Unfair marking on a basic 3-4 position?

On Play Go at online-go.com! | OGS (excluding the mistake D), three options are listed: A, B, and C.

A and B are marked as ideal; C is marked as good and called slack.

This makes me consider two questions.

  1. Isn’t it the case that Black can’t force White into any result inferior to those White can achieve with A and B?

  2. If the only distinction of C from A and B is that Black can choose whether to tranpose to an A result or a B result, is that really suffiicent to mark C as non-ideal and call it slack?


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I don’t like the description passing that kind of judgement either unless it is from the source material. (which I doubt)

It being Good seems reasonable though, it is situational. You are opting into the large avalanche (if the opponent accepts) already.

edit: it actually seems likely it is from Cho Hyunhyuns book because it is the only description on the next node with the same source: Play Go at online-go.com! | OGS


I’m very interested in a disusison about the merits of C.

Could I just offer a slightly nuanced difference about the meaning of Green and Olive though: the emphasis in the definition of these is on whether the move is “credibly sourced Joseki or not”.

I agree that the doco has the words “ideal” and “good” in it, but it also has “Joseki”, and this is the distinction with the most focus. C cannot be green unless it is a credibly sourced Joseki move.

We could all easily agree to remove “slack”, but the onus is on the proponent to provide credible sourcing for the idea that it might be Joseki, if that is the proposition.

(My recollection of where that word “slack” comes from is Josekipedia - I think that move has been described that way for ages, though I haven’t checked if it still is like that recently)

(Edit: for the record, Josekipedia has C as ‘6’, olive and marked as “old pattern”)


Well I think it is proper to say you basically described what “slack move” is.

A corner approach is not a probe. A probe itself usually is an inferior move, because your opponent can decide what they want and take it. It only works when both choices are pretty much equally bad for your opponent, which don’t happen commonly. That’s why a probe is considered advanced tactic.

A corner approach is like you come to a dojo and kick the door open. The opponent then answer like “What zoo wan?”, and then C is like “Oh I’m good either way you just continue doing your things”

I see C more like you’re waiting at a restaurant, and you say to the customer:

“Will you pay cash or credit?”

Perhaps they don’t have any cash, so they pay credit; or they’ve no credit so they choose to pay cash.
Either way, they have to pay.

C isn’t a “mere probe” any more than most other sequence moves – Black just decides how to continue.

Oh, I just realised a reason why one would play C instead of A or B.

It avoids the small avalanche.

If White heads straight into the avalanche with B, then Black can choose between the large (X) and small (O) avalanches in the diagram below.


But what if White doesn’t want to play the small avalanche?

In that case, the solution is to play C in the first place, pre-emptively occupying the O point. Now if Black wants to play an avalanche then it’ll have to be the large one, due to this (4)–(5) exchange:


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Nah that miss the point that your opponent MUST decide and then you can counter his choice.
Being inferior or bad or not at all, I have no idea.


It’s actually a surprisingly complicated discussion, but chinitsu is correct that it is far more common that you deciding which side you get is better.

Probes are a particularly interesting case in that your opponent choosing will leave them with a disadvantage (usually overconcentration from what I can tell) even if they take the bigger option. It’s not so much “countering” their choice, but making both choices worse for them than if you had chosen instead.

Granted, they don’t have to be “equally bad” (as previously claimed) so long as the best option after they make their choice is worse than if you had made the choice beforehand.

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Well yes countering is a bit restricted, apply mostly when the choice is made to give away a corner and go for outside so you start to reduce that influence. Other situation emerge too, like starting a fight which would have been more hectic if you ask later.

I think O Meien has played C in his games. Maybe take a look there for possible reasons.

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