3-5 point

  Difficulty: Intermediate   Keywords: Opening, Joseki

Chinese: 目外 (mu4wai4)
Japanese: 目外し (mokuhazushi)
Korean: 외목 (oe-mok)

The 3-5 or 5-3 point is a common first play in the corner. It is relatively far from the corner. Where the 3-3 point and 4-3 point focus their attention on the corner, this move is more directed to the left side. Black can make an enclosure with a. This is also the most important place for a white kakari, but b and c are also standard, respectively trying to get the center and conceding it completely to White.

[Diagram]
3-5 point  

In practice we arrive at 3-5 point openings in one of two ways:

35Point33Approach 35PointLowApproach 35PointHighApproach
[Diagram]
3-5 point by Black  

Black chooses the 3-5 play as the first move in the corner. White answers at W2 (depending on circumstances a and b are other common alternatives for White).

We call W2 here the low approach. We call the move a the high approach. The move at b is called here on SL the 3-3 approach (whether or not it is more of an approach or an invasion).

[Diagram]
Tenuki from low approach  

Black starts with a 3-4 play at B1. White plays the low approach at W2. If Black answers this play we move into the realm of 3-4 point openings. If however, Black plays elsewhere then we arrive at the same situation as the first diagram (but with the colors reversed). In effect, White has played 5-3 at W2 and then Black has approached at B1. See tenuki joseki for more.

Such a transposed route is a much less probable way to arrive at the high approach or 3-3 approach variations. That's because the corresponding tenuki plays are much less advisable.


Ishida has this to say about mokuhazushi:

"The 5-3 point is an old-established move which was very popular in the Edo period (1600-1867), so a great deal of research has been done on it. Its chief characteristic is that it places its main emphasis on influence - territorially, it is inferior to the 3-4 point. Like the 3-4 point, it does not finish with the corner in one move, so one's objective is to secure the corner with an extra move if the opponent does not make an approach move. Consequently, an approach move is valuable and should be played without too much delay. The 5-3 point is a lively move which can lead to some complicated and troublesome joseki." Ishida's Joseki Dictionary, Vol. II
3-5 point low approach press 3-5 point low approach one-space low pincer taisha joseki 3-5 point low approach two-space low pincer 3-5 point low approach two-space high pincer 3-5 point low approach three-space low pincer
[Diagram]
Ceding the corner  

The 3-5 point is an interesting play. By its nature it cedes the corner to the opponent. In exchange it looks for benefits on the outside either along the top, down the left side, or both. Since the best way to accomplish this will depend on the rest of the board, many different joseki have been developed over the years.



For example, Ishida gives a through i as Black's possible responses when White plays the approach at W2:

  • a-d emphasize the top side directly in conjunction with B1;
  • e-g emphasize the left side and anticipate being cut off from B1;
  • h-i are played to induce white responses that allow Black to play at the top.

See also:


3-5 point last edited by 94.8.218.196 on March 20, 2016 - 13:29
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