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Liberties

Liberties are open points surrounding a stone or a group of stones. In the first example, we have a white stone with two black stones adjacent. There are two points left open where white might play to connect to the white stone. This means there are two liberties.

In the second example black has placed another stone just south of the white stone. This means that this leaves only one liberty remaining. Generally an unconnected stone may have a maximum of four liberties, and a minimum of one. When an opponent places enough stones to eliminate all of the liberties of a player, the stones of that player are captured and removed from the board.

In our final example, we have a situation where a white stone has been placed in a corner. This would generally be considered an unwise move because the stone is immediately limited to a mere two liberties without any effort by the black player. The placing of the one stone to the west by black immediately places the white stone in jeopardy, a condition known as atari which will be explained on the next page.

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