Defect in a wall

  Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Shape, Tactics

A wall that is solidly connected will have no defects.

Efficient versus inefficient walls  

Here the black+circle wall is perfect, while the black+square wall has an obvious defect, at a. There are two extra black+square stones - balanced by the two white+square stones, you might say.

The fact is that Black's right-hand formation is noticeably worse. White may be able to exploit a, either by a peep at b, or in the course of a pushing battle started by White at c.

It would of course be absurd for Black to play at a, before being forced to. That is, sometimes one has to live with imperfections caused in walls, because solid connections are too slow-moving.

There are numerous types of defects. There are some standard shapes used to exploit them. See

for a number of very well known positions after common joseki.

Some more examples:

Example 1

A gap  

How should White play to use the fact that black+circle was played on the second line?

Here in fact White at a is a move of high value. But White has a more severe way available.

Attacking play: the clamp  

In this case White has a strong attack with the clamp W3. It aims at all four circled points.

Black cannot really permit White to cut with atari.


Typically Black will connect at B1. Then W2 gives Black bad shape.

Bill: It should be noted that White has bad shape, too. In effect, she peeped at a bamboo joint. Not only that, she then tried to cut it. ;-)

This results in two heavy groups fighting it out on the upper side. White could play the lighter way with W2 at b; then Black can play at W2 and give White some cutting point defects.

Example 2

This is based on variations from 4-4 point low approach, two-space high pincer with side stone.

There are two defects here: White can play at the table point a to cause trouble later; and White can pull out? the cutting stone white+circle, possible bringing the black+square stones under attack.

Note that black+circle to capture white+circle in a ladder is an overplay here. W1 is severe.

In fact Black is in trouble immediately if W3 and W5 follow.

Obsolescent joseki  

This for comparison is the result of a joseki that is out of fashion with the pros.

Here the table point defect at a is more serious than in the previous case, because it is also the centre of three stones and Black can suffer from immediate shortage of liberties. Normally therefore Black responds at b, when White plays at a.

On the other hand, the black+square stones are less likely to become weak, because the black+circle sacrifice stones give Black a number of possible kikashi on the upper side. Therefore white+circle is less immediately significant.

Charles Matthews

I've been told by stronger players that each defect in thickness decreases it's value by half. (I read this that a wall with 2 defects is roughly .25 the value of a flawless wall)

no defects, 1 defect, 2 defects  

I've also been told to generally treat the peeps against the defects as throw-away forcing moves to support an invasion.

This of course is true, unless the defect is actually a valid cutting point, requiring no peep.


Charles Beware the raw peep!

Defect in a wall last edited by CharlesMatthews on November 22, 2004 - 12:58
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