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Shape - Go

The net (geta) is commonly referenced as a good shape

In the game of Go, shape describes the positional qualities of a group of stones. Descriptions of shapes in go revolve around how well a group creates or removes life and territory. Good shape can refer to the efficient use of stones in outlining territory, the strength of a group in a prospective fight, or making eye shapes so that a group may live. Bad shapes are inefficient in outlining territory and are heavy. Heavy groups cannot easily make eye shapes and are therefore good targets for attack. Understanding and recognizing the difference between good shape and bad is an essential step in becoming a stronger player.

Shape is not a rule; the surrounding position must always be taken into account. While it is useful for beginners to learn the common good and bad shapes presented here, sometimes a usually bad shape can be the best shape to play locally. This can be true if it forces the opponent to create an equally bad or worse shape, or if it accomplishes a specific tactical goal, such as the creation of eye-shape or the capture of an opponent's group.

"To make shape is to take a weak or defective position...and transform it into a strong one. Sometimes this can be done just by putting one stone down in the right place, but usually it takes sacrifice tactics...."

Good Shapes

From the top left corner, clockwise: Black has a Mouth Shape in the top left corner, which white has mistakenly tried to invade at c-17, putting the lone piece into a Net. Just to the right is a white Bamboo Joint. To the right of that is a Double Turn on white's part. In the top right corner is a Small Knight's Jump. On the right center portion of the board are two black stones that are being attacked by white at q-10. If black responds at the spot indicated by a, it would be a Pole Connection. The bottom right corner is a series of single Turns played out, and a Trumpet Connection at m-3. A Large Knight's Jump is in the bottom left corner at g-2. On the left side of the board is a series of One Space Jumps. Just above that is a Tiger's Mouth. In the center of the board is a Diamond shape.

Bad Shapes

On the top left corner is a black Dumpling that will be dead shortly. On the top right is a white Empty Triangle - if white had played at a instead of white 1, the stones would not be as threatened as they are currently. On the bottom left is a ladder shape for black (black had just played at black 2). Black will win this ladder battle due to the triangled stone at n-11, but if the n-11 piece did not exist, then white would inevitably win when the regular pattern of play extended to the edge of the board.