4-4 point low approach, low knight's move block

  Difficulty: Intermediate   Keywords: Joseki

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Basic diagram 1  

In response to the 4-4 point low approach of W1, Black can swoop down and block with B2 (see footsweep).

Basic diagram 2  

If black+circle is already in place, B2 is an effective means of blocking off the corner, applying a bit more pressure on White while leaving a bit more aji in the corner than the alternatives of a and b.

Without black+circle in place, B2 can be played to deprive White of a base on the top in the case where White's position there is cramped, but contrary to what beginners might believe is not effective at making territory. In fact, it's a bit of an overplay, leaving vulnerabilities at the 3-3 point, and the Cut across at b, especially if White gets a move in place later around c.

Joseki 1  

Although it may seem submissive for White to play at W3 and cede the entire corner, the White group up to W7 is very strong and is not vulnerable to attacks. White may have the possibility of building up a framework outside.


Usually Black will not ignore W3, because after W5 and W7, White settles easily with Black's corner being weak. If B6 at W7, then W7 at a.


Continuing from the previous diagram, if B1 connects, then White can play the double hane, and the tesuji at W8 ensures White captures the two stones in sente. If B1 is played at W2, then there is a serious aji at the cutting point at B1.

Joseki 2  

Alternatively, W3 may just extend. In this case, White is treating the W1 stone lightly, and may aim at a in the future. White also has the choice of blocking at b later to revert to the previous joseki. For Black, b is a very thick move, erasing much of the corner aji] and further depriving White of a base. Black might even move there immediately.

Joseki 3  

If Black does not respond to W3, W5 is severe. B6 gives Black a cramped corner, and coming out (such as at a) lets White slide into the corner. Therefore, in response to W3 a move around B5 has some urgency for Black.

this is probably no good  

(21 April 2005) Jared: I tried this in a recent game, but I think Black gets too much territory.

Alex: W1 and W3 are playable - at least, I see them in amateur dan games often enough, though I don't like them myself - but W5 should extend further.

Harleqin: Recently I got a very good explanation on this from a strong player. White should just play W1 at W3 directly. Then he has many possible continuations, e.g. also on the spots of B2 (continuation shown above) or B4 in the diagram, of which the W1 in the diagram is the worst. After protecting the corner with B2, Black can also omit B4 in the diagram. From this it becomes clear that W1 is aji keshi.

Alex: Yes, except that usually Black will answer W3 by playing at W1. So if White wants this result, W1 first is necessary. It depends on the situation.

Double approach  

Alex: I'm quite fond of the footsweep and use it a fair bit in my games. My opponents often choose to answer it by making a second approach at W3 here. The B4-W5 exchange was natural for me, but I then followed up with a the first time I encountered the double approach. Later, I did a search on GoBase and discovered that this pattern comes up once in a while in professional games, but the pro move is usually B6 here. White can, of course, cut off B6, but then he ends up with two weak groups against one, so the fight usually favours Black. Personally, I'm almost always happy if I get to play this way.

Harleqin: This struck me as quite thin, so I did a GoBase search myself. As I suspected, B6 is mainly played when Black is already strong on both sides, thus making miai of an almost devouring attack on either side. In other situations, Black will rather play 'a' or 'b'. In any case, a complicated fight will likely develop from this, and while Black is usually rather strong in the area if this situation develops, he also has to take care of some bad aji in this corner.

See also: BQM 146

Andy: details from the GoDiscussions.com thread include two videos from Alexander Dinerchtein playing the footsweep against Cho Seok Bin (shown here with Alexander having the black stones).

Alexander's game (colors reversed)  

Option 1: Lee Se Dol  

Option 1: Live in the corner

Option 2: Cho Seok Bin  

Option 2: Move out

W8 is tesuji

See also:

4-4 point low approach, low knight's move block last edited by on August 8, 2021 - 01:15
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