with his
marked stone, Black pushes at 1, White simply jumps to 2 and
brings pressure to bear on the isolated black stone in the
lower left corner. Next, when Black plays 3 to turn his thick-
ness into a large moyo, White will play the high approach at
4, each player going his own way.
All About Thickness 119
Dia. 2. In these circumstances, the capping move of White 1
is inappropriate for the reduction of Black's thickness. Black
answers with the small knighf s move of 2 which brings help
to Black's marked stone in the lower left and seems to con-
solidate Black's left-hand territory on a larger scale. Moreover,
White 1 itself is too close to Black's thickness on the upper
120 All About Thickness
Dia. 3. Lef s look at the sequence which led to White's ter-
ritorial strategy. The sequence of White 4 to 12 in the lower
right is a joseki.
Black plays 13 in the center of the left side to draw together
the stones in the niren-sei. Up to this point, there is nothing
special to comment on in this development.
All About Thickness 121
Dia. 4. White's choice of the irregular corner enclosure with
1 signalled the start of his territorial strategy.
White's plan is to tempt Black to play 2 and then immedi-
ately invade at 3-3 with 3. Had White 1 been played at 'a',
Black at 'b', White 2, followed by Black V, this would have
oeen another game altogether.
Black 4 blocks from the right direction, White plays 7, and
31a"k continues with 'a' and so on.
All About Thickness
Example 30
How to Make Territory and
Thickness in Actual Play
will start the Taisha with T7
All About Thickness
White 1 to 13 follows
White has a strong sphere one joseki.
i I . M - - S r MI A I. ii i i i
Black's territory is
about 15 points.
The value of White's
entire field of influence
is about 25 points.
124 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. After Black has played his marked contact stone in
the joseki sequence shown in the previous diagram, it is a
mistake for White to block at 1. Black cuts at 2 and White is at
a loss. For example, White 'a', Black V, White 'c', Black '&'
and White's position is in tatters.
Deviate from the joseki and you risk getting neither ter-
ritory nor thickness.
All About Thickness 125
Dia. 2. The last move in the lower left corner, the block of
White 'a', is a very important point for the completion of
thickness. Neglect this move and play White 1 on the other
side of the board, for example, and Black will jump out at 2,
so White's thickness is left incomplete.
Never leave a job half done.
126 All About Thickness
Example 31
The Balance Between
Territory and Thickness
This thickness is the
focus of the game.
Black to play
All About Thickness 127
Now White has made about
15 points of territory
The black move reduces the thickness
of the two marked white stones.
Though weak on
. territory, this move
128 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. How about the black approach move at 1? White
replies with the large knighfs move at 2 to give him good
balance along the left side. The six-space gap between White
2 and the marked stones is virtually territory. It has to be said
that Black's fuseki is unsatisfactory.
All About Thickness
Dia. 2. Apart from the shoulder-hit in the actual game,
Black could have approached with 1 from another direction
entirely. The fuseki calls for White 2 and Black 3.
This is quite different, but once again the thickness in the
lower left has become the focus of play.
130 All About Thickness
Example 32
How to Turn a Wall into
Large-scale Territory
Black's territory is
about 17 points.
This is White's
sphere of influence
All About Thickness 131
White's territory is
about 20 points.
This move, extending
as far as possible,
is imperative.
132 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. White 1 to 3 is a standard corner joseki, but such
wanton neglect of White's thickness on the lower left is tragic.
Black erases cautiously with 4, which is a big move. The value
of White's thickness has gone into sharp decline.
All About Thickness 133
Dia. 2. This is the continuation of the correct answer. White
plays contact at 1 in the lower right corner and Black cuts at 2
to cramp White's style. This strategy makes sense, as this area
has already become settled territory for White. Black 2
defends against the push through by White 'a'. Black can also
play V to force the response of White V; constraints have
been placed on the expansion of white territory and in-
fluence. These are Black's countermeasures.
All About Thickness
Example 33
Clear-cut Spheres of Influence
and Settled Territory
This is almost territory.
Black to play.
All About Thickness 135
This area is Black's sphere of influence
and a little difficult for White to enter.
This is almost 30
points of real territory.
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. The one-point jump of Black 1 is a thick move.
There are many instances when a one-point jump towards the
center from a stone on the third line is a good move. In addi-
tion to boxing in the territory in the upper portion, the sphere
of influence on the lower side is enlarged. Moreover, if Black
can next occupy the point of 2, his large moyo will assume
such gigantic proportions that White cannot afford to ignore
this point.
All About Thickness 137
Dia. 2. Black could also play at 1 first Now the cap at
White 2 is the only move. Black 1 stops White enlarging his
upper side while White 2 interferes with Black's large moyo.
Here we have mutual reduction of moyos.
Both 1 and 2 are good points and can be treated as miai.
138 All About Thickness
Example 34
The Perfect Solid Connection and
the 'Thousand-Dollar' Bend
It is bad to omit this move.
First, Black has to tidy up
All About Thickness 139
This is called
the 'thousand
dollar' bend!
Next if s White to play.
The bend of White 2
is a thick move.
In this fuseki, the players are
locked together in combat
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. The solid connection of Black 1 is a good example of
a thick move. If, instead of the bend at 'a', White plays else-
where and chooses a move like 2 on the left side, Black can
then play the small knighf s move at 3, a brilliant large-scale
In the rivalry between the two moyos, Black is definitely
All About Thickness 141
Dia. 2. Going back to the start, if Black doesn't play the
proper solid connection at 'a' and chooses instead Black 1 on
the left side, in reckless disregard of his own safety, White can
push through with 2 and 4, putting Black in a right fix. If he
defends the two cutting points at 'a' and V, the two corner
stones are going to find things very tough indeed.
All About Thickness
Example 35
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
This is an urgent point The side to play
here first will gain the advantage.
If s White's move. How should
All About Thickness 143
*2 up, 3 across' in
combination with
the pincer.
This is the ideal spot
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. White's marked stone occupies an ideal spot, as it
combines both the balance of a 'two up, three across' exten-
sion with an attack on the marked black stone.
After White has played his marked stone, Black will find it
difficult to come to the aid of the single stone right away. The
best move for Black is the shoulder-hit of 1, but the timing is
All About Thickness 145
Dia. 2. There is also the pincer of White 1, but the balance
with the two white stones on the right is poor. Black is likely
to invade at 'a', and it becomes difficult to say which has the
stronger position. White 1 is too close to Black's strength on
the left side, while the gap separating it from the two white
stones to the right is too wide.
146 All About Thickness
Example 36
The focus is around here.
Don't Get Too Close to Thickness
How should White play next?
Using the principle 'the enemy's vital
point is my vital poinf , consider the
All About Thickness 147
White 1 is the appropriate move.
Black 2 is to be expected; White 3
on set limits on Black's area.
This is a critical mpve.
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. White could also try one line further at 1. This is the
large large knighf s move. If next Black 'a', White counters
with ' b' and vice versaso White has nothing to worry about
White 'c', on the other hand, comes too close to the black
thickness. Black can play 'd', after which White has to survive
in the face of Black's wall. This will be no easy task.
All About Thickness 149
Dia. 2. Confining this discussion to the left side, if Black
were to play first, Black 'a', White V, Black 'c' would be right
and proper. At this stage, it is difficult to quantify the ter-
ritories, but suffice it to say that Black can make a large ter-
ritory and at the same time prepare a reception should his
opponent decide to invade.
All About Thickness
Example 37
Playing at the Boundary of Influence
The sphere of influence
of the white thickness.
Black to play
The right point for
Black is around here.
Whiter thickness
All About Thickness
Black 1 is
a calm move.
Although a little restrained,
this is a fine move.
White is satisfied
with this compromise.
152 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Black 1 is the very best spot. Against this, there is no
way that White can reply at 'a'. If he chooses to invade with
White 2, Black jumps out with 3, which also reduces White's
thickness. Even after White 4, Black's two stones aren't weak
at all, as Black can extend as far as V.
All About Thickness 153
Dia. 2. The lower move Black 1 is dubious, however. White
will cap with 2, and this move, in combination with the thick-
ness above, will establish White's domination of the center of
the board.
Black 1 at 'a' is a little too close to the thickness. If pincered
by White V, Black's position will become quite painful.
All About Thickness
Example 38
Play in the Corner and Build a Large Moyo
Black to play
The focus of attention is around here.
How do you plan your fuseki to take full
All About Thickness 155
Black's forcing sequence from 1 to 11
quickly results in a strong wall.
This area is an almost
certain 30 points for Black.
This extension binds
the moyo together.
156 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. Black could play 1 and 3 with the idea of staking out
the right side, but, because this joseki is too far away, it fails
to make proper use of the thickness of the three marked black
stones. White can now get a base in the corner with 4 and 6.
Black 7 is a good point, but Black's strength lacks something
in grandeur and vigorousness.
All About Thickness 157
Dia. 2. In playing the commonplace extension to 1, Black
demonstrates a complete lack of grasp in his overall game.
White 2 immediately takes the spot vital to both players. He
has managed to defend against pressure from Black 2 and set-
tle his corner. The scale of Black's strength is much reduced
and there is no way he can use his thickness to build a large
158 All About Thickness
Example 39
The Point Which Connects in
Three Directions Can't Be Bad
White profit Black to play
White profit
All About Thickness 159
The sanren-sei is ideal.
It is difficult for White to push
into the center from here.





160 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. If Black plays 1, one line lower, he can be capped by
White 2. Just one line difference has a dramatic effect on the
whole game. White 2 breaks the lines of black influence
radiating out into the center and it is difficult to see how an
effective attack can be mounted against this move.
All About Thickness 161
Dia. 2. Black could have played 1 with the idea of enlarg-
ing the central moyo. This is a non-urgent point and in the
wrong direction entirely. White will play elsewhere, with the
midway point of 2 presenting itself. The distance across the
center is too wide and the overall thickness becomes ill-
162 All About Thickness
Example 40
Imperfect Thickness Can
Be Erased Completely
White to play
Should the erasure
be deep or shallow?
Use this stone
All About Thickness 163
The deep invasion will
erase Black's thickness.
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. If Black caps White 1 at 2, White activates his
marked stone with 3. Black plays 4 to prevent White pulling
the stone out, White plays 5 and 7, finally descending to 9,
and is almost certainly alive.
If White can wreak destruction while securing life for him-
self, his game becomes the more promising.
All About Thickness 165
Dia. 2. For a shallow erasure, White 1 is normal, but while
Black turns the upper side into settled territory with 2, White's
two stones 1 and 3 are not yet stable. This insecurity will
present problems to White. It is much safer to go the whole
hog, make a deep invasion and commit oneself to securing
life, as in the correct answer.
166 All About Thickness
Example 41
Thickness as the Basis of Large Moyos
Here's an ideal chance to build
a large moyo from thickness.
All About Thickness
This is the way to build a large
moyo based on thickness.
The moyo has grown
to this extent
168 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. After Black 1 has enlarged the moyo, if White at-
tempts to erase it from above with 2, Black can fight back
with 3. Black exchanges 5 for White 6 to create some useful
aji. Against the push of Black 7, White answers with 8 and by
Black 13, both have enclosures with Black satisfied by his
result. This development occurred in an actual game, with the
whole of the right side unified into one large black moyo.
All About Thickness
Dia. 2. For Black to play 1 and 3 to aid the marked stone is
a terrible strategic error. White jumps out with 2 and 4 and
Black's all-important thickness simply withers away. The in-
vasion at 'a' now appears possible and with no undue effort
White has gained the upper hand.
170 All About Thickness
Example 42
Eliminate the Cutting Point
White has just
connected here.
This is uncharted
Black to play
Where is the move
All About Thickness
White may not be able to
enter this area of thickness.
The order of
Black 1 and 3
is important
White 2 is also a thick
and proper move.
Almost 50 points
of settled territory.
All About Thickness
Dia. 1. After Black's solid connection at 1, White might well
think of capping at 2 to erase the moyo. However this gives
Black the chance to activate his single stone in the lower left,
with 3 and 5, leaving White at a loss. White V in the previous
diagram should have been played and indeed must be played.
From Black's point of view, Black 1 looks to both pos-
Dia. 2. If Black first jumps out to 1, White can cut at 2,
bisecting Black. The attendant shortage of liberties rapidly
makes Black's position untenable.
Territory can on occasion be made naturally by playing
thick moves, and if, when required to defend, a defensive
move can be used which is also a thick move, this is doubly
All About Thickness
All About Thickness
Example 43
Cover the Center With Thickness
Backed by thickness, Black plays the
shoulder-hit of 1 against White's 3-3 stone
After Black 7, White will
find erasure qui t e difficult.
is about 20 points.
All About Thickness 175
Once the central thickness is reduced,
White can aim at reactivating this stone.
White's moyo has grown.
176 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. How about playing the shoulder-hit of Black 1 to
prevent White from enlarging his position on the upper side?
It is shrewd for White to ignore Black 5 and build a new posi-
tion at 6. You can't expect White to reply with 6 at 'a' or such
like. In this result, Black hasn't used his stones in the center
well at all.
All About Thickness 177
Dia. 2. Against the correct shoulder-hit Black 1, it makes
little difference whether White pushes with 2 in this direction.
By 7, Black enjoys the same degree of success as in the answer
diagram on p. 175.
Black has made a majestic structure in the center simply by
restricting the movement of the marked white stone from afar.
178 All About Thickness
Example 44
The Capping Move and Thickness
Make Good Partners
Black to play
The marked group of white
of black influence.
All About Thickness 179
The field of influence
has grown.
180 All About Thickness
Dw. 2. Black 1 snuffs out White's light in the center and is
the key move on the entire board. It is very difficult for White
to find an effective answer to Black 1.
If White plays 2 and 4 to strengthen the right side before
tackling the upper side, Black will play 5 and 7 in order to
settle matters for the whole board.
All About Thickness 181
Dia. 2. Black 1 is also a good point, but White will jump out
at 2 without hesitation.
As you can see, White 2 drastically reduces Black's thick-
ness on the lower left This move also stabilizes White's large
group. The outcome of the whole game is now unclear.
182 All About Thickness
Example 45
Widen Your Horizons
This move encloses the moyo,
White to play \,
Qt more 8 e e m 8 ca
iied for.
some finishing touches.
All About Thickness
White is ahead in
territory by the
size of this area,
about 5 points.
A large territorial moyo
has been made possible
Use this stone
184 All About Thickness
Dia. 1. White 1 is a most conventional way of constructing
the moyo but too honest for its own good. This move doesn't
take full advantage of the situation, so Black plays 2, By White
7, the game has become extremely close.
White 1 at 'a' is too small in scale and can be dismissed as
All About Thickness 185
Dia. 2. White might consider 1 to forestall Black's hane at
the head of two stones, but this is from the wrong direction.
Black caps at 2 and immediately White's moyo is reduced. If
steps aren't taken to consolidate thickness into a territorial
moyo, the territory can easily be lost and become insufficient.
186 'Thickness' in the Go Proverbs
'Thickness' in Go Proverbs
The shoulder-hit and the capping move for shallow
These methods are effective for reducing both moyos
and thickness when a deep entry is impossible.
You can't win on thickness alone
If, finally, thickness doesn't turn into territory, you'll
Don't make territory from thickness
While thickness is very useful for fighting, it is ineffi-
cient when it comes to enclosing territory in the center.
Don't approach thickness
Get too close to it and thickness will provide the back-
ing for the most savage attack.
You can't win by capturing stones
If you concentrate on capturing stones, oblivious to all
else, the opponent can employ sacrifice strategy to
make thickness.
Avoid getting tied in a knot
If you don't want to be presented with an impenetrable
wall or thickness, don't allow yourself to be tied in a
knot by throw-ins or sacrifice stones.
The one-point jump is never bad
As in Dia. A, one-space jumps breaking out into the
center are rarely bad.
All About Thickness
Dia. A Dia. B
Make a large sacrifice to seal off an area
Play forcefully from outside to sacrifice stones, create
overconcentration in the opponent and make thickness
for yourself.
Erase large moyos with the capping move and the
This has the same importance as the proverb 'The
shoulder-hit and the capping move for shallow erasure'.
The tortoise-shell is worth 60 points
The strength of the thickness of the tortoise-shell shown
in Dia. B can be compared to 60 points of territory.
Divide and conquer
When trying to split up positions into two or more por-
tions, the presence of thickness has a profound effect.
A single cut may be the key to success
A single cut may help you to rescue your own groups
or cause your opponents thickness to crumble.
188 Thickness' in the Go Proverbs
Pushing the cart from
behind is an example of
bad go
The more you push, the
more territory you give
the opponent. As in Dia.
C, pushing helps the op-
ponent to split you into
two while making him-
self thick. Dia. C
Attack is the best form of defense
Attack positively; while the enemy struggles to survive,
you build thickness.
Don't push along the 5th line
Thickness may be made by pushing along the fifth line,
but the result will be inferior to the opponent' s ter-
A gote move may be sente later
Although gote, a thick defensive move, strengthening
weaknesses, can hold promise of severe maneuvers
Crawling along the 3rd line is joseki
Territory made by crawling along the third line will
balance the thickness gained by the opponent.
3 up, 4 across
When three stones joined vertically rise away from the
edge, an extension of four spaces is possible.
Each stone added to a ladder loses 7 points
For every stone added to a ladder that doesn't work, the
All About Thickness 189
loss, in terms of thickness granted the opponent, is said
to be seven points.
Let the opponent hane at the head of four stones, but
not at the head of three
Let the opponent hane at the head of four stones but
not at the head of three. If you let him hane at the head
of three stones in a row, he'll reduce your liberties, take
the initiative and build thickness.
Learn to sacrifice and take a
big step forward
In Dia. D, by sacrificing one
stone at 1, White is able to
play 3 and 5 to amass thick-
Take territory while attacking
If you can use thickness for attack, territory will appear
quite naturally.
Attack is linked to defense
This proverb is the same as "Attack is the best form of
defense". Useful gains can be made by attacking.
The enemy's vital point is your vital point
Look for the point the opponent wants to play: it may
also be the vital point for you.
In a symmetrical position, the side to play first takes
the advantage
When equivalent thicknesses or strengths oppose each
other, there is usually a vital point midway between
them that you want to seize before the opponent.
Dia. D
190 'Thickness' in the Go Proverbs
Don't enclose the center
Thickness may be made in the center, but it is ineffi-
cient to try and use this thickness to enclose territory.
Learn the two-step hane and you're nearly shodan
The method of play which follows one hane with
another to build influence is strong and severe and al-
most never used by a weak player.
The second line is the losing line
Crawling along the second line may produce some ter-
ritory, but the thickness gained by the opponent is far
Add a second stone and sacrifice
When a second stone is added before a sacrifice, the
enemy has to use many more moves, which allows you
to build a profitable wall or thickness.
Play hane at the head of two stones
Hane can be played at the head of two stones in a row,
almost without thinking. This builds up your influence.
Two up, three across
As seen in Dia. E, White 1 can extend three spaces from
his two-stone wall.
All About Thickness 191
When you can't pincer, play contact
In the case of strong stones which cannot be pincered,
play contact moves and lean on them to become thick-
Use the whole of the go board
Don't fuss around with small bits of territory: realize
your dreams by building magnificent moyos.
Poor open-connection, good solid connection
The duffer makes open connections, the expert solid
connections. In many cases the solid connection will
enable you to play strongly in struggles for influence.
The star-point always has the 3-3 invasion
The star-point is weak on territory, but in compensation
making thickness is relatively easy.
Ponnuki is worth 30 points
Even though the actual point
count doesn't amount to
much, the power of the shape
left by the capture of a single
stone, as in Dia. F, when
turned into thickness is
equivalent to 30 points. D i a . F
The bend-contact is priceless
Bending round in contact to block the enemy's route
also occupies a key point vital to the development of
both players' influence.
Cap in the heart of the moyo
The move which can obstruct an expanding moyo is
the capping move.
192 'Thickness' in the Go Proverbs
Never cede to the opponent the key point for building
both moyos
In moyo contests, there's often a crucial point for ex-
panding both moyos.
Leant on in two directions, the game is lost
If you come under pressure from two directions at once,
the opponent's thickness will become very strong.
All About Thi ckness 193
Index: Types of Thickness
Thickness in the Opening
Arrangements of stones which lead to thickness
a. Handicap go
2-stones, 6-stones, 9-stones (Ex. 1, p. 2; Ex. 2 p. 6)
b. Niren-sei
c. Sanren-sei (Ex. 28, p. 112; Ex. 39, p. 158)
d. Miscellaneous (Ex. 21, p. 84)
Josekis to produce thickness
(Ex. 3, p. 10; Ex. 4, p. 14; Ex. 5, p. 18; Ex. 6, p. 22; Ex. 7, p.
26; Ex. 8, p. 30; Ex. 9, p. 34; Ex. 10, p. 38; Ex. 11, p. 42, Ex.
14, p. 54; Ex. 22, p. 88; Ex. 23, p. 92; Ex. 25, p. 100)
Thick moves
e. Jump (Ex. 24, p. 96; Ex. 33, p. 134)
f. Bend (Ex. 34, p. 138)
g. Push (Ex. 1, p. 2; Ex. 2, p. 6; Ex. 6, p. 22)
h. Press-down (Ex. 7, p. 26; Ex. 38, p. 154)
i. Connect (Ex. 20, p. 80; Ex. 34, p. 138; Ex. 42, p. 170)
Thickness in the middlegame
Utilization of Thickness
j . Expansion of thickness (Ex. 33, p. 134; Ex. 41, p. 166; Ex.
43, p. 174; Ex. 44, p. 178; Ex. 45. p. 182)
k. Extending from thickness
Striving for safety (Ex. 16, p. 64)
Making territory (Ex. 18, p. 72; Ex. 26, p. 104; Ex. 27, p.
108; Ex. 32, p. 130; Ex. 39, p. 158)
Attack combined with making territory (Ex. 12, p. 46;
Ex. 13, p. 50; Ex. 15, p. 60; Ex. 17, p. 68; Ex. 19, p. 76; Ex.
35, p. 142)
Index: Types of Thickness
Reduction of thickness
1. Light erasure of thickness and escape (Ex. 29, p. 116; Ex.
36, p. 146; Ex. 37, p. 150)
m. Deep erasure, taking the fight to the thickness (Ex. 40,
p. 162)
Thickness in actual play
One move that can make the difference between thickness
and territory (Ex. 30, p. 122; Ex. 31, p. 126)