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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #21 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:59 am 
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It seems like most of you agree to disagree with me.


Although, as yakcyll points out, people here are using style in different ways, I agree with you.

I used to think style meant what most people here assume, a conscious decision to play a certain consistent way (e.g. pure aggression).

But I asked Michael Redmond about this and he told me that style for him was determined by the moves that people play that are different from those that most people play. Underlying this, I think, are two things. One is that Japanese pros speak of an orthodox style (and this is the one most of them have), and the other is that pros have seen so many games that genuinely have a feel for what is normal and what is different. We amateurs, even dan players, lack that, so the only way we can use the word style of ourselves is the one that appears most common in this thread. However, since I personally prefer the word style to carry a nuance of, well, style, I prefer to see the amateur version as just mindset rather than style, and what the pros have is the real McCoy.

It follows that I'm nowhere near identifying a player's style, but I feel I can usually sense the mindset in amateur dans.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #22 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:14 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
But I asked Michael Redmond about this and he told me that style for him was determined by the moves that people play that are different from those that most people play.


"Most people" meaning most professional players, I assume. Because most people play moves that most professionals won't play, not as a matter of style, but as a matter of being dead wrong.

John Fairbairn wrote:
It follows that I'm nowhere near identifying a player's style, but I feel I can usually sense the mindset in amateur dans.


Oh yes! Most notably fighting spirit, which I consider as the most determining trait for a player's potential for improvement.

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Post #23 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:02 am 
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Of course you can have a style. This is not something reserved just for professionals.

A style means a way of doing things. It means a bias to one thing or another where there is a choice. It means having tastes of one's own. Now, whether an amateur go player can have an original style or not is another matter.

A very simple example of having a style, even at my level: usually, if there is a choice between a solid and a hanging connection, and no feasible way to say one is better than the other, I will prefer the solid connection. Likewise, I like star points better than 3-4 points. I tend to aim for influence early on rather than certain profit. My style of play is made up of such preferences.

Indeed, I would even go so far to say as that part of the fun of go is the clash of wills between players. "You want to play on a large scale? - Well, sunshine, so do I!" or perhaps "You seriously think that that profit is better than the influence I got in exchange? Well, let's see, shall we?" In other words, for me part of the joy of go is in the fight to express myself, to play in the way - i.e., the style - that gives me pleasure.

Maybe an amateur's style is indeed marred by mistakes, but never dare say that one cannot have a style just because one is an amateur. :rambo:

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #24 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:58 am 
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style

a distinctive manner of expression in your play

some players play with more attention to style than to Leela Zero

he has a flowery style = likes to make a ponuki (alternative meaning: likes to prepare a Hanami Ko)

he has a unique style of resigning (duck and cover)

he has an abrasive style (nobody likes to play him)

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #25 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:07 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
2.) *Should* amateurs aim to have their own style?
- Yilun Yang says no. Amateurs should try to play the best move. When the opponent forces them to fight, they should fight. If the opponent makes it so they should play for big moyo, they should do it.


Interesting - I don't understand why this should apply just to amateurs, if it is true - why would pros not benefit from the same advice?

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #26 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:10 pm 
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Tami wrote:
Indeed, I would even go so far to say as that part of the fun of go is the clash of wills between players. "You want to play on a large scale? - Well, sunshine, so do I!" or perhaps "You seriously think that that profit is better than the influence I got in exchange? Well, let's see, shall we?"


That's not style, that's situational gamesmanship, which I endorse.

Tami wrote:
In other words, for me part of the joy of go is in the fight to express myself, to play in the way - i.e., the style - that gives me pleasure.


Maybe I have never felt the pleasure to express myself through Go and therefore am irritated when someone around my rank claims they can. I have reviewed so many games by players in the kyu-low dan ranks and I'm always amazed at the gross mistakes we make. I just don't consider our level of mastery to be sufficient to speak of our own style.

Okay, let's make a comparison - not an analogy. I do find I have a style of writing and I'm able to express myself in writing. Even if acclaimed writers may consider my writing poor, I think I don't make too many mistakes in grammar, spelling or vocabulary, I'm able to create some sort of structure and have written in many different contexts, like business, essays, stories and songs.

Nwo lets cmpaare taht to me cailming have I a style this like. Taht wood be syllie no?

The native speakers among you may argue my command of English doesn't warrant for having a style. I'd be fine with that judgment but would probably be more defensive when judged likewise on my native writing.

This idea of my personality appearing through my writing is not silly or delusionary, I think, even if you remove personal references in the content. In fact Tami, I'm more confident of recognizing your writing style than your go style. But I am not entitled to deciding on your behalf what you identify with. So if you identify yourself with Go and honestly believe you have a style (one that is not overshadowed by wild deviations from the standard) than who am I to deny that?

So let me speak for myself: I have no style whatsoever. I'm a clumsy low dan player. It doesn't prevent me from having a lot of fun with the game. And I enjoy writing about it :)

PS: Or maybe I approach Go more like a kind of science than an art. I'm very good at math, even if I'm not nearly as good as I was in my twenties. But I'd never think of having a "style" in math. It's just understanding theory and problem solving. But at the boundaries of science, where one moves into the unknown, I can imagine there's a style to dealing with the uncertainty of it all.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #27 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:22 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Maybe I have never felt the pleasure to express myself through Go and therefore am irritated when someone around my rank claims they can. I have reviewed so many games by players in the kyu-low dan ranks and I'm always amazed at the gross mistakes we make. I just don't consider our level of mastery to be sufficient to speak of our own style.


Knotwilg wrote:
Nwo lets cmpaare taht to me cailming have I a style this like. Taht wood be syllie no?


Well, if you made a habit of it and did it with purpose - then I would call it a style!

Amateur songwriters write songs in the style of 60s folk-rock -they may do it badly, but they still have a style.

Fashion students may look ridiculous - but they still have style. The unkempt chap in a tank top and chinos, and who wears socks and sandals may also look funny, and have no sense of style - but that, too, is a style.

My Japanese may be peppered with grammatical mistakes, but there will be something about my syntax and choice of words that gives it personal flavour.

You don't have to be among the world's elite to have a style. Denying that is just being...really grumpy. Life is too short to be so hard on oneself and others.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #28 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Tami wrote:

Amateur songwriters write songs in the style of 60s folk-rock -they may do it badly, but they still have a style.

Fashion students may look ridiculous - but they still have style. The unkempt chap in a tank top and chinos, and who wears socks and sandals may also look funny, and have no sense of style - but that, too, is a style.

My Japanese may be peppered with grammatical mistakes, but there will be something about my syntax and choice of words that gives it personal flavour.

You don't have to be among the world's elite to have a style. Denying that is just being...really grumpy. Life is too short to be so hard on oneself and others.


In that case, I have a style of mowing the lawn, poking my nose and talking to the cat. If you reduce "style" to the fact that something is done by a distinguishable person, well, then we of course all have our style at Go. Bringing it back to the original post where I believe Rikuge wanted to "find his style", I would say: don't look for it any longer, you already have your style, because it is you. And if you disagree with that, I'd say, life's too short to be grumpy.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #29 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:20 pm 
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Style exists in go because we are not perfect problem solvers. Watching a go game doesn't give me the impression of reading a solution to a problem, but of reading a story. Go is like a foreign language: professionals are perfectly bilingual, dan players are fluent but make occasional mistakes or even gross mistakes. A kyu player can still hold a conversation but sometimes the sentence doesn't come out, or is not intelligible. It doesn't mean he cannot express anything, nor that his writing has no personality. Watching someone mow the lawn is much less entertaining.

That said, I believe that amateurs' style often reflects their weaknesses, so it can be beneficial to change one's style.

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Post #30 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:51 pm 
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sorin wrote:
Kirby wrote:
2.) *Should* amateurs aim to have their own style?
- Yilun Yang says no. Amateurs should try to play the best move. When the opponent forces them to fight, they should fight. If the opponent makes it so they should play for big moyo, they should do it.


Interesting - I don't understand why this should apply just to amateurs, if it is true - why would pros not benefit from the same advice?


He said this before AlphaGo - maybe he'd include pros in the statement now, too ;-)

Anyway, my feeling is that sometimes, there may be only one correct way to play. So I'd think that, the closer you are to playing optimal go, the less room there is for different styles - just play optimally.

But maybe in some parts of the game, there are many equally good ways to play. I suppose there is room for style or preference then.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #31 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:14 am 
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Jonathan Rowson in Chess for Zebras offers some strong opinions on the disadvantages of getting hung up on style. He saw a number of problems when teaching and in his own games where a sense of identity, e.g., 'I am an attacking player' or 'I am a master of sacrifice', got in the way and ended up causing some ridiculous blunders. He sees this flaw as related to 'egoism', one of the 7 Deadly Chess Sins from an earlier book of his.

Personally, I don't think it's easy or even necessary to be selfless robots while playing. We are all going to have certain types of positions we are more comfortable with and that's part of the luxury of being an amateur. But there is something to be learned by recognizing that when we avoid certain game stories, it winds up to be more about covering up weaknesses than fixing them. This is why some teachers advise their students to deliberately try to play in ways that are uncomfortable for them.

But the actual board is always a reality check. I've seen some of Dwyrin's Youtube videos on 'Basics', which are pretty good but can be misleading because he is usually sandbagging massively. But even when he declares that, e.g., he will try to just build in this game and not fight or not go for a kill, he often can't resist the temptation, because no matter how much stronger he his, his opponent plays half the moves, and some positions just provide such an obvious path to a win that it's absurd to think about it in terms of style.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #32 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:07 am 
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Calvin Clark wrote:
Jonathan Rowson in Chess for Zebras offers some strong opinions on the disadvantages of getting hung up on style. He saw a number of problems when teaching and in his own games where a sense of identity, e.g., 'I am an attacking player' or 'I am a master of sacrifice', got in the way and ended up causing some ridiculous blunders. He sees this flaw as related to 'egoism', one of the 7 Deadly Chess Sins from an earlier book of his.

Personally, I don't think it's easy or even necessary to be selfless robots while playing. We are all going to have certain types of positions we are more comfortable with and that's part of the luxury of being an amateur. But there is something to be learned by recognizing that when we avoid certain game stories, it winds up to be more about covering up weaknesses than fixing them. This is why some teachers advise their students to deliberately try to play in ways that are uncomfortable for them.

But the actual board is always a reality check. I've seen some of Dwyrin's Youtube videos on 'Basics', which are pretty good but can be misleading because he is usually sandbagging massively. But even when he declares that, e.g., he will try to just build in this game and not fight or not go for a kill, he often can't resist the temptation, because no matter how much stronger he his, his opponent plays half the moves, and some positions just provide such an obvious path to a win that it's absurd to think about it in terms of style.


While I maintain that even us mere amateurs can actually have a style, I take your point, or rather Rowson's point. I think the issue is not so much to do with whether one has a style or not as being unhelpfully attached to one's preferred style. When there's clearly a good move to play or a bad one to learn how to avoid, then "style" should not enter in the discussion.

I think there's also a big difference between style as in one's conscious beliefs and preferences, and style as in the things one tends to do without even being aware of it (and these don't inevitably have to be bad habits just because we are mere worms...I mean amateurs).

You're right about Dwyrin's videos. I greatly enjoy watching his lectures about pro games, but I tend to get bored of watching him beating up weaker players. If you're really going to attempt to illustrate through streaming a style or principle or some other idea in action, then I think you should try it out on people who can give you some resistance. Suppose one decides to play a game to show how to handle, say Shusaku's fuseki, then even losing could be beneficial to the viewer, i.e., showing what kinds of effective counter-measures exist. I hope Dwyrin does it.

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #33 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:06 pm 
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I think it works much more simple: As most people don't like pondering too much about their mistakes, they are interpreted as a personal 'style', maybe like this:

  • Making overly cautious moves, giving away sente --> calm and solid style
  • Cutting in hopeless positions before thinking --> fighting style
  • No feeling for direction of play in fuseki --> middle game guru
  • Letting opponent live too easily --> cosmic style
  • Cannot read out ladders --> AI like style
  • anything else...? ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #34 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:38 pm 
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schawipp wrote:
  • anything else...? ;-)


Sandbagger -> Perfect Style :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #35 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:08 pm 
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schawipp wrote:
I think it works much more simple: As most people don't like pondering too much about their mistakes, they are interpreted as a personal 'style', maybe like this:

  • Making overly cautious moves, giving away sente --> calm and solid style
  • Cutting in hopeless positions before thinking --> fighting style
  • No feeling for direction of play in fuseki --> middle game guru
  • Letting opponent live too easily --> cosmic style
  • Cannot read out ladders --> AI like style
  • anything else...? ;-)


The error this makes - and the OP makes - is thinking that each and every move an amateur makes is a hideous mistake.

This is not so. Amateurs make more mistakes than pros, who make more mistakes than AIs, who in turn will be found to make more mistakes than better AIs when such are developed, and so it goes. But so long as go is far enough from being solved that there is room for variety and self-expression in it, then there will be room for players of all levels to have something that might be described as a style, whether one founded on conscious choices or one that evolves naturally and unforcedly.

So, suppose there are typically three ways you can choose: one has a 51.23578% winrate; another has a 51.23577% winrate; the third has a 51.235765656565656565656565% winrate. You choose the third because it appeals to your sense of style, to your tastes, to what you like. Just the fact that it is now arguably a mistake compared with the other choices (according to Geezer 9.0) mean that you have no actual style - that you are just another braindead amateur blundering on in complete ignorance?

I actually feel quite passionate about this. I jolly well do have a style. You're not going to take that away from me. In fact, I rather feel that gaining a sense of style is a big part of improvement in many skills. It's not the only thing - technique is more important still - but it's real and it's important.

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Post #36 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:14 pm 
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schawipp wrote:
I think it works much more simple: As most people don't like pondering too much about their mistakes, they are interpreted as a personal 'style', maybe like this:
{snip}
Cannot read out ladders --> AI like style


:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Post #37 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Post #38 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:24 pm 
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Tami wrote:
The error this makes - and the OP makes - is thinking that each and every move an amateur makes is a hideous mistake.


Oh really.

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Post #39 Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:34 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Can amateurs have their own style?
Post #40 Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:19 am 
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I think every sort of pattern or element of play that you like to do more (or less, though its appearent, that you need to other things less often if you do some thing more often) than others of comparable strength makes up your style. These can be things that are mostly good, mostly bad, almost always good or even always bad, they will still be part of your style.
I propose to measure against others of comparable skill and not all others, becasue it dont think every 20ks style is "miss ataris" and "die in gote".

But there will be some 20ks who test every hopeless thing to the end more than others would and then "die in gote" is part of their style imo. Other 20k will not do that and maybe in comparison there style will be "never invade" because they think things would be hopeless even if they arent so they would even try an invasion instead of trying until it died in gote. I would consider them to have pretty different style. I would consider it very arrogant to say "they play so bad, they have no style".

Also note, that with this definition your style will typically contain both things that are good and things that are bad (and things that are neither good nor bad), because if the things you do more often then others of your or comparable level were all good or all bad, then you would be better or worse then those others respectively and they wouldnt be your level

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