3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer contact on top

  Difficulty: Expert   Keywords: Joseki
#2 #1
Contact on top  

In reply to the pincer black+circle, W1 is essentially always answered at B2.

Now there are distinctive variations with White at a, or at b.


Cut through or not?  

After W1, B2 and W3 look like the key points for shape (W3 can also be played at c or d).

Now Black has to decide between pushing through at once at the square-marked point (the degiri of Kubomatsu) or strengthening the left side at one of the circled points.

Standard shapes  

Here W2 for a table shape and W4 (see shapes and connections) are typical good shape plays.

3-3 contact play  

There is also a more rapid way to play: W1 and then W3 to cross-cut. White can play next at the marked point. White would like to gather strength without making the W2/B3 exchange above. This idea, however, may not be current in pro games.

The degiri  

If Black goes ahead with Kubomatsu's play, up to W4 is inevitable. Now black+square is blighted.

(This idea dropped out of pro practice, a generation ago.)

Central fighting  

Assuming B1, something like this can be expected. Black's loss in the corner is large. In return he can attack White's floating group.


As indicated earlier, the press at W1 is also a joseki. Note that Black must crawl two times with B2 and B4 before jumping out with B6. Subsequently, White may exchange a with b, before attacking the Black group on the top side with c.

It is easy to mistake this joseki with the very common 3-5 point low approach, press joseki, and to have B4 directly jump out at d. This is the subject of RTG Problem 16.


There is the calmer option of W3. The areas of a and b become miai.

Defending the left  

If B1, the local joseki ends with W6. Black may well have to defend on the upper side. [3]

Defending the top  

Assuming B1 to secure the cut, White will attack, probably at one of the marked points.

Defending the top (1)  

W1 may presuppose a good ladder after W9.

Defending the top (2)  

This W1 has been played by Cho Chikun. Black may well now play tenuki, an idea that goes back to Shusaku. White's attack isn't very severe.

Charles Matthews


Alex Weldon: How to answer if Black plays here? Happened to me in a game and I screwed up and got a very bad result. a seems natural, since it gives Hane at the Head of Two Stones (making the marked stone look like a bad move for Black, which it probably is), but what's the best way to handle matters if Black then cuts at b? Seems like the marked Black stone is kind of hamete, given what happened to me in the game.


then a


don't forget black at the circled position after a...

Tamsin: I quite like White's position here. Black hasn't yet captured the outside stones, and White is already taking a lot of points in the corner. My feeling is that White's profit is going to outweigh Black's thickness in this case. Anyway, it's not clear to me whether this is the variation Alex doesn't like or if it's the antidote to it. From here, I'd be inclined, as White, to push once more below 10 to make sure Black's 3-4 stone is blighted and then look for ways to use the deadish stones on the outside later in the game.

Tapir: I would like to force once at b here (before a) as playing kikashi before defending, if black answers which imo it should white takes the whole corner in sente, for black can't really omit the circled stone (or would not as 2k at least :).

3-4 point low approach one-space low pincer contact on top last edited by Unkx80 on March 1, 2010 - 13:46
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