4-4 point low approach tsukenobi, degiri

  Difficulty: Expert   Keywords: Joseki, Life & Death
Fighting against the white push  

After playing the tsuke-nobi joseki with White pushing into the corner, White may try to push through with W1. In this position it is an overplay for White to do so. After the W1 - B2 exchange White can either continue with a or with b.

White pushes through  

If Black is afraid of the ensuing fight he may be inclined to play along this line. First, playing B2 and allowing White to capture two stones with W5 or a is not good. If there is a white stone at the marked spot, this line of play is feasible (see easy way out of a double kakari), but as it is, this give White too much thickness. Rather, Black should learn the sequence in the following diagrams, and reveal W1 for what it is: an overplay. Still, in a high-handicap game, Black might play this way, accepting a slight disadvantage for the sake of simplicity.

BillSpight: I think it is a disadvantage only by comparison. Let's do a little tewari.


Let's pair the black+circle and white+circle stones. It is perhaps slightly in White's favor to do so, since the black stones have some aji.

Tewari (ii)  

Black has been "forced" to crawl along the fourth line, hardly a tragedy. In fact, isn't it a bit favorable for Black? And White's extension is perhaps a bit close to her wall. The proverb says that she could extend as far as a. (And besides, White b is sente, isn't it?)

Playing the cut  

When White plays W1, B2 is a key move in this sequence. W3 offers the strongest resistance by filling up a liberty.


The exact move order is not really important; Black could play B4 before B2 in the previous diagram, or in this diagram he could wait with the B1-W4 exchange a few moves longer. What is important, is that he does not play the atari at a - he might need it later.

Black wins  

W1 here is one possibility, but not White's strongest resistance: we shall see a better move in the next diagram. After B10, Black, having an eye, will clearly win the capturing race.

Tesuji and counter-tesuji  

W1 is a tesuji, making miai of B2 and W3. However, B4 is a beautiful counter-tesuji. This move enables him to win the fight in the corner.

Black has a ko threat (Black 5 at the marked stone)  

After the last diagram, the corner is a ko. However, Black has carefully kept a ko threat with B3. White will not have a ko threat that is good enough, so Black will win the ko and White's moves in this corner are a failure.

Move order is important (Black 9 takes ko)  

The move order is important here. Black should not first play atari at B1 here, but play the tesuji of B3. In this diagram, White wins the ko fight by giving atari from below.

Atari from below is no good.  

If Black plays at B1, giving atari from below at W2 does not work. Black now play atari on the two white stones from the other side, and again wins the fight without a ko.

BillSpight: Am I missing something here? Doesn't White have a better move at W4?

Better for White?  

White lives in the corner. Not so good, perhaps, but better than the alternative.

Better for White? (ii)  

White has a similar resource in this variation.

White pushes through  

Playing hane at W1 before pushing at W3 is another technique White might try. Like the direct push it is a trick move. B8 is the key point for foiling this trick play.

Living in the corner  

If White continues with W1, B2 is the simplest answer. White will be able to live on the side, but Black gains some nice thickness, and his corner is alive as it stands. This is a failure for White.

Turning inwards  

If White turns inwards with W1, B4 saves the day.


The corner is basically seki. There is a ten thousand year ko left in the corner, but White will not have any chance of winning it after White a. Rather, White should worry about Black starting the ko with b. Nevertheless, the (by far) most likely outcome will be that at some point Black plays a or White plays b, turning the position into a real seki. In the meantime, Black has built good thickness.


4-4 point low approach tsukenobi, degiri last edited by CharlesMatthews on July 1, 2003 - 09:11
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