Monday, February 10, 2014


Lizards have a great lesson to teach us Go players. They have the ability to drop their tail as a defensive mechanism. This is known as autotomy and literally means “self severing” or “self amputating”. A tail that has been autotomized will continue to move for several minutes, giving the lizard time to escape while the predator is focused in on the tail. 

If you don't believe me, check this video from YouTube:

The lesson is quite obvious. Many times when under attack, we hold on to our whole group without sacrificing a part of it, and end up trapped with a huge group.

The following game is an example of this. Things were quite fair by move 100. I was playing white, and had a four stone group deep into black's framework. For some unknown reason, I decided to rescue it by running away. While doing this, I helped black destroy my own potential territory. The runaway would cost me the game. In a probing (desperate?) move, I tried to take the offensive with move 158, that I can't recall as a tesuji, since the damage it produced could have been easily mitigated, if my opponent had only remembered our lizard friends. Instead, it led to a succession of mistakes, one after the other, and I ended up killing a huge group.

1 comment:

  1. A great real life analogy to our dragons in go. It is definitely important to learn how to sacrifice the tail when trying to save the dragon itself. Thanks for sharing!