Attacking Both Sides at Once
The Stick-Connection Tesuji

by Richard Bozulich

In the hectic infighting that is a feature of most games of go, players in fast games don't have the luxury of enough time to read out all the variations. Instead, they must rely on intuition to come up with a small number of good candidate moves. This is particularly true in professional games with 30-second time limits, where pros must fall back on their intuition, and tesujis are one of their main resources.

There are up to 50 different kinds of tesujis that a dan-ranked go player should be familiar with. If a player has solved many problems that involve a certain kind of tesuji, he will immediately recognize the shapes in which that tesuji is applicable.

Here is an example in which a number of tesujis are used.

White to play
Problem. White to play
Black has completely surrounded White's central group. There are some chinks in Black's surrounding stones where a wedge-in tesuji and perhaps others might be applicable. However, White needs some preparation before he can execute them.

This is not an easy problem. Although the title gives a strong hint for the first move, many tesujis are used in the many variations needed to completely solve this problem. You will need to apply the wedge-in, clamp, and peep tesujis. You will also need to count liberties and be aware of the possibility of a connect-and-die position (oi-otoshi) (see the previous instalment). By working on this problem, you will realize that knowing tesujis will not absolve you from the hard work of brute-force reading. Tesujis are just guide posts on the path for finding the truth — or true status — of a go position.