I am a GO beginner. I think I know the basic rules. I have a strategy question:

Why does it NOT make sense to play into an opponent's territory?

I think I understood that the free(!!!) positions inside an territory are counted as points. If I play into this territory and form a group that is alive (because it has two eyes) don't I still take points away from my opponent?

Example: White has formed a line of connected stones let's say around one edge of the board. Let's assume the territory is quite large and has 25 free positions in it. So white would win 25 points for it. Now if i am black and let's assume I already have some stones in that territory. Wouldn't it make sense to try connect my stones INSIDE that territory and try to create a group that is alive, has two eyes and cannot be beaten anymore. Wouldn't this take away points from white?

  • You are quite right that making a live group in your opponent´s territory reduces their score. As Piet´s answer below says, your chances depend on what that territory looks like. In very many games a point arises where one player has loosely (and thus efficiently) sketched out territory, and the other must choose between invading (trying to live inside it) and reducing, i.e. pushing from the outside, to try to reduce their territory and perhaps increase one of your own. Invasion is obviously wrong if you cannot live, but otherwise the choice also depends on the effect on the rest of the board.
    – PJTraill
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


It very much depends on the actual form of the territory. The smaller and the more closed off the territory is, the less the chance that an invasion would succeed in becoming alive. But there are many instances where an invasion makes perfect sense.

One good way to use the threat of an invasion is as a Ko-threat.

Of course, trying thing is part of learning. Especially as a beginner, trying an invasion helps you to gain a feeling what might succeed and what not. I often start an invasion; some work, some don't.

I suggest you study Live-and-Death-Go-Problems to learn how to make a group survive.

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