3-5 point low approach one-space low pincer, two-contact transposition

  Difficulty: Expert   Keywords: Joseki
[Diagram]
Two ways here  

This position can arise in the contact play variations of the 3-5 point low approach one-space low pincer. In that joseki White has a chance to play either of white+circle and white+square; and in some cases plays both as here. W1 as shown completes a table shape.



Here Black has the atari at a to work with; but there are also two cuts for Black to worry about, one on the left side and another on the top side.

There are two possible ways in which this double-contact position could have arisen: White might have played white+circle first, with Black hane as answer; or White might have played white+square first.

Evaluating this as joseki therefore involves several questions. Does the result shown favour White, and what continuations are there from here? Is there a better order for White: is white+circle then white+square better or the other way round? What are Black's resources for avoiding this result, assuming it favours White in a given game position?


White plays the left-hand contact first

[Diagram]
Left contact first  

This way to play with W1 may be classical; but it is still used in pro games (by Kato Masao in 2002). When W3 is played Black may well answer at a; but also has a chance to try b first. Both of these are pro plays.

[Diagram]
Black ignores the contact play  

When Black plays B1, W2 is the common answer. This is surprising, since Black can now make a ponnuki.



If the premise for Black playing at black+circle in the first place was influence on the upper side, White might be content for this kind of trade-off to occur. If White settles in the upper left then Black's influence in one direction has been negated; even if it transfers to the left side.

[Diagram]
Solid for both  

This diagram illustrates that kind of result, with Black sacrificing two to get good value.



White plays the right-hand contact first

[Diagram]
Right contact first  

In this case B2 is expected, but there are other pro moves at a or b that might happen.

[Diagram]
Black may not play hane  

Black however may well vary with B1 here rather than hane. In fact recent evidence relating to the white+circle play is sparse; but B1 rather than c seems to be preferred.

[Diagram]
A different table shape  

Thus this result may well ensue, and needs evaluation.

[Diagram]
A classical joseki  

This sequence may not have been played for quite a while. Black has developed on both sides, and that is usually taken to be overall success.


The evidence is therefore that the order with the left-hand contact play is better for White, if looking for this table play exit to the centre.

In support of that theory, B1 here was played by Kitani, but is probably not accepted as joseki.

Charles Matthews


3-5 point low approach one-space low pincer, two-contact transposition last edited by CharlesMatthews on June 30, 2003 - 12:21
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