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 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #61 Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:15 am 
Dies with sente

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I've ordered both book 1 and book 2 as a self Christmas present (I hope no one dissapproves).

Can't wait!

 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #62 Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:13 am 
Lives in gote

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Darrell wrote:
belikewater wrote:
I am confused by the warning to others about the TOS... Charles was addressing the ideas being discussed and I do not see how the comment would lead to locking the thread.

Charles' argument on strict elimination of conflict of interest is weak. There are no orphans or widows here to protect. Robert is not getting rich writing his books. The sudden interest looks more like an excuse to badger.

I don't want this post to be seen as an attack on you or to initiate one. I am hoping you take the time to see my point of view - this thread has devolved into uncivility that I don't want to see in this place that I go to relax in my free time.

I hope everyone can accept the issue as closed and move on to more interesting and positive discussions. Just yesterday the AGA's eJournal had a Kaz lesson about the table shape that made me think back to Charles' excellent Shape Up book where I first learned of it.

I think you are jumping to all sorts of unwarranted conclusions, in particular in respect of Robert J.

You might well assume I have some insight into what Robert is attempting, given that you know I am also a (European) go author. I think you would have to go a long way to find any posting anywhere which involves an ad hominem from me directed at Robert. Irritating as he can be.

The prevalence of conflict of interest in (to go through my back pages), my national go association, the go publishing world (though if one counts the bottom line as a good reason, one can of course only shrug), Sensei's Library, some of the stronger players just about anywhere, and so on does explain much about the world of (European) go. At least to me.

If I hadn't been involved in drafting Wikipedia's conflict of interest guideline, nine years ago. I might be more persuaded to fall for the line that financial interest is the main cause. Not so. "Strict elimination", as you would wish to call it, would require fixing up original sin.

So I object to the brushing aside of the issue. And online communities do need to self-police on this matter, and it can be done with civility.

 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #63 Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:56 am 
Lives with ko

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A few questions based on Robert's self-review:

RobertJasiek wrote:
Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author

General Specification
* Diagrams per Page on Average: 4.5
* Subjective Rank Improvement: +
* Subjective Topic Coverage: +
* Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++

- How many moves per diagram (on average)? I think this would be useful info, if you are including all the other stuff.
- The scores (+, ++) - what is the scale here? What is the maximum amount of pluses one can achieve?

RobertJasiek wrote:
Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author

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 ... 17&t=12541

What gap does it fill? What is here that cannot be found elsewhere? Not asking you to provide the secret sauce in public and for free, but as dense as the rest of the review is, more could be said here about why the book is as valuable as the author says it is. Especially since some have a problem with authors reviewing their own stuff...

 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #64 Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:46 pm 

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mhlepore wrote:
The scores (+, ++) - what is the scale here? What is the maximum amount of pluses one can achieve?


The ratings are subjective but apolitical. They are independent of author or publisher. These are the meanings of the signs:

++ very good
+ in between average and very good
o average
- in between very bad and average
-- very bad

Rank Improvement is after reading once. Most books qualify as - or -- because they are considerably away from ++ books. If the author has read a book meant for weaker players, then he compares it with similar books for a similar audience and assumes the rank improvement to have taken place earlier. Each ++ book for single digit kyu players has or would have increased the author's strength by considerably more than one rank. Improvement becomes the harder the stronger a player is; so any book's effect on a high dan player could only be expressed in fractions of a rank.

Topical Coverage refers to covering all professional 9 dan knowledge. Thus most books qualify as --. This is harsh but considered appropriate because a player has only finite amounts of time and money he can spend on books. The listed general topics are referred to. A book could only ever be ++ in case of a restricted general topic like rules. So what is a + book, which currently hardly exists? Its rating indicates that just a few books on the same general topic would be enough to acquire a professional 9 dan knowledge of it.

Aims' Achievement generously assumes the author to have intended the teaching result. So many books should have + or ++. The rating also acknowledges the major teaching methods and the intended audience.

To be fair, my own books are marked with (*) in the Title column. Also see the Appendix on Ratings for a discussion about fair ratings.

And the 'Appendix on Ratings':
Appendix on Ratings

On LifeIn19x19, the user Mivo asked: "On your list, the only two Joseki books that got a '++' for 'rank improvement' are the ones that you have written. One other book got an 'average', the rest gets '-' and '--'. [...] this pretty much invalidates the whole list, at least from my perspective." Here is my reply from 2011-12-04 why I think that all rank improvement ratings are fair relatively to each other:

The following refers to only the "rank improvement" rating.

Joseki 1 Fundamentals gets a (++) because its contents together with the contents of a yet to be written similar book Middle Game Fundamentals amounts to over 50% the knowledge I acquired for my improvement from 3d to 4d. Therefore the book would have been worth over 1/4 rank in that dan range. Due to the exponentially growing learning difficulty with increasing strength, this is worth about as much as one or two kyu ranks. Books with such an increment as a kyu I have rated (++): Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, Tesuji (Davies), Attack and Defense, Strategic Concepts of Go. The latter alone and especially its first, theory part sufficed to make me about 2 stones stronger. Joseki 2 Strategy contains, among other things, over 2.5 times as many strategic concepts and discusses some of them in greater detail. Reading the Ishida thrice made me another ca. two ranks stronger and most of the related information is in Joseki 2 Strategy. Part of the rank improvement was due to learning josekis by heart (and understanding them); this is not in this volume, so of those extra two ranks maybe a bit more than one is also available as information in Vol. 2. It has more information on other topics though and they amount to about one or two ranks I would have gained from reading the book. Therefore my estimate is that this book would have made me 2 to 5, probably ca. 3 to 4 ranks stronger. Anything less than (++) rating for (my) rank improvement by Joseki 2 Strategy (if I had had such a book as a 5 kyu) would be a great understatement.

That does not mean that necessarily every reader becomes that much stronger or even stronger at all from these two books. Preference for teaching and learning style and learning ability from application of generalising contents plays a great role.

Joseki Encyclopedia (Nihon Kiin) (--) : This is a great heap of variations, the type of book for the proverb "Learn josekis by heart and become 2 stones weaker.". Since (as my webpage explains) my rating refers to reading a book only once, reading that encyclopedia only once won't help at all for becoming stronger. A first reading of 10,000 variations is good for creating confusion.

Dictionary of Basic Joseki (-) : Reading the three volumes once helped a bit but real understanding came only during my second and third reading when I could concentrate on actually getting insight rather than only following move by move without understanding yet, as during the first reading when I did not know most of these josekis yet. Dictionary of Basic Joseki can qualify for (++) if one spends three months or more for reading it daily for several hours.

Jungsuk in Our Time (-) : In quality it is similar to Dictionary of Basic Joseki.

Star Point Joseki (-) : As before. The fact that it contains some 4-4 variations Dictionary of Basic Joseki does not have does not avoid the necessity to approach the unfamiliar variations at all before one can try a deeper and broader understanding.

Essential Joseki (--) : It is a variation-orientated book with relatively few josekis and significantly fewer, scattered go theory hints in the text than Dictionary of Basic Joseki. Accordingly it gets a worse rating.

Choice of Jungseok (o) : It has instructive examples for the sake of teaching strategic choices. It lacks generalised go theory though. If it had refined its contents by more powerful teaching strategies, it could easily have gotten a better rating. It leaves the work of revealing the contents to the reader though.

Get Strong at Joseki (--) : Teaching by examples only. Take a dictionary and its interesting moves and make problems out of them. It is better to read Dictionary of Basic Joseki and consider each next move to be a problem; you get many more variations, many more problems and a broader selection of them. Since that dictionary qualifies as (-) after reading once, (--) for Get Strong at Joseki is appropriate.

The Great Joseki Debate, Modern Joseki and Fuseki, Lee Changho's Novel Plays and Shapes and other similar books (--): Teaching by examples only. Small selection only. Therefore much less useful than Dictionary of Basic Joseki.

38 Basic Joseki (--) : I spent 4 hours per joseki to actually learn something. With an ordinary "reading once", I would have learnt and remembered essentially nothing. The book can be (+) after hard work but only then.

Whole Board Thinking in Joseki (-) : These books actually try to teach something general, so at least a (-). However, as soon as trying, they also already stop again. Much space of the pages is wasted. The selection of strategic choices is limited and the reader is left with most of the work of identifying them from the text or diagrams. Choice of Jungseok teaches significantly better. So (-) is right for Whole Board Thinking in Joseki.

The other two books in the list I would need to dig out to be sure which they are.

Altogether there are many (-) or (--) books in the joseki section or the list altogether because of too one-sided teaching by (often even dictionary style) examples. Principles, generalisations, structure, general advice on joseki study are missing. Fundamentals, strategic concepts, analysis methods, move meanings, group meanings, strategic lines, strategic planning and often strategic choices are hardly any and mostly not any topic at all in almost all (especially) joseki books. Almost all the didactics is left to the reader's autodidactics, sheer effort and ability to reinvent go theory.

See the contrast to my joseki books: Vol. 1 and 2 do not have the many variations yet (that is for Vol. 3) but have everything else missing in the other books: essential knowledge for understanding and application in general. That kind of contents giving books (on other topics) with much smaller scope already a (++) for rank improvement, see above.


In case of topical coverage, the absence of exhaustive generalising theory in almost all books is even more widely spread. My advertisement since about 1996 for more general knowledge in Western books has, I hope, at least had some effect: An increasing percentage of books has at least a few (instead of previously none) principles etc

Given Robert's systematic approach, along with the details he includes in his reviews, my personal take is that Robert is probably biased, but at least consistent in his approach with the many reviews that he has given for English Go literature.

What have I learned from this game that I'll be able to use in my own game if the opportunity presents itself?

This post by Kirby was liked by: Bonobo
 Post subject: Re: Positional Judgement 2 / Dynamics - Review by the Author
Post #65 Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:54 am 

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Darrell wrote:
I searched for a review

Concerning the title, this is the most convincing reason. Consistent use of "review" greatly eases web searches.

mhlepore wrote:
What gap does it fill?

In the earlier a) English literature, b) literature in other languages as far as I have seen or heard about media and c) verbal teaching by anybody (professional or amateur players) as far as I have seen it, there is almost no explanation at all of the positional judgement of the non-territory, dynamic aspects of the game. (If there is such in Asian books, they must be well hidden or fail to clearly explain theory in diagrams and with markup.) The short essay by Ishida about Takagawa in Go World 41 is the only noteworthy other source I recall, and it does not contain any explicit principle. - The gap has been huge.

The book teaches, in particular, middle game theory and its evaluation. While much of the middle game theory can also be found elsewhere (often only in implicit forms), the additional study level of positional judgement (applied to middle game theory) fills the gap in positional judgement.

What is here that cannot be found elsewhere

The book invents (except that I have already occasionally applied part of my own inventions in online comments):
- new problems and their answers
- general principles and methods of positional judgement of dynamic aspects (such as invasions, reductions, aji, influence, fights etc.; for the important different kinds of such aspects as mentioned in the book's TOC) so that one knows which positions to evaluate, and how (if static territory is not the only relevant aspect)
- the 'neutral stone difference', the 'neutral-or-dead stone difference' and their application for positional judgement
- the theory combines old knowledge and new inventions so that, when possible, positional judgement becomes conceptually simpler and clearer than traditional go theory suggests (within its limited framework, when it needs to resort to subconscious thinking, or more strategic concepts or tactical reading than necessary)

The book discusses what I have not seen elsewhere before but what might also exist somewhere else:
- necessary depth of reading by professional players before making deep invasions
- general judgement of reductions in terms of gote and sente
- clear, general method of reducing a big moyo

The book clearly invents to the English literature / web ressources what I have not seen there clearly before:
- local potential (and its reduction); this is an important strategic concept
- cases of use of thickness listed more clearly than before (however, the study is not exhaustive because this book does not specialise in the topic)
- actions
- a couple of principles previously known by some (especially strong) Western players only verbally

The book corrects earlier knowledge of the Western go community:
- (much lower than expected) relevance of transformation of thickness

The book continues to explain, and show further applications for, these my inventions in my earlier books:
- the evaluation method 'unsettled group average'
- the 'influence stone difference', now applied (with principles) to positional judgement in josekis or the middle game
- evolution of the definition of thickness, so that now it is elegant (and 'indirect connection' is demontrated to be very useful once more)
- 'fighting region' and 'value of a fighting region'


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