View Full Version : Joseki or no?

31st October 2001, 05:22
I am playing at about the 20k level and am wondering if it is advisable to begin to study joseki, or to study them at all, and if so, what approach should I take?

-Ben Kalafut

1st November 2001, 00:48
Hi Ben,

I have a couple of thoughts ...

You may have heard the Go proverb "When you study joseki, you lose two stones in strength. " This proverb is cited far and wide against anyone studying joseki until at least dan level. HOWEVER, it is my observation that, it all depends on HOW one studies joseki. At least a common knowledge of joseki is important.

Have you read "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go" by Toshiro Kageyama? He has a whole chapter devoted (chapter 7) to "How to Study Joseki." Let me quote from the book:

Personally, I consider studying joseki to be one of the first steps in getting stronger. That is why there are so many joseki books in existence. Now let's look at the proper way to study them. ...

I would highly recommend you reading his book and chapter 7 inparticular, before beginning your study of joseki. Failure to do so may result in the proverb coming true.

I enjoy studying joseki. Joseki are very interesting to me, so I prefer studying joseki to tesuji. You may too! Often one's interest in Go studies can be prolonged when you enjoy the areas of the game one is studying.

Another thought, I also enjoy studying professional game commentaries. This may be something to begin thinking about, but probably not something to really worry about right now until you get stronger. I enjoy studying them in the context of joseki since the appropriate use of or departure from joseki is often presented and (often) thoroughly studied out.

Anyway, I've taken up too much space here ... :wave:



P.S. Join us for an e-budo go night. :wave:

7th November 2001, 06:27
I pulled the Kageyama down from the shelf and read his thoughts on the matter. Sounds like great advice (and that book is always fun to read--I don't know if that's the fault of the author or the translator)!

I am not very good at memorization, and the idea of playing patterns by rote is somewhat distasteful to me. His approach is a lot more fun, if anything. A few players at my club suggested that I gain at least familiarity with common joseki. When I start (after things simmer down a bit around here) I'll try it Kageyama's way.

I'm usually coaching Judo practice on E-Budo Go Night. When my schedule changes I'll try to "attend."


-Ben Kalafut

7th November 2001, 19:08

Years ago, I remember reading "The Power of the Starpoint: The Sanrensei Opening" by Takagawa Shukaku. In it he goes over several 4x4 point joseki and how they relate to the Sanrensei opening.

Takagawa made some helpful observations for beginners:

- 4x4 point joseki are amongst the easiest joseki to learn, understand, and study.
- 4x4 joseki are the most common joseki played in handicap games (since stones are preplaced on the star points).

I took these observations to heart and it seemed to provide a nice introduction (4x4 point joseki) to studying joseki. I started studying 3x4 point joseki and such later, when they started appearing more in my games.

Anyway, my point is ... sounds like good advice beginning with the study of common joseki. And frankly, what is more common than the 4x4 point joseki?

Should you have some interesting observations from your joseki studies, please post them here. GoWrite is very handy for this (.sgf files can be attached to a post in text form - i.e. change the extension from .sgf to .txt to attach).