The term is usually employed where there are two or more moves that achieve a given objective. The goad shape move is the one that not only achieves the aim, but gains some other advantage, which may, however, be small and intangible at the time. The player with an understanding of good shape has a short cut to finding the best move in many situations. In a game free of gross blunders the accumulation of small advantages from good shape will decide the outcome.Of course Francis wasn't talking about programming there, but I think that programming is very similar to the game strategy he was describing.
Without further ado, therefore, here are my criteria for a move to qualify as good shape:
- It maximises liberties
- It maximises eye-making potential
- It keeps options open
- It influences as much of the board as possible
- It denies the opponent good shape