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What would you consider important in the joseki repertoire of a 5-10 kyu? [#3019]

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reply What would you consider important in the joseki repertoire of a 5-10 kyu? (2014-05-13 07:54) [#10094]

What joseki are the foundation of a good understanding of the corner play? I considered getting 38 Basic Joseki, but I've been told it's slightly archaic and that it would be too simple for me at the moment. I think I'll still get it but I wanted to know what you all think are important joseki to know? I kind of think of it as a "linearly independent group," as in, which joseki should I learn so that I will not find myself without SERVICEABLE joseki in a particular situation (naturally every different situation may require a slightly different joseki, but I'm just looking for a basic framework so there aren't gigantic holes in my ability to use whole board thinking)

Do you think 38 Basic Joseki covers it? Or do you think the framework needs more? Or even fewer?

X Re: What would you consider important in the joseki repertoire of a 5-10 kyu? (2014-05-13 17:25) [#10103]

Any joseki of 8 moves or fewer. :)

Slarty: Re: What would you consider important in the joseki repertoire of a 5-10 kyu? (2014-05-17 06:13) [#10111]

A shallow/first reading of 38BJ would do that, that's essentially what it was designed to be. Ishida's dictionary or Robert's work, or Get Strong At J or Whole Board Thinking In J are other investments. A more realistic target from a "serviceable" attitude is to aim to patch gigantic holes in local thinking, which is in fact really what joseki patterns arise out of.

Dieter: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 10:00) [#10095]

My usual grumpy answer is: "none".

A more sympathetic answer:

  1. Know basic technique
  2. Know the function of pincers and extensions (to deny a base, avoid being shut in)
  3. Try to understand which direction of play serves your overall distribution of stones (fuseki)
  4. And compare the result in your games to existing patterns (joseki) in (current) professional games

Don't expect a different winning ratio from studying joseki. It can do some good to your understanding of shape and technique though. With the above caveat, even 38 basic joseki might do. But then again, maybe none.

tapir: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 09:53) [#10096]

In my opinion, the danger of knowing a few joseki (instead of many) is the (inevitable?) overreliance on these few joseki even where they don't suit your purpose and completely forget about joseki choice. I believe many players would be better served with playing situational moves and then looking up a conventional way (joseki) to achieve the purpose they aimed for in a calm minute after the game.

Understanding the function of moves / direction of play / joseki choice is whole board thinking, if you have a single standard reply to situations and stick to it ("servicable joseki") you can't magically add whole board thinking after the fact. In fact, you should always contemplate about one or better two alternative moves especially where you know a joseki.

What joseki? Simple ones, best with a clear relation to choices you have (inside/outside, pincer/no-pincer, territory/influence, sente/gote, close/distant, high/low), no trick moves, always more than one for a situation.

Dieter: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 10:05) [#10097]

I think the real difference is not knowing a few joseki or many joseki, which increases your joseki choice. The real difference is to play moves, not joseki. These moves lead to sequences, known or unknown, but they fulfill a purpose. Thinking this way will give confidence, instead of the two common mistaken reactions when the opponent deviates from the known pattern: panic (he knows something I don't) or triumph (the idiot!)

Studying joseki may lead to a better understanding of moves. With the existing literature it is hard to avoid joseki study. And doing it properly is very hard. So I'm afraid all amateurs fall into the trap of relying on familiar sequences.

tapir: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 11:16) [#10098]

It is interesting that we agree so much on the question, yet disagree about the principle.

Why is avoiding joseki study even a thing? My point against the whole "avoiding joseki" literature is that it actually encourages what it claims to overcome - overreliance on a few set sequences (look at amateurs playing always 4-5 in empty corners, because they want to "avoid" joseki), "just a few basic joseki and then somehow wholeboard thinking" and worst of all set openings copied straight from professional games (global joseki).

Dieter: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 13:40) [#10100]

I'm not saying one should avoid joseki. One should probably avoid studying it. Avoiding joseki is the same as playing joseki: it's knowing a set sequence and decide (not) to play it.

tapir: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 16:28) [#10101]

Eh, didn't I write about "avoiding joseki study"?

People avoid studying joseki and compensate by e.g. playing only 4-5 openings (I know several, unrelated players doing exactly this).

People avoid studying joseki and parrot whole board openings from professional games (believing they do whole board thinking that way).

People avoid studying joseki and stick to the few joseki they inevitably pick up (say, always play the high approach to the 3-4 point) to avoid complications.

All three are fairly common rigidities among players around my level imo resulting from NOT studying joseki, partly because people who do know and play joseki constantly discourage you from studying. The original question is exactly in this manner ... I can almost hear it whispering "joseki bad, whole board thinking good", thus "give me a few joseki, that I can do the whole board thinking I should be doing".

It just does not work that way. People, who are overrelying on a few joseki, because they lack confidence and time and means to analyse individual moves, do not magically gain the confidence by being told to scrap joseki study. But as soon as you study a little more than one joseki per situation you start with modular thinking, merits of individual moves, techniques, direction etc. From there you can build the confidence to the point where you can confidently play a situational move because it suits your purpose. I do not for the life of me understand why this is constantly and loudly discouraged.

(Of course the case for the different positions has been made before: Joseki discussions. Still, it baffles me each time that this is almost the only area where study is discouraged.)

Dieter: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 16:39) [#10102]

Okay here are some things to study and why I think you should not study joseki:

  1. Basic technique: the haengma, or basic instinct, or whatever you call it, are abstracted moves that have a function which you can apply in many situations. We've removed "crosscut extend" from basic instinct because it was wrong to set people on the track of such rote playing (thanks Richard Hunter).
  2. Tsumego are the other extreme: they are so particular that it's rather training reading and intuition than particular sequences. It helps to know the door group or the L-group. Their status allows for more abstracted thinking.
  3. Tesuji are techniques to unlock certain situations. There is some danger here.
  4. Endgame techniques are particular but have a high likelihood of popping up and their effect is local, predictable and significant.

Joseki are vast in number but they have a reduced set of parents which can be memorized or familiarized so that it is almost inevitable for people to play them mindlessly (me too, that may be why I am so strong about it). Moreover, every beginner/amateur vastly overestimates the effect of playing (or deviating from) joseki. You can see from this question here too that a player is looking for weaponry. I'm sure you, tapir, honestly use joseki study as a means to understand moves. I fear that when encouraging that, we invariably end up supporting people to become familiar with certain patterns, which they play in order to have a good opening, only to screw up completely in middle game and end game.

I'd say: don't study joseki yet.

tapir: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 19:13) [#10106]

Isn't all that in joseki?? Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 17:56) [#10104]

Bob McGuigan: One of the negative effects of learning and playing only a limited number of joseki is playing the same sequence whether or not it is appropriate from a whole-board perspective. Joseki moves are local moves and their evaluation as such is locally based so, sometimes, a joseki move could be bad and a non-joseki move could be good.

Here is a game position, taken from Nakayama's book Joseki Hazure:

a bad joseki move  

Black's move B1 in the upper right corner follows a simple joseki that is well known to amateur players. However, it is a bad move because it allows White to play W2, strengthening the three white stones and reducing the potential of Black's formation on the left side.

Instead, Nakayama says Black should play as in the following diagram:

a better move  

B1 weakens White's three stones. W2 and following seal Black into the corner but after W8 White will not be able to develop her stones in the upper right and Black got to expand his moyo with B9 .

Timm: ((no subject)) (2014-05-13 13:13) [#10099]

I think it's unavoidable to study joseki but the idea of a joseki “repertoire” seems wrong. The best way to learn is to try new things and find out whether a move is good or bad, and whether there was a better option (either by playing or studying or both!).

Studying joseki (and variations and mistakes) is important because it teaches you shape, fighting and positional judgement. Then “basic” joseki are just the product of “basic” principles.

RobertJasiek: study to understand joseki and go theory (2014-05-13 19:13) [#10105]

As a 5 kyu, studying josekis while understanding them and the related go theory made me ca. 2.5 ranks stronger quickly. The important point is understanding of the moves, sequences, groups, decisions, strategy, global context, evaluation and other go theory. At that time, I had nothing but dictionaries and joseki selections and had to rediscover or invent much of the theory. In order to spare everybody this hard way, I have written four [ext] joseki books. From their TOCs, you can infer the topics with which one must become familiar to understand joseki well. For a 5 to 10 kyu, who does not want to become overwhelmed but wants also understanding, Easy Learning Joseki is the by far best choice, because it is the only one-volume joseki introduction I know that offers both a reasonably broad selection of josekis and an exhaustive discussion of every basic aspect of go theory needed for their good understanding. Most joseki introductions omit thorough explanation enabling understanding of go theory almost entirely; a few joseki books have only one particular topic of go theory (such as strategic choices). It is wrong to use only rote memorisation or to study only one topic of go theory. Good joseki study must include every important topic. This is much more important than knowing a specific set of josekis, because, in the long run, understanding enables the ability to develop josekis or joseki-like variations during one's games. Since this takes time and much study, some memorisation of a representative selection of josekis is useful, if, and this cannot be repeated often enough, it is accompanied by acquiring understanding including consideration of the positional context.

As to the OP's question about 38 Basic Joseki, it has a too small, not sufficiently representative selection without carefully explaining topics of go theory at all. If you already know some theory, then 38 Basic Joseki can be used for what it is by applying the theory for 4 hours per chapter to the josekis. However, you don't learn any new theory, which is essential for a much broader joseki understanding. 38 Basic Joseki is maybe good for an 8k wishing to become 7k, but that's it. Why not have greater aims?

reply ((no subject)) (2014-05-16 23:08) [#10107]

I'll explain this to someone in person because I can tell I didn't do a good job. I've heard all of these warnings and I am not looking to have a set of joseki to use blindly every time any applicable situation arrives. I'm looking for a set of joseki that I can use in conjunction with my current fuseki knowledge (my fuseki is my strongest area) to visualize on board to augment whole board thinking in looking fr a guide as to my next move. By having a baseline set of joseki I can visualize certain situations with the joseki in place and have a general guideline as to where to start and then using good corner principles to follow through. I don't just blindly follow anything I just want to have an idea of where to start in building up a serviceable set of visualization tools for whole board thinking.

RobertJasiek: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-17 00:17) [#10108]

Even with a particular style or opening preference, flexibility of strategy and strategic joseki choice is important. Therefore, it is insufficient to study only a particular kind of josekis (such as only influence-orientated josekis if one's style is moyo building). What is needed - both for a start and for players of all levels - is knowledge of standard purposes of construction, destruction, fighting; of the possible functional types of josekis; of the typical strategic choices occuring for those types; of a few sample joseks for each type.

This is not a matter of visualisation, but of meaningful understanding of how a joseki is chosen well in the positional context. I have compiled the necessary principles etc. for that and mentioned where you find them.

I am not sure what you mean by "I don't just blindly follow anything". If your idea is to get food for thought, see above. If you don't want to take any advice, then why would you ask? If you are afraid of static advice, there is no need for fear, because the mentioned knowledge is designed for highly dynamic and flexible application. However, freedom should not go so far to reject best play for the sake of freedom of will. Go strategy is not a human right but a means to pursue the aim of winning:)

Timm: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-17 00:53) [#10109]

I think he/she is asking specifically for the "few sample joseks for each type". Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-17 16:11) [#10112]

Bob McGuigan: Maybe 38 Basic Joseki would be a good choice for you. I looked it over the other day for the first time in 20 years or more and I don't think it's as bad as people make out. Robert Jasiek doesn't like it because it doesn't discuss "theory" and derive the joseki sequences from the theory. A perfectly viable way to learn is to absorb some basic sequences and play a lot of games and see how things turn out. You'll be learning from experience rather than from a principles-first approach. And you can get a bigger reference book, like Takao's Dictionary, and look things up when your experience doesn't make sense to you. You mentioned coordinating your joseki with your understanding of whole-board situations and I think Yang's Whole Board Thinking in Joseki is excellent for that. You'll soon find out that there are a lot of acceptable possible joseki in every position. It is because of this that we say it's necessary to make corner moves based on the surrounding position rather than just follow a prescribed sequence of moves (see my example in an earlier reply)

RobertJasiek: Re: ((no subject)) (2014-05-17 17:10) [#10113]

Whole Board Thinking in Joseki has these limitations: a) early opening positions only (no middle game positions), b) implicitly dicusses only a few kinds of strategic choices (such related to (a)) but does not discuss other kinds strategic choices, c) teaches by examples and requires the reader to extract the theory by himself, d) contains one example with an incomplete, and therefore wrong, strategic choice, e) has only 3-4 joseki examples. For these reasons, I disagree with your assessment "excellent"; "useful" is a more appropriate description (if also reading other joseki literature). (The books also contain too much white space.)

(My opinion on 38BJ is more detailed than you suggest it would be, see above and elsewhere.)

reply ((no subject)) (2014-05-17 01:42) [#10110]

Basically, you're asking a question which we'vd heard often before and try to explain that the question is wrong, to which you reply that is not an answer to your question.

Btw, most professionals will State that fuseki is their weakest part of the game. When amateurs claim it's their strongest, they are mostly deluded by their ability to create something that superficially looks like a pro game. And indeed we only blunder in major ways when the board fills up.

I'd recommend jasiek's book. It may reveal why the question is misguided. But I'm sure someone will eventually give you a set of joseki if you press the matter. And maybe that would even help you most, since that is what you like to move on with. Only we're too stubborn to provide such a (phony) list.

Good luck!

Bethamain: A sympathetic suggestion (2014-06-23 05:10) [#10177]

I am of a similar skill level to you, and I hope I can offer a sympathetic voice among the various strong opinions on joseki study. When I feel like I want to learn new joseki, it's usually because I've run into a situation where I really don't have a clue what best play might look like, and I freeze for a second not knowing where to put my next stone. Of course, I eventually place it, and let the rest fall where the may, depending on my knowledge of theory and tactics and all the other things joseki should be made of. And critics are right: usually the biggest mistakes of my games come later, and are not the result of not knowing just the right sequence for the 12th-18th moves. But there's still that uncomfortable moment where I feel like I have no idea what to play, and I should. To alleviate the fear of that moment, my solution is to study joseki, but only a couple of moves deep. That way, joseki study opens possibilities for me, rather than binding me to the only 6-7 I actually know all the way to tenuki. It shows that there are a number of moves that are playable in a situation, and I can try them out based on my best guess as to their meaning and my best feel for the tactical and strategic situation. It doesn't stop me from feeling nervous about the third stone down the road, but it does reassure me that I haven't made a complete fool of myself on the very first move. It's a bit of a compromise - I might not know the full meaning of those first couple of stones (but who knows the full meaning of every stone they play?), but I'm not shutting my mind down and playing by rote for 6 or 7 moves, either.

I find a database like SmartGo to be a good tool. You can just set up a basic situation (knight's approach to komoku, 2 point low pincer, say), and see what moves have been played more than say, 10 or 15 times. Any move that good is worth having a look at, and if it comes up in your game, you can figure out the rest as you go, and check back afterwards to see how you (and your opponent - the real reason not to bother with a lot of joseki at kyu level is that your opponent is at least as likely to deviate as you are, and then you have to rely on your wits anyway) did. Presumably, as you get stronger, you'll get closer to hitting the right spots, whether that means an established joseki or a brilliant deviation / variation.

I hope that's useful to you. It's calmed my nerves about joseki, without, I hope, implicating me in the many character flaws associated with (inappropriate) joseki study

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