Page:Smith - The game of go.djvu/56

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THE GAME OF GO

stones is regarded as dead before it is completely surrounded, because when the situation is observed to be hopeless the losing player abandons it, and addresses his energies to some other part of the board. It is advantageous for the losing player to abandon such a group as soon as possible, for, if he continues to add to the group, he loses not only the territory but the added stones also. If the circumstances are such that his opponent has to reply to his moves in the hopeless territory, the loss is not so great, as the opponent is meanwhile filling up spaces which would otherwise be vacant, and against an inferior player there is a chance of the adversary making a slip and allowing the threatened stones to save themselves. If, however, the situation is so clearly hopeless that the adversary is not replying move for move, then every stone added to such a group means a loss of two points.

At the end of the game such abandoned groups of stones are removed from the board just as if they had been completely surrounded and killed, and it is not necessary for the player having the advantage actually to surround and kill such a group. It is enough if they obviously can be killed. The theory on which this rule proceeds is that if the players play alternately, no advantage would be gained by either side in the process of actually surrounding such a group, and its completion would only be a waste of time. But let us suppose that a black group at the end of the game is found to be hopeless and also completely surrounded with the exception of one point. The question arises, can the Black player demand that his adversary play on the vacant space in order to kill this group, for, if he could, it is obvious he would gain one “Me” by so doing. The an-