Difficulty: Beginner   Keywords: Opening, Joseki, Go term

Chinese: 夹 (jia1)
Japanese: ハサミ (hasami)
Korean: 협공 (挾攻) (hyeop-gong)

This article describes the pincer, i.e. a play which attacks a kakari (corner approach) from the outside.

Table of contents Table of diagrams
An example of a pincer
Former opening
A pincer


An example of a pincer  

In a corner opening, in response to the kakari of W1, B2 or a nearby move is called a pincer, because it “pincers” the approaching stone from the other side. The pincer is an attack on W1, and prevents it from forming an ideal base.


All types of pincers are indexed by the pincer path.

The article Pincer Nomenclature explains the terminology for pincers (“low” v. “high”, “n-space”) and provides links to many josekis arising from pincers.

There are three common sources of pincers: the 3-4 point, the 4-4 point, the 3-5 point when the approach is at 4-3. There would be a certain logic in treating 4-4 point double kakari variations as pincers. Uncommon pincers are:

Pincers and the development of fuseki theory

Section contributed by Bill Spight

Around 400 years ago, this was a popular start:

Former opening  

W2 prevented Black from making an enclosure, and then B3 prevented White from making a base on the third line. White would like to extend at least to B3. A three-space pincer at a would allow White to extend to b, which is a cramped short extension. White now typically played in an open corner, satisfied with having prevented a black enclosure.

Later, people realized that Black need not hurry to attack W2. If Black played in an open corner and White extended from W2 to make a base, Black could make an enclosure in the other corner, which was better. Even later, people realized that White did not have to hurry to prevent Black’s enclosure, but could play in the top left corner in a way that worked with a later kakari at W2. If Black made an enclosure, White could play first in a third corner. Such realizations were the beginning of fuseki theory.


The Japanese term ハサミ hasami is noun form of verb hasamu, which means “put something in between, sandwich”.

See also


Pincering as a novice

A pincer  

As a novice, I only feel comfortable making a pincer move when the group that my opponent is attacking is fairly strong, as this diagram shows. Otherwise I prefer to make an extension or attachment.

author: FCS

I took the liberty of rearranging your stones a little, to make it look more conventional.


Note that W1 here is actually a very bad move; this move hardly improves on passing because the stone is so weak.

Going back to the first diagram, remember that White also has a one-stone group left. It will be almost automatic that either the corner or the pincer stone becomes strong while White is settling her own stone.

-- AndreEngels

Bob Myers: This example should probably not be here on the pincer page because it’s not really a pincer. It’s just an example of punishing bad play.

unkx80: I think so too. I tend to view B2 as an extension rather than a pincer.

PJT: Fair enough for it to be here in discussion, as others may think the same way, but it does not belong in the main text.

What is the purpose of a pincer?

Scartol: What can we say is the purpose of the pincer? From what I can tell, it appears to be an attempt at miai – if the white stone tries to run (in the first example), Black goes beneath and connects. If White tries to settle, Black secures influence on the outside. Is there anything I’m missing or misunderstanding? (Probably a safe bet..)

Adamzero: When I pincer my rationale is this: a) by squirming, my opponent will hopefully let me solidify my corner territory in sente b) prevent my opponent from settling, and by chasing him out in the center build territory and/or influence/thickness.

In the case of the one-space pincer from hoshi, I’m inviting my opponent to jump to the san-san, in order to build influence in a direction that I get to choose. (Because jumping out from a one-space pincer is rarely very good: I get to solidify my corner more, and there is no way to slide under my stones to get eye space.)

Pincer last edited by PJTraill on August 30, 2019 - 01:58
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