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| Ladders

In my mother tongue, it is called “stairs”, which is much more fitting.

Ladders are the bread and butter of every serious Go player. They are everywhere! The idea is simple but training your mind to see them takes time. But seriously, understand ladders or go home; it’s the difference between killing and being killed.

Ladders are again (as with most things in Go) simple in concept but hard to apply well. Let us start with a simple example.

Black to play

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A ladder is a situation where a stone (or a group of stones) can never get more than one new liberty. This means that your opponent can keep atariing your stones until they run into a wall or another stone. It’s that simple, and I can’t stress enough how important ladders are. You have to see a possible ladder developing before it actually happens. Playing out a ladder that doesn’t work in your favor is usually CATASTROPHIC.

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