What does "crude move" actually mean?

I often see moves described as “crude” but I’m not sure what I’m exactly supposed to understand by this. I guess it’s something suboptimal but not bad enough to be a mistake. Or is it something that gets the job done but without ancillary benefits that a good move might bring. Or is an antisuji? Bad shape? Gote? Something that might work against opponents below Xkyu but not above that? All of those things?
I’m hoping someone can provide a geekily specific explanation!


Yes, kinda.

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That’s what Sensei’s Library says.


A crude move is one that that achieves some simple objective but gets less out of the position than a better move. This can be for many reasons—it loses sente, erases good aji, strengthens the opponent, leaves unnecessary ko threats or bad aji, loses points, or makes inefficient shape.


So it’s basically just a bad move. But not as bad as a blunder.

I don’t think it’s always a mistake, since there are sometimes where pros will recommend a crude move in some situations. It seems like it’s more a move that a move that seems intuitively bad (or ugly) for a pro (maybe for the above reasons) whether or not it actually is bad after reading.


I’ve always heard it used in the context of, say, needing to play an empty triangle because it’s the shape point. It’s the move you need, not the move you want (ugly but it works). I’ve never heard it used to refer to a mistake or sub-optimal play.


You see I don’t think I’ve heard it in that context. I feel it’s always something like “you can connect underneath (by playing at X) but that’s crude, it’s better to something else (by playing at Y)”
There’s an implication that the “crude” move works somehow but not the best. And maybe it’s when you have sente so you can choose between crude or something else. Rather than your example which I see arising out of having gote or being forced somehow. Maybe that’s also a crude move but it seems somehow different if you’re forced to be crude compared to choosing to be crude!

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I don’t actually know the answer to this. But based on what you are describing @teapoweredrobot, it sounds like a “crude” move is simply suboptimal. And while Pro’s may suggest making a crude move sometimes, perhaps it is ideal this turn, because that move is beneficial in the framework of a larger multi-turn strategy; akin to the way Leela makes some seemingly poor suggestions sometimes.

My impression that “crude” is a move that achieves its goal but makes what would normally be thought of as “bad shape” in doing so.

@mark5000 wrote “crude” here … maybe he could explain what is crude about that one.

(This is the only instance of a crude move being described in the Joseki Explorer, so far :slight_smile: )


I think “crude” is a subjective term that may have a few different uses. It seems that two have been suggested above: 1) a bad move (for various reasons), or 2) a necessary (correct) move that has ugly shape/other issues.

Both seem to be noted by the Sensei’s library article:

In his book Sakata says that zokusuji involves a loss. But people will sometimes say that a play is correct, even though it is zokusuji ( zokusuji nagara ).

Sometimes the zokusuji (crude line of play) is the correct move. In that case we wouldn’t call it a vulgar move. Most of the time, zokusuji is incorrect, and spoils the correct line of play. In that case, we could call it anti-suji.

Translating these terms from the original Japanese may be a bit tricky. There are various connotations to certain words that might not quite be the same.

The Japanese have all sorts of nuanced phrases for various kinds of mistakes/situations.



Think of a crude move as an opposite of “tesuji” (anti-suji). A tesuji is “a clever play, the best play in a local position, a skillful move, a special tactic.” A crude move is not clever; it’s crass, one that beginners might play. It’s not skillful; it’s ineffective in the long term, and there will be negative consequences. It’s not the ideal play in a local situation, though it’s sometimes the only move for the intended purpose.

The crude move I labeled in the Magic Sword joseki is a great example of something that Koreans know as ja-choong soo (자0충수—literally, self filling-up move). When Black pushes and White responds, Black has exactly as many liberties as before, but Black has added a stone, making the group heavier. It attempts to cut or connect to own stones simply by moving one point in that direction. Every beginner would think about this, and negative consequences might not be immediately apparent.