Bluffing in Go #3

Faking tells is an aspect in Go that is mostly neglected. I think it deserves more attention, especially considering how easy it can be to carry out.

Requirements: Playing on a real board.
Otherwise none at all! (Besides the right timing.)

Effect: Various. Basically makes the opponent act against better judgement.

I managed to consciously pull off this specific bluff twice in tournament games. I guess it would have been more frequent if my reflexes were faster. It involves reaching in your bowl at the correct time.


Austrian Championship Finals 2014.

In this instance, White 36 had just cut to initiate a standard sacrificing sequence. I captured with 37 and the following moves were played with lightning-speed.


Up until 41 when White started hesitating whether he should continue or not. This is the moment I reached into the bowl, pretending to be ready to answer to his move. This ultimately led to his 42 which I promptly ignored. (He was so sure that it would be sente that he didn’t even place 42 at A, which would leave a continuation that is approximately 4 points better.)

Of course, 42 is not necessary. Obviously Black couldn’t have cut White there. And as all groups involved are rock-solid, the continuation is just endgame.

Example 2:


1st Ellie Cup.

Black is dead in the corner, which 65 cannot change – this move’s purpose is to insert some exchanges, in order to improve the aji Black has there.

As White started deliberating whether to kill the corner or not, I again reached for a stone in my bowl…


…because 65 and 67 is a two-move sequence. So White simply believed me that killing the corner with 66 and 68 is what he was supposed to do. The rest is detailed here. (White probably should have played around A instead of 66. Black has no time to make life in the corner and 65 is nonsense.)

The two opponents in this post were 2d and 5d respectively. Rank-wise, they were a little weaker than me and this might have helped to establish some sort of credibility for my moves.

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