Attachment to groups

Having invested a set of moves in a group on the board, we may feel that we should hold onto it as a priority. We are attached to the investment. We start to save the group under attack without even pondering the consequences. Our attachment is blinding us to the big view. We are not cultivating the skill of being able to sacrifice stones. This is a surprisingly common kyu player weakness and a clear barrier to layer improvement.

I recommend videos by the Korean professional Go Pro Yeonwoo on YouTube. I mention her here as she shares similar sentiments to those offered on this web site. Not least that a key difference between strong and weak players is that the former more readily allow compromises in games than the latter. Developing a flexible, detached mindset is key.

One very simple method of learning to treat groups lightly is to play a dozen or so games where you choose, as appropriate, a group to sacrifice. Then observe! Many kyu level opponents will greedily start to surround this welcome 'gift'. See if you can now, or later, treat the 'dead' stones as aji and use them to leverage play around them. Often, the gravity of attachment to the kill will blind opponents to all but the completion of the capture. And then, later in the game, play can actually steer towards the 'still dead' stones and your opponent finds that they can be rescued. It is not your original intent to do so, but remarkably often, early sacrifices can be salvaged. It is hard to over-estimate the value of this mini training programme. Play unranked games to stop fussing about winning. You are focused on learning.