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 Post subject: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #1 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:38 am 
Dies in gote

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This topic is more a comment about linguistics and mental imagery. Please bear with me!

When a stone loses its last liberty it is captured and taken as prisoner off the board. On the other hand stones that do not have a chance of getting settled, meaning becoming part of a group of stones that can't be captured are called dead and taken off the board at the end of the game.

Now why are these stones called "dead"? Until the very end they have fresh air to breathe (enemy air, but still air). They are captured inside the opponents territory - why not call them prisoners, too? The only difference is, they don't get arrested directly but hand themselves in at the end of the game. Not only this but they sometimes even play an active role at the end of the game and have to be taken prisoner. Now how can a dead "soldier" be taken prisoner?

So for me there are no dead stones but only stones that get arrested on the spot and stones that are trapped in enemy land. No killing and all this ugly stuff!

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Post #2 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:03 am 
Judan
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Hi Baywa,

The following is only my opinion ( others may feel differently ) ;
and I'm only referring to the English language here.
Quote:
When a stone loses its last liberty it is captured and taken as prisoner off the board.
When I teach a complete beginner, I would say "this stone is removed from the board" -- in this case, not using either 'dead' or 'prisoners' ; sometimes, I would say "dead ; or, prisoners if you like" -- to me, the important thing is the action -- the immediate removal from the board.

( Again, bear in mind, the following is for the English language. )
Some (very) common Go terms, phrases, and questions:
- What's the status ? Dead or alive ? ( 4 syllables for the latter )
- Is this dead ? ( 3 syllables )
- Did you die ? ( 3 syllables )
- This died. ( 2 syllables )
- Dead. ( 1 syllable )
- It's dead. ( 2 syllables )
- It's dying. ( 3 syllables )
- Almost dead. ( 3 syllables )
- Not dead. ( 2 syllables )
- Not alive. ( 3 syllables )
- Kill it. ( 2 syllables )
- It lives. ( 2 syllables )
- It's alive. ( 3 syllables )
- ...if this lives... ( 3 syllables )
- ...if this dies... ( 3 syllables )
- Life-and-Death ( 3 syllables )
- ...dies in gote... ( 4 syllables )
- ...lives in sente... ( 4 syllables )
- Connect-and-die ( 4 syllables )
- dead shape ( 2 syllables )

For me, part of it is the convenience. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #3 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:09 am 
Lives in sente

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Stone on the board might not be able to make two eyes or directly connect to a group with two eyes but in many cases the "dead" stones can still be used, say, as ko threats to make eyes, connect or some of the surrounding stones might be captured.
Stones that have been removed from the board can never be used later.

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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #4 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:54 am 
Tengen

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Captured = dead = can be removed by alternating play even if the defender starts.

Removal = (a move) taking libertyless stones off the board.

Prisoners = preaviously removed stones.

Capture = status transformation fron unsettled to dead.

The distinction is made because each term has its different applications. Before I defined removal and capture, usage of these two words had often been ambiguous. Unequivocal use is necessary for much of related non-trivial theory with different behaviour for removal versus capture. Same for the other terms.


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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #5 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:56 am 
Gosei

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Quote:
So for me there are no dead stones but only stones that get arrested on the spot and stones that are trapped in enemy land. No killing and all this ugly stuff!


The anomaly you rightly spot is due to what amounts to a slight mistranslation from Japanese. Go in English is bedevilled by lots of these.

Japanese does not normally distinguish between singular and plural. In this case the Japanese word for 'stone' also means 'stones' AND further, 'stones' can refer to a collection of individual stones or to a group of stones, i.e.. a group, and it is group that is usually implied when we talk about life and death. So when we say 'those stones are dead' the Japanese equivalent really means 'that group is dead' (i.e. hasn't got two eyes).

Also, 'prisoner' is not quite equivalent to the Japanese word, which is usually toriishi and just means 'taken/removed stone(s)'. 'Tori' can be used to mean arresting/capturing but the kanji is normally a different one from the go usage, so the imagery of handcuffs and 'put your hands on the car' is quite absent from the Japanese go player's mind. In practice, captured and removed stones are often called hama (clams) or more explicity agehama/torihama (removed clams). But then the Japanese are just as guilty of anomalous usage, as even in a posh set black stones aren't clams.

Best just to celebrate it all as part of the rich tapestry of life. And most certainly don't waste time trying to convert English speakers to other words.

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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #6 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:32 am 
Judan

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Captured = Dead and buried
:mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #7 Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:37 pm 
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Good point, Baywa.
Go is like real life (and warfare).
Not all surrounded and cut-off (read: isolated) soldiers are prisoners, yet. They are a sort of MIA, missing in action. And while stones can be captured during a game (war), they are not dead - yet, until they actually are.

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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #8 Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:05 am 
Dies in gote

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Fascinating stuff - I guess one could go on talking about it forever. In trying to get proper mental images for those "dead" stones I came up with Ronin. In German we have the word vogelfrei, literally meaning "free as a bird".

Thinking of prisoners as being dead and buried makes it a little easier, but more brutal, archaic. But then the Japanese counting method would mean to dig up the dead "prisoners" and prop them on enemy territory and that looks rather harsh to me. :o Also, declaring stones as dead and taking them off the board is like sentencing to death and execution - not a pleasant image either.

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 Post subject: Re: Captured vs. dead stones
Post #9 Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:45 am 
Lives in gote
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Taking stones off the board is digging out fence posts that have been buried by the other farmer who is trying to cultivate fertile land.

No blood involved :razz:

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