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 Post subject: This is Haengma - Kim Sung Rae
Post #1 Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:29 pm 
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"This book covers the theory: what is Haengma, Haengma terms, the vital point of haengma, cutting the haengma, the basic points of Haengma, strategy of Haengma. Second part of this book covers actual game: analysis of amateur Haengma, following the professionalsÕ Haengma. 247 pages." (Image and Description from Yutopian.com)

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 Post subject: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #2 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:17 am 
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I bought this book more out of curiosity than anything else. Not knowing what haengma was, and having read a blurb, it seemed like it might be useful to learn about this. However, I am disappointed not only by the concept the book claims to present, but also by the way the book presents it.

To start with, it is said in the book that haengma cannot be translated. It is defined in several ways, as an "independent group" and a "moving group," but then it is said that it is "moving to the center." The author points out that in other books "the limits of haengma are not explained well and [...] the definition of haengma is confusing."

So the first thing I get is this: who came up with an idea that is supposed to be an aspect of the game of go, yet that cannot be easily defined? Why was a "name" given to this type of move, which I will call, from the examples in the book, "weak stones running into the center and making shape"? The whole thing reeks a bit of a fad diet or a new type of therapy...

In any case, haengma are presented through a number of examples. First come the basic terms: one-space jump, two-space jump, knight's move, etc. Then come vital points, cutting haengma, then, only after this, comes the "basic points of haengma." Next is strategy, then some examples from amateur then pro games.

Coming back to my definition, it seems that this is about nothing more than making good-shape moves while running into the center. While this is valuable information to know, it doesn't seem very different from other discussions of shape. Types of extensions and how to cut them (or protect against cuts) are also about shape.

I don't think I learned much from this book. None of the principles are really anything I haven't seen in other books. One thing I do note is that many of the situations shown are those that one shouldn't get into in the first place. When I toss a stone into a place where I can't live, I have to run. While this can be valuable with a 3rd or 4th line stone that can split your opponent, you don't ever want to do this if you can't get out and connect, or make shape in the center. The same for cutting stones; often, one will cut someplace, and find a weak group of stones and need to run. Rather than rely on "haengma," maybe one should reconsider the cut or the invasion.

Finally, a word about the book's approach. The reader is often asked what B or W should do in a given situation. This is not presented as a problem as such, but the goal is the same. The book then shows you three or four ways this is wrong, rather than first showing what is right. I find this to be the wrong way to provide answers. This way, the wrong solutions seem to be reinforced by their position in the presentation. I see several wrong solutions, and I am as likely to remember them, because they will serve as benchmarks when I finally see the right solution. If the correct answer were shown first - such as in life and death books - I could then contrast that with the wrong solutions that are shown, each time making a mental difference between the right solution and each of the wrong ones. I think this is a fundamental failure of this book, and that it doesn't help reinforce the ideas presented.

It's not an expensive book, but it's pretty light on content. While it's nearly 250 pages, each page has only two or three diagrams, fairly large, and the text is in a large font. But, perhaps there really isn't much to say about haengma.

(Please, if anyone knows more about the evolution of this concept, I would be interested in learning how it came to be something with a name.)

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #3 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:41 am 
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kirkmc wrote:
I bought this book more out of curiosity than anything else. Not knowing what haengma was, and having read a blurb, it seemed like it might be useful to learn about this. However, I am disappointed not only by the concept the book claims to present, but also by the way the book presents it.

To start with, it is said in the book that haengma cannot be translated. It is defined in several ways, as an "independent group" and a "moving group," but then it is said that it is "moving to the center." The author points out that in other books "the limits of haengma are not explained well and [...] the definition of haengma is confusing."

So the first thing I get is this: who came up with an idea that is supposed to be an aspect of the game of go, yet that cannot be easily defined? Why was a "name" given to this type of move, which I will call, from the examples in the book, "weak stones running into the center and making shape"? The whole thing reeks a bit of a fad diet or a new type of therapy...

In any case, haengma are presented through a number of examples. First come the basic terms: one-space jump, two-space jump, knight's move, etc. Then come vital points, cutting haengma, then, only after this, comes the "basic points of haengma." Next is strategy, then some examples from amateur then pro games.

Coming back to my definition, it seems that this is about nothing more than making good-shape moves while running into the center. While this is valuable information to know, it doesn't seem very different from other discussions of shape. Types of extensions and how to cut them (or protect against cuts) are also about shape.

I don't think I learned much from this book. None of the principles are really anything I haven't seen in other books. One thing I do note is that many of the situations shown are those that one shouldn't get into in the first place. When I toss a stone into a place where I can't live, I have to run. While this can be valuable with a 3rd or 4th line stone that can split your opponent, you don't ever want to do this if you can't get out and connect, or make shape in the center. The same for cutting stones; often, one will cut someplace, and find a weak group of stones and need to run. Rather than rely on "haengma," maybe one should reconsider the cut or the invasion.

Finally, a word about the book's approach. The reader is often asked what B or W should do in a given situation. This is not presented as a problem as such, but the goal is the same. The book then shows you three or four ways this is wrong, rather than first showing what is right. I find this to be the wrong way to provide answers. This way, the wrong solutions seem to be reinforced by their position in the presentation. I see several wrong solutions, and I am as likely to remember them, because they will serve as benchmarks when I finally see the right solution. If the correct answer were shown first - such as in life and death books - I could then contrast that with the wrong solutions that are shown, each time making a mental difference between the right solution and each of the wrong ones. I think this is a fundamental failure of this book, and that it doesn't help reinforce the ideas presented.

It's not an expensive book, but it's pretty light on content. While it's nearly 250 pages, each page has only two or three diagrams, fairly large, and the text is in a large font. But, perhaps there really isn't much to say about haengma.

(Please, if anyone knows more about the evolution of this concept, I would be interested in learning how it came to be something with a name.)


hangma is literally translated to moving horse.
in baduk we represent group using horse so you can use group instead of horse.
in go piece nothing moves so "moving group" is akward.
you can use development instead of moving.

"group development" does that sound better?

hangma is in my opinion the most important skills you need to learn.
it will help you during middle game. it will help you build strength.
specially at your level it is the most important skills you must learn.

life and death is pretty straight forward.
but if you know your hangma you dont even have to worry about L&D.
if you see my games against skds you will notice that i really dont get in the L&D situations against SDKs.
main reason is that i have better hangma skills than they do.
that is why i am able to attack their group even though they have handycap stones.
i think koreans stress hangma much more than other skills that is why we are agressive fighters. :)

i will say it again. hangma is the most import skill you need to learn to become strong.

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #4 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:44 am 
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I thought this was a very good book. It was easy and uncomplicated to read, but i felt the content was interesting and usefull (and I don't think more complications would help). But maybe there are much better books on the same subject that I just haven't discovered yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #5 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:48 am 
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Magicwand,

How is haengma any different from "good shape?"

It seems that if you understand shape, then you'll make the moves that this book suggests...

And, if it's so important, why have only the Koreans "discovered" this concept?

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #6 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:51 am 
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I think all professionals will be extremely skilled with the concept, it's just one that the Koreans have chosen to label so clearly, albeit rather ambiguously.

Ever have those games against a much stronger player where he pushes you around whenever you have a weak group and yet somehow when he has one it seems to evade everything you try to do? That's haengma. It's more complicated than good shape, because if involves sabaki technique, honte, sacrifice, it's a concept that covers so many fundamental principles.

Being skilled at haengma is being able to never become heavy and easily attackable without having to play slow moves.

At least, that's my interpretation :) - magicwand?

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #7 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:55 am 
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topazg wrote:

Ever have those games against a much stronger player where he pushes you around whenever you have a weak group and yet somehow when he has one it seems to evade everything you try to do? That's haengma.


Which brings me back to a point I made above: maybe you shouldn't have played whatever got your group to be weak in the first place...

I'm not sure it's very different from good shape; at least not from what this book presents. There are a couple of tesuji-type moves, but it's mostly about making resilient shapes that make eye space and can't be cut.

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #8 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:02 am 
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Never playing in a way that may cause you to have a weak group is not a very good idea. Learning to take care of them, and to turn them into less weak ones, is probably better, because in some cases they will appear.

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #9 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:03 am 
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topazg wrote:
I think all professionals will be extremely skilled with the concept, it's just one that the Koreans have chosen to label so clearly, albeit rather ambiguously.

Ever have those games against a much stronger player where he pushes you around whenever you have a weak group and yet somehow when he has one it seems to evade everything you try to do? That's haengma. It's more complicated than good shape, because if involves sabaki technique, honte, sacrifice, it's a concept that covers so many fundamental principles.

Being skilled at haengma is being able to never become heavy and easily attackable without having to play slow moves.

At least, that's my interpretation :) - magicwand?


it is very vague concept that is not easily translated into Western Philosphy.
it is different from good shape. you can get good shape to live in the corner but it is not development.

maybe i am not qualifed to say that this concept is for koreans only. (i need some feedback from chinese or japanese)
i am pretty sure japanese have similar concept but dont know much about chinese.

but i know that koreans stress this concept to the beginners and there are many books on this subject.

if you see my comment on riding the rhythm. it is good example of hangma. it isnt subject to one move.
it is a combination of good move that give you flow. that is hangma.
good shape concept is pretty much talking about single move.

does that help?

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #10 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:12 am 
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kirkmc wrote:
Which brings me back to a point I made above: maybe you shouldn't have played whatever got your group to be weak in the first place...


Sabaki is a very important concept, and a vital technique to get strong at, and sabaki requires handling of weak groups. I think you cannot afford to play games where nothing is left weak without being left behind globally.

How to make sure those weak groups don't become a burden or liability is a core Go skill, and one that always feels particularly hard to master./

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #11 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:14 am 
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Kirk: I'm too lazy to write something fresh, but the following is an extract from what I wrote in another L19 thread on direction of play. I think it will answer some of your questions.

Quote:
Nam Chi-hyeong gave the following definition in English:

"In go every move is a 'placement', so the evaluation of a move is based on each placement and, only after the concept of 'shape' is introduced, does it become possible to estimate the value of a move in the context of their relationships among different placements. But, the concept of shape allows only a static understanding. With the concept of 'haengma,' moves can be understood as something dynamic."

Here you see the recognition that the components are katachi (shape) and suji (dynamic flow).

The aspect of go that haengma covers is therefore arguably covered in Japanese. The Koreans like to boast that they discovered haengma, though, and if you look carefully you can see there is some justification. Indeed you can make a case that it has formed their free-flowing way of playing go. Although suji has a dynamic feel to it, it is nowhere near as explicit as the haeng in haengma, and the term is not used as much (except as part of tesuji, where the dynamic element is reduced merely to implying there is a sequence involved).

If you look at a book such as the Modern Haengma Dictionary (in Korean) you will see that it outlines what it calls basic haengma. You could list them with Japanese terms: kosumi, keima, ikken tobi, nobi, ogeima and niken tobi. However, that would be misleading, especially in the case of nobi. The Korean term ssang-jeom haeng-ma covers what the Japanese call nobi, sagari, burasagari, tetchuu, tsuppari, shimari and others. Han-kan haengma covers likewise one-space moves that the Japanese do not call ikken tobi or anything else. Conversely, though, none of the Korean terms covers the Japanese hiraki.

So what the Koreans have done is to distill a multiplicity of shape moves into portmanteau categories which allows them to concentrate on the shared dynamics of that category rather than the shapes. Therein lies their contribution.

Now when looking at dynamics, that is how groups flow or develop, the centre is usually a large open area and so much of this activity naturally takes places there. But it would be a bad mistake to think of haengma as being about the centre. Even a quiet shimari move can be haengma.

The above relates to basic haengma, and at this level you are almost entirely concerned with getting the proper shape + development for your own stones. That is a fine foundation. But there is also more advanced haengma. A problem with some books I have seen is that they do not differentiate the basic and advanced forms, but the essential difference is that in the advanced form you start concerning yourself more with the opponent's stones. Indeed, for this Korean uses terms like jeob-geun-jeon-ui haeng-ma (or haengma for contact fights) and sil-jeon eung-yong haeng-ma (haengma as applied to actual games). A specific example of this kind of haengma would be a shoulder hit.

If you know certain Oriental martial arts you will recognise the teaching technique. You study on your own to learn the kata or forms. Once you've mastered these by constant reptition, you will be allowed to practise two-person moves. Eventually you will be allowed to learn "applications" and eventually you will be ready for "combat". If you are gifted enough to go beyond that, you will learn that the best way to win a fight is not to fight. You come full circle and learn that you only need to attend to your own moves. If an opponent attacks, you don't grapple with him. You go with the flow and let bad moves punish themselves. This is the sort of tradition I referred to.


I'm not familiar with the book you are reviewing, but on the face of it I have to agree that giving the wrong answer first is just plain perverse.


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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #12 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:17 am 
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I have read this book, and I think you strongly underestimate it. I recognize it does not cover the usual broader sense of haengma, but for what it does it is among the best books I have ever read. The beginning of the book is deceptively simple, and yet profound. You've never played a move that gave your opponent a vital point to attack, right? ;-) The wrong solutions are shown first to emphasize the flaws they have, which leads to the correct answer which does not have those flaws. What other books have you read? I have read other books on similar topics but none that were so clear and facilitated understanding like this, aside from some Korean ones I recently bought that use a similar strategy to cover the whole game.

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 Post subject: Re: This is Haengma - Kim Sung Rae
Post #13 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:25 am 
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Attack and Defense is probably the book that covers this type of stuff the most, though books on tesujis also cover shapes and vital points. I've also read a book in French on shape that covers pretty much the same basics.

I disagree with showing the wrong solutions first, for the reason I explained above. I don't know any other books that give the wrong solutions first, and I've read a lot of go books.

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 Post subject: Re: This is Haengma - Kim Sung Rae
Post #14 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:18 am 
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Can anyone compare to The Master of Haengma by Sung-Ho Baek? That's the book I've been currently going through.

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 Post subject: Re: Book review: This is Haengma, by Kim Sung-rae
Post #15 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:05 pm 
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Magicwand wrote:
kirkmc wrote:
I bought this book more out of curiosity than anything else. Not knowing what haengma was, and having read a blurb, it seemed like it might be useful to learn about this. However, I am disappointed not only by the concept the book claims to present, but also by the way the book presents it.

To start with, it is said in the book that haengma cannot be translated. It is defined in several ways, as an "independent group" and a "moving group," but then it is said that it is "moving to the center." The author points out that in other books "the limits of haengma are not explained well and [...] the definition of haengma is confusing."

So the first thing I get is this: who came up with an idea that is supposed to be an aspect of the game of go, yet that cannot be easily defined? Why was a "name" given to this type of move, which I will call, from the examples in the book, "weak stones running into the center and making shape"? The whole thing reeks a bit of a fad diet or a new type of therapy...

In any case, haengma are presented through a number of examples. First come the basic terms: one-space jump, two-space jump, knight's move, etc. Then come vital points, cutting haengma, then, only after this, comes the "basic points of haengma." Next is strategy, then some examples from amateur then pro games.

Coming back to my definition, it seems that this is about nothing more than making good-shape moves while running into the center. While this is valuable information to know, it doesn't seem very different from other discussions of shape. Types of extensions and how to cut them (or protect against cuts) are also about shape.

I don't think I learned much from this book. None of the principles are really anything I haven't seen in other books. One thing I do note is that many of the situations shown are those that one shouldn't get into in the first place. When I toss a stone into a place where I can't live, I have to run. While this can be valuable with a 3rd or 4th line stone that can split your opponent, you don't ever want to do this if you can't get out and connect, or make shape in the center. The same for cutting stones; often, one will cut someplace, and find a weak group of stones and need to run. Rather than rely on "haengma," maybe one should reconsider the cut or the invasion.

Finally, a word about the book's approach. The reader is often asked what B or W should do in a given situation. This is not presented as a problem as such, but the goal is the same. The book then shows you three or four ways this is wrong, rather than first showing what is right. I find this to be the wrong way to provide answers. This way, the wrong solutions seem to be reinforced by their position in the presentation. I see several wrong solutions, and I am as likely to remember them, because they will serve as benchmarks when I finally see the right solution. If the correct answer were shown first - such as in life and death books - I could then contrast that with the wrong solutions that are shown, each time making a mental difference between the right solution and each of the wrong ones. I think this is a fundamental failure of this book, and that it doesn't help reinforce the ideas presented.

It's not an expensive book, but it's pretty light on content. While it's nearly 250 pages, each page has only two or three diagrams, fairly large, and the text is in a large font. But, perhaps there really isn't much to say about haengma.

(Please, if anyone knows more about the evolution of this concept, I would be interested in learning how it came to be something with a name.)


hangma is literally translated to moving horse.
in baduk we represent group using horse so you can use group instead of horse.
in go piece nothing moves so "moving group" is akward.
you can use development instead of moving.

"group development" does that sound better?

hangma is in my opinion the most important skills you need to learn.
it will help you during middle game. it will help you build strength.
specially at your level it is the most important skills you must learn.

life and death is pretty straight forward.
but if you know your hangma you dont even have to worry about L&D.
if you see my games against skds you will notice that i really dont get in the L&D situations against SDKs.
main reason is that i have better hangma skills than they do.
that is why i am able to attack their group even though they have handycap stones.
i think koreans stress hangma much more than other skills that is why we are agressive fighters. :)

i will say it again. hangma is the most import skill you need to learn to become strong.


we do L&D to improve our reading skill, not only to get proficient with L&D situations. I think the main thing that helped me(besides stronger player reviews and playing games) to reach stong 4d on wbaduk was doing a lot of tsumego problems. I improved more than 2 stones in less than 3 months(dan categories) because I did loads of tsumego problems. playing helped of course, but besides, I benefited most from tsumego problems. they also kind of helped in studying, for example, I can now study professional games and understand much more than before. of course, I am still far from understanding Kobayashi and Sakata, but I understand them much better then before

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 Post subject: Re: This is Haengma - Kim Sung Rae
Post #16 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:41 pm 
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kirkmc wrote:
I disagree with showing the wrong solutions first, for the reason I explained above. I don't know any other books that give the wrong solutions first, and I've read a lot of go books.


I've just finished reading Kageyama for the first time (the first ever Go book I've bought, as I only learned the game last summer and money is very tight at the moment), and that definitely has the wrong moves first in giving solutions to problems.

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Post #17 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:55 pm 
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robinz wrote:
kirkmc wrote:
I disagree with showing the wrong solutions first, for the reason I explained above. I don't know any other books that give the wrong solutions first, and I've read a lot of go books.


I've just finished reading Kageyama for the first time (the first ever Go book I've bought, as I only learned the game last summer and money is very tight at the moment), and that definitely has the wrong moves first in giving solutions to problems.


And, for what it's worth, I actually rather like seeing the wrong solutions first. It actually feels intuitive to me. If I see the right solutions first, I tend to gloss over the wrong ones in a sort of "what's the point, I already know the answer" way. I prefer the "Can't wait to see what the right answer" suspense as I go through wrong variations :D


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Post #18 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Generally I prefer answers first in tsumego books/sections, and answers last in non-tsumego books/sections. What I abhor in either are answers in the middle.

Kim Sung-Rae usually likes to print incorrect/non-final answers first, then correct/final answers last. As a holder in a Master's of Education and past lecturer at Myongji University, Kim Sung Rae believes in a wholistic and non-brute memorizing approach to learning. His goal is to have the readers understand the meanings behind the moves so that they can play play them properly in their own games and punish them properly when opponents veer away.

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 Post subject: Re: This is Haengma - Kim Sung Rae
Post #19 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:30 pm 
Oza
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Master of Haengma also shows wrong moves first which I prefer. Especially when the wrong move is the one you'd like to play first, it's nice to see the refutation and then the 'correct' move and why. I think the purpose is to see our mistake and correct it. It seems backward to show here's the right moves and then the mistakes you can make.

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 Post subject: Re: This is Haengma - Kim Sung Rae
Post #20 Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:31 pm 
Oza
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Posts: 2745
Location: Seattle, WA
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Was liked: 544
KGS: oren
Tygem: oren740, orenl
IGS: oren
Wbaduk: oren
Is there any reason to hide the results of the poll? I think it would be interesting to see who thought books were great or not. I don't think public poll here would put people off from voting.

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