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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on obsession with shape
Post #41 Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2022 3:46 am 
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I'm curious. Which one do you think makes you a better player? Seeing the board as photographs or a movie?

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on obsession with shape
Post #42 Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2022 4:36 am 
Oza

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Quote:
I'm curious. Which one do you think makes you a better player? Seeing the board as photographs or a movie?


It's only a hunch, but movie. My hunch is based on a lot of experience outside of go. For example, I have seen master calligraphers write characters as if they are "dancing". I also do Scottish dancing where complex formations have to be learned. They can be described in diagrams but people rarely use these. The best way to learn is to make the movements, aided by the music. I would imagine things like golf swings or other things where people talk about "muscle memory" also benefit from actual movement.

As a newspaper editor I had to learn to make a page design "flow", and even at the micro level things like serifs count for a lot. A sans serif face like Helvetica is good for taking the eye down into the story, whie serif faces such as Times Roman help the eye go across the long lines within the columns.

There have been other threads here about visualisation if you wish to look them up.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on obsession with shape
Post #43 Posted: Sun May 01, 2022 3:09 am 
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Dancing and calligraphy, to an extent, are performative arts where actual physical movement plays an integral part while in go any physical movement (e.g. placing a stone) is purely incidental. Any movement, flow or dynamics that we speak of in relation to the quality of the go game is imagined. The perception of movement is to a large extend imposed on the static image. Especially since compared to many other games, the stones in go are quite static and rarely move, so visually, at least, go is one of the more static games.

Also, when pausing and resuming a dance, something would be lost because continuity is a key component in dancing but when it comes to go that's not the case. Moves get sealed in important matches and correspondence games are still quite popular. Even when reviewing a game record online what you're essentially looking at is a series of still images of the game. You can pause and linger on any of them without it having any detrimental effects.

I think seeing go as a movie makes the games more exciting, but doesn't necessarily add much to the quality of the game. At least in my experience. The only thing I can say for certain is that I have seen far too many people lose games because they got too caught up in attacking or playing locally. I've also seen players lose games and perform badly in the entire tournament because they were too hung up on a single mistake they made in one game. If you see go as as series of static images then each image is a clean slate free of any of the baggage that you've accumulated thus far in the game.

I would like to point out, however, that me favouring the static view of go doesn't mean that I prefer form over function. Well, perhaps I do in terms of aesthetics but in terms of performance (i.e. when playing in a tournament), I'll go for function nearly every single time.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on obsession with shape
Post #44 Posted: Sun May 01, 2022 3:13 am 
Oza

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I travelled to a new area for a dance last night and so met some new people. I asked a man somewhat overdressed for the occasion in a Prince Charlie jacket, and so obviously not a Scot, what got him into Scottish country dancing, and he began his reply, "I'm a mathematician." He then went on to explain how he could see the patterns in the dances and they fascinated him. He then continued with a bit of a non sequitur,to say that he had to make a choice when going to university between maths (he actually said "mathematics" as this was a posh part of the country) and languages, but he found the choice was easy because German (which he would have opted for) was a "mathematical language" and so he could pick that up more easily later on if he studied maths.

But here's the thing. He danced with his head, not his feet. From my observation, all the non-mathematicians dance with their feet and so look so much better, and they also have more fun by breaking the rules (birling and yeoching and joining in adjacent sets), and can adapt when others make mistakes. And no, it is not a case of alles in Unordnung. It is a case of making Ordnung out of Unordnung. Sabaki in other words.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on obsession with shape
Post #45 Posted: Sun May 01, 2022 4:24 am 
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I suppose your anecdote is your way of saying that you can know the patterns while not fully grasping how to use them. It usually takes a lot of time and practice before someone has internalised them enough to be able to use them so freely and effortlessly. I think you're right that the STEM folk and the Arts & Humanities folk have different mindsets, though there's always exceptions to that rule, me being one of them. I used to do improvisational theatre for a few years and I noticed that there are different types of improvisers. Some take inspiration from physical movement, some just step on the stage and say the first thing that pops into their head and then there's the intellectual ones like me. Instead of going with the flow, I desperately tried to come up with a scene in the few seconds I had before I had to step up on the stage. I'm supposed to be in the Arts & Humanities group but apparently not quite.

If we return to go, I've studied shapes in isolation, their strengths, weaknesses and potential uses. I read through Shuko's Dictionary of Basic Tesuji and probably done other far too orderly things. When I analyse my games, I focus on shapes though in all of my shape-related endeavors I have rarely tried to memories them. It's more about letting them sink into my mind so that I can play them without having to name them and list all of their attributes. In other words, I've pushed my knowledge of shapes to an intuitive level. Since I am bad at reading (and don't intend to fix that at the present moment), my intuition is what helps me win games. At this point, when I look at the board for a while, images of different moves and shapes will start popping up. With time, my sense of their wrongness or rightness will change until one will emerge as the most right. Of course, I do try to read occasionally, there's also my knowledge of joseki, proverbs, heuristics, etc. but an increasingly large part of my game at the moment is this nonverbal visual intuition that's based on my subconscious shape knowledge.

The point I'm trying to make is that just as those non-mathematical dancers presumably also had to learn the patterns at one point before gaining this freedom of movement and improvisation, and they probably stumbled and were quite awkward when doing so, so can go players in the long run benefit from learning the go patterns. Though, it's the transition from knowledge to instinct that may be a struggle for some.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on obsession with shape
Post #46 Posted: Sun May 01, 2022 5:22 am 
Oza

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Quote:
The point I'm trying to make is that just as those non-mathematical dancers presumably also had to learn the patterns at one point before gaining this freedom of movement and improvisation, and they probably stumbled and were quite awkward when doing so, so can go players in the long run benefit from learning the go patterns.


I don't think that many dancers learn patterns. At last night's dance I danced with a woman who did not know a dance called Elephant's Stampede. It's rather complex with some unusual movements, and done at a very brisk pace with lots of bodies all mingling at the same time (a stampede in effect). So she went into the garden and read a word description of the dance for a minute or so. She is a demonstration-level dancer (i.e. a "pro") admittedly, but even so I was rather surprised when she danced the long dance quite perfectly a few moments later.

Now, if you're curious, you can follow the link below, and the see static "crib diagram" associated with this dance. This sort of thing makes my brain do a wobbly. But the words are easily digestible - well, not maybe easily for people like me, but even these words can be pulped down into baby food. Thus, the first two lines of the written crib:

Quote:
1- 8 All circle 8H round and back
9-16 1s+3s advance nearer hands joined and with free hand join with 2s and 4s, retire into longwise set across the dance; all dance ½ parallel RSh reels of 4 across


can be pulped down into something like "circle, advance and retire and reel". The other fiddly bits intuitively get tacked onto that as extra movements in your brain. I'm not sure how to describe that but in large part it's because you can rely on the music to help you.

The crib diagram, however, cannot be pulped down, and (worse) you have to learn the definitions of all the many symbols first.

https://www.scottish-country-dancing-di ... mpede.html

(a further link there will show you can example of the stampede being danced, if you want).

Quote:
Though, it's the transition from knowledge to instinct that may be a struggle for some.


My impression is that some people make it difficult for themselves by mistrusting or even attempting actively to suppress their instinct/intuition.

I'll additionally make two extra points:

(1) I think there is a difference between the way pros learn and amateurs learn, and most of the discussion here is ignoring pros. In the case of amateurs, possibly from having to make do with scarce resources, we suffer from having a mixture of shape and movement elements (and, as I've already said, a surfeit of the shape element in the western case). In part I suspect this is because amateurs learn too much from diagrams in books and not enough from the mixture of words and hand movements on the board that you get from a live teacher - the typical way a young pro-to-be learns. I have tried to redress the balance a little with my Go Wisdom format, i.e. dispensing with variation diagrams as much as possible.

(2) I have mentioned a couple of times that music helps us learn dances. It may seem there is no equivalent in go. But I wonder whether what is meant by whole-board vision is really the equivalent (like the "music of the spheres"). I have an impression that many amateurs think that acquiring whole-board vision simply means trying to remember to look at each part in turn, static portion after static portion. I suspect pros, in contrast, literally "see" the whole board at once, that is they have an awareness of what is going on everywhere simultaneously, and that's because they see it all as the "flow" of the game - or, if you like, they intuitively sense the moving "music" of the game.


This post by John Fairbairn was liked by: Elom0
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