"3-4 blocking the 3-3" ... is that a "thing" now?

In a few recent games, my opponent has played a 4-4, with some wider stones on each side, then “blocked the 3-3” with a 3-4 stone next to their 4-4.

Is this “reasonable play”, or is there a general “downside” that once we’re aware of it, then this will become unattractive?

An example: Ladder Challenge: taw(#24) vs GreenAsJade(#18)


Adding a 3x3 to a 4x4 is in some way a bit uncommon, as there are usually better more ambituous,less conservative moves like a keima or a wide extension for example. Now a 3x4 is not that weird compared to a 3x3 as it protects the corner and offer better future connection on a side.


During the opening, the move is probably a bit slow. Generally if you want to play a combination of 2 stones in the corner, you’d prefer a normal shimari like (4-4 + 3-6), (3-4 + 5-3), etc.

The move may sometimes be correct at the end of middlegame, if it’s the last big point and you want to prevent the opponent from invading a big territory (assuming that combination + surrounding stones are enough to prevent an invasion).


Let’s ask AI about this:

-1,3 pts is still very good - so in the situation on board where it happened, it’s a good move, but the left side is more urgent.

if you settle the situation in the left a bit, it’s even -0,3 only - so a really good move

Let’s try that directly in the beginning:

Even in the beginning with nothing else it’s “only” -1.3 pts with AI

even blocking like this, while not ideal - is very good. it’s “-0,6” pts

so, getting out of bed now, work calls :smiley:


Would be interesting to compare with 3x3 using AI?

Link to move: Ladder Challenge: taw(#24) vs GreenAsJade(#18)

Hmm I didn’t want to make too precise comments since it’s an ongoing game.


It’s a reasonable move to totally prevent the 3-3 invasion. It’s not unreasonable as in not an overplay, if anything it’s an underplay because a bit slow and inefficient. Tewari argument : imagine you played the 3-4 first, and then wanted to add another move, 5-4 next for high shimari would generally be better than 4-4.

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This is a bit different matter:


with an approach move there is more to investigate like the difference with answering at the 3.4 vs a diagonal-contact move on the approaching move, or a pincer…

Looking at Waltheri’s pattern search, it turns out the move has been played many times by pros, including at early stages of the game, for instance:

Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104654
Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104646
Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104637
Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104630
Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104622
Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104716
Capture d'écran 2024-05-15 104705

The AI often prefers another move, but the pro’s move is obviously a good move, losing at most about 1 point according to AI.


Well there ya go … I just learned it’s not only a thing now, but has been since whenever! :astonished:


The descent has also been quite a normal move for black in high handicap games for many decades, perhaps even centuries.

It’s also common for black to descend as a territorial reinforcement after having made a large knight 4-4 enclosure.