Bamboo and Yunzi love to play and study josekis. Bamboo explodes with emotion with every move. He places stones on the board with force every time he gets excited. On the other hand, Yunzi remains calm and ignores Bamboo’s noise. She places stones on the board like cherry blossom petals falling on top of a calm lake even at the most intense moments. They both like to talk about the meaning of their moves.
Bamboo and Yunzi are the voices or the personalities inside my head. I often take the mentality of Bamboo, but it is my goal to play with the grace of Yunzi more often.
I love studying josekis. I believe josekis are encyclopedias of good shapes and tesujis and a training ground for reading skills. However, I must admit that I am guilty of memorizing these standard sequences. Thankfully, Toshiro Kageyama, in his book Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, gave this powerful advice in studying joseki: “Josekis are not to be learned, but to be created.”
The voices I gave to Bamboo and Yunzi and the reasons they utter for every move they make are from my own understanding after studying a certain joseki. Some of the reasons are from books, so they might be more or less correct, while others are probably wrong or lacking in reason. However, I hope readers could correct me or share their own interpretations in the comments.
A bit of warning for the readers who will join Bamboo, Yunzi, and me in this journey towards joseki scholarship: A joseki is a pattern of moves that gives a fair result to both sides locally, i.e. without considering the whole-board situation. With this in mind, a joseki must be chosen based on the needs of the game, and when josekis fail, strong reading will save us.
I wanted to make Bamboo and Yunzi’s conversations in comics style. However, my drawing skills are non-existent, so I have to resort to balloons, fonts, and diagrams. Bamboo plays Black and shouts all the time. Yunzi plays White and speaks with a soft voice in the silence of the night.
Here is one conversation between Bamboo and Yunzi as they create a popular and maybe a must-learn joseki.