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What is joseki?

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2015-11-19 15:39
Darrell Malick During a conversation this morning, I thought about this question. Here is my answer. What do you think?


1. ...are NOT an even or equal result. They are a trade (territory for territory, influence for territory, territory for tempo, health here for weakness there... Many kinds of trades are built into joseki).
2. ... is a pattern that has been worked out and tested over a long time. Pros are willing to play either side of a joseki WHEN THE CONDITIONS ARE RIGHT.
3. ...must be learned (memorized) if you want to become strong at go.
4. ...must be played in the correct circumstances for them to give a good result.

2015-11-25 02:16
zac I agree more or less with point 1. It seems it's often said that it provides an even result, but I would rather think it's a fair result.
I definitely agree with 4.
I think point 3 is arguable, it depends on the definition of "strong". I think many valuable things can be learnt from joseki, but I think there are many valuable things to be learnt outside of joseki, too. Knowing some of the basic joseki and follow ups, mistakes etc. is certainly useful, but perhaps not crucial. On the Asian servers especially it seems that up to a certain level joseki are rarely actually played out. Maybe you know how to "punish" a certain move but then you get beaten in middle game fighting anyway. So in this case perhaps it would be better to spend your time on tsumego and tesuji problems. I still spend time learning joseki, but I don't feel it's the most important thing, rather stronger reading, better direction, better strategy given the whole board, timing of invasions/reductions etc. etc. are probably more important at my level(SDK).

2015-11-25 03:39
Darrell Malick Thanks for the reply Zac.

I didn't say learning joseki was the most important thing. Actually, no one thing can be the most important thing. Go is vast and wherever your weakness is, that's what you need to study.

For example, learning more josekis has caused me to win more games which has caused me to play stronger players who beat me in fighting. So, time to get sharper at fighting! However, learning josekis has also significantly sharpened my fighting because learning josekis makes you learn SO MANY tesujis.

But I'm really not saying josekis are the *most* important thing. Still, I think #3 is true.

2015-11-26 12:36
Ethelor Personally I think you are overcomplicating things.

Joseki is just a position in which both players have played a series of moves which leads to an even position. (I.e. where both players have not played mistakes)

So, I think pt 1 is at least worded wrong since joseki requires an even/equal result by definition. What you mean to say is that in order for something to be joseki, what the players have to gain doesn't need to be the same thing. (i.e. being more interested in terriotory over influence.)

This means that a patternd doesnt need to be tested over time (though this is still common) and that they don't even need to be memorized or studied strictly speaking. If you know to play the game then you'll just play common joseki naturally and may even find uncommon moves which don't be in a joseki dictionary but might be appropriate given the position in the game.

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