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 Post subject: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #1 Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 11:58 am 
Oza

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I was just revisiting a series on proverbs by Tsuruyama Atsushi. He is up to about Part 65 and still going. In each part there are usually 2 proverbs, but sometimes more. There are lots of proverbs. But one of the best known and loved in the west is just mentioned in passing: "Ponnuki is worth 30 points)."

That scant reference surprised me for a moment, but he explained why. It all made instant sense, but more than that, it set other cogs whirring in my brain. It's all do with the pestilence of numbers in western go. So I get to ride my hobby horse again. Whooppee!

If you look up ponnuki on Sensei's Library, for example, you will see an earnest and long discussion on whether a ponnuki is worth 30, or 29.765 or 3,000 points, or whatever. Nearly everyone in that discussion is what I characterise as a numbers guy. And they tend to set the tone on go discussions.

You will have therefore heard similar arguments about the turtleshell capture. You will have heard heavily disputed views on whether tenuki is worth 15 points, or 25, or 35. And the monkey jump? Is that worth 7 bananas, 8 bananas or 9 bananas - or 7 bananas and a dollop of custard?

The contrast with the typical Japanese go environment (where numbers guys don't usually even get house room) made me laugh out loud. Tsuruyama mentions the ponnuki proverb as "something you will have all heard in the classroom at the go club" and as he well knows, because he is teaching his own kid how to play go, this is a proverb you tell children simply to impress on their minds that a ponnuki is big.

The monkey jump proverb appears with 7, 8 and 9 points in Japanese, so that too is clearly just a "children, this move is BIG" proverb.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #2 Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 12:59 pm 
Judan

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Ponnukis have negative value:) I won a tournament 6:0 including a game, in which, as the only feasible remaining strategy, I cut through four ponnukis to kill two of them on a large scale.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #3 Posted: Sun Oct 24, 2021 9:03 pm 
Lives with ko

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John Fairbairn wrote:
If you look up ponnuki on Sensei's Library, for example, you will see an earnest and long discussion on whether a ponnuki is worth 30, or 29.765 or 3,000 points, or whatever... You will have therefore heard similar arguments about the turtleshell capture.
No no, a ponnuki is scored as a 30 point bonus, but only if you shout it out. The tortoise shell bonus is not real though, that must be a house rule.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #4 Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:40 pm 
Gosei
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If you look it up on SL you get this: https://senseis.xmp.net/?APonnukiIsWorthThirtyPoints

Mentioning the number should not be taken too seriously.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #5 Posted: Mon Oct 25, 2021 3:17 pm 
Lives with ko

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Knotwilg wrote:
If you look it up on SL you get this: https://senseis.xmp.net/?APonnukiIsWorthThirtyPoints
Mentioning the number should not be taken too seriously.

To be fair, people seem to be taking it seriously in the discussion: https://senseis.xmp.net/?APonnukiIsWort ... Discussion -- comparing the shape with and without the capture, Otake Hideo's example, ponnuki with a ko, etc. The point of the original post is that 30 just means "many."

And to be fair again, even the Nihon Kiin Proverbs book (小事典 series) that I have seems to treat the 30 points seriously. There is the condition "in the center" which I have heard elsewhere. But it seems to truly think there is a "calculation" and actual "value." Though I just have the translations of this book. This book also seems to treat the tortoise shell seriously.

Image

Looking at my other kakugen book, it seems at least semi-serious. Maybe "30 points" is not only for kids, but it's kyujomoku.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #6 Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2021 3:49 am 
Gosei
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Well FWITW the capture makes a big difference. As John explains, ponnuki holds that very meaning (-nuki I believe). So hand crafting a diamond shape is not nearly as valuable as a ponnuki arising from natural play. I think the latter is what John F. may object to more than the numbers discussion: that we try to figure out how good something is by analyzing artificial, abstracted positions, rather than natural positions from actual games.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #7 Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 2:30 am 
Lives with ko

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Hayashi Kozo, who has led the Japanese pro delegation to the EGC many times in recent years, is very determined to teach everyone to "attack ponuki", "attack wall" and "attack weak group is not interesting, attack strong group". That long before alpha go actually. The point about ponuki being that it is not necessarily a strong group (it has less than a 0.5 eye, right? or is it just over 0.5 :scratch:) and you should not think "wow so strong" but how or if you could counter it. The same for walls that can't always fend for themselves without an inefficient extension. Finally, attacking strong groups rather than weak groups is something along the line (if I get it) that the damage is already done with the weak group (it is just about how to cash in) but if you can actually attack a strong group it will often decide the game. One could argue that a "strong" group can't be attack but it is not always true because it can be inefficient to defend and, more important, if you are too quick to abandon any attack it is a fait accompli that they are strong.

I remember watching him school now top players who foolishly(?) thought they could defend some ponuki group when he went all out attacking. Those ponukis were definitely wort less than 30 points, possibly going into the negative. If they survived, he'd just point out that he had won the game at that point. It is just one of many funny teaching tricks that Hayashi Kozo pulls and it is germane because the point of this "trick" is that not all ponukis are the same and you always need to think if a group is in danger or not. Even ponukis and 7+ stone walls could come under attack.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #8 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 4:45 am 
Honinbo

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Knotwilg wrote:
Well FWITW the capture makes a big difference. As John explains, ponnuki holds that very meaning (-nuki I believe). So hand crafting a diamond shape is not nearly as valuable as a ponnuki arising from natural play. I think the latter is what John F. may object to more than the numbers discussion: that we try to figure out how good something is by analyzing artificial, abstracted positions, rather than natural positions from actual games.


It's from a long time ago, but I'm reminded of this post by FlameBlade in one of the Malkovich games I played against Magicwand: https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?p=7452#p7452

This situation/post has stuck with me whenever I think about the value of ponnuki.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #9 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:18 am 
Oza

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Quote:
So hand crafting a diamond shape is not nearly as valuable as a ponnuki arising from natural play. I think the latter is what John F. may object to more than the numbers discussion: that we try to figure out how good something is by analyzing artificial, abstracted positions, rather than natural positions from actual games.


Yes, -nuki is capture. But to a Japanese, the pon has a strong meaning, too. You use it when you do things like plunk something on the table, or give someone a hearty slap on the back. It indicates a sort of dramatic effect. It's literally a WOW capture. Maybe that's what we should rename it as. In that sense, Kirby's ponnuki is not a ponnuki at all. It's just nooky :) Or, if he believed it was a Wow move, then perhaps he had fallen victim to the American overuse of Wow.

Another point to bear in mind is that the idea of a resulting diamond shape even after the implicit capture is an amateur concept. It can apply to any dramatic capture. From memory I think the biggest example I've seen (I mean where pros describe them as a ponnuki) is a 9-stone capture, and I've seen the turtleshell capture also simply described as a ponnuki.

As an example of varying measuring scales, the next move Black A (by Go Seigen) was described as a "ponnuki worth 1,000 gold pieces." Or, in modern pandemic terms, 1,000 toilet rolls.

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 Post subject: Re: Ponnuki is worth 3,000 points.
Post #10 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:14 am 
Lives with ko

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I'll just leave this here


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This post by kvasir was liked by 2 people: Dusk Eagle, Harleqin
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