Sample 7x7 Game

The following is a fabricated game on a 7x7 board. Normally one wouldn’t play on a board of this size, but it’s large enough to illustrate some of the basic concepts.

Black’s first move. This move aims to start staking out territory in the upper right-hand corner. Typically games start in the corners, move to the sides, and then the center (although this won’t be as apparent on a small board).

Now, white is a little more ambitious and plays directly at the center. This move threatens to take the entire lower-left quadrant of the board while putting pressure on the black stone.

Now, in the next two moves, black defends whites approach by coming down, and white extends upward to mark off more territory on the left-hand side.

Well, black needs to do something about this, so he comes around the bottom white stones (this move is known as a hane). White defends.

Black decides to attempt the same at the top, and white defends. However, as we shall see, this was a mistake (white should have attacked at the bottom).

Black now plays. A move like this, which splits two sets of stones (in this case, the lower-left white stone and the marked stones) is called a cut. Cuts can be very dangerous, as they separate stones, thus weakening them. In this case, the cut is even more dangerous, as black, in addition to separating the stones, also manages to put the marked stones in atari! One more move, and they’re dead!.

White defends, and black extends to the side, threatening to take the marked stone.

Now it’s white’s turn to atari the marked black stone.

So black defends his stone. But the white ataris the stone on the other side!

Since black clearly has no way to save the stone, he ataris from the outside.

And white is forced to capture.

Not to be outdone, black ataris the lower white stone. However, white proceeds to atari the marked black stones! This is trouble!

Black defends the atari, and white proceeds to atari the other stone. Note, the marked white stone was placed in atari by black’s previous move, however, white is choosing to sacrifice that stone.

So black is forced to capture the white stone, and white simply extends back to seal off more territory.

Black then works to reduce the white territory, and white defends. But black has made another mistake!

White manages to place the black stones in atari! Black initially tries to run, but there’s nowhere to go.

So white captures the stones, and black is forced to cut his loses. White comes back and defends.

End-game moves. Each player pushes the borders of the other’s territory in order to maximize their own while minimizing their opponents. But we’re not quite done.

Black realizes that, unless he captures the white stone, white would be able to extend down and place the marked stones in atari, and ultimately kill them. Thus black captures this stone in defense.

But note, if the black stones were not in danger, both players may choose to pass, and the white stone would be considered ‘dead’, since no play in black territory could save the stone. And it’s considered impolite to play such useless moves simply to force black to capture the stone.


At the end of the game, black has 2 prisoners while white has 6. Next, one must count the empty spaces surrounded by each player’s stones. White is surrounding 10 empty spaces, and coincidentally, black surrounds 10 as well. The end result: white has 16 points while black has 12, meaning white wins by 4 points. This is written as “W+4”.