3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer

PageType: Path   Difficulty: Intermediate   Keywords: Joseki

The 3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer is a common pincer played in response to the one space low approach. It has been played for centuries, and there are many worked-out joseki for it. For a while, the two-space high pincer here was historically more popular, but B1 is severe and has never been really out of fashion. The one-space low pincer applies the most pressure on the approach stone, but it is vulnerable to counter-attack and counter-pincers. Without support, it is not very suitable for developing the top side, and some players play it with the contrary intent to settle on the left side.

The most common variation in the AI era allows both players to settle easily, but if Black has additional support, it can be an especially strong fighting move.

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Moves are listed by frequency in professional games[1], which is sensitive to whole-board position. Bolded moves are commonly considered joseki today.

3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer contact on top 3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer press 3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer one-point jump 3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer, tenuki
White's answers  

Overview of Joseki

Small Knight Press

Small Knight Press (~15%)[1]
Push and Cut  
  • Locally, the strongest response for White is the small knight press, and it is the main variation considered by contemporary professionals and strong AI programs. Like other 3-4 point press joseki, the small knight gives Black two options: (A) push and cut or (B) crawl along the side.
  • Due to the positioning of the black+circle pincer stone, White cannot fight a normal crosscut, and it is best for White to settle immediately by capturing the pincer stone. Diagram 1 illustrates a popular joseki in the post-AI era, and it can be expected a majority of the time when White plays the W1 press. This outcome is even for both players. Zhan Ying (2p) describes it as Ke Jie's favorite joseki[2]. Historically, it was common for Black and White to capture their respective stones more directly at a or b, but the loose captures are recommended by AI.
  • It is also possible for Black to crawl along the side after the W1 press (Diagram 2). However, many strong players feel that this is not particularly satisfactory for Black because it is not making good use of the black+circle pincer stone, which is too close to White's thickness. In fact, it is likely that White may counterpincer the black+circle stone in the future. For this reason, it is more common for contemporary professionals to push and cut after playing the one-space low pincer.

Counterpincer Strategy

Center Strategy

Corner Strategy

Side Pincer



Other moves

There are some other possibilities, such as the Chen Zude play at x that is mentioned in the Yang Yilun book Whole Board Thinking in Joseki. The book also recommends y if white is dealing with the Kobayashi formation.


3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer last edited by yuzukitea on September 9, 2022 - 18:43
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