Difficulty: Advanced   Keywords: Joseki, Tactics, Go term

Chinese: 骗着 (騙著) piÓn zhāo
Japanese: ハメ手, ハメテ (hamete)
Korean: 함정수 / 陷穽手 (ham-cheong-su); 속임수 (sok-im-su)

Hamete is a Japanese go term, also used in English, referring to a trap in joseki, typically a tricky but incorrect play that requires skill to refute. The term is often imprecisely used among amateurs for any trick play.

Typically a hamete play has an "obvious" answer that yields a poor result. To qualify as hamete, the trap must be challenging--it needs to be something that could deceive even a dan-level amateur. A mere tactical trap, such as inducing oiotoshi, or a bad move that a weak opponent might answer incorrectly, is not hamete--see trick play.

Hayashi Yutaka, historian par excellence and also head of the Nihon Ki-in editorial department, defined it thus: "A move which, in the course of a joseki line, traps the opponent through a way of playing that is not correct and is tinged with an element of trickery. A trick move in the middle game or later is not called hamete."

The following is from the preface of "Shin Hayawakari Hamete Sho-jiten" (compact hamete reference, ISBN4-8182-0364-5), published by the Nihon-Kiin:

During the process of establishing any joseki there develops a vast hidden store of moves that failed to be adopted as correct--strong, bullish, exquisite, vulgar. Hamete is the tactical use of such variations, in some cases requiring high-level techniques such as kikashi and korigatachi, in many others involving life-and-death situations which can result in catastrophic loss if handled incorrectly.
If you think it's enough to just learn the official moves of established joseki, you may, as the proverb has it, learn joseki and drop two stones. Learning hamete is a thing of unalloyed goodness--it stretches your powers of reading and sharpens your judgment and attention, while also teaching you the true meaning of joseki. It's much like a good driver who in addition to the main streets also is familiar with the back roads.


Alternative English terms

Hamete is a useful term since it distinguishes more sophisticated joseki tricks from low-level, run-of-the-mill tricks, and no English alternative has been agreed upon. Some suggestions include "joseki trap", "opening trap", "garden path sequence", "garden path joseki", and "joseki sting". A direct Chinese translation would be "Thief's Skill".


Hamete is composed of hame and te (move), where hame derives from the verb hameru, the transitive form of hamaru, meaning to be sucked into, taken in, trapped, deceived, fall into.

Hamete also applies to shogi.


Hamete last edited by on January 26, 2023 - 12:18
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