I am an absolute beginner, trying to learn.

Let's consider that board (from a tutorial at http://playgo.to/iwtg/en/):

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It's black's turn to play. The topic is to avoid a false eye at D9.

According to the tutorial, if I play at E8, I do not have a false eye:

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But, if I play anywhere else and white plays at E8, I do have a false eye:

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I do not understand how having a white stone, at the diagonal, would make a false eye. Can anyone explain?

2 Answers 2


As the right most eye does not have a solid chain it is still vulnerable.

This combined white's coverage on 8 means that when white takes E8 white will easily be able to move E9 into atari; after E8 white's next move would be F9, G8 or G9, which black cannot effectively block within the available two moves.


Just think about what happens when your stones get fully surrounded, as will eventually happen: The stone(s) at E9 will only retain a single liberty, the false eye, and you will need to fill that single liberty with a stone to connect E9 to the rest of the black group. And after that, only a single eye remains.

That is the point of false eyes: They are liberties which you will be forced to fill yourself, or suffer your stones being taken. As such, they do not count towards ensuring the life of a group.

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