Embracing the 3-3 Point in the AI Era: A Strategic Imperative

In the realm of modern Go, particularly against AI like KataGo, Golaxy, and AlphaZero, the strategic significance of the 3-3 point has become increasingly paramount. AI’s influence in Go has set a high standard of play, emphasising
precision and strategic depth. Against this backdrop, the 3-3 point offers a secure, straightforward approach to territory, crucial in minimising errors.

The 3-3 point, traditionally viewed for its territorial solidity, contrasts with the influence-oriented 4-4 point. AI gameplay analysis reveals a preference for secure, risk-averse strategies, often involving early 3-3 invasions against standard 4-4 openings. This trend is evident in AlphaZero’s games, where 3-3 invasions frequently lead to stable positions.

AI’s approach to Go challenges traditional theory, showing that the balance between territory and influence can be achieved through unconventional methods. The 3-3 point, while securing immediate territory, can maintain influence when played with precision.

When facing AI, the objective shifts from exploiting human weaknesses to striving for optimal play. The 3-3 point allows for building solid foundations, limiting AI’s calculative advantages. This is evident in key games like AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol, and my own experiences on OGS confirm the effectiveness of the 3-3 point in creating stable, controllable middle games against high-level AI.

In conclusion, it is crucial in the AI era of Go to adapt our strategies to emphasise security and simplicity, which the 3-3 point embodies. This approach offers a viable path to compete against AI’s precision, warranting further exploration and discussion within the Go community.


Cho Chikun has written about the value of the 3-3 point.


What do you mean?


Wrong. The 3-3 invasion takes the base of the 4-4 stone, and the 4-4 player usually wants to take sente in the opening so doesn’t take gote to stabilise the resulting wall outside group, meaning it is often the 3-3 player who plays next in that area with attacking intent against the wall, leading to unstable fighting positions.

Also the 3-3 invasion shown in the image is not the AI 3-3 invasion against a lone 4-4 quadrant , but the invasion of a double wing which was standard theory for decades before AI.

I also wonder if this post was written by a bot. The language is strange.


Same here, my inner bot text detector gave alarm. (It’s occasianally wrong of course.)

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That’s why I asked a question, to check if I’d get a human or a bot-like response.


Welcome to the age of forum threads as Turing tests!


And now both variations shown on this cover for “Modern Opening Strategy” are completely outdated. :rofl:


You will note that when you start a game with an AI opponent and choose the san-san (3-3) opening, you immediately start having a lower probability of winning. However, that was not the point of my original post. We are talking about human versus AI. Not human versus human or AI versus AI.

Not correct.
That is a beginner’s interpretation.

The 3-3 is widely misunderstood.

Where is the laughing reaction emoji?


Let’s be serious here. The 3-3 is much more subtle than the current replies have acknowledged.
Andrew, as I commented, your latest Leela video on YouTube proves my point.

This one:



To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand 3-3. The humour is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of the flying knives joseki most of the moves will go over a typical player’s head. There’s also the main variation’s nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into its characterisation- its personal philosophy draws heavily from Narodnaya Volya literature, for instance. The fans understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these moves, to realise that they’re not just funny- they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike 3-3 truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn’t appreciate, for instance, the humour in the flying knives’ existential simplification “connect instead of hane” which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev’s Russian epic Fathers and Sons. I’m smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as AlphaGo’s genius wit unfolds itself on their gobans. What fools… how I pity them. :joy:

And yes, by the way, i DO have a 3-3 tattoo. And no, you cannot see it. It’s for the ladies’ eyes only- and even then they have to demonstrate that they’re within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid :sunglasses:


The attacking potential of the 3-3 over the approach was something Li Zhe 6p (and one of the most thoughtful Chinese pros) highlighted in an article when the AlphaGo games happened. But I suppose that’s just his beginner interpretation.


No, no, no… :person_facepalming: :person_facepalming: :person_facepalming:

This thread should have a warning label for kyus weaker than 5k.


Is this your idea of embracing the 3-3 point in the AI era?


I wouldn’t call amybot-ddk a high level AI.