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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #61 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:06 pm 
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snorri wrote:
The term seems to be used in situations where reducing the possibility for complications is a little bit surprising but shows a mature appreciation that efficiency is not always about greed. When I read Hane Naoki's The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game (unfortunately, in English) I assumed that the term honte would be used more than it was. But this may be a translator's choice.


I suspect that that is a translation of this book: 厚い碁の作り方 ( http://www.amazon.co.jp/厚い碁の作り方-碁の心発見シリーズ-羽根-直樹/dp/4818204854 ). Hane has also written a book on honte: 本手の打ち方が分かる本 (The Book to Understand How to Play Honte), available at http://www.amazon.co.jp/本手の打ち方が分かる本-マイコミ囲碁ブックス-羽根-直樹/dp/4839925461 .

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #62 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:31 pm 
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I have an impression that Bill, and maybe Kirby, are in the camp that believes honte are far from rare, and can even be a stylistic trait.

I differ. I'm not saying they are like hens' teeth, just that they are rare enough to be commented on when they do happen, and so on the whole it's become more of a commentator's word than a player's word. And while I don't deny that a predilection towards playing honte can be characteristic of a player, I still believe at best his games will like a cherry cake - too many cherries will ruin the cake. Plus, I don't really see that you can set out easily to play honte - it has to be a response to a situation in which your opponent has just as much say in how it is created.

However, rather than rely on impressions alone, I spent a little time sifting through the contents pages of quite a few books that I assumed were likely to talk about honte because they covered topics such as the difference between pro and amateur play, thickness, the middle game, etc. My finding is that not a single book had a section devoted to honte (or usote), yet all the usual suspects were there: e.g. how to attack, sabaki, shinogi, good shape - and, surprisingly often, direction of play. There are a few books on honte, of course, but relative to the number of books on those other topics, they are as rare as, well, honte.

So I retain my assertions about honte.

But the direction of play business intrigued me. It hadn't registered with me how often it appears in these books, and when I looked at some of the examples my feeling was that I understood perfectly well what DoP meant - but knowing that didn't help me in the slightest to get any of the problems right. So I concluded that knowing the term itself or the definition is not enough. But what was I missing?

In fact, from previous posts I think quite a few people share my bemusement about this. That seemed like a good excuse to compose another post like the OP of this thread to set the scene and elicit discussion on DoP.

But while the flesh is willing the spirit has been weakened by RJ and his derailments. How do I overcome that?

To be specific, I think the OP here may have taken me three or four hours by the time I'd retrieved books, looked everything up and made the diagrams. To spend all that time and see the work hijacked is not pleasant, especially as in practice the option of ignoring the hijack is not realistic.

So, grateful for comments, guidance.


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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #63 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:35 pm 
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It'll be derailed, yes. That won't diminish the worth of the OP in the eyes of the vast majority of users on here though. That, and I imagine many people do like I do and skip past the hijack related posts when reading the thread unless they're trying to kill some time.


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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #64 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:04 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I have an impression that Bill, and maybe Kirby, are in the camp that believes honte are far from rare, and can even be a stylistic trait.


To be clear, I am not sure if honte is rare or not - just that the lack of commentary about honte did not necessarily imply that it was not common. I like the examples we can see of moves that are honte, but given an arbitrary move from an arbitrary board position, I don't know if I can yet tell if a move is honte or not. It's all still very mysterious to me, but definitely intriguing, nonetheless.

P.S. I've had no intentions to derail this thread, but admittedly, sometimes I lose track of what the original discussion was focused on.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #65 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:42 pm 
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Further thread derailment:

Kirby wrote:

P.S. I've had no intentions to derail this thread, but admittedly, sometimes I lose track of what the original discussion was focused on.


And why is that? Why do I lose track of the topic of the original post, just to let the thread become derailed? The only conclusion that comes to mind is because of the type of person I've become.

I'm not a John Fairbairn that spends three or four hours of thought to make a single post. I'm not a Bill Spight that has shown expertise in his depth of endgame thought. I'm a Donald Duck that thinks very little very quickly. Someone says something intuitively disagreeable? I've got something to say about it. Thoughts come quickly, but without depth. It's a pity, really. Maybe it's become that way since fast thinking has, in the past, been successful for me. Sometimes little depth is good enough. Sometimes it works. But alas, the guilt it gives me. Perhaps this is the reason for my aggression toward Disney characters - it's too easy to see myself in that role. Even when I play go, the same tendency arises: the opponent plays - Oh! I have a response! Maybe it will work, but all the worse, for the habit continues to be reinforced by its success.

It's not about posting on the forum. It's not about go. It's deeper than that. To my core, I'm impressed with a fear. A fear that I've but little time left. Without responding and acting quickly, I'll never have time to do become someone - or to do the things I want to do. I won't have time to become 9d at go, or to work at Google. I won't have time to master Japanese or Korean, or read all of the books I want to read. I won't have time to do or be something... meaningful.

Paradoxically, I am coming to feel more and more that it is this fear and hurriedness that has brought me this far in life - without truly experiencing life. Continued down this path, I will soon come to pass, having accomplished little deeply and with true thought.

But alas, it is difficult for people to change. I've had moments of self-reflection in the past. But they become just that - the past. Will this Donald Duck ever come to truly think and change? Only time, my bitter adversary, will tell.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #66 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:58 pm 
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I share the same sense of not knowing how to select moves, even when I feel as if I understand the concepts. In this case, I was unable to select half or even more of the honte moves, even knowing that I was looking for a honte move. I don't think I'd now get the ones right that I got wrong, except if I remembered the positions.

As far as the arguing over definitions, this thread has still had a lot of good discussion, even though there was some noise.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #67 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:17 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I have an impression that Bill, and maybe Kirby, are in the camp that believes honte are far from rare, and can even be a stylistic trait.

I differ. I'm not saying they are like hens' teeth, just that they are rare enough to be commented on when they do happen, and so on the whole it's become more of a commentator's word than a player's word.


I think that we agree on how often (or rarely) the word, honte, appears in commentary. It is just that I think that many honte escape comment. For instance, in the Meijin League example I gave above, I think that the only reason :w18: received comment was that Okada preferred another play. Another commentator might note the honte but not comment on it, while yet another might disagree that it is honte.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Honte
$$ ----------------
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . W 2 . . .
$$ | . . X W X . . .
$$ | . . 1 X O O O .
$$ | . . . . X . . .
$$ | . . . X . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .[/go]


:b1: is honte, yet I doubt that it would receive comment unless the commentary were aimed at kyu players (who might not be aware that it threatens the :wc: stones).

The blurb for Honte Shinan says that in the book Otake takes honte patterns from joseki. And the examples at the Wikipedia Japan honte page are taken from joseki and appear to be nothing remarkable. (Since Otake's book is a reference for the page, they may well have come from the book.) From what I hear, Ishida refers to some joseki plays as honte. Most honte in joseki are what I had in mind by "garden variety" honte.

Would we expect joseki plays to receive special comment? For the most part, I think not. (Unless the commentary were aimed at kyu players, OC. :) ) And if not, why would any other honte receive special comment? Perhaps because it is an unusual choice, perhaps because it is a very good play, perhaps because it may not be so good.

There is another reason that a honte might not receive comment as a honte, which is hinted at on the Wikipedia Japan page. It might be called a thick play. The two terms are not synonymous, but there is substantial overlap. A honte might also be called good shape. (I do not recall a honte that is bad shape, do you?)

John Fairbairn wrote:
And while I don't deny that a predilection towards playing honte can be characteristic of a player, I still believe at best his games will like a cherry cake - too many cherries will ruin the cake.


I think that players with a thick style will be more likely to play honte. The Wikipedia Japan pages mentions Fujisawa Hideyuki and Otake Hideo.

John Fairbairn wrote:
Plus, I don't really see that you can set out easily to play honte - it has to be a response to a situation in which your opponent has just as much say in how it is created.


I quite agree. You might set out to play thickly. You might set out to avoid zokushu and usote. You might set out to make good shape. But I doubt if setting out to play honte is a realistic goal.

John Fairbairn wrote:
However, rather than rely on impressions alone, I spent a little time sifting through the contents pages of quite a few books that I assumed were likely to talk about honte because they covered topics such as the difference between pro and amateur play, thickness, the middle game, etc. My finding is that not a single book had a section devoted to honte (or usote), yet all the usual suspects were there: e.g. how to attack, sabaki, shinogi, good shape - and, surprisingly often, direction of play. There are a few books on honte, of course, but relative to the number of books on those other topics, they are as rare as, well, honte.


Indeed. And why is that, if honte are so wonderful? Why are there not as many books about honte as about shape? Or as many books as there are about myoshu? Myoshu are rare, probably even more rare than comments about honte. ;)

Hane Naoki has written a book about how to play honte. The blurb states that very few amateurs understand honte. Perhaps his view is close to yours, John. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #68 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:37 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
But while the flesh is willing the spirit has been weakened by RJ and his derailments. How do I overcome that?


One thing that may work is that you try and avoid disagreements with Robert? In this thread Robert's first comment was a fairly mild and short alternative (and not that vastly different) definition. If you treated this as the opinion of just some random poster on the forum you may or may not have answered, and if you had answered, you probably would have answered warmly. Your response to RJ's post was quite severe and critical, presumably based on your previous interactions.

I realize the thread could still go a little haywire as other posters may feel obliged to battle Robert (although I hope they try and resist), but at least you may feel a little more serene, and you could focus on responding to posts that are more aligned with yours - in spirit, that is, because I hope you welcome some level of disagreement or doubt.

I think you should also give Robert some credit for his discipline in starting new topics to limit off-topic derailment.

I enjoyed your first post and subsequent follow ups. I didn't entirely understand or even agree with them, but they gave me considerable food for thought. I also enjoyed (some of) Robert's inputs, because more viewpoints are usually useful rather than less. I'd like to believe I can eventually distill something that is useful to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #69 Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:57 pm 
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I would love to survey 10 Japanese professionals about the meaning of "honte" (and whole host of other terms that English-speaking players argue about). Would we get 10 different answers? Honte is obviously not like hane or nobi, which are clearly defined. Even if their answers are similar, I bet that there would be slight variations.

It seems to be a term that is like pornography in the sense that it can't quite be defined precisely but strong players know it when they see it.

I think the productive approach is to appreciate the value of a move when a strong player tells us that it is honte, rather than trying to appreciate the "honte-ness" of it. I do very much enjoy John's cultural and linguistic exposition on the usage of such words though. Maybe that's because he's a good writer, rather than because the topic itself is interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #70 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:09 am 
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lemmata wrote:
I would love to survey 10 Japanese professionals about the meaning of "honte" (and whole host of other terms that English-speaking players argue about). Would we get 10 different answers? Honte is obviously not like hane or nobi, which are clearly defined. Even if their answers are similar, I bet that there would be slight variations.

Yes, I wonder that too.
What I also wonder - would they each give a verbal description/definition - or would they slap some stones on the board point, to a move, and say: "this is honte."

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #71 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:00 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
RJ and his derailments. How do I overcome that?


Maybe by seeing a different opinion (e.g., "safe is not specific enough for distinguishing what is from what is not a honte") as constructive contribution instead of as derailment?

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Post #72 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:09 am 
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quantumf wrote:
Your response to RJ's post was quite severe and critical, presumably based on your previous interactions.
we must have been reading different threads.

By itself, nothing is wrong with Robert saying "here's my definition" and John saying "ain't gonna cut it". That's not derailment, and the back and forth was constructive, in my opinion. The derailment came later.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #73 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:30 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
But while the flesh is willing the spirit has been weakened by RJ and his derailments. How do I overcome that?

It takes two to tango. Try phrasing your replies to Robert more concisely - it will give him less to quote back at you.

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Post #74 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:48 am 
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hyperpape wrote:
quantumf wrote:
Your response to RJ's post was quite severe and critical, presumably based on your previous interactions.
we must have been reading different threads.

By itself, nothing is wrong with Robert saying "here's my definition" and John saying "ain't gonna cut it". That's not derailment, and the back and forth was constructive, in my opinion. The derailment came later.


OK, if John agrees with you, then I withdraw my suggestion. Perhaps John is referring to high ratio of posts made by Robert? Most have been on topic, but there have been some which are defensive in nature, of that granular quote/response/quote/response/quote/response style which many find so irritating. In general, I would say this thread hasn't gone too badly off topic (compared to some), and Robert has broken out some new threads to discuss certain sub-topics in more detail to limit derailment.

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #75 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:51 am 
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tchan001 wrote:
How should we perceive 'honte' in light of the nugget "When your position has no weakness, it means you are playing inefficiently" from Wang Yang as quoted by Benjamin Teuber in SL?


To relate to that, I think that we can say that a honte not only shores up weakness, it's also a good move. :)

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Post #76 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:08 am 
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lemmata wrote:
Would we get 10 different answers?


I would guess at least 11. :)

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Post #77 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:56 pm 
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Let me boil down my main point. :)

There are honte that receive comment because they are very good plays. There are also honte that receive comment because they are not so good plays. It is therefore plausible that there are also honte that lie in between these two groups, that receive no comment. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Honte - a primer
Post #78 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:00 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
tchan001 wrote:
How should we perceive 'honte' in light of the nugget "When your position has no weakness, it means you are playing inefficiently" from Wang Yang as quoted by Benjamin Teuber in SL?


To relate to that, I think that we can say that a honte not only shores up weakness, it's also a good move. :)
Interesting question. But of John's initial examples, many have weaknesses remaining. The two partial board examples are incomplete, and 3 is so early that I suspect that it's not what Wang Yang meant.

As I see it, game 7 and 8 both leave Black with no weakness once the honte is played. In 8, I don't know the game, but White may be preparing to invade the center, and doesn't want to leave weaknesses that will hobble him in the fighting that is coming.

In game 7, it seems interesting that Go didn't play honte, and I wonder if it was because the move seemed too safe, and therefore slack.

My theory: honte is typically a move that shores up one weakness, but it's rare that you'll want to leave no weaknesses. The key is keeping the global balance of strength and weaknesses reasonable, so that you can't be bullied and can fight acceptably. Consider the proverb to the effect that two weak groups will not both survive.

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Post #79 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Thanks to those who offered comments. Now I see which way the wind is blowing. It's ironic that I quoted an old song in another thread - murie sing cuccu - only to find the presence of the cuckoo in the nest is welcomed, or even preferred.

I'm OK with accepting that majority view, just as I have been OK with tolerating the usual distortions here, e.g. I think I used the phrase "admittedly imperfect translation" which by some mysterious process leads to a discussion of my "prescriptive" views and "definition". (And I'm sure I'm as guilty as the next man of falling into such traps.)

I'm also OK with odd comments from RJ - indeed I have enjoyed and praised some.

But the red line for me is putting in a lot of work and then having to wade through RJ's repetitive rants and derailments which add nothing new, and of course the replies they generate, just to get a meagre dollop of the genuine discussion that was meant to be my "reward". This is especially infuriating as quite a few of the comments here were just what I'd hoped for, even when I disagreed.

It's ignoble of me, but it got up my nose that someone even praised RJ's "discipline" in opening up new threads to avoid derailment. I hope I'm wrong, and if I am I'll happily apologise, but I don't think it's self discipline. It seems to be discipline imposed by an admin. My understanding is that some sort of restrictions were imposed on him, which may have been lifted by now.

Quoting RJ himself from rec.games.go on 1 Jan 2013, these were along the lines of a permanent L19 ban up to the end of 2012 being lifted and then limiting him to "at most three replies per thread" - one to speak his piece, one to clarify and one to reply to "someone particularly obtuse". There was also something on SL about this from tapir. Ironically that incident seemed to relate to "proper moves" too. Is it a coincidence that his first new thread here appeared just after I mentioned that he had made 11 posts? In other words, is a new thread just a way to defy the admin's intent? I may have all this wrong and/or be out of date and so it would be good to have RJ's own account, or the admin's, of any restrictions. Whilst I was in no way involved in these alleged restrictions, I confess to being influenced by them in my willingness, now shown to be naive, to post substantive pieces.

In any case, splintering off a new thread is essentially just doubling the derailment nuisance as far as I'm concerned. To be specific, in the three relevant threads, 178 post have been made and RJ made 45 of them (I made 10 but I did start the main thread after all). If you assume at least one post by others in response to each of his posts (it's usually more), we are close to him and his own concerns dominating or influencing maybe two thirds or even three quarters of the thread, even without taking into account the usually lengthy nature of his replies.

As I say, if others enjoy that, fine. I don't. So it makes sense for me not to cause myself grief by starting discussions that lead to that sort of scenario. I'll now limit myself again, like most others, to odd interventions and announcements.

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Post #80 Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:06 pm 
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Perhaps a discussion forum, or newsgroup, is the wrong setting for what you want John? One thing we used hammer home on a forum I used to be involved in was "You don't own the threads you start, you can't control where they go from your first post." Maybe, contact some people with contrasting views to your own who you'd enjoy the debate with, have the debate in a closed off setting and share it with others? I'd find it interesting to read anyway.

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