Using joseki dictionary in-game

This came up in a conversation last night. I’m probably displaying my ignorance, but I had assumed that even though it’s easy enough to do, using a joseki dictionary while a game is in progress would be cheating. I’m told it’s perfectly legal though. I have to say it’s not something I’d do, but I’m curious. Is it legal? and if so does anyone think it’s a worthwhile tactic?


it’s not technically cheating, I guess, since it’s an option that’s equally available to both players, but a worthwhile tactic?

Not if you want to improve. letting yourself depend on variations without understanding them will hurt your strength in the end. especially if your opponent plays a variation the dictionary doesn’t have.


Well, I don’t know any official sources, but HnG agrees with your assessment. :slight_smile:


That’s not an official source?


It won’t just prevent you from getting stronger due to reasons explained by kitten1, but it will also deteriorate your own freedom on the board. What I mean is; If you stumble upon a joseki pattern which you know, your ideas will conflict with the “best moves” (aka joseki) that you know. You already know the best variation so why should you try playing something else? Learning joseki the wrong way will put your mind in chains and it prevents you from discovering bad shapes and patterns. (Also excluding that your opponent may play out of joseki which would leave you confused, but that’s just a slight drawback compared to the above mentioned).


That’s a good point.

I study josekis while playing them, especially if my opponent is playing some joseki i’m not familiar with, i’d rather study it, and then decide do i want to play that out, or do i want to go for something else.

And if i have 7 days per move, i don’t think it’s cheating when i try to improve my skills and learn more about josekis between my moves.
If the question was more related to live games, i honestly wonder who has the time to start browsing joseki dictionary while playing. (maybe i’m just slow by the nature)


Well - to clarify, I was thinking specifically of live games. Hard to see a problem with studying joseki in the context of a correspondence game.


I’m ok with my opponent if they look up joseki - you can’t stop them anyway - but I don’t do it myself because I like my games to be as authentic as in real life.

Time control makes no difference in my opinion.

As for studying, I also believe that it can be helpful sometimes to learn in the middle of the game, mostly if you really do make up your own ideas first and then compare them with the reference.
After the game is over, the moment has passed and you have missed the chance to train the correct moves in a real game, as well as the chance to find out how the game could have gone without the mistake :slight_smile:

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The OGS terms of service are clear on this: " No Cheating or Computer Help

You can NEVER use Go programs (Leela, Zen, etc.) or neural networks to analyze current ongoing games unless specifically permitted (e.g., a computer tournament). The only type of computer assistance allowed is games databases for opening lines and joseki databases for corner patterns in correspondence Go. You cannot receive ANY outside assistance on live or blitz Go games."


I actually think this should be stated to new users as they join.

It’s incredibly unlikely that your average person will read that page, hidden away as it is.


Yes, I agree. I only came across it because I looked for it specifically.