In igo, when I plan dan-level players, they often make two-space approach moves like the one shown in the figure below:

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I have many of the standard books on go and they generally only discuss one space approach moves, so I am not sure how I should regard two-space approach moves from a strategic point of view.

So, here if White had played at C, I would play at B or one space to the right of B, I know that from books. But after the two-space approach, how does that change things? Is it better to pincer now at D or play A maybe?

What is the direction of play when the opponent makes "soft" moves, like two-space approaches?

  • 1
    Whatever the best play may be, one should not forget that the stronger player is trying to complicate the game and to confuse the weaker player, who may try to keep things as simple as possible without losing the advantage of the handicap stones or playing. But keeping things too simple will probably stop one improving much.
    – PJTraill
    Nov 1, 2018 at 22:07
  • This is a VERY unusual move. A two-space approach is more usual against a 3-4 or 3-3 stone.
    – Christophe
    Nov 22, 2018 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


Look at this question and its answers for Joseki databases on the net.

Black has a lot of possibilities here, including tenuki. None of your marked moves is really bad, but C is the least favourable of them.

I'd just play tenuki and take the last open corner. Even with a double approach, the two space approach leaves a lot of room to escape or to create a good position.


There are a lot of possibilities for this opening. If you want the bottom space, you could take pincer move(around D) to cooperate with your corner D4; You also could take A to strengthen corner space and threaten to White(this move might better then B due to more threat on White); Take the open up-right corner also OK(corner is more valuable then side); C might be the worst within these options due to this make White stronger by taking N4 nobi(solid extension), threaten corner Black and have opportunity to make sangen-biraki (three-space extension) by taking J3: well protected the inner space for this shape.

By AlphaGO innovated in recent years, I think it will consider the O4 shoulder hit. This move threaten White immediately, strengthen the corner, also has opportunity to explore the right side space(Q9 or Q10). O4 might better then all the A,B,C,D options.

Summary of my opinion: O4 > D = A > B > C.

  • And what do you think about tenuki, i.e. taking the corner around Q16? Jul 29, 2019 at 15:04
  • 2
    Q16 is fine if you don't want to deal with the two-space approach immediately. Also 2-space approach is less threat than 1-space approach for the corner Black, tenuki makes more value then. Im my opinion maybe Q16 = D = A.
    – Conifers
    Jul 29, 2019 at 15:51

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