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 Post subject: Re: Depth of reading correlates with rank - and other insigh
Post #21 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:08 pm 
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I didn't mean to brag, though it sure looks like I did. I figured other 5d+ would agree... I did mistake the questions of "do" for "can" though, my bad. The comment about 37 move sequence: No, I'm sorry but I must disagree with you. 37 moves is not so impressive for pros. It was probably really impressive because of that reading in the particular position, as each position is harder or easier to read than another most of the time. They probably didn't have the same accuracy as him, nevermind depth. Perhas they didn't thin of one or two of his moves.

If I hd to prove it to you, I could show you fast-ish online games in which i read 30-40 movs on a particular part before playing the next move. Though it's true I rarely read that far, especially online. That reading is almost always when I was planning a deep invasion or, less often, trying to capture a group (I'm not talking about a full sequence of just taking liberties, obviously we can read far for that).

I also meant to point out that my reading is not especially good at all for a 5d, as I'm not good at high-dan tsumego yet.

Don't make me dig for those games, by the way, as I don't care if anyone here takes me seriously or believes me. I'm just offering my point of view.

Te original rank:moves scale I guess was pretty decent, though I still think the gap between 3d and 5d is shown as too small. There's no way the dfference between 3 and 5d wouldnt be a lot more than a certain kyu to another kyu a few above it.

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 Post subject: Re: Depth of reading correlates with rank - and other insigh
Post #22 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:50 pm 
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I'd say it's kind of hard to count how many moves you can read, because when people read, at some point, they do some sort of evaluation. Maybe you read to the point where something cannot get two eyes. Maybe you read every combination of valid moves until no valid moves exist in the local area.

The latter would take a lot more time, because the breadth of your search takes a long time to exhaust.

I think shape knowledge comes into play here. Certain shapes you may know by sight, without having to calculate further. If you know that shape, then it will help you prune your search tree, and you can read further down into it.

So I would say that strong players can use shape knowledge to their advantage to be able to read further down the tree. This "reading" does not necessarily imply that they have viewed every move in every branch of the game tree - they have pruned the ones that they know they can prune.

So it doesn't seem likely that you can have a consistent system for counting every move that you can read. A pro may have read a 50 move sequence, but he may have been able to eliminate some of the search space by pattern knowledge. It doesn't necessarily mean that he read out all combinations of all legal moves on the board, 50 moves deep.

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 Post subject: Re: Depth of reading correlates with rank - and other insigh
Post #23 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:29 pm 
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I guess that there may be personal variation in how deep we usually choose to read - personally I rarely read more than 5 moves when making decisions, though that of course changes when there are immediate tactical situations (I tend to blitz, though, so it might just be me). In general I prefer to try to look at more variations than deeper, though I don't excel at that either XD

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Post #24 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:38 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Amateurs in general have to think move by move because they haven't put the 10,000 hours in. In essence, they have to re-invent the wheel every time they play, which is hard, and it's no surprise that the process of "if he goes there, I go there" often ends up with square wheels. [...] they have done the 10,000 hours of playing over games


While it is probably right that only few amateurs have spent 10,000h on going through pro games (e.g., I might have spent maybe 4,000h), your implication about having to reinvent the wheel at every move is wrong becaus there are also other (and even much more efficient) means to avoid reinventing wheels: application of generalized knowledge such as expressed in principles or concepts.

Yet another way is done by current programs: a tremendous number of dull sample test games simulated until a scoring position (Monte Carlo). This is less efficient on a per game count but takes advantage of CPU strength of dull fast calculations.

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Post #25 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:03 am 
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I do not think that I routinely read to a certain depth. Different situations call for different approaches to analysis. Personally I think that the main point with amateurs is that we read the wrong plays! As we get stronger we do this to a lesser degree.

Living in Tokyo and going to the Nihon Kiin each week, I play teaching games with pros often - I have averaged a game a week for years. (It has not helped much because I do not study on my own and do not have the necessary raw talent :cry: ) Yes, pros read much more deeply. However, the big point in my eyes is that they read more widely. They see much more potential in the immediate position on the board than amateurs do. Maybe it is all part of the same thing, but to me the breadth is more imposing than the depth. It is a running joke with one of my teachers that he just plays on a wider go board than I do. :blackeye:

I have also taken some lessons from Rob van Zeijst. He can read more deeply than I can in most situations. However, again the distinguishing feature between us is that he imagines a wider range of possibilities than I do. He is the only European 7D that I have played, but I imagine that he is more the rule than the exception in terms of his ability versus myself.

Who knows, perhaps I am just especially narrow minded. After all I am an accountant by trade. :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: Depth of reading correlates with rank - and other insigh
Post #26 Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:30 am 
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Sounds to me like some are talking about the count and some about the depth of moves one is reading. 15 moves deep is huge.

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Post #27 Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm 
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p2501 wrote:
Sounds to me like some are talking about the count and some about the depth of moves one is reading. 15 moves deep is huge.


There are many dan-level tsumego problems that require this depth. Not all of them do, of course. For some the right line is shallower but the search tree is bushier, or the solution requires multiple blindspot moves (e.g., moves that are typically ignored because they are using bad shape or normally ineffective.)

I am so sorry. :study:

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Post #28 Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:45 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
As Yoda Norimoto points out in his book on how pros think, pros just don't think in that fashion. What they do is, to use his words, "pile up the images". In other words they have done the 10,000 hours of playing over games - in his case he claims to have countless images in his head from playing over the games of Shusaku and Go Seigen. He just superimposes these on the current position and, in that sense, he says he could claim to see 100,000 moves ahead - except the numbers are irrelevant. What is relevant is knowing what you want to achieve and finding images from your databank that help you focus on ways to achieve that.


First of all, Yoda is a kind of genius and may be weird. :)

But this brings up an interesting point. When we (amateurs) normally talk about reading, usually we are imagining some restricted context like life & death problems or highly tactical situations in games. This may be a different type of reading than what is needed in open, whole board situations where you have to think "what is my plan here?" I think Bill Spight has called it "lines of play." For the latter kind of reading, I can imagine something like Yoda's "databank" could be very useful. But I'm not sure all amateurs, missing that invaluable resource, try to substitute with some kind of Monte Carlo reading in such situations. A lot of it may be guessing based on a much smaller and lower quality databank, or using rules of thumb and principles. Or just unsophisticated gut. At least until something constrained enough to read out appears.

And maybe even Yoda does systematic reading in some situations?

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Post #29 Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:04 am 
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Alakazam wrote:
I didn't mean to brag, though it sure looks like I did. ... 37 moves is not so impressive for pros. ... They probably didn't have the same accuracy as him, nevermind depth.


You probably use different concepts of reading. A certain accuracy is certainly precondition to call it reading, no? I mean, even I sometimes "read" fancy long sequences that simply do not work, if my opponents plays sth. unimagined at move 6.

In any case you should settle this with Herman over the board. Long-ish time limits at a set date at KGS for the crowd to watch. In the review you could both explain how long and what you read. If you can build hard evidence into your gameplay (preparatory moves that help or decide a fight long after), even better. :)

If it doesn't happen, I would be happy if someone strong can comment one of his games w/ regard to the reading depth. (preparatory moves, realisation that a certain sequence doesn't work anymore in depth x...) Or if sth. like this exists in the Malkovich files, I would be happy if someone can point it out.

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Post #30 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:57 am 
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If I ever get around to it, I'll look through a few recent games for one with a position or two in which I read more than 20 moves, and not something linear like a ladder... I don't really care much to prove anything, I am only mildy tempted because it intrigues me I guess, but even if I played with someone, there's far from any guarantee that I would have an opportunity to read far. My reading is nothing awesome anyway. It's just that I've thought about the question of "# of moves" myself a few times and took note of it in certain games. There were games wherein I was proud of myself for having sensed some very subtle Aji, read our moves for a few minutes, then executed (most of these were sequences to live inside my opponent's clean-ish-but-apparently-not-so-clean Moyo). I also don't really want to include Semeai-type situations, because even though certain factors can make them hard to read, they're still more linear than general situations I guess.

To be honest, I agree it is totally ambiguous what "how many moves" even means. Obviously we read several variations whenever we read...

The funny thing is, if I were to go through and find, say, 6 games of mine as examples from KGS or Tygem, I'll bet at least 2 would be Blitz. I'm not much of a Blitz'er, but I must admit that my reading is faster in Blitz. Playing with a clock is a good idea in my opinion. Even if you set lenient time settings, some kind of pressure is important. A prize or something also helps, helps me anyway. This is the only thing I can think of to stop myself from relaxing too much against weaker players and epic-failing, or from taking my sweet time in general and reading things slowly.

Perhaps reading can be divided into depth, speed and clarity. Clarity would regard not only how clearly you see the moves the deeper you go, but also whether the moves you are reading are the right moves to read. Then, I might like to say here that 'reading speed' is something most of us probably neglect to practice. For those of us here who play mostly Blitz, it may be something else then that is neglected, like clarity, depth. Or, you know, thinking at all.

I think 'reading ability' is quite a complex thing, actually. For example, I might argue that because of my experiences from playing with my own style, my reading when it comes to invasion, reduction and/or endgame sequencing is better than my reading in, I don't know, fighting at the central pin-wheel situation or any kind of center fight, or in trying to kill my opponent in the center. I honestly think there are notable differences, which is why our (my) reading ability can fluctuate pretty wildly, even at mid-high Dan level (and even after factoring in moods/health/condition/whatever.)

Go, like life, is just complicated.

This is pretty off-topic, but I have a pretty strong 6d friend who used to always talk about the 'natural flow' in Go, and he is someone many friends and I have learned a lot from. However, although my idea might change later on, right now I believe that there is definitely not one single 'natural flow', especially not for amateurs. He always spoke of Go as something synonymous to life, but since everyone ('s life) is different, then in Go, with all it's countless possibilities, why would they all share the same natural flow in Go? Even if we say that natural flow refers to the general way that the stones should flow from each area to the next most important area, yada yada, I think there is something wrong with the term. Perhaps I am the one misunderstanding it. I believe that each person's unique way of playing can work even if it is far from 'honte' or something totally orthodox. No, let me rephrase. I don't believe everyone's unique style can be strong, but I do believe there are unique, possibly even theory-defiant styles that can be strong.

Everyone should find their own style. Our styles may constantly change, especially for those of us in the Kyu levels, but I believe that once we have reached a point where we don't think we will improve quickly anymore, are settled/satisfied with our strength, both, or have otherwise reached a high level of strength, we should identify our style and Go beliefs and mold our style to them. This is what I've worked hard on recently, and it has made many things easier for me. I can remember my moves more easily and play more consistently in recurring positions, and I can strategize according to my simplified beliefs.

My style can almost be explained this briefly:

I like territory and stay true to the elementary ideas of taking corners. I believe side and center territories are vulnerable, and I have mathemetical/strategic ideas that allow me to clearly and calmly think about and deal with Moyos and other kinds of territorial threats. I have no talent for fighting, so even after working hard on it as my weakness, it is just par at best, therefore my goal against a worthy opponent is to get through middlegame without losing much. My aim is to avoid situations in which it becomes too natural for me to have to take Moyo. I aim to do fine in opening and get cash. I keep some balance in order to have potential and be able to "do what i gotta' do" later on (hehehe...). Middlegame I just survive, and Endgame I use my power (if any) to win. Since I believe that I am a weak fighter, but strong at positional judgement* and endgame, endgame is where I am to bring the game. I am pretty good at invading territories, so this helps me with my type of style. I am not much of a killer, so sometimes I need this kind of skill to stage an upset when I'm behind. In fact, even my opening fails pretty often in recent months. To my luck, it seems most players my level and weaker who are strong fighters tend to fail at endgame.
From the first move of the game, I am already thinking about endgame. I'm the type of player who is sensitive to territory, and stays aware of how each shape will continue and end up by the end of the game. As my KGS and Tygem games would vouch for, I win a very large percentage of the games that I play against San-ren-sei, Kobayashi and other such Moyo styles, because in games like those, if it remains relatively peaceful, it comes down to who is better at judging the position and playing endgame.
If I could describe my Go in one word, it would be calm. That is, if I wanted a positive word ^^'
But alas, I must admit that I tend to pretty much fail all throughout the middlegame. I cannot call myself a strong player yet.
In the past, I would always get an edge in the opening and win if I can just survive middlegame, but these days even my opening is not great. For some reason, I am often able to turn the game around at a late stage these days, which is at least something I never had before. Most of it is POWER-INVADE! hehe.

I must say though, my blitz is quite different. One word: Attach! ^^

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 Post subject: Re: Depth of reading correlates with rank - and other insigh
Post #31 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:03 am 
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Ok, here's a reference position from a real game:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ . . . . . . . . . |
$$ . . . . . X . . . |
$$ . . . . . . . . . |
$$ . . a . . X . . . |
$$ . . O X X W b . . |
$$ . . . O X W . . . |
$$ . . O . O X X . . |
$$ . . . O O . . . . |
$$ . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ------------------+[/go]


This occurred in a game of mine a few years ago at the congress, so there was ample thinking time (2h30m main time each)

This position is the result of a joseki mistake by my opponent, and black has sente. The question is how much aji is left in the marked white stones. Can black tenuki, or would white then devastate the corner?

I spent more than 20 minutes reading every reasonable variation I could find. Some more than 20 moves deep.

Am I sure I considered all variations? No. I was reasonably confident that I had considered most of them. At that point, if my opponent had come up with something brilliant, he deserved to win, IMO.

In the game, I played tenuki, and my opponent made me very happy by exchanging a for b. Because really, there is a lot of aji in the position :)

Anyway, this is the kind of reading, about 10-20 moves, with maybe some variations a little longer, that is really at the upper end of my ability.

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 Post subject: Re: Depth of reading correlates with rank - and other insigh
Post #32 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:20 am 
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this discussion brings a question to stronger (or not ) player :
do you read the possible answer to a big point ?
what i mean is that i will try to read close contact moves of course, but when i play a big move far from the opponent i never try to read the answer: i just try to get a feel of where the biggest point, but i don't think it involves reading: it's more or less choosing between framework junction or plays in a open area measuring the bigger open area, but it almost always a "static" evaluation so i would say its 0 depth and 3-4 width.

Do you do the same ?

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Post #33 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:25 am 
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perceval wrote:
this discussion brings a question to stronger (or not ) player :
do you read the possible answer to a big point ?
what i mean is that i will try to read close contact moves of course, but when i play a big move far from the opponent i never try to read the answer: i just try to get a feel of where the biggest point, but i don't think it involves reading: it's more or less choosing between framework junction or plays in a open area measuring the bigger open area, but it almost always a "static" evaluation so i would say its 0 depth and 3-4 width.

Do you do the same ?


I read big moves sometimes. Not sure if more or less than I read other moves. Getting the last big fuseki point is something people my level (should be trying to) do, and that requires something like full-board reading.

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Post #34 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:15 am 
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daniel_the_smith wrote:
perceval wrote:
this discussion brings a question to stronger (or not ) player :
do you read the possible answer to a big point ?
what i mean is that i will try to read close contact moves of course, but when i play a big move far from the opponent i never try to read the answer: i just try to get a feel of where the biggest point, but i don't think it involves reading: it's more or less choosing between framework junction or plays in a open area measuring the bigger open area, but it almost always a "static" evaluation so i would say its 0 depth and 3-4 width.

Do you do the same ?


I read big moves sometimes. Not sure if more or less than I read other moves. Getting the last big fuseki point is something people my level (should be trying to) do, and that requires something like full-board reading.


Uh.. really? I've never even thought about taking the last big fuseki point. Something new every day..

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Post #35 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:16 am 
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To demonstrate to a beginner that a bulky five can be killed, you may need as many as 13 moves of depth and a width of 2 or 3 at each move. Surely that is not what anybody here means with "13 moves".

Similarly, a pro will not take levels of depth into account that we amateurs still need to read out. They know.
So in many cases, the pro will read less variations and less deeply at that than we (need to). But if pushed to demonstrate, they can, of course.

Neither pro nor mortal needs to take any lessons from a brute force computer there.

Absolute numbers hence don't mean a lot. It's the difference that matters, whether you count up to the elementary killing shape or up to the point of removing the stones.

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Post #36 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:30 am 
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Shaddy wrote:
Uh.. really? I've never even thought about taking the last big fuseki point. Something new every day..


Yeah, I saw that on a list of things a pro (can't remember who) tried to teach low dan players. Tedomari isn't just for Bill's endgame problems. :)

Of course, it's not that necessary if you catch everyone you play in a trick... :roll:

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Post #37 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:50 pm 
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Hey, I don't play tricks in even games! Usually! Tricks are for scamming low dans out of points in handicap games :tmbup:

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Post #38 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:00 pm 
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Shaddy wrote:
Hey, I don't play tricks in even games! Usually! Tricks are for scamming low dans out of points in handicap games :tmbup:


Oooh, so I should learn some tricks, eh? ;)

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Post #39 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:03 pm 
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Fortunately I'm not quite strong enough to fall for most of Shaddy's tricks... :)

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Post #40 Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:27 am 
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With the previous post I wanted to point out the distraction to John's message, caused by discussion the actual absolute count of reading depth. With this one I'd like to go into the message.

It seems like ijime, kokai and "girichon", are trademarks of Korean go, which seems to be all about fighting (down to the wire), counting liberties, bullying and to a lesser extent surrounding (kokai).

The reading of "kokai" was confusing to me: the superficial translation of "surrounding" seemed to emphasize the long term effect of surrounding the opponent, which is felt by the sudden sente falling from the skies in the endgame. But the explanation seemed to point to a more short term, atsumi-like effect.

Interestingly, I've played a game yesterday where I did not bully at all, but instead kept surrounding on a big scale, taking some time for slow moves with big endgame potential. The victory was surprisingly easy, despite the ease with which he could live in my moyo.

Most likely, kokai or ijime understanding will not really matter at my level, but it strangely felt that way exactly.

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