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 Post subject: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #1 Posted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:12 am 
Oza

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There are many things we read where we understand all the individual words perfectly and so wrongly assume we understand the whole sentence. Worse, we very often don't get alerted to the fact we have fallen into a trap. The following is an example, for me at any rate, and it reminded me that, outside of order of moves, and maybe issues such as tenuki and tedomari, timing is a sadly neglected topic in both Japanese and western go literature,



Shuei was commenting on this game. His first comment was on move 19 (triangled). Up till then both players (Nozawa and Iwasa) had maintained a sort of parity with the initial LZ winrate, although of course this game was without komi.

Shuei's comment was: "Black 19 feels as if it is quickening the tempo somewhat. It was more appropriate to try to slow things down by jumping to A first."

I'm sure I just read over that the first time I encountered it, a few years ago. I expect that what dominated in my mind was some strong association such as "ikken tobi is never bad."

This time, however, I stopped in my tracks for some unknown reason. A lot of very different associations came to my mind instead. It was possibly those, acquired since my last reading, that triggered my pause, but I don't actually know.

What I do know is that I looked at 19 and thought to myself, "How can a honte move like that be called too fast?" I could see with just a second or so more thought that it implies an immediate strong attack on White, and that in turn could spell bad news for Black's group on the centre side.

But then I was surprised to see Black A described as slow. Sure I can see that it doesn't do anything to White immediately, and it's a prophylactic kind of move, but it's a running fight kind of move and in my mind that has associations with upping the tempo.

With the minor exception of LZ slightly preferring a different move to help out that centre group, LZ seems to support Shuei's comment. The actual 19 lost about 6 percentage points.

The state of mind I was left in was that I accepted Shuei's move, and that I felt I understood the faults and merits of the two moves in question. But I still felt uneasy (because of a wrong assumption?) about his description - why did he choose to use timing words instead of talking about safety, attack, defence, etc.

That led me to the realisation that, as I have said, timing is somewhat neglected as a topic. And that led me to wonder whether that neglect is a bad thing. After all, Shuei highlighted the time aspect it. Is it even neglect, anyway. Is it not just a case of having wrong existing associations that need correcting (which will be a different process for every one of us)?

So, is further discussion of timing in the sense of this position warranted? Over to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #2 Posted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:00 am 
Gosei

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Kyu thoughts follow!

The way I see it, A says "I'm out, you can settle with san-san or something, and then we can both move on", while :bt: says "you're still not safe, I'm still not safe, let's keep battling".

A is indeed a running fight kind of move, but we're already in a running fight. The question is where the temperature goes from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #3 Posted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:18 am 
Tengen

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I suspect there is a difference between a move being slow and slowing down the game. The first is about the value of the move, the second has to do with what followups will be chosen.

What came to mind was an analogy to temperature, and how moves raise or lower it (just an analogy, not sure if it's literally raising or lowering the temperature). Playing the move in the center may not be slow, but perhaps it leads to a calmer game (or at least an immediately calmer followup).

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 Post subject: Re: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #4 Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:58 pm 
Lives in sente
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Does slow have to describe timing rather than tempo?

When I’ve played a move like A, In-Seong Hwang has called it slow, asking if I looked for moves that put more immediate pressure on white, something other than just running out. An effective cap, knights move or even shoulder hit, can all help stabilize a group while putting pressure on an opponent.

That move isn’t clear to me here. But would a move like G3 be less slow?

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 Post subject: Re: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #5 Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 6:16 pm 
Lives with ko

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In chess, a gain in tempo is said to occur when a desired result can be achieved in one fewer move. Perhaps Shuei's comment is that black thinks it is achieving such a gain - claiming the corner quickly while sustaining some pressure in the running fight.

If I recall, someone here (Charles Matthews?) said they would like to see a book written on when to pull out stones. I think it is related to this issue of timing/tempo, and yes, I am for more of this!

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 Post subject: Re: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #6 Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:28 pm 
Honinbo

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Timing is important, but it’s hard to make rules about it.

In a sense, life and death problems have a lot to do with timing: the range of feasible moves is often somewhat clear, but solving the problem means finding the right sequence - the right timing to play a given move.

To find this in life and death problems, it’s often a matter of reading and practice. I don’t see why it’d be different for more global situations.

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 Post subject: Re: Timing - time for re-appraisal?
Post #7 Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:56 pm 
Lives with ko

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wineandgolover wrote:
Does slow have to describe timing rather than tempo?

Slow means inefficient / ineffective. Tempo is about gaining, keeping or losing sente. I think these are clearly related, but timing is less related to either.

Slow can mean inefficient like tempo loss in chess, when a similar local result can be achieved with a better tempo, or a better local result can be achieved with the same tempo. In such cases there may exist some shape, tactics or forcing move to achieve a more efficient result in regard to tempo.

Slow can also mean that a move is ineffective globally, taking gote and losing global initiative for too tittle local gain. In such cases tenuki is better, accepting a local loss in exchange for a gain in tempo. You may preceed your tenuki by some forcing moves to limit the gain your opponent can achieve by subsequent "punishment" of your tenuki.

Slow can also mean ineffective distance between stones, lacking speed or pressure in a fight. Like nobi when a jump is available, jump when a knight move is available, checking or capping when an attachment or shoulder is available. This is related to softness vs severity.

Timing is a different concept on a higher strategic level.

With forcing moves, you may want to delay to avoid aji-keshi. But when you delay too long, your opponent may be able to counter in a way that you don't like. In such cases, timing comes into play. A well timed forcing moves makes your opponent play a move that will end up redundant (inefficient) at a moment when it's very inconvenient for him.

Timing is also related to probes / asking moves. Before deciding which strategy to follow, you may play an asking move (a forcing move where your opponent has different options for his response). Timing of a probe can be crucial, because you need to play the probe just before it's clear which response is best for your opponent and it should also be hard to ignore at that moment. A well timed probe poses a develish dilemma to your opponent.


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