Preferring to pincer

    Keywords: Opening, Joseki

This page picks up on ideas given on the Kobayashi fuseki and mini-Chinese pages.

Pincer to prevent the Kobayashi  

When Black approaches with B1 it is normal for White to defend the corner with a or b in place of W2. Then Black can extend back to the middle of the side to make the Kobayashi formation by playing at the star point on the upper side, marked with a circle.

The pincer at W2 is seen in fewer than 10% of pro games.

RafaelCaetano: I wonder if that percentage would change significantly for "recent" games. Say, games in the last 20 years. I don't have GoGoD myself, though...[2]

After the normal sequence  

Supposing the normal development shown in the right-hand corner, White has sente to approach in the left-hand corner with a play such as W1.

In this position the area of marked points has become important. It isn't immediately clear how White exploits it, though.

Pincer to prevent the mini-Chinese  

Again a pincer to prevent Black building up a mini-Chinese formation along the side. Once more this is seen in professional games, but isn't highly favoured (no more than 10% of examples).


This is a main variation. White plays W7 to gain the maximum on the right side. White's next plays on the other side would be a or b, which are good shape but gote.

There is nothing here really to support the common amateur idea that playing a pincer confers an advantage, though. In both cases Black takes territory early in White's corner and pros like profit ---> Who doesn't?[1][3]

As played by Kato  

A quite different attitude is shown by this counter-pincer strategy, played quite often recently by Kato Masao. Black starts a running fight on the top side. This suits Kato's style but should be considered a difficult choice.

Charles Matthews


Actually, you'll find many good amateurs who like to play for influence; and you'll find some pros like Takemiya who aren't concerned about early profit. I'd say they are playing different games; but you won't get a Takemiya fan to agree.


Yes. The proportion must have gone up recently (2003) since the number of examples is now like 200 out of 1500 games. However the winning percentage looks more like 45%: which isn't great.


With komi of 5.5, this seems to be a pretty fair result for white, according to [ext]


So could someone please make it clear what the disadvantages of playing a pincer are ? As Charles stated, as an DDK I feel getting pincered is always disadventageous to me.


Herman: Well, the basic disadvantage, of course, is that you're stones are separated, allowing a splitting attack. Take for example the following pincer:


This is one of the most common pincers you will find, maybe even the most common pincer of them all. (See also: 4-4 point low approach one-space low pincer joseki).


Here is a common continuation. Note how W1 splits the 4-4 corner stone from the black+circle pincer. White takes the initiative, and Black spends the next 5 moves defending his groups. First he defends the 4-4 stone with B2, and then after W3 leans on his pincer stone, he spends B4-B6-B8-B10 defending that side.

At the end, white has gotten some influence (the W1-W7-W3-W5-W9 wall), and his group is reasonably safe, while black got some territory (the circle marked area). Black did not get any territory (yet) on the other side, as the 3-3 invasion at a is still open to white.

All in all, a reasonably balanced exchange.

Hope this helps! If you have more specific questions (about specific pincer situations, for example), feel free to ask (here, or at BQM).

Preferring to pincer last edited by HermanHiddema on April 28, 2009 - 21:07
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