Open in the Corner

  Difficulty: Introductory   Keywords: Opening, Strategy

The corner is where you can most easily make a stable group that will influence the rest of the board as the game progresses. Thus, this is where most openings start. The question is: where in the corner should one play? The question becomes an evaluation of whether you want to gain influence or territory.

3-3 point 3-4 point 5-3 point 3-4 point 4-4 point 5-4 point 5-3 point 5-4 point 5-5 point
Usual plays  

Low Plays

First of all, a stone on the 1-1 point (a) is useless. It can be captured and doesn't give any territory.

A stone on the 2-2 point b is not much better. Although it cannot be captured straight away, it has no serious potential for development, nor does it enclose any major territory. The 1-2 points c fall to the same logic.

The 2-3 points g make a slightly larger corner, but it is still much too small. They secure relatively few points, but what is perhaps more important, a move at the 3-3 point d (as well as one on the 3-4 point e)) claims the corner, and on a larger scale. There are no advantages to the 2-3 points to compensate for the larger territory taken by the 3-3 point or the greater possibilities of expansion of the 3-4 point.

Quite generally, playing on or below the second line, when there is no compelling reason to do so, is a weak move.

Typical Openings

That leaves the following:

Based on professional play this seems acceptable from the White point of view when receiving komi, but not when playing Black and giving komi.[1]
This is the basic claim upon the corner territory. Tried and true hundreds of years in top-level play, the 3-4 point is a basic, stable play in the corner with good potential for further expansion.
The 4-4 point emphasizes influence rather than corner territory. It has been the most popular opening play in professional play for the last 30 years.
Less common than the 3-3, 3-4, and 4-4 points, the 5-3 point emphasizes outer influence on one side while still maintaining a presence in the corner.
Less commonly seen in professional play than the 5-3 point, the 5-4 point goes for center influence.

Rare Openings

Points other than those five are rare, although not completely unheard of (see 5-5 point, 6-3 point, 6-4 point).

See Also

[1] Thought: playing the 3-3 sacrifices the potential for development for immediate stability. The value is that the 3-3 player frees themselves for a play elsewhere, effectively sacrificing influence for sente. Since black starts the game with sente, this is an unnecessary play for black, but for white it has the potential to get back the initial move that white lost. White pays a price, but komi potentially compensates.

Open in the Corner last edited by on March 14, 2005 - 05:46
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