Ear-cleaning tesuji

  Difficulty: Intermediate   Keywords: Tesuji, Shape, Go term
Ear-cleaning tesuji  

W1 is the ear-cleaning tesuji, forcing Black to protect with a, b, c, or d.

In Japanese, mimi-souji.

Here's a real-life example of the tesuji taken from the 2005 Meijin league:

Kobayashi Satoru (B) vs. Cho Sonjin (W)  

B1 is tesuji, Black uses it to help his weak group make shape while attacking White. Black goes on to win this game by resignation.


Charles Great name - evocative. I've never encountered this before. Hope I never have to respond at a or b!

Evpsych: Are c and d better?

Floris: Well, c and d are certainly better shape but unless allowing White to stretch by playing them forcing me to make bamboo isn't a good exchange for White (it certainly makes White stronger) I would find it quite hard to decide where to play.

Angle point  

Charles Looking at the shape issue here, there are a few points to be made.

  1. If you look at black+circle, black+square and white+circle, you see that white+circle sits on the 'angle'; even if Black plays the circled point, no eye here.
  2. This shape would therefore be better for Black with black+circle at a, weakening white+circle.
  3. This shape would be even better with black+square at a.
  4. In that case, we probably do have White b, Black c in the near future for a bamboo joint; but this is strong for Black, who can then move out easily in several directions.

Evpsych: I take that as a yes (?). My 11k idea was that the kosumi is stronger because an attempted cut seems to gain less for White than an attempted cut of the alternative shape. OTOH, shape is probably more important.

Charles Context is, as usual, important. Assume first White is attacking here. Then White's attempts to cut are irrelevant (won't happen any time soon) - but Black presumably must connect somehow. In that case the connection with black+circle is shapeless.

If on the other hand White is on the defensive you perhaps look longer at White's forcing plays. But then white+circle wouldn't be played this way, in most cases. White normally gets more by playing white+circle at black+square.

OmnipotentEntity?: I recently saw a pro game ([ext] http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mNwErm_jf38#t=2995) where Lee Sedol played this tesuji against Tang Weixing. Tang responded with a.

Lee Sedol (B) vs. Tang Weixing (W)  

Is this another possible answer in the general case? Or is this situational?

Ear-cleaning tesuji last edited by F12 on October 24, 2014 - 17:03
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