The Subtle Art of Influence and Thickness in Go

Welcome to another intriguing exploration into the rich and dynamic world of Go. In this blog post, we will delve into the intricate concepts of Influence and Thickness and guide you on how to effectively harness these complex strategies in your games. Below is an outline of the topics we’ll explore:

  • Understanding the Power of Influence in Go
  • The Strategic Importance of Thickness in Go
  • Tactically Combining Influence and Thickness
  • Examples of Pro Games Highlighting Influence and Thickness
  • Tips on Developing a Feel for Influence and Thickness in Your Play

Please note that we’ll be focusing purely on the topic of Influence and Thickness in Go, hence we will exclude basic introductions, advanced strategies, detailed coverage of opening, endgame, sente and gote, joseki, life and death problems, reading techniques, counting and estimating, handicap play, tournament preparations, game analysis and the impact of AI. Let’s get started!

The Power of Influence in Go

The concept of Influence in the game of Go can seem nebulous to the uninitiated. Simply put, influence refers to the potential power that your stones exert over an area of the board, without explicitly owning it. Think of influence as the sphere within which your stones can effectively function and impact the game.

Influence in Go can be harnessed in numerous ways. A player can use their influence to deter their opponent from venturing into a particular area, or even use it to launch an attack against enemy stones. However, the balance is crucial, as overemphasizing influence can sometimes lead to an over-concentration of power in a limited area, hence missing out on potential territorial gains elsewhere.

The Strategic Importance of Thickness in Go

In the world of Go, Thickness often refers to a strong and impenetrable wall of stones. These walls do not claim territory directly but project influence and potential for future development. A thick position is often a result of a successful battle or a sacrifice, providing you with strength and security.

The importance of thickness cannot be overstated. It serves as a reliable shield against enemy attacks and a launching pad for your own offensive. A player that can effectively use thickness can manage the flow of the game, dictating the terms of engagements and setting the rhythm of play.

Tactically Combining Influence and Thickness

When it comes to combining Influence and Thickness in Go, the game truly starts to shine with strategic depth. The ability to use these two concepts together in your games can significantly elevate your playstyle.

For instance, a strong wall (thickness) can be used to radiate influence across the board, directing the flow of the game. The player can then use this influence to further strengthen their position or launch decisive attacks. Simultaneously, the effective use of influence can lead to opportunities to build thickness, thus creating a virtuous cycle of power projection.

The combination of influence and thickness is indeed a profound topic in Go, requiring both knowledge and intuition to master. Therefore, we now delve into real-game scenarios to better understand the application of these concepts.

Examples of Pro Games Highlighting Influence and Thickness

Studying professional Go games is an excellent way to gain deeper insights into the effective use of Influence and Thickness. Many professional players have demonstrated their masterful utilization of these concepts in their games, turning the tides in their favor even in the most challenging situations.

Let’s take a brief look at a few select professional game scenarios. Without delving into other strategies or game stages, we focus solely on the display of influence and thickness in these games. From early skirmishes leading to a thick wall radiating influence, to late game strategic moves turning a seemingly weak influence into a stronghold of thickness, these professional games provide valuable lessons.

The intricacies involved in these games are often breathtaking, as seemingly simple stone placements gradually evolve into a complex web of influence and thickness. Watching these games unfold can provide a wealth of insights into the tactical and strategic use of influence and thickness.

Tips on Developing a Feel for Influence and Thickness in Your Play

A deeper understanding of the power of Influence and Thickness in Go can significantly enhance your gameplay. Here are a few tips to develop a feel for these concepts in your games:

  • Practice: There’s no substitute for actual gameplay. Playing regularly and reviewing your games will improve your understanding of when and how to use influence and thickness effectively.
  • Study professional games: As mentioned before, analyzing how professionals use influence and thickness can provide valuable insights.
  • Go Problems: Although we won’t delve into Go Life and Death Problems here, solving problems related to influence and thickness can be very beneficial.
  • Theoretical reading: Various books and resources are available that focus specifically on the topic of influence and thickness. Studying these can provide theoretical knowledge and practical examples to improve your game.

While these tips are a starting point, remember that the journey of mastering Go is a continuous one, filled with learning and discovery at every turn. Keep an open mind and strive to learn from every game you play.


In the rich and intricate world of Go, the strategic use of Influence and Thickness can substantially enhance your gameplay and deepen your appreciation for the game’s profound beauty. Through understanding, practice, and continued learning, you can master the subtleties of these strategies, maneuvering your stones with confidence and precision across the board. Remember, mastering Go is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the process, enjoy each game, and relish the continuous path of discovery and improvement that this wonderful game offers. Until next time, happy playing!

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