Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finally Studying Joseki

I say I am studying joseki as opposed to learning joseki to distinguish between just memorizing the moves, which would be learning joseki, and understanding the reasons behind the moves, which would be studying.

I have the book "38 Basic Joseki" which I have attempted to traverse at various times in the past. I also have the "Kogo's Joseki Dictionary" sgf as well as the three volume "Dictionary of Basic Joseki" by Yoshio Ishida, from which I am told the "Kogo" work is derived.

I always found the bigger compilations of joseki information to be overwhelming. Where does one start? The "38 Basic Joseki" book is less daunting. I suppose it just makes sense to start at the beginning and work one's way through step by step, but I would read, and skip around, and never really get anywhere.

But the day has finally come for joseki study because Solaris has assigned joseki study for our study group. He asked us where we wanted to start and the majority voted for the 3-4. Although I was the only one in favor of the 4-4 this is okay with me because I always start out with 3-4 when playing black, so I will have plenty of opportunities to see these joseki in my game. (Is the plural of joseki, josekies or joseki? I'll use joseki.) I secretly believe that the others in the group, being so much stronger then I, already know the 4-4 joseki.

We are beginning with the high one space approach to the 3-4. And for the first week we are focused on three responses, none of which are pincers. We are saving the pincers for the next week. Things have been kept simple by limiting the number of branches provided. A cursory glance at Volume 2 of the Ishida work indicates that there are more options to consider, but I think it is the right thing to work on a little at a time. This is reassuring to me. I actually feel like I could understand and retain what is being covered.

Comments are provided in the study file. Once I feel I understand a branch I have decided to replay it to make myself familiar with how it would appear in the various corners of the board, not just the one in the sgf file. At first I thought this meant I only needed to play it eight times since it needs to played twice in each corner given that none of the positions are symmetrical. I then realized that I actually needed to play the branch sixteen times. What if black approaches white? Will I recognize the position? I can see myself brooding over a board and thinking that I could play that joseki if the colors were reversed. I know it is silly, but this could really happen.


Roy Batty said...

im not a teacher but my logic tells me that the best way to start studying joseki is with the 4-4 point, for 2 reasons;

1) if u are a beginner is very probable that u may play many handicap games and of course, this handicap stones are located in the 4-4 points.

2) most players like to play nirensei or at least 1 stone in the 4-4 point.

Terri said...

Roy, I agree that the 4-4 joseki are the first to study for all the reasons you gave. This is why I voted for 4-4 when we were asked what we wanted to study. Unfortunately I was the only one, so I will likely study them on my own as I study the 3-4 joseki that have been assigned as homework.

Grikdog said...

The plural of joseki is joseki because Japanese nouns do not have "plurality." Instead, they take counters, like ippon or "one long skinny thing", such as a pencil. The use of particles in Japanese is one of its most alien (and engaging!) features to English speakers, just as English definite/indefinite articles are virtually opaque to Japanese.

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