Kim Myungwan's Principles of Go

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 9, 2015 1:20:36 AM / by Brian Lee

Kim Myungwan, Korean 9d professional, dropped by Harvard and MIT's Go clubs this past weekend to scout out the collegiate Go scene. He gave a short review of a game between Evan Cho, a former Korean insei, and Ryan Li, recently minted 1d American professional. During his review, he applied general principles of Go to make comments on the players' moves. 



Click here to download the commented SGF

Go Principles


  • Take the corners
  • Enclose or approach the corners
  • Extend to the sides

Middle game

  • Attacking your opponent's weaknesses
  • Defending your own weaknesses


  • Who's got more stones?
  • Who's got more liberties? (Capturing race scenario)

Attacking - know why you are attacking; set the aggressiveness of your moves appropriately.

  • You can get benefit elsewhere while attacking
  • You can kill outright

Invading: there are a few ways to save your stones. In order of preference, order of exploring possibilities:

  • Counterattack. Disconnect and capture your opponent's stones. Look for crosscut opportunities. Be aware of capturing races.
  • Make a base, make territory while living
  • Run into the center, connect to your other stones.
  • Live inside, either by making two eyes or maybe seki.

Common kyu-player mistakes

  • Contact plays are almost always a mistake.
  • Think 3 seconds at minimum before playing a move. You will catch 80% of your mistakes this way. (Online games are bad because it's too easy not to spend 3 seconds!)
  • Focusing too much on one area. Don't follow your opponent blindly, always look for ways to take sente.

Becoming dan level

  • Reading. Always read 3 moves: your move, your opponent's likely response, and how you will respond next.
  • Always look for weaknesses in your opponent's stones
  • Try to make your stones globally efficient. Try to make your opponent's stones inefficient.

Difference between territory and influence

  • Territory is cash, worth the same in the beginning the game as at the end of the game.
  • Influence is an investment for the future. It might not be useful near the end of the game, but it's more valuable earlier in the game.

Making a Move

  • Evaluate your position. Are you winning or losing? Play more aggressively if losing, play safely if winning. Where are you strong or weak? Where is your opponent strong or weak?
  • Generate candidate moves
  • Read through the likely outcome
  • Evaluate the outcomes
  • Compare the outcomes
  • Choose the move that will let you win

Topics: Game review, Go Lesson

Brian Lee

Written by Brian Lee