Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz's original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo: Studying tesuji is far more important than joseki

Studying tesuji is far more important than joseki

Studying tesuji is far more important than joseki

More and more I'm convinced that one of the most effective ways to study Go is to learn tesuji than joseki. I’m sure I have already reiterated some advice before, but many of them are new.

(I'm not saying that learning joseki doesn't help you. It does help you become strong. But I believe it's better to spend more time on learning tesuji than joseki, and I'm giving the reasons below. )

1. Learning tesuji helps you not only in the opening, but also the middle game as well as the endgame.

2. Some joseki variations become out of date, but tesuji never gets old or uncommon.

3. One of the hardest things to learn about Go is the shortage of liberties especially for adults. Often adults lose a winning game because the shortage of liberties often makes you lose stones.

Tesuji problems often contain a lot of shortage of liberty problems. So the more you learn tesuji, the more likely that you will be able to spot that.

4. When you learn tesuji, you not only learn tesuji, but also learn good shapes. It's always good to make good shapes than bad shapes, so you can fight better.

5. The more you know tesuji and good shapes, the more you can understand the meaning of joseki moves. But just memorizing joseki will not make you understand tesuji and good shapes, especially for adults.

It’s partly because many joseki variations contain 5dan, 6dan, or 7dan tesujis. If you’re a kyu player, when do you expect to understand 5dan, 6dan, and 7dan tesujis and learn them

Keep in mind that all pros were talented when they were children and easily memorized hundreds of josekis as a children. They also got from a kyu player to 1dan and then 7dan within a year or two years. So all the joseki moves would make sense quickly. But this doesn’t happen to adults.

For adutls, it’s much better to understand the meaning of each joseki move so that you can remember joseki moves more easily. To do so, learning tesuji is probably the best way. Also I think for most people it’s more fun to understand the meaning of moves than pure memorization.

I’ve taught hundreds of adult kyu players and helped them learn long, complicated joseki variations. But they will eventually forget them if they don’t keep playing it. Pure memorization doesn’t work for adult kyu playres.

Moreover, some joseki variations contain exception moves, which can be bad in ordinary situations.

For example the Chinese opening has many exception moves rather than basic moves. So I don’t like to recommend it to the people who haven’t solidified the basic foundations. Unfortunately joseki books don’t explain which moves are exceptions and why.

6. The more you know tesuji, the more you are able to respond correctly to new joseki moves and an opponent's incorrect joseki moves. I’d like to explain this further.

You can't learn thousands of josekis as well as all new josekis. New josekis come out everyday, especially in South Korea and China, and even Japanese top pros can't keep up with everything.

Moreover, regardless of how many josekis you memorize, you always meet an opponent’s moves deviating from a correct joseki move. (Keep in mind that not everyone studies joseki extensively.) When that happen, your joseki knowledge no longer helps you. What helps you is the knowledge of tesuji, which also helps you find good shape as I’ve already stated.

This is why I’d like to recommend that you learn tesuji more than joseki.
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