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 Post subject: Will this be music to your ears - and eyes?
Post #1 Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 6:14 am 
Oza

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It's not just lockdown here, but we are also stuck inside (unless you are a government aide) on a bank holiday on a glorious day - and the gowans and buttercups on the lawn are cheekily pointing their faces at me and asking for a haircut. They know I HATE gardening.

To unleash my frustration I have decided to inflict another terminological exactitude on you all. Or it may give you a quarter of an hour's relief if you tooo have the lockdown blues. So, this is a good point either to switch to another thread or to go and make a coffee -- and maybe grab a biscuit, although there will be plenty to chew on here...

The term in question is choshi, which also has a musical bent, and it was music that primed me for thinking about the whole topic again in the last couple of days.

Being forced to watch tv has opened up a whole new world for me, and one programme I recently watched was about the Carpenters. I had no idea who they were until then, although a couple of their songs sounded vaguely familiiar. I was rather taken by the duo and instantly bought a cd from Amazon. But, as is my wont, I tried to analyse what it was that made Karen Carpenter so appealing. Pleasant voice, superb diction, three-octave range, yes all that. But I decided that what was the key was that she was originally a drummer. She could handle complicated rhythms effortlessly even when just singing. I confirmed that for myself when I downloaded the sheet music for On Top of the World, and found it quite tricky to play because of its odd syncopation. And of course the arrangement by Richard Carpenter just added truffle after truffle to the mixture.

Then shortly after that nice aural experience I had a great visual one, too, along similar lines - and each threw blazing sidelights on the other.

What my eyes saw was a perfect example of choshi on the go board. An important point to bear in mind is that choshi in ordinary Japanese is a musical term. But like no other term you've ever seen. I'll quote its meanings (just some!) from the Green Goddess dictionary: tune; tone; key; note; pitch; time; rhythm; accent. And in phrases: harmonious; melodious; musical; agreeable.

Clear? Absolutely.: one word covers everything Karen Carpenters can do!

But in go it's not so clear. It's a very, very common word. It doesn't come up in every commentary, but maybe every third commentary or so, especially if you study the games of the greatest masters, But, as far as I can recall, I have never seen a book or an article about it, and the definitions and examples are frankly just as inspissating as the GG definition of choshi.

Nevertheless, let's work with what we've got. The Nihon Ki-in dictionary of go terms, which normally cribs straight from Hayashi Yutaka's Encyclopaedia, goes off message here and gives its own definition and example. The definition is terse: "The state of development [hakobi] of stones. The rhythm [the English word: rizumu] of the progress of stones. Momentum [ikioi]."

The sole example given is as follows:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . . X . . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . .
$$ | . . O X 3 . . .
$$ | . . . 4 . . . .
$$ | . . O 5 . . . .
$$ | . . . 2 . . . .
$$ | . . . X 1 . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ -----------------[/go]


You might recognise this as kind of driving tesuji rather than an example of choshi (but actually DT is a purely English term, and the Japanese tend not to call it a tesuji but just a suji).

It is indeed an example of choshi. However, of a type that I have always regarded as highly unsatisfactory. In this type, one player breaks out of an encirclement, but that's it. He still ends up all dressed up and nowhere to go. He still has a heavy, eyeless group to manage. So what exactly is he being praised for? Of course, the presence of the aji-full stones 1 and 3 counts for something, and they are precisely part of what choshi covers. But still...

Let us move on to the much more satisfactory defintion and exanple by Hayashi.

His definition is even more terse: "the momentum [hazumi] of stones, their momentum [ikioi]." One of the problems with all the Japanese go definitions of choshi is that they use words that themselves take an awful lot of defining: hakobi, ikioi, hazumi. I didn't bother to check all of them, but ikioi in GG gets 7 meanings and 46 lines. And all that's without going into word associations, of course.

But we can see that Hayashi is at least trying to make a sort of mental Venn diagram with his two words hazumi and ikioi, and to find the conjunction, which I have rendered as "momentum." Hazumi has connotations of springiness, resilience, rebounding (i.e. motion not ending). Ikioi has connotations of inevitabillity, but in two senses: moving rat-a-tat-tat, but also doing something you just have to do anyway. You can see these crucial elements in the Nihon Ki-in example above, unsatisfactory as it is.

Hayashi's example is better (but not ideal).

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . X . . O . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . . . . 1 . O X X . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . X O 4 . . 2 . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . 3 O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |[/go]



He says 2 and 4 are an example of choshi (to perhaps stress the obvious, choshi is not a move, but an idea, a theme, a stratagem, and it refers to the goal rather than the process). Black allows White to nobi at 3, which amplifies the threat of the trapped white stone running away, so that when Black captures at 4, which is something he would have had to do anyway, he can feel has got a little something extra out of in the guise of 2. He has not been entirely forced.

Hayashi completes his example as follows:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . X . . O . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X . . . . 2 O . O X X . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . 3 X O 4 . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . . O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |[/go]


Here, it is White who tries to avoid being forced on the right side and so plays 1, but Black doesn't capture at once. He first plays the useful push at 2, and then makes the inevitable capture at 4. Hayashi adds, "This is the way to play to achieve choshi." Again we see Hayashi's superiority in defining terms; he stresses the goal rather then the process, which the woolly Nihon Ki-in definition obscures. This is not simple nit-picking. At some point, you - dan players, especially - may wonder what the difference is between choshi and haengma, or choshi and suji. It lies in this very aspect of a goal achieved.

I think I can best illustrate it by recalling a conversation I had with Charles Matthews. I raised the topic of choshi as something that had been ignored in the west, and he responded by telling me that his friend Kim Seong-June, a very strong Korean amateur had mentioned that it was a sudden appreciation of choshi that had got him from 5-dan to 6-dan. That piqued my interest because Seong-June would have absorbed hanegma in his mother's milk, yet was effectively saying his understanding of haengma had proven insufficient for his latest improvement. I checked this out with him later, and he showed me an example in a game which I actually found hard to follow at the time. But what he was trying to show me was the effect (or the effectiveness) of the manoeuvre - the future demolition of my territory - rather than its mere progression.

However, what I have just seen is a beautiful example of both progression and goal-achievement that even I could understand at once!

It appears in a newly discovered game between Honinbo Shuho and Genan. Shuho was just 16 then, in 1855. This game was played not long after the famous Ear-reddening Game. There is a misconception (even in Japan) about that game, in thinking that it was Shusaku's fantastic move 127 that made the game famous. In fact the quality of the move itself was neither nor there. It was the alleged flushing of Genan's ear lobes, spotted by a watching doctor, that made the game famous. Real aficionados in fact think the game was a masterpiece by Genan to keep the score down to B+2 (no komi).

But, in the game you are about to see, young Shuho, although benefiting from a 2-stone handicap, walked all over the quasi-Meijin in a way that even Shusaku couldn't manage. And all because of choshi.

Here are the first 100 moves;



The choshi element first appears at move 22. Fukui Masaaki says Black, by making a base, has achieved good momentum to aim at White to both left and right.

But what you will also notice is that, at that point, Black also has an apparently shapeless and heavy clump of four stones in the centre which, after White 23, he needs to lead out to safety. The obvious route is the North-West Passage. It may seem obvious, too, that the safest option for the black stones is to avoid the fate of HMS Erebus by running stright out into open water rather than trying to squeeze through a mass of White pack-ice and icebergs.

But instead Shuho (still Yakichi then, being so young) plays a momentum-creating move at 24 first. Then he adds another on the other side at 28. The result is that he gets the running moves 26 and 30 that he had to play anyway, but he has splattered bombs on either side at 24 and 28. (You may recall that Erebus was bomb vessel, designed to fire mortars from the bow).

So far is textbook choshi. But what impressed me most was the culmination, which I would define as Black 52. This really is goal achievement. A solid mass of territory and thickness that dominates the rest of the game. Compare that to the weedy Tom & Jerry chase of the Nihon Ki-in example. This is instead like Hayashi's example but on a gigantic scale. And we also get to see here the effect of the mortar bombs to either side. This game, in fact, has allowed me to see choshi on a global rather than a local scale properly for the first time.

When White gets sente to try to grow an iceberg on the right side with 53, Black, with no concerns anywhere else yet, can match him by easily colonising the left side and then the upper-right corner. I would say the game is effectively over at this stage, by move 100, but Genan saw some very deep aji in the uper rightt corner which gave him the merest glimmer of hope that he could attack the Black mass in the centre right. But it proved so easy for Black to manage that group that we need hardly deign to call it shinogi or a one-weak-group strategy. There's not even any collateral anywhere to be damaged. Genan resigned after move 144. And a reminder: Shuho was just 16!

Did your coffee go cold? Mine did :lol:

If you want to study choshi further there are dozens of indexed examples by masters such as Shuei in the various Go Wisdom books (under the heading "momentum").


This post by John Fairbairn was liked by 5 people: Bill Spight, ez4u, gowan, SoDesuNe, sorin
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 Post subject: Re: Will this be music to your ears - and eyes?
Post #2 Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 8:40 am 
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Thanks, John. :) Very interesting and impressive game.

Now I see why you use the term, momentum, for choshi. And I'm glad for your Karen Carpenter reference, because it indicates why my preferred term in English is rhythm. To me, momentum connotes movement in one direction, like a march, while choshi in go seems more like a dance. :)

My usual explanation of choshi is this. Make your opponent make you make the play you want to make. There is a saying, "If you have found a good play, look for a better one." To me, choshi goes a step further and says, "if you have found a good play, make it better."

In this case, Murase's plays did not particularly strike me as choshi, until you pointed it out, because running out with the four Black stones doesn't strike me as a good play. But Murase certainly made running out better. :)

But my explanation is partial. That is, it focuses on the move you want to make, without addressing the question of what price you pay to make that happen. As with go in general, there is a tradeoff. For instance, in the first example:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W Choshi tradeoff
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . . X . . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . .
$$ | . . O X 3 . . .
$$ | . . . 4 . . . .
$$ | . . O 5 . . . .
$$ | . . . 2 6 . . .
$$ | . . . X 1 . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ -----------------[/go]


:w1: provokes :b2:, which leads to :w5:, which looks both ways. The tradeoff comes with :b6:, which weakens :w1:. OC, it seems obvious that White benefits from the exchange, while Black still gets something. Otherwise, a good player would not even play :b2:.

The exchange is not so obvious in the second example, because Black is already so powerful in the area shown. In fact, we have to ask whether White would even play :w2:.

In the game, White gets payoffs on both sides in exchange for losing (sacrificing) the White stones in the bottom right. White makes a very strong group on the bottom side and makes a large, but thin moyo on the right side. Murase replies to both of these developments skillfully.

The outside-in, inside-out movement of choshi is not beneficial per se. You have to weigh the payoffs, as your empasis on achievement indicates. :)

_________________
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At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?
— Winona Adkins

Visualize whirled peas.

Everything with love. Stay safe.


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 Post subject: Re: Will this be music to your ears - and eyes?
Post #3 Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 9:09 am 
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Is it what the book "Attack and Defense" by Ishida and Davies calls "inducing moves"?


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 Post subject: Re: Will this be music to your ears - and eyes?
Post #4 Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 10:04 am 
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Seems like John, Bill and others have already talked about this before: https://senseis.xmp.net/?Choshi

Momentum, impetus, flow, rhythm ... are suggested translations. Probes, inducing moves, including the driving tesuji, are mentioned as particular techniques.

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 Post subject: Re: Will this be music to your ears - and eyes?
Post #5 Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 12:35 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I think I can best illustrate it by recalling a conversation I had with Charles Matthews. I raised the topic of choshi as something that had been ignored in the west, and he responded by telling me that his friend Kim Seong-June, a very strong Korean amateur had mentioned that it was a sudden appreciation of choshi that had got him from 5-dan to 6-dan. That piqued my interest because Seong-June would have absorbed hanegma in his mother's milk, yet was effectively saying his understanding of haengma had proven insufficient for his latest improvement. I checked this out with him later, and he showed me an example in a game which I actually found hard to follow at the time. But what he was trying to show me was the effect (or the effectiveness) of the manoeuvre - the future demolition of my territory - rather than its mere progression.


I'd like to be able to say I remember this conversation: but I don't.

Seong-June did comment that British players were keen to get into fights: but were not so good at getting out of them. No punctuation, you could say.

One way to get out of a fight is to sacrifice. Another is to exchange. Those are respectively 3d and 5d skills?

He generally liked fighting inside the opponent's framework. His own style, self-defined, was "lo-tech". Cf. Rin Kaiho/Lin Haifeng and his comment "go is the order of play". If you are self-denying about flashy sabaki, which I believe he was, you are probably trying to set up some sort of co-ordination in your fighting. Something to study.

This is one of Seong-June's handicap games:

https://gobase.org/studying/articles/matthews/dans/14/

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 Post subject: Re: Will this be music to your ears - and eyes?
Post #6 Posted: Wed May 27, 2020 2:27 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
...
Nevertheless, let's work with what we've got. The Nihon Ki-in dictionary of go terms, which normally cribs straight from Hayashi Yutaka's Encyclopaedia, goes off message here and gives its own definition and example. The definition is terse: "The state of development [hakobi] of stones. The rhythm [the English word: rizumu] of the progress of stones. Momentum [ikioi]."

The sole example given is as follows:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . . X . . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . .
$$ | . . O X 3 . . .
$$ | . . . 4 . . . .
$$ | . . O 5 . . . .
$$ | . . . 2 . . . .
$$ | . . . X 1 . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ -----------------[/go]


You might recognise this as kind of driving tesuji rather than an example of choshi (but actually DT is a purely English term, and the Japanese tend not to call it a tesuji but just a suji).

It is indeed an example of choshi. However, of a type that I have always regarded as highly unsatisfactory. In this type, one player breaks out of an encirclement, but that's it. He still ends up all dressed up and nowhere to go. He still has a heavy, eyeless group to manage. So what exactly is he being praised for? Of course, the presence of the aji-full stones 1 and 3 counts for something, and they are precisely part of what choshi covers. But still...

This diagram appears in Igo Daijiten and is called Meichoshi (名調子). That is probably why it ended up as an example in the dictionary of go terms. I half remembered the attachment at 1 being played by Fujisawa Hideyuki but I was incorrect. Sakata played it against Fujisawa in the 1964 Meijin match (1964-08-08a.sgf in GoGoD). Fujisawa answered with the hane on top to the right of 2 in the diagram. Indeed there is no example in GoGoD of the reply at 2. I guess the pros have agreed that 2 allows Black to do too well here.

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