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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #21 Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:31 pm 
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What these explanations lack for me is a sense of when the locally excellent move (the "honte" move?) should be played. Yes, I understand that there is a lot of power in creating a really strong group with few weak points, and that that power can pay off over the long run, but even so, surely a "honte" move can also be "slack" if it is played at the wrong time, or to strengthen a group or area that is actually rather small and insignificant in terms of the whole board. In this sense I agree with Bantari that "honte" and "slack" should have some kind of strategic or whole board aspect to them.

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Post #22 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:10 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
I do not care, because, for English go terms use, I care for what has been English go terms use.


No, you care for what has been your own use.

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Post #23 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:11 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
'proper' has just too many rather different meanings and nuances, none of sit well with go.


In English go terminology, the phrase "proper move" is used in the same function as "honte" used in English go terminology. Therefore, there are not too many rather different meanings and nuances. Too many rather different meanings and nuances can occur when "proper" is used as a non-go-term word (in go texts); this is not what I suggest. I suggest to continue using the full phrase "proper move" (or its grammatical derivates, such as "the move is proper") or "honte" by those preferring more Japanese words in English go terminology.


Despite defining a phrase such as "proper move" as a go term, the word "proper" exists independently in the minds of any English speaking person. I am not sure, but I suspect that even when clearly defined as a go term, most people are not capable of eliminating from their minds other known meanings of the word, such as in this case: "correct according to social or moral rules" or "respectable." Is is not a legitimate concern that such nuances could influence the reader's interpretation of a go text?

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #24 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:32 am 
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What I'm sensing here in some posts is a desperate wish to turn a honte into a magic pill. Some people thing they can bottle them and sell them under a patented trade mark "Proper Moves". Some people seem to think that if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then eating 100 apples a day must be 100 times better.

I think it's better to view a honte as a birthday. Every day you get up, have breakfast, go to the office or the shops, etc etc. But on one day a year you do all that but have a piece of cake with candles stuck in it, and maybe open a present or two. When you reach a certain age you will probably also use that day to reflect on where you're life is going, or even what life is all about. Then the very next day you get on with climbing out of bed, eating your Cheerios, going to the office, etc etc.

A honte is as rare as a birthday. It occurs only once or twice in a game usually. Of course there are other moves that can fit the all-encompassing "proper move" description, but you play them for other reasons - it's the joseki, I can't see anything better, I'm ahead anyway, and so on. But a well-played game goes in a series of flows which come to branching points - decision time, in other words. We need guidance or motivation as to which branch to take. In some cases it is purely a matter of style: take territory, invade and cause a fight, or whatever. In some cases an all-or-nothing move (shoubute) is called for, because you are behind. You make your choice - have your party, then get on with the rest of the game/day as usual. You may, of course, forget your birthday and miss the party altogether - in game terms you will have misread the flow of the game.

In other words, there is a small treasury of words and phrases that go players and commentators use to comment on these few but significant crux points, or on missing them. That is all that is special about them. The commentators are not telling you turn every day into a birthday, or to take a magic pill. They are simply saying: this is an important strategic point in your game/life. It's a good time to reflect on your play/life.

In the specific case of a picking out a honte for comment, I think what the commentator is saying is something like (assuming a case of a player missing a honte): "X misread the flow of the game and got carried away by a lust to attack. He got his come-uppance later. What he ought to have done was to batten down the hatches and play a move that first covered his own weaknesses. You can learn from this. Learn to read the flow. Learn to be patient. Learn to see aji where others see none. If you can do this it will improve your game, even though you may only be called on to do it once or twice in a game, because it is of high strategic importance."

When a commentator says a move is an all-or-nothing move, and so is really saying "player X has carefully counted the game and knows he is behind and cannot win by normal moves - he must try desperate measures or even a swindle", I don't think anyone ever fails to understand that. (Of course, we may not put our understanding to use because we are too lazy to count, but that's a separate issue.)

So why is it so hard to apply the same attitude to honte? Just see it as commentator rhetoric, friendly advice to take a moment to reflect - not as a magic pill or (shudder) an axiom.


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Post #25 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:51 am 
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I can see that commentary that a move is honte may be rare. But in itself, this doesn't imply that honte is rare. Is there a pro that's said this, or perhaps an article that indicates this? How do we know this to be true?

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #26 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:41 am 
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HermanHiddema wrote:
RobertJasiek wrote:
for English go terms use, I care for what has been English go terms use.


No, you care for what has been your own use.


I do not overlook my own use when I care for what has been English go terms use.

daal wrote:
Is is not a legitimate concern that such nuances could influence the reader's interpretation of a go text?


Many (go or non-go) terms are expressed by words otherwise used with other meanings. So what? E.g., 'board', 'stone', 'player', 'play', 'move'. Do you also consider "legitimate concerns" for terms using these words?;)

John Fairbairn wrote:
patented trade mark "Proper Moves".


The phrase is not invented by a single person, but common use among many players. Specific definitions for the phrase are suggested by single persons. The purpose of a definition is not patenting it, but is spreading it.

Quote:
there is a small treasury of words and phrases that go players and commentators use to comment on these few but significant crux points, or on missing them. [...] this is an important strategic point in your game [...]


E.g., they can be called "decisive moments of making major decisions / strategic choices". It is possible that, at such a moment, a proper move might be played. It is also possible that a proper move is played at other moments. Furthermore, it is possible that, at a decisive moment, no proper move is played.

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So why is it so hard to apply the same attitude to honte?


Is it?

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #27 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:08 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
HermanHiddema wrote:
RobertJasiek wrote:
for English go terms use, I care for what has been English go terms use.

No, you care for what has been your own use.

I do not overlook my own use when I care for what has been English go terms use.

No you do not overlook it indeed. Quite the contrary, it is in fact the only use you generally consider.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #28 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:23 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
A honte is as rare as a birthday. It occurs only once or twice in a game usually. Of course there are other moves that can fit the all-encompassing "proper move" description, but you play them for other reasons - it's the joseki, I can't see anything better, I'm ahead anyway, and so on. But a well-played game goes in a series of flows which come to branching points - decision time, in other words. We need guidance or motivation as to which branch to take. In some cases it is purely a matter of style: take territory, invade and cause a fight, or whatever. In some cases an all-or-nothing move (shoubute) is called for, because you are behind. You make your choice - have your party, then get on with the rest of the game/day as usual. You may, of course, forget your birthday and miss the party altogether - in game terms you will have misread the flow of the game.


I don't have a problem with people celebrating birthdays, but dans who seem to believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and ghosts, are what I call honte style.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #29 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:28 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:

daal wrote:
Is is not a legitimate concern that such nuances could influence the reader's interpretation of a go text?


Many (go or non-go) terms are expressed by words otherwise used with other meanings. So what? E.g., 'board', 'stone', 'player', 'play', 'move'. Do you also consider "legitimate concerns" for terms using these words?;)


I don't have a problem with the words "black" and "white," if that's what you mean. Unlike "proper," the words you mentioned are already strongly associated with board games and the extraneous nuances are unlikely to lead one astray. Other words, such as "attack" or "punishment" can be more challenging. As a translator, I am always interested in expressing the original idea as well as possible. Nuances and connotations play an important role in how a word is understood, and it is unwise to ignore them.

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Post #30 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:45 am 
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HermanHiddema wrote:
it is in fact the only use you generally consider.


Wrong. Apparently, you confuse other terms invented and defined by me with "proper move = honte", which is NOT invented, but approximately defined by me. "Proper move" and "honte" both have been used in English go terminology for decades, while my definition is of 2011. Therefore, I do not overlook the use of "proper move" and "honte" excluding my own use of it before and since 2011. Hence, my own use is not the only use I consider. Similar things can be said about my observation of use of other terms, so that generally the opposite of what you suggest above is correct.

Furthermore, I have also observed unfortunate use of "proper move" and "honte" by kyu players (ca. 3 kyu or weaker) not having a good understanding of the concept yet. (In recent years, with online information being available, this problem may have decreased.) Again, this is another use that is not my own use and that, contrary to your suggestion, I consider.

Instead of making an unjustified, wrong claim about my considerations, it would be much more interesting if you could discuss suggested definitions. E.g., can you show us a proper move called so by a dan player that violates conditions of the definitions? Would you call that move "proper move" or "honte"? Why do you think that a particular definition is (not) useful for improving strategic understanding? Let's have discussion instead of meta-discussion!

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Post #31 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:09 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
HermanHiddema wrote:
it is in fact the only use you generally consider.


Wrong. Apparently, you confuse other terms invented and defined by me with "proper move = honte", which is NOT invented, but approximately defined by me. "Proper move" and "honte" both have been used in English go terminology for decades, while my definition is of 2011. Therefore, I do not overlook the use of "proper move" and "honte" excluding my own use of it before and since 2011. Hence, my own use is not the only use I consider. Similar things can be said about my observation of use of other terms, so that generally the opposite of what you suggest above is correct.

Furthermore, I have also observed unfortunate use of "proper move" and "honte" by kyu players (ca. 3 kyu or weaker) not having a good understanding of the concept yet. (In recent years, with online information being available, this problem may have decreased.) Again, this is another use that is not my own use and that, contrary to your suggestion, I consider.

Instead of making an unjustified, wrong claim about my considerations, it would be much more interesting if you could discuss suggested definitions. E.g., can you show us a proper move called so by a dan player that violates conditions of the definitions? Would you call that move "proper move" or "honte"? Why do you think that a particular definition is (not) useful for improving strategic understanding? Let's have discussion instead of meta-discussion!


I am not saying that you are wrong, nor that a definition is not useful. I'm just observing that John has quoted 8 strong players to arrive at a definition of honte, while you have quoted none. You claim you have in fact considered the use by others, so can you give a list of the people/sources you consulted and their definitions of honte? Perhaps with some specific game examples as John did?

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Post #32 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:29 am 
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Kirby wrote:
I can see that commentary that a move is honte may be rare. But in itself, this doesn't imply that honte is rare.


I'm with Kirby on this. :) I think that there are a lot of garden variety honte that escape commentary, precisely because they are garden variety. John Fairbairn's first example of a hanging connection in a joseki is a case in point. :) I also think that honte is to some extent a matter of style, that a player with a thick style will make more honte than a player with a different style. I am also reminded of Go Seigen's remark that an old man who plays honte, honte, is hard to beat. (Unfortunately I read that a long time ago and tracking it down would take some time. :( )

See http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/本手 . Even if you do not read Japanese you can dig the examples. :)

Also, Otake wrote a book, 本手指南 (Honte Instruction, or maybe The Honte Coach), which has 5 stars on Amazon Japan ( http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/switch-langu ... uage=en_JP ).

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Post #33 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:32 am 
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For your amusement. ;)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073691/

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #34 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:46 am 
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Herman, for an etymological study in Japanese, John's quotes are useful, and maybe his concluded definition amounts to the average conveyed meaning of honte in those quotes. However, those quotes were not meant to provide a clear definition of honte.

I have quoted none, because a) I am not doing an etymological study (in English), b) I have made my observations only mentally and c) I have better use for my time than recording all informal evidence I collect firstly for myself while listening to go talk / speeches or reading go texts, or for doing retrospect historical study. Of course, this is a bit unfortunate, because you need to believe me about what I claim to have observed instead of having access to carefully collected evidence.

I have looked at John's examples and found that they fit my definition.

It fits also every example (for some, or in particular the, term) I recall explicitly or, much more often, subconsciously. Why? Over the years, when I see some example, I compare it with my current draft of a definition. When necessary, I update and improve the draft, so that it fits all earlier and the latest seen examples. At some time, I proceed a step further and write a definition.

And this is my way of coming to a definition. (For other terms, I might also add specific research. For proper move, it was a matter of a few dozen minutes of actually formulating the definition text suitably.)

When formulating my definition, I looked at joseki examples, after I had first filtered hundreds of josekis for those with proper moves. You find such examples in every joseki dictionary. (Of course, honte occurs also outside josekis, but historically it was like this that I checked joseki shapes during the formulation process. From experience, I was aware that things are very similar in non-joseki shapes.)

EDIT: when I define a go term, my aim is not etymology, but is greatest usefulness for go theory.

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Post #35 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:11 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
My definition of proper move would apply only to such slack moves that "postpone the necessity for yet another local move until much later by eliminating aji and creating thick shape."


I'm actually not sure whether this makes sense, despite re-reading it 4 or 5 times now. A local move is necessary or not. You can't postpone something if it is necessary now, and you don't have to postpone it if it isn't. I'm not sure that you can "postpone the necessity for yet another..." at all.

I must admit, after reading John's OP I sat here feeling like I'd just read a superb explanation and definition of a commonly used but poorly understood term.

Not only did I feel a bit confused after your definition Robert, and felt some of the same criticisms that John made, but have found that my confusion is now worse after seeing your defense of the defition.

I suspect not being a native speaker of English probably doesn't make things easy for you, but it's probably best not to label your definition as "more precise" when it seems anything but.

On the subject of definitions:

RobertJasiek wrote:
"_Aji_ lies in the latent, bad possibilities in a player's imperfect shape that the opponent might exploit to his advantage at a suitable moment." [10]


I have a suspicion that this is simply not correct, although I hope John will tell me if I'm barking up the wrong tree here. Aji simply points towards the possibilities inherent in a local part of a position does it not? Even if a player's shape is truly excellent, there may well still be some remaining aji that can be exploited.

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Post #36 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:18 am 
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daal wrote:
RobertJasiek wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
'proper' has just too many rather different meanings and nuances, none of sit well with go.


In English go terminology, the phrase "proper move" is used in the same function as "honte" used in English go terminology. Therefore, there are not too many rather different meanings and nuances. Too many rather different meanings and nuances can occur when "proper" is used as a non-go-term word (in go texts); this is not what I suggest. I suggest to continue using the full phrase "proper move" (or its grammatical derivates, such as "the move is proper") or "honte" by those preferring more Japanese words in English go terminology.


Despite defining a phrase such as "proper move" as a go term, the word "proper" exists independently in the minds of any English speaking person. I am not sure, but I suspect that even when clearly defined as a go term, most people are not capable of eliminating from their minds other known meanings of the word, such as in this case: "correct according to social or moral rules" or "respectable." Is is not a legitimate concern that such nuances could influence the reader's interpretation of a go text?


The term "proper move" is a nightmare. I'd distinguish between "That is proper" and "That is the proper move" in meaning as someone eluded to earlier as linguistic hair splitting. They don't mean the same thing to me. I'd be very wary of taking a technical term from go and using an English phrase like "proper move" to sum it up. Proper is a word that doesn't even have the same connotations everywhere, it can be used rather negatively here and I imagine in other countries. It's just not a word that's useful to tight definitions.

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Post #37 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:35 am 
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Boidhre wrote:
It's just not a word that's useful to tight definitions.


Again, it is not the word alone that constitutes the term. It is the phrase "proper move".

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Post #38 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:47 am 
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topazg wrote:
I must admit, after reading John's OP I sat here feeling like I'd just read a superb explanation and definition of a commonly used but poorly understood term.

Not only did I feel a bit confused after your definition Robert, and felt some of the same criticisms that John made, but have found that my confusion is now worse after seeing your defense of the defition.

I suspect not being a native speaker of English probably doesn't make things easy for you, but it's probably best not to label your definition as "more precise" when it seems anything but.


From a mathematical point of view you can define everything as you want and it is true by definition (provided it is not contradicting itself).
However in practise you are calling for trouble if you redefine common words or make the definition more strict or wider.

For me it seems better to use a new term else nobody knows what a word means. Especially for Robert it shouldn't be that difficult to use a kind of substitution to get unambiguous terms instead of expecting that others use the terms as he has defined them.

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Post #39 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:55 am 
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topazg wrote:
I'm not sure that you can "postpone the necessity for yet another..." at all.


Due to a proper move, yet another [local reinforcing defense] move is needed 'not soon', but 'later'. The proper move shifts the moment from 'soon' to [much] 'later'. I.e., the proper move 'postpones' the moment when yet another move is needed.

An improper move would fail to postpone at all or that well.

Quote:
I must admit, after reading John's OP I sat here feeling like I'd just read a superb explanation and definition of a commonly used but poorly understood term.


His explanation is similar to my weak understanding when I was a kyu. I had some idea of "safe" and "doing well in achieving safety", but did not know what that safety or otherwise missing safety was all about. When reading only "safe and sound", it does not tell what 'safe' and 'sound' actually are.

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RobertJasiek wrote:
"_Aji_ lies in the latent, bad possibilities in a player's imperfect shape that the opponent might exploit to his advantage at a suitable moment." [10]


I have a suspicion that this is simply not correct [...] Aji simply points towards the possibilities inherent in a local part of a position does it not?


Different definitions of 'aji' exist. I use mine, because, essentially whenever I apply it to more advanced theory, I need my more specific definition of aji with its "bad" possibilities and "suitable moment". OTOH, one can imagine also other advanced applications, where your simplistic kind of definition is advantageous. I avoid this problem of multiple possible definitions of aji by then not speaking of 'aji' but simply of 'possibilities'.

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Post #40 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:06 am 
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asura wrote:
for Robert it shouldn't be that difficult to use a kind of substitution to get unambiguous terms instead of expecting that others use the terms as he has defined them.


When a term has a commonly accepted meaning, I keep the term. When a term has a commenly accepted rough meaning, I keep the term and clarify the meaning. When a term has several meanings, I might make the term more specific. When a term did not exist, I invent some term as necessary.

"Proper move" is a term having had a commonly accepted rough meaning among most dan players, so that I have kept the term and clarified its meaning. I have discarded the much rougher kyu level meaning of the term, because my intention is not to keep kyus kyus - instead, they shall share dan level meaning.

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