All you need to know about Carpenter's Square


Doing Life & Death exercises is one of the best ways to improve Go-playing skills. In this series of articles, I will cover all the Life & Death problems around so-called Carpenter's Square and its related shapes. In Chinese literature, this is called Jin Gui Jiao (or 'gold cabinet corner' if translated literally).

Such corner shapes, while having little rooms inside, can contain endless variations. Once in an interview a Chinese female professional was asked how she would handle such corner shapes. The answer was along the lines of "I would fortify it if I am leading, otherwise I would hide my head in the sand". Perhaps only top professionals can really understand every details around these shapes.

I studied these corner shapes many years ago. I compiled 31 shapes and around 100 variations and published them on an old Chinese version of around 2003. Unfortunately I can no longer locate the original source of the solutions. I definitely added many variations by myself. The shape classification looks a bit similar to what's shown in Cho Chikun's Life and Death Dictionary book but not exactly the same. The diagrams shown below were originally generated using a software I wrote called WQPM. A quick Google search also suggests that Chen Zhigang, a Chinese professional, has published his study on Weiqi Tiandi (a Chinese Go magazine) in 1980's so I must have learned from that source as well.

Over the next few weeks, I will revisit these shapes, translate everything into English, and add more diagrams and comments. I wish I can learn something new through this process and hope you enjoy reading these articles.

Table of Contents:

Shape 1

Shape 2

Shape 3

Shape 4

Shape 5

Shape 6

Shape 7

Shape 8

Shape 9

Shape 10

Shape 11

Shape 12

Shape 13

Shape 14

Shape 15

Shape 16

Shape 17

Shape 18

Shape 19

Shape 20

Shape 21

Shape 22

Shape 23

Shape 24

Shape 25

Shape 26

Shape 27

Shape 28

Shape 29

Shape 30

Shape 31

Shape 32

Shape 33

Shape 34

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