BQM 290

    Keywords: Strategy, Question

As white, I often like to play 3-3 by the reasoning that it is very fast and very solid, leaving my hands free. It also tends to devalue two sides from the more common shoulder-hit approach.

However, I've been coming across this lately.

Overplay by black?  

Of course the board is not empty at this point, but I draw it this way to better understand the possibilities of the position.

It is said that the 3-3 stone, by itself, does not easily admit a pincer. But from this position I feel intuitively compelled to pincer. This feels like an overplay to me. I suppose the opponent thinks that either B1 or B3 would serve as an extension from their corner stone in a parallel fuseki. But to me it smacks of trying too hard because there is so much room.

An example of what I am doing as white  

With W4 my mindset is: 1) a wedge, 2) has the possibility to connect under B1, and 3) might also establish a large side by a low approach to the 4-4 stone. When I look at this position as it stands by tewari that B1 is an invasion across a sector line between W2 and W4. But isn't it too early for such a reduction maneuver? It seems that white gets to develop more and black has only broken up a potential moyo (that in reality would probably not have formed in the first place, given the nature of the 3-3 point). While B1 is not under any huge pressure, it seems to have been rendered pointless.

Pincer the other side  

Sometimes I feel it is important to pincer the other side, in which case a five-space extension from the hoshi stone feels right. High to stick with influence on that side, and to avoid some fighting that may make white heavy if it is low. In this case again, by transposition it seems like black has instead invaded a moyo early. I feel like white's stones are working together to accomplish what was probably true from the beginning anyway: that the two sides radiating from the 3-3 point are "uninteresting." And it seems to my eyes that black cannot accomplish much here, either.

But am I missing something? Are white's pincers overplay and that is why not much gets accomplished? As a final note:

Non-symmetric response  

If black has a stone around a I would not respond high in the first place because it feels to me that the B3 followup discussed above would not work to white's advantage. I don't feel dissatisfied here because, let's face it, by playing 3-3 in the first place I accepted a low position with little influence.

As a side-note, I've been stuck at the same rank for a while now and I've been re-evaluating the way I think about positions. So if this is a vague BQM, then that is why. Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Overplay by Black?  

Bill: Because of White's weakness on the a points, it is hard to call B3 an overplay. However, an extension to B4 is usual.

In response, I like the pincer at W4. A pincer at b does not seem to me to put enough pressure on B1, as a rule. (B c looks pretty good against it.) I do not, as a rule, like an immediate pincer against B3, because if Black responds on one of the a points, it doesn't look too good to let that stone connect to B1. So I can't put much pressure on B3.

W2 is joseki, but White also has a more solid reply at d (among others).

erislover: Thanks for the thoughts, Bill. W4 there does seem much more severe than the low pincer I've used.

Too slow or quite strong?  

Hicham: What about this? White takes points, Black has to defend with B5, and then wite can attack the original approach stone. Depends a lot on the global position of course, but I would like this strategy with white, not much aji left in the corner and the Black stones are all attackable.

Alex: I feel like W2 ends up looking misplaced. Imagine if W4 and B5 were already in place and Black made an extension to B3; W2 would seem unbearably timid. But of course, then Black's approach at B1 would be much too close to White's solid position. I don't know if W4 is really that bad, but it doesn't feel right to me.


Bill: W4 shores up White's weakness, and would be OK in some contexts. However, Black can regard it as kikasare, and thus regard B3 as a kikashi stone, to treat lightly. At first glance the sequence through W10 looks fine, but compare it with the following sequence.

Alex: I agree with you, Bill, but just to play devil's advocate: your argument, as shown in the next diagram, proves adequately enough that this line of play is (usually) bad for White, but it still isn't clear that W4 is the mistake, not W10. After all, W10 does seem like an excessively tight pincer here, given White's solidity.

I still doubt that W4 is likely to be the right move in most circumstances, but couldn't White achieve a somewhat better result by making a wider pincer? (of course, that depends on the lower left corner)

Bill: Alex, I agree with you about W10's being too close. I would think that a pincer at, say, a, would be better. However, B3 is easy to throw away, in any event. The point is, really, that W4 is too solid because Black has B5, which makes White overconcentrated. See the second diagram below.


Bill: Everything is normal through W8. The invasion at B9 may be premature, but then W10 is kikasare.


Bill: In this diagram, for comparison when White makes a more distant pincer, W10 is not an unreasonable response to B9, and B9 may not be premature. However, White's extension to W8 is thin. The same would be true if White only extended to a.

Dave: Overall there is a logical inconsistency in Black's play. The 3-3 is symmetrical so Black presumably had a reason for approaching from the direction of B1. To quickly turn away to approach from B3 as well, without using/settling B1, is an invitation to White to play against B1. Make that your aim and you should do OK in whatever fighting comes.

Charles Matthews

What do the pros play?

Standard idea  

This is one idea, warranted by a strong pro. W3 gets out and divides Black up. There is a weak point left at a, but White can think aggressively.

Bill: Note that the exchange, W1 - B2, makes it hard for Black to treat black+circle lightly, as he can when White simply makes an iron pillar.

erislover: Ahh. It amazes me how often patterns from corner plays start appearing around the board as I get stronger. This is a nice attack. And while there is a white weakness at a it does not seem like black can use it to connect the original B1 and B3 stones, so white can get a nice bit of attacking going.

Charles The other idea I found was tenuki. It is hard to attack a group based at 3-3.

BQM 290 last edited by MrTenuki on July 9, 2006 - 01:55
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