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    Keywords: Strategy

Chinese 1: 缓 (huan3)
Chinese 2: 缓慢 (huan3 man4)
Chinese 3: 缓手 (huan3 shou3)
Chinese 4: 慢 (man4)
Japanese 1: 遅い (osoi)
Japanese 2: 緩手 (kanshu)
Korean: -

A move is described as slow when it puts too much emphasis on the stability of one's own stones at the expense of development, or if it tries to undermine the stability of opponent's stones, which the opponent can resist and play elsewhere.

Slow a term more commonly used in the opening and middle game, when speed of development matters. Towards the endgame, where all areas have been developed, the term small is more common.

Depending of the level of play, a slow move can be a mistake or an affordable choice. Since the AI revolution there is even more emphasis on speed of development. What used to be an affordable choice at the professional level may now be considered slow.



Aftern the joseki in the upper left, White's W1 is a little early in approaching the Black group, as the other corners are still covered with a single stone. For Black to respond with B2 is considered slow. Next, White can play in the lower right corner with an approach or a 3-3 invasion.

Middle game joseki  

Instead a move like B2 is considered fast. Now White can indeed sweep away Black's territory and base with the sequence W3-W9 but up to B10 Black creates (strong) influence towards the centre. The position is even.

(Incidentally, W5 may be a small mistake in itself. See ...)

More examples

Go Seigen opening theory

Onoda - Go Seigen  

(From Now I Would Play This Way: Go Seigen looks back at 18 games (Go Seigen: Omoide no 18 Kyoku: Ima Nara Ko Utsu), game 14, p. 205)

Go Seigen says that W6 "was a little slow". His recommended continuation follows.

Note: when evaluating the position with KataGo, W6 is the preferred move by small margins. It's not slow by KataGo's standards.

Go Seigen recommends  

Black plays B2 instead of responding in the top left corner to get some work out of his nirensei.

Note: KataGo believes that after W1 Black should invade at A or B in the lower left. B2 here is losing 7-8% and about 1 point.

Let me try to explain a bit. The shimari in the bottom left corner does nothing to address Black's nirensei. White's play in the top left corner does, because the normal joseki continuation gives White an extension on the top side, which thwarts Black's normal development from the nirensei. Therefore Black does not play the usual joseki, but extends to the top side, anyway. At this point, the top right corner becomes urgent. (Although Go Seigen does not discuss the play, I expect that the wariuchi on the right would be slow, too.)

Former joseki

Slow kosumi  

W3 was popular among Japanese pros around 1970 and earlier, but went out of favor for being "too slow". Current professional assessment is better informed than it was then, but the move may still make a comeback. It is too early to say that it is too ineffective. However, regardless of its efficacy, the kosumi is slow.


Pressing with W3 is more active. After B6, White can play elsewhere. B4 in itself is a little passive; fighting with a is more active.

Another option for White is to ignore the pincer of B2 and play elsewhere immediately. That is considered fast

Historical thinking

Slow keima  

Before Go Seigen proved the virtues of B2, it was regarded as too slow. The ogeima reply at a was usual as it was considered faster.

See also


[1] Baduk doctor lesson: [ext]

Path: <= Mistake =>
Slow last edited by Dieter on March 6, 2021 - 13:44
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