4-4 Diagonal Attachment Help


My friend and I recently went through a lot of opening joseki to try and understand some of their strengths and weaknesses (at least from a 17-20k perspective.)

We spent some time looking at the 4-4 diagonal attachment joseki listed on Sensei’s Library (https://senseis.xmp.net/?44PointDiagonalAttachmentJoseki). The webpage explains that choosing this opening as black without having the marked pincer stone is not good for black. I have heard this same thought from some YouTube videos as well.

However, when we actually tried to play it out, we kept coming out with positions that were good for black. We found ways for white to jump into the corner and live with few points, but this allowed black to build up a good wall and a secure a good amount of territory on the side.

Could anyone help me understand why this joseki is considered bad for black without the pincer stone?

Thanks for the help!


Firstly, welcome to the forums! It’s great to have you here and thanks for asking the question :slight_smile:

The main thing to remember is that almost anything can work or not work at 20k

When it says “not good for black” it simply means that exchanging the kick for the extension is a sub-optimal trade if you can’t pressure white from the other side. You’re making white’s group stronger, while not really increasing the security of the corner all that much.

The main reason the pincer stone is recommended is because if it’s not there, white can simply extend along the 3rd line after black protects on the side, and both sides are relatively safe.


The same thing can of course happen without the kick


But the first variation, white’s group is a lot stronger, limiting black’s potential to attack it later, whereas in the second variation this aji is preserved. If there is a pincer stone in place, white cannot extend in such a way.

To use slightly different terminology, with the pincer in place, the kick makes white’s group “heavy” but without it, the kick makes white’s group “strong”

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It’s baloney. This joseki isn’t bad for Black. Once upon a time players thought that since White got to extend from the two-stone wall, playing this way just made White stronger for no good reason. We now know that’s not a big deal. Actually, preventing White from attaching or sliding under Black’s 4-4 stone has value just by itself. So nowadays it’s considered a valid choice.

See https://senseis.xmp.net/?44PointDiagonalAttachmentOneSpaceJumpWithoutPincer


Everything we’ve been told is a lie :slight_smile: haha

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Just as @mark5000 said. The opening theory has changed a lot in the past 3 years thanks to AI. I would recommend that you look at tutorials that are less than 2 years old for the opening. Check out Youtube for example. http://josekipedia.com also has recent variations, just don’t take everything you read for granted.

Well, ideally the sequences should be joseki, not favoring one player or the other. Black should end up with an advantage, but that’s simply because black played the first move. Feel free to share a sequence or two and we can provide more insight.


One could also make the argument, that allowing white to settle his/her position with just 2 more stones at the direction he/she wanted to, thus greatly limiting blacks future options in that whole area of the board, is actually little bit too selfrestrictive, or “not good” as senseis library puts it.
Of course, like all things in go, whetever this is good or bad for black is 100% related to the overall board position.

(Assuming w wanted his group there since w approached the 4-4 stone from that direction)

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I second this with a caveat: Just because it’s not bad, doesn’t mean it’s good either. White does certainly gain strength from the exchange. Whether it is worth playing depends on careful whole-board judgement.

This is also one of the typical moves that entice weaker players for all the wrong reasons. It feels good to “dictate” the opponent’s move just once. In the reality of Go, extra exchanges can easily tip a fragile balance and you have to pay for what you break :wink:

Therefore, especially for kyu-level players: If in doubt, leave it out!


There is also the consideration of the bad aji left with this joseki exchange. First off, it will result in white (or the one being kicked) to get a nice extension. There is also the possibility of a later invasion to the 3-3, where white will either link up, or live in the corner. I think that is a big reason why this joseki isn’t considered as good.

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What we need is a modern Joseki Dictionary, which which has had the chaff of old learnings winnowed out leaving us with the best of the old and new!



Sounds like a worthy project indeed :joy:


Thanks for the replies and sorry for the late response!

What we found in our review is that we like this position for black:

While taking this position immediately isn’t really that great for black if white can continue down the right hand side, we thought that taking this point after the “large extension” portion of the early game secures a good amount for black if white cannot continue further down.

We played out the 3-3 invasion a bunch of different ways (since we are both still new it took us a few times to see different patterns and to just play things out.) I have a demo board of all the variations we tried, but it’s extremely big and hard to follow. I will try to clean it up and link it sometime soon


M17 looks kyu-ish to me. Traditionally, the fourth line is the line of influence, and the third line is the line of territory. I discourage students from making territory from fourth line stones because a there’s usually a more efficient way. Here, for example, O16 could be at O17, then you have sente and can play something bigger than a one-point extension.

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Joseki dictionaries will help you sort this out, for example on this page.

Example 1:

If black tries to separate the white stones, white takes the corner points.

Example 2:

Black can secure some territory on the side. As I already mentioned, it is expected that black makes more points than white as black played first and last (picture your additional black extension on the third line). This is balanced by moves white played elsewhere on the board.