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 Post subject: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #1 Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:57 am 
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Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author


General Specification

* Title: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics
* Author: Robert Jasiek
* Publisher: Robert Jasiek
* Edition: 2015
* Language: English
* Price: EUR 26.5 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF)
* Contents: positional judgement
* ISBN: none
* Printing: good
* Layout: good
* Editing: good
* Pages: 276
* Size: 148mm x 210mm
* Diagrams per Page on Average: 4.5
* Method of Teaching: principles, methods, examples
* Read when EGF: 5k - 5d
* Subjective Rank Improvement: +
* Subjective Topic Coverage: +
* Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++

Overview

While Volume 1 describes accurate assessment of territory in peaceful positions, this book explains correct judgement of every dynamic aspect in dynamic positions: options, major reductions, invasions, aji, potential, influence, thickness and fights. The fundamentals of development directions, numbers of neutral stones, and statuses of groups and regions are not neglected. This includes life and death statuses of envisaged invading groups.

Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics is built on these three columns: 1) good play in the middle game, 2) its evaluation and 3) 100 life and death problems. Although each foundation could have filled its own book, the combination raises the level of insight further. Since correct status assessment is a requirement for every positional judgement, the problems improve the reader's tactical reading skill. Good play and its evaluation rely on imagined move sequences whose quality depends on one's understanding of the dynamic strategic concepts and the judgement of the dynamic changes during a sequence and its resulting follow-up position. The comparison of different sequences and positions is the key to deciding on the best next move.

Besides an introduction of the presumed terms and a very detailed index, there are four short chapters about development directions, neutral stones, options and local potential, and six long chapters about statuses, invasions, aji, reductions, influence and thickness, and fights. 184 of the many examples discuss positions and sequences from professional games. The text and diagrams of examples and the answer diagrams are as detailed as necessary, up to dozens of variations.

Theory

The theory is presented as 86 principles, 3 methods, a few essential definitions and explanatory text. Although each of the principles is important, they vary from simple fundamental statements ("Invasions require verifying the life status of the invading group by reading.") via special purpose commands (such as those specifying which stones are the influence stones) to detailed, advanced advice (for example, listing the major cases of reductions in terms of sente and gote, and relating them to the judged positions).

Markup in the carefully selected, very instructive diagrams and explanations in the text relate the examples to the principles and methods so that the reader learns by seeing the theory applied. While there is only one example for the simplest theory (sente invasion), the more difficult and detailed theory is illustrated with more examples (up to 27 for the topic 'use of thickness').

This degree of paying attention to details and the general power of the carefully designed principles make the book an excellent tool for studying the middle game. This is so even if the reader ignores the extra level of theory about positional judgement which is, of course, the major theme. For every dynamic strategic concept, its use for assessing positions is explained well. How must sequences be constructed? Which positions are evaluated? What do the evaluations tell us if territory, influence, aji and other aspects must be related to each other? The book answers all such questions.

Has the English literature ever explained 'local potential' instead of hiding it in ambiguous translations? - Why is it important to study neutral stones? Aren't dame uninteresting? Every superfluous neutral stone played during the opening or middle game is like a pass. Instead, we must play valuable stones. The book reveals that even this minor topic is essential because every wasted move loses one rank. Fundamentals, Watson, fundamentals!

Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics studies the statuses of connection, life and death, stability and regions, whose territory or moyo nature is characterised by the possibility of a successful invasion. Besides ordinary invasions, other discussed types include those being tests or exploiting aji. A special evaluation applies to invading groups changing their life status. The book explains the types of reductions of ordinary regions, big moyos, spheres of dominating influence, influence and local potential, and assigns the appropriate techniques.

Influence and thickness are another major topic. The 'influence stone difference', which compares the players' numbers of influence stones, is applied to josekis and the middle game. When this tool is insufficient, we can use the elegant definitions of the three types of strong groups, concepts for transforming thickness and principles for its best use. Finally, the book teaches the dynamic positional judgement of one-sided fights, exchanges as well as unpredictable, complex fights.

Problems

Almost all of the problems are new, although they have been derived by modifying actual game positions. 89 of the problems study the life and death of 10 of the professional example positions in depth. Although this results in groups of problems with similar shapes, every problem is demanding. The aforementioned compilation of problems achieves two additional purposes: 1) the reader learns the necessary volume of tactical reading in intermediate to advanced real game positions; 2) the book dissolves the mystery by revealing how deeply professional players should read before starting a successful deep invasion.

There are 1 to 44 answer diagrams per problem - just as much as necessary to clarify the answer for everybody. The problems are for players from 5 kyu (easiest problems) to 6 dan (the most difficult problems). The answer variations contain many spectacular tesujis. The book leaves no doubt: a reader wishing to become a strong player must also practise reading seriously.

What the Book Is Not

The book hardly teaches counting territory because this is explained in Volume 1. The book is not for players weaker than 5 kyu because the easiest failure variations are often omitted. Circa 1/4 of those diagrams showing game continuations have more moves than pleasant so that, whenever details matter, additional other diagrams ease understanding of the theory.

Usually the book ignores the earlier order of moves and concentrates on predicting the future game development. The task is to judge the current position and follow-up positions - not the earlier positions. Traditional go theory suggests an alternative approach to positional judgement by also studying the earlier positions and considering the current position as fair if there are no flaws in the efficiency of a player's groups. Except for the related topics of development directions, neutral stones and options, the book does not fully represent the aspect of traditional theory concerned with earlier moves. There is, however, a chance that a Volume 3 might do so.

Conclusion

Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics fills a gap in the (English) literature. This ground-breaking treatise teaches much that cannot be found elsewhere, including a few new inventions. Since the author has learnt much while exploring and writing the contents, in his opinion, this is the first English theory book also specifically written for dan players. Nevertheless, eager kyu players benefit much because the greater part of the theory allows its easy understanding.

See also the announcement viewtopic.php?f=17&t=12541


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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #2 Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:01 pm 
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I think it is helpful to have a summary of your book. I know English is not your first language so I hope you will take my suggestion as constructive. I would suggest you call it a summary rather than a review and write in the first person instead of the objective voice that is used. It could appear that you are being disingenuous by the objective voice you use and the way that the review is worded. For example, you said "This degree of paying attention to details and the general power of the carefully designed principles make the book an excellent tool for studying the middle game." Instead, you could say "I carefully designed the principles in the book as a tool for studying the middle game." It would be assumed that you think your own work is excellent.


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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #3 Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:11 pm 
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The text is not a summary, which would reveal too much of the contents. (And how could you summarize problems and their answers?) If you want to assess the degree of accuracy of the text, please compare self-reviews with reviews of earlier books or write your own review. Can you distinguish old from new go theory in the book and therefore compare their qualities? You express doubts about my claim "excellent", so I encourage every reader of the book to reveal better positional judgement of dynamic aspects in other sources. Is there much more than the example-only essay in Go World 41?

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Post #4 Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:12 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
The text is not a summary, which would reveal too much of the contents.[..]
Uhm, then what about calling it an abstract (kuck dort bei »Substantive«) or synopsis? :-)

If you, for any reasons, don't like these, why not call it an “introduction (to the book) by the author”?

Quote:
You express doubts about my claim "excellent", so I encourage every reader of the book to reveal better positional judgement of dynamic aspects in other sources. Is there much more than the example-only essay in Go World 41?
This (“You express doubts about my claim ‘excellent’”) may be a misinterpretation.
If we read belikewater’s two sentences again:
belikewater wrote:
[..] Instead, you could say "I carefully designed the principles in the book as a tool for studying the middle game." It would be assumed that you think your own work is excellent.
I read the last sentence as “OF COURSE we would assume that you think your work is excellent, why else should you publish it?” … meaning that it is not necessary to state the obvious. Anybody who knows you (if only virtually) would expect you to only publish content that you believe to be excellent, right? IMHO such an observation is not necessarily to be understood as criticising you.

Let me, as an example, paraphrase: “You’re a man of reason. I assume that you would only say things that you believe to be reasonable. You needn’t explicate to me that what you say is reasonable.”

I like belikewater’s suggestions, they are clear and IMO friendly.

Having read a few of them, I believe your books are nutritious brainfodder, and I have often recommended them to others; AND I believe it would do you (i.e. your public image) good if you … assume that your audience takes for granted that your books are AT LEAST WORTH READING, therefore it is not necessary to tell us “this is a good book” (yeah, I oversimplified that ;-) ) because this sounds as if you’re applauding yourself, and that may rather turn off potential readers who have not yet read one of your books (and they wouldn't even know what good they’re missing).

Modesty is a difficult thing for all of us, you can be sure of that. But … evoking the impression of modesty in the other person can be easier … so, we can at least learn to fake modesty in a credible way :mrgreen:


Cordial greetings, Tom

Robert, please forgive that I intervene, but I grew up with both German and English, and I think I also have this stubborn German mind ;-) so I want to try to build a bridge between well-meaning people when I get the impression that there is a misunderstanding. I also believe that you have some difficulty in reading and imagining other people’s emotions. Nothing bad about that — I sometimes even have difficulty recognising faces of friends. We don't all have the same blind spots …

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Post #5 Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:43 pm 
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Thank you Tom. You understood what I meant and you did an excellent (sorry couldn't resist) job of clarifying what I was trying to say.

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Post #6 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:44 am 
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Bonobo, the text is neither an abstract, introduction, overview, summary, precis nor a mere description. It is a self-review. It is called what it is.

You make the assumption that publishers would only publish books that they themselves consider excellent. Sorry, but this is unrealistic. It is even not a level I would attribute to all my books. "Very good" - maybe. From using the word "excellent" at one place in the review, you need not conclude that this would automatically characterise the whole book as excellent. Have you noticed, e.g., the two "+" instead of "++" rankings? This book is, IMO, very good and ground-breaking, but excellent would be an exaggeration for its overall description.

If I used, as you suggest, a modest description style and hid everything exceptional (such as not mentioning new inventions at all), it would be too hard to impossible, for a reader of such a description, to perceive a significant difference from such other books offering an only ordinary approach. I have read many modest descriptions by authors or retailers, e.g., at Amazon, and almost always I have been wondering what the writer is trying tell at all? Too modest descriptions are counter-productive. Intentional fake modesty? I am not an actor representing a different character.

Why do you object that I state the obvious? If I hid it, readers would start wondering whether indeed it is obvious. (Concerning mistakes made during playing, a too great part of them is "obvious". Nevertheless, it is essential to perceive them so that one can overcome them.) A reviewer must be as close to the reviewed medium as possible and must not create an artificial gap between reality and his description.

The question should not be whether a reviewer, author or publisher uses particular attributes of quality at all but whether they characterise the reviewed book appropriately and correctly. Why not replace meta-discussion by discussion?

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Post #7 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:02 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Bonobo, the text is neither an abstract, introduction, overview, summary, precis nor a mere description. It is a self-review. It is called what it is.
...

The question should not be whether a reviewer, author or publisher uses particular attributes of quality at all but whether they characterise the reviewed book appropriately and correctly. Why not replace meta-discussion by discussion?


The meta-discussion is provoked by your use of the word "review." Even if you soften the term by calling it a "self-review," the term still irritates readers. We read the word "review" and we expect a level of objectivity that seems unlikely when a person is "reviewing" their own work. Even if you think that this is not the case, it does not change the fact that readers perceive it this way. As long as you characterize your comments as a "review," meta-discussions are inevitable. These discussions will continue until either you stop defending your decision, or people get tired of responding, and in either case, your wish to discuss the substance of your comments is unlikely to take place. To avoid this, use "description by the author," which is adequate and not inappropriate, or one of the other suggestions above from well-meaning readers. If you do so, I promise to start a discussion of the content of your book.

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Post #8 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:08 am 
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Your suggestion sounds as if people could not distinguish between a (subjective) description by the author, a (supposedly less subjective) review by the author and a (supposedly more objective) review (because it is written by another person). I think that a reader can distinguish these by contents and not just by a (possibly misleading) declaration in the title - as much as readers can distinguish honest book titles ("Collection of Tesujis") from great exaggerations ("The Complete Collection of All Tesujis Ever"). If you think that "review by the author" ("self-review") is a prohibited title of a book description, then why do you not criticise certain exaggerating book titles? The latter is much more important.

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Post #9 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:55 am 
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daal wrote:
These discussions will continue until either you stop defending your decision, or people get tired of responding...


Story of Robert's life :lol:


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Post #10 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:19 am 
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Pretty much it's the circle of the forums.

1) Robert posts something
2) Someone new tries to help Robert
3) Robert claims he's right
4) Meta discussion until death

Rinse and repeat. :)

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Post #11 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:44 am 
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FWIW, I don't see a problem with "review by the author" because it says right there that he's the author.

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Post #12 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:47 pm 
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yoyoma wrote:
FWIW, I don't see a problem with "review by the author" because it says right there that he's the author.


It's somewhat unusual to see a review by the author in the third person the way Robert writes it. I don't see a real problem with it, but I do understand why someone else who doesn't know Robert would find it odd and comment on it.

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Post #13 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:11 pm 
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oren wrote:
yoyoma wrote:
FWIW, I don't see a problem with "review by the author" because it says right there that he's the author.


It's somewhat unusual to see a review by the author in the third person the way Robert writes it. I don't see a real problem with it, but I do understand why someone else who doesn't know Robert would find it odd and comment on it.


Personally, I don't have a problem when he speaks in the third person about his work, which really means that there is no problem to be had! In fact, there is no debate here.

After all, the general power of a carefully crafted post, written by Kirby, makes for an excellent standard by which the general public may model their own viewpoints.

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Post #14 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:08 pm 
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Bonobo wrote:
RobertJasiek wrote:
The text is not a summary, which would reveal too much of the contents.[..]
Uhm, then what about calling it an abstract (kuck dort bei »Substantive«) or synopsis? :-)


It's a blurb, no other word for it. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blurb.


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Post #15 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:50 pm 
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Charles Matthews wrote:
It's a blurb


If I wanted to write a "blurb" (or, same observation, a "description" which should not be more specifically a self-review), I would write different contents in a different style, concentrating on positive description while carefully avoiding to touch any negative aspect (such as "What the Book Is Not") and most (in my reviews) standardised specifications used for quick comparison with other books. You can call the back cover texts on (also my) books "blurbs".

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Post #16 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:53 am 
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"What the book is not" section is not a negative aspect. It sets expectations for the audience, which is great, but don't confuse that for a 'negative aspect.'

You can call it whatever you like, but they're not reviews. They're promotional descriptions or blurbs. You might say gimmick, using words like 'review' to trick the audience into thinking its a unbiased opinion of the book. Any 'self-review' will be highly biased, and immediately throws up red flags. If it could stand on its own, then it would.

I would recommend giving someone who is known for their reviews a copy, in exchange for an unbiased review. That validation for the reader is critical in determining whether a book is worth the time and monetary investment.

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Post #17 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:48 am 
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sparky314 wrote:

I would recommend giving someone who is known for their reviews a copy, in exchange for an unbiased review. That validation for the reader is critical in determining whether a book is worth the time and monetary investment.


Robert does do this from time to time - in fact he sent me a copy of Fighting Fundamentals which I reviewed here. This is however not a substitute for the type of thorough description Robert gives of his own book above. Here he is presenting his own work as he sees fit, and it is indeed quite an informative post. Since I've already had one nasty altercation (not with the author) over my well-meant suggestion, and since Robert seems unlikely to come around and call his description something else, I suggest we resist our impulse to correct this source of irritation and focus instead on what appears to be quite the gap-filler in English go literature.

Let me start with a question for the author. You say that in the theory sections, there are 86 principles. Are these principles prioritized in some way?

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Post #18 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:05 am 
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daal wrote:
I suggest we resist our impulse to correct this source of irritation and focus instead on what appears to be quite the gap-filler in English go literature.


While sparky314 sums up my thoughts on why calling it a review is problematic, I think daal's suggestion above is helpful. I didn't want my original post to be seen as an attack on Robert or to initiate one. Robert, from a promotional standpoint, I think it would be interesting if you provided glimpses into your books in game reviews here on L19 or even Malkovich games.

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Post #19 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:12 am 
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HermanHiddema wrote:
daal wrote:
These discussions will continue until either you stop defending your decision, or people get tired of responding...


Story of Robert's life :lol:


I blocked his posts a long time ago for this very reason.

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Post #20 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:03 pm 
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belikewater, I have understood your good intention in your first post and not confused it with attack:) Just my opinion on your suggestion differs:) Concerning game reviews / Malkovich games by me here, consider this: I needed 5 months to write the book. This is already ca. 2 months more than reasonable. (But I write books also for improving my own knowledge and, in the case of such books, as preparation for knowing how to approach the new contents of books to be written in the future.) When I give detailed game commentaries (especially on a forum where editing diagrams consumes thrice as much time as for editing them for a book) or writing Malkovich commentaries, I can in principle invest arbitrarily great amounts of additional time on that. So what already is 5 months would become, say, 7 months, and then you can watch me starving from doing too much for free.

daal, concerning priority of principles: In viewtopic.php?f=48&t=12349&p=194277&hilit=First+Fundamentals#p194277 saxmaam has asked the same question for another book. My overall study of principles is not sufficiently advanced yet to order all of them by priority (or achieving something similar by stating enough presuppositions for every principle). The principles in my books are clearly better than 55% proverbs; I'd say the range of correctness varies between 67% and 100%. Without having checked every principle in this book, my guess is that they are in the ca. 80% to 95% range. For principles in any go books, this is a good range. (100% can be achieved only for specialised topics with almost mathematical foundation, such as for capturing races.)

The below 100% values of correct application are related to a) ambiguity (e.g., when "important" in "important group" is undefined) or b) a principle possibility of conflicting principles. While the researcher of low level terms or rules might be scared of (a), ambiguity of reasonably clear words is hardly a problem for the experienced player (who, e.g., perceives immediately which the important groups are). (b) is a potentially greater problem, and, since my research has not proceeded far enough yet, is not dissolved.

However, in my books (and in particular this book), I restrict the scope of harm of (b) by specifying for which kinds of purposes a principle is supposed to be applied. E.g., I specify that certain principles apply only to the purpose of reducing a big moyo (or a big sphere of dominating influence). This results in a few principles designed specifically for a particular purpose. The remaining conflict potential affects conflicts among these few particular principles. When designing them, I invest a lot of thought to which extent such conflicts remain and try to minimise the conflicts as well as possible. The result is not perfect, but at least very good.

When the judgement of a position can be attacked by different concepts of analysis, every concept brings with it its own set of principles and techniques. Sometimes one of the concepts is inapplicable - fine, we simply use the other concept. When two concepts agree, it also is fine because they confirm each other. If two concepts disagree, then, as I explained somewhere (but not in this book, IIRC), one must instead resort to higher order principles (such as dissolving a conflict by reading, if this is possible).

When writing the book, constantly I try to consider if principles elsewhere in the book might also apply or create a conflict. I infrequently notice such a conflict and usually dissolve it by fine-tuning a principle.

Hence, although I cannot offer the final conflict-free theory yet, I reduce the potential for conflicts as well as I can. The IMO much greater problem for the learner is to reach the tactical reading level encouraged by the book. A principle encouraging, under certain circumstances, an invasion if the invading group lives is all fine and well, but must be supported by the appropriate reading.

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