Play Kikashi Before Defending

    Keywords: Strategy, Proverb

To "play kikashi before defending" is an idea, derived from choshi, where if you must defend in an area in order to live, make good shape, or remove aji, it is usually correct to play kikashi in the area before doing so.

The idea of kikashi before defending is to play kikashi that are:

  1. Not required for defence
  2. Threaten to make defending unnecessary
  3. May not be answered if played later (after defending).
  4. Give a local gain if answered.

All of the above points are usually more desirable than simply living or playing in gote. The reason it is not always correct is because kikashi moves can destroy aji as well as create it. See kikashi for more ideas about the term itself

Example 1

(from Shape Problem 1)

Ex1 Starting position  

Black to move and save the black+circle stones.

Ex1 Success - play kikashi first  

Forcing with B1 and B3 (in that order) before capturing with B5 follows the proverb. B3 leaves behind ladder aji, practically forcing White to capture at W8 to fix up his shape, allowing Black to end in sente. (There is still aji - B3 is still not captured yet!)

White does not follow the proverb here, since Wb is a good ko threat later (at this time, Black's descent at c is not a threat, since Wb is sente against the lower side).

Ex1 Failure  

Failing to play kikashi first gives White too many options, even allowing him to follow the proverb himself to make good shape, for instance at W2 and W4 here. If the left side is not important now or later, White may ignore a later peep at a.

Example 2: Professional game

Takemiya Masaki-Kato Masao, moves 112 to 116  

White (Takemiya) forces first with W1 and W3 before returning to live at W5 - these two stones are useful moves that contribute to finishing off Takemiya's moyo on the lower side.

Dieter: Why did Black allow for a second forcing move with B2? Couldn't he play B2 at B4?

unkx80: Probably to apply pressure on the W1 stone.

elfking: if 2 was played at 4 then white can play at 5, which becomes somewhat sente because afterwards if black plays tenuki the moyo formed by white playing at 2 or at a is quite big as far as I can see.

Example 3: Professional game

Cho Chikun - Yamashita Keigo  

In a game vs. Yamashita Keigo in the 29th Meijin league, Cho Chikun plays kikashi with W1 - W7 before strengthening his center group with W9. (See commentary at [ext] As it turns out here, despite the proverb about sacrificing kikashi stones, only W5 happens to be in any danger!

More examples of Kikashi before living

See PlayKikashiBeforeLiving/Discussion for old discussion.
See PlayKikashiBeforeLiving/Old for previous content.
See /Discussion for more recent discussion, now obsolete.

Play Kikashi Before Defending last edited by on June 2, 2009 - 04:26
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