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 Post subject: Tsumego: Easy or hard?
Post #1 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:20 pm 
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This topic started on Zafuri95's study log (https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?p=255554#p255554) and seemed to be taking over so I thought it would be more polite to continue it here.

These are all the old posts on the subject:

Elom wrote:
Knotwilg wrote:
zafuri95 wrote:
Here's some weekly updates on my progresses:-

1. I've been practicing sometime across the week with OGS's Spectral 4k bot.
2. I occasionally won some games but generally I got punished by the bot.
3. I find that I gave my opponent influence too easily. Even though I get the territory I wanted, due to the massive influences I don't get to fight or reduce them at all. It looks like I need to buckle up and learn how to balance influence and territory.
4. I've been doing tesuji drills and life & death on daily basis.
5. My "Shape Up!" reads doesn't help me too often, I don't come across many situations where I can put them to use. But I keep reading it since I committed and tried to create a collection of shapes that I will encounter most often to refer. Hope it helps.
6. The book that helped me the most was Elementary Series: Attack and Defense. I took a peep at "All About Influence" to fix my worry and anxiety to handle thickness / influence. I may include that book into my study in future.

Conclusion:-
I'm trusting the daily drill of tesuji to help my games, and I wish I calculate more often in games. The time pressure puts me to play on "feeling" too often and I think that will develop really bad habits, I'm trying to shake this off. I'm also learning more on practical theories that I will encounter more often so I can put them to use. Concluding this week's performance, I'm still at the same rank at OGS 10K and no changes despite all the wins and losses. I hope I'm able to see my OGS rank progresses in coming weeks. I've also started an IGS account at 10k and have not played any game yet as OGS is my main server now. I'll continue this weekly reflection post on Sundays for coming weeks.

Weaknesses encountered:-
1. Influence handling
2. Direction of play
3. Josekis (Not corner josekis, they are josekis of reduction, invasion etc.)
4. Lacking fighting spirit (Wanted to settle down too often and choose sub-par moves and put less pressure to opponent, not confident to handle cuts)

I've also posted my sgf for reviews at "Game Analysis" session. AI reviews don't help because I don't understand the "whys". Please point out what I can do better to improve :)


Studying techniques, L&D, concepts, openings ... is definitely going to improve your game but only in the long run. If you are sensitive to short term (rank) progress, you'll have to consciously integrate aspects of Go which matter most to the outcome. At this level, these are often aspects of gamesmanship (not giving up, managing time, think of alternative moves) and very mundane things like keeping track of liberties of a group (to avoid stupid losses).

Basic techniques will get you a long way. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?BasicInstinct


I've wondered what the qualitative difference might be between solving 'easy' tsumego (tsumego aimed at a few ranks below yourself) and 'hard' tsumego (tsumego aimed at a few ranks above yourself). My impression is that instinctual training from easy tsumego is long-term improvement plan while gamesmanship is more so about mental fortitude and perhaps overriding bad instincts most kyu players may have? In any case, it seems, according to the reasoning I'm using here, is that the former works best for long-term improvement and the latter for short-term elevations in gamesmanship. Would you say that's true in your experience? I thought of focusing on long term strength from short games in the week and short-term strength from long games on the weekends too.


Bill Spight wrote:
Elom wrote:
I've wondered what the qualitative difference might be between solving 'easy' tsumego (tsumego aimed at a few ranks below yourself) and 'hard' tsumego (tsumego aimed at a few ranks above yourself). My impression is that instinctual training from easy tsumego is long-term improvement plan while gamesmanship is more so about mental fortitude and perhaps overriding bad instincts most kyu players may have?


Knotwilg's gamesmanship qualities aside, IMHO most people who want to improve do themselves a disservice by solving easy tsumego. I used to be a bridge expert. In large tournaments with hundreds of pairs, my typical result was about 5th place. ;) One of my partners told me that of all her partners, I was the quickest to work out what was going on. (Bridge is a game of hidden information.) Maybe so, but I did not develop that skill by solving easy problems quickly. I took my to time to try to solve and thoroughly understand difficult problems. It was that understanding that enabled me to figure things out quickly at the table. :)

How much time you want to work on a problem is up to you. My feeling for kyu players is anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. But the problems should be hard enough that you get only around half of the right in that time. :) OC, you should review those you miss and overlearn them. And it doesn't hurt to review easy problems from time to time. Like one afternoon a year. ;) Solving easy problems is a long term plan for non-improvement. You have to challenge yourself. :)


zafuri95 wrote:
Quote:
How much time you want to work on a problem is up to you. My feeling for kyu players is anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. But the problems should be hard enough that you get only around half of the right in that time. :) OC, you should review those you miss and overlearn them. And it doesn't hurt to review easy problems from time to time. Like one afternoon a year. ;) Solving easy problems is a long term plan for non-improvement. You have to challenge yourself. :)


Yes and in fact I find my progression fastest when I was solving tsumegos slightly harder than what I can cope with. It was exhilarating getting them right. That aside, my local Go club player handed me few questions coming from the Kiseido's book "GO Graded Problems for Dan players: 4 kyu - 1 Dan" and I could actually solve them within the suggested time frame.

My current frustration comes from the disparity between my ability to solve tsumegos and my actual game judgment, evaluation and decision making. In small boards, I played my way to 1 Dan in FoxGo, but that doesn't translate to 19x19 games. But I've learned from a Chinese article that this is actually normal and I should not equate tsumego solving ability to real gameplay ability.

So I concluded that I need to work on the bad habits and the correct mentality to play.


SoDesuNe wrote:
I did a lot of easy tsumegos for a long time and the main downfall I experienced is becoming complacent.

Easily seeing the answers gets you in a feedback loop that there is no need to check the lines to the end or really look for the strongest move (yours and your opponent's).

I ended up with playing "vital points", either not checking beforehand if they would work or just lazily reading out some (wishful) lines.

So, yeah: You have to be challenged to grow, it's a muscle thing : )

PS: Don't think too much of tsumego book titles. The regular Graded Go Problems series is way harder than the proclaimed target audience. The Graded Go Problems For Dan Player series is way below the average (KGS) dan-player. There is an essay in the book Treasure Chest Enigma, where the author hints that especially newspapers in Japan gave easier problems but wrote something like "30 seconds for 1-dan". It gives a cozy feeling to the audience, nothing more.


SoDesuNe wrote:
I did a lot of easy tsumegos for a long time and the main downfall I experienced is becoming complacent.

Easily seeing the answers gets you in a feedback loop that there is no need to check the lines to the end or really look for the strongest move (yours and your opponent's).

I ended up with playing "vital points", either not checking beforehand if they would work or just lazily reading out some (wishful) lines.

So, yeah: You have to be challenged to grow, it's a muscle thing : )

PS: Don't think too much of tsumego book titles. The regular Graded Go Problems series is way harder than the proclaimed target audience. The Graded Go Problems For Dan Player series is way below the average (KGS) dan-player. There is an essay in the book Treasure Chest Enigma, where the author hints that especially newspapers in Japan gave easier problems but wrote something like "30 seconds for 1-dan". It gives a cozy feeling to the audience, nothing more.


Splatted wrote:
Sorry for double posting I need to correct myself. Yanagisawa did not say easy problems he said easy collections. So interpret that how you will. I think the general point reamains the same but the difference is not inconsequential as any collection will naturally contain a range of problems.


And below are todays posts:

SoDesuNe wrote:
I can get behind easy collections ; )

As just a hobby go player I like to feel good when I'm pursuing my dreams. 50% failure rate in problems does not feel good to me. I'm more a 33%- to 25% kind of guy. Also reminds you to stay sharp but lets you feel good about yourself, too.


Bill Spight wrote:
Splatted wrote:
On the subject of easy tsumego, I've concidentally just started translating a short video by Japanese pro Yanagisawa Satoshi 5p (柳澤理志) on exactly this subject. It's part of a 4 part series of videos, 5 to 10 mins each, focused on how to use tsumego to improve. I intend to translate all of them and will share them on the forum if there's interest, but for now you may want to know that the first (and longest) video is about why you should focus on easy tsumego.


Because of copyright issues, I am not sure that posting a full translation here would be considered fair use. But surely summarizing his ideas would be valuable. :)

Quote:
The reasoning is that more complicated tsumego are built on top of the simpler ones. This is an entirely literal statement. The positions found at the beginning of beginner tsumego can also be found 1 or 2 moves in to the solutions of a more advanced ones, and those advanced problems will again be found 1 or 2 moves in to the solutions of yet more advanced tsumego. It is by building this foundation step by step that one learns to solve more advanced problems.


This reasoning has been the basis of many textbooks, probably for centuries. But research has shown that it is at best a half truth. Within limits, the order of learning does not matter. You don't have to build knowledge and understanding up logically, step by step. In the case of tsumego, suppose that I can get around half of 3-5 kyu problems right, and most of those I miss are because they are built upon 8-10 kyu problems that I would also miss, or never learned thoroughly. That does not mean that I have to go back and work on 8-10 kyu problems. Overlearning the problems that I miss will do just as well, if not better. Overlearning is a review technique. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?Overlearning

Quote:
He also stresses that it's important to repeat problems and always read out the answer thoroughly. This applies even when you remember the answer from last time you solved it.


Good point about reading out the solutions to problems you know. (Seeing the solution sequences is OK, too. :)) IMO, thoroughness is very important. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?GoProblemsTheFudgeFactor

Quote:
So my opinion is that although SoDesuNe's experience of improving more from hard problems because they forced him to read is likely very common, the important difference was not the problems themselves, but actually that he was reading in one instance and not the other. In other words I think people are focusing on the wrong variable.


There is a lot to studying and practicing go problems. A lot of people put emphasis on reading. Spaced repetition, not mentioned between us now, is also important, and well discussed on L19. :) But the emphasis on easy problems is, IMHO, misguided. The 50% rule is based on psychological research dating back decades. The research on overlearning goes back even further.

None of this is to disparage Yanagisawa or his videos. I look forward to your write-ups of them. :)


xela wrote:
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, there's more than one way to do it! Some people learn better from constantly challenging themselves, some benefit more from repetitive drill to reinforce the basics. (And some even get good results by alternating these strategies, one month easy, one month hard or something.)

Unfortunately there's not a lot of controlled scientific studies on long term learning. (In the lab, you can see how much someone improves or retains over a few hours, or even days, but it's much harder to study what happens over a five year period.) So most of the evidence is anecdotal. But I believe that both approaches have about equally good results, for those who have the motivation to stick with it. Of course if the problems are so easy that you get bored and give up, or so hard that you get frustrated and give up, it's not a good long-term plan for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Tsumego: Easy or hard?
Post #2 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:21 pm 
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@SoDesuNe: You and me both :D

Bill Spight wrote:
Quote:
He also stresses that it's important to repeat problems and always read out the answer thoroughly. This applies even when you remember the answer from last time you solved it.


Good point about reading out the solutions to problems you know. (Seeing the solution sequences is OK, too. :)) IMO, thoroughness is very important. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?GoProblemsTheFudgeFactor


I think I may have identified the true point of contention. What exactly constitutes an "easy problem"? As I interpret it, the advice from Yanigasawa is to take easy problems and challenge yourself to read them to a high standard like the one described in that link. If you have a 50% success rate with that level of strictness then I think you're actually doing what he suggests. It's at least close to what I intend to do.

Putting aside the video. I think it's natural to assume if you can see the solution to a problem pretty much straight away then it's an easy problem. If you don't have to read at all to blitz through the solution on GoProblems.com, it must be an easy problem, right? As shown by your own thought process, it's not immediately apparent that these problems are not fully solved. They can turn out to be very difficult if you do them right, but I think this is what most people mean when they refer to easy problems.

I'm not trying to start a pedantic debate about what should or shouldn't be described as easy, but rather ascertain if we're actually just using different words to mean the same thing. i.e. Would you consider a problem easy if you found a successful line quickly but struggled to read it out thoroughly?

Quote:
Quote:
The reasoning is that more complicated tsumego are built on top of the simpler ones...


This reasoning has been the basis of many textbooks, probably for centuries. But research has shown that it is at best a half truth. Within limits, the order of learning does not matter. You don't have to build knowledge and understanding up logically, step by step. In the case of tsumego, suppose that I can get around half of 3-5 kyu problems right, and most of those I miss are because they are built upon 8-10 kyu problems that I would also miss, or never learned thoroughly. That does not mean that I have to go back and work on 8-10 kyu problems. Overlearning the problems that I miss will do just as well, if not better. Overlearning is a review technique. See https://senseis.xmp.net/?Overlearning


I'm not sure exactly what research you mean but based just on your comment these seem to be two different things. I'm in complete agreement that most things can be learned in whichever order you want. You can start learning a language with obscure grammar formations and save the common ones for later, you can learn to shift up and down the neck of a violin before learning basic finger placement and you can learn rare tesuji before basic living/dead shapes. If you want to, you can. The order doesn't matter. While these things are part of an interrelated whole, they can be separated out and taught individually.

But that seperation does matter. I believe this is also well researched. Whatever you're learning, it is most efficient to break it down in to simple components that can be absorbed easily, and that is the difference between easy and difficult go problems. Yes there are some patterns that are saved for later because they are deemed less important or too complicated, but most hard problems are a combination of simpler problems. This isn't a learning order issue.

Bill Spight wrote:
Quote:
So my opinion is that although SoDesuNe's experience of improving more from hard problems because they forced him to read is likely very common, the important difference was not the problems themselves, but actually that he was reading in one instance and not the other. In other words I think people are focusing on the wrong variable.


There is a lot to studying and practicing go problems. A lot of people put emphasis on reading. Spaced repetition, not mentioned between us now, is also important, and well discussed on L19. :) But the emphasis on easy problems is, IMHO, misguided. The 50% rule is based on psychological research dating back decades. The research on overlearning goes back even further.


Yes this is all* important too. I didn't mean to imply there were only two variables, just that I suspect people often match the amount of reading they do to the difficulty of the problem and so attribute their improvement to studying difficult problems.

*I haven't actually heard of the 50% rule. It sounds worth looking in to but for now I suspect this may be the one point of genuine disagreement. I think if I'm failing 50% of my problems because I overlooked variations, that means I'm not being thorough enough in my reading, and if I'm failing to find any solution that means I'm attempting problems I can't possibly expect to read thoroughly. I like 50% even less when applied to other things. A musical passage I get wrong 50% of the time? I'm spending as much time drilling the mistakes as I am the correct version! :scratch:

Bill Spight wrote:

Because of copyright issues, I am not sure that posting a full translation here would be considered fair use. But surely summarizing his ideas would be valuable. :)


Don't worry, I'm just adding English subtitles to his youtube video (with permission) so there's no copyright issue and the video will be free for all to view.


Bill Spight wrote:
None of this is to disparage Yanagisawa or his videos. I look forward to your write-ups of them. :)


Of course I am glad for the discussion. I had actually hoped the videos would spark one. :D


****

@Xela: That probably did need pointing out. I do think that there are some reliable principles that have been reasonably proven to apply to everyone though. Me and Bill seem to agree that spaced repetition, overlearning and not cramming all fall in to this category. People can approach them in their own way but imo we should all be doing them.

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 Post subject: Re: Tsumego: Easy or hard?
Post #3 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:09 pm 
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I think a problem that takes a couple of minutes to solve is ideal. Depending on who you ask, you might get a different answer as to whether that's easy or hard.

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 Post subject: Re: Tsumego: Easy or hard?
Post #4 Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:28 pm 
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Splatted wrote:
I'm not trying to start a pedantic debate about what should or shouldn't be described as easy, but rather ascertain if we're actually just using different words to mean the same thing. i.e. Would you consider a problem easy if you found a successful line quickly but struggled to read it out thoroughly?


To quote myself from the Fudge Factor page on SL:

Much, much later (2019): Now I have a strict criterion for solving a problem. You have to be able to answer all of the opponent's replies.

Quote:
I didn't mean to imply there were only two variables, just that I suspect people often match the amount of reading they do to the difficulty of the problem and so attribute their improvement to studying difficult problems.


I guess we are talking to different people. ;) What I have heard, over and over, is the advice to do a lot of easy problems, and do them quickly. Until this discussion, I have not heard anybody attribute their advancement to doing hard problems. (Edit: And I have heard more than once people claim that they are working on problem sets that they get right at least 90% of the time instead of moving on.) The 50% rule is a Goldilocks heuristic: not too easy, not too hard, but just right. :)

Edit: The handicap system in go is, in terms of advancement, an example of the 50% rule. You keep on adjusting the handicap until you get a challenge that is just right for learning. That's one reason why reviewing your own games is one of the best ways to advance. :)

Quote:
*I haven't actually heard of the 50% rule. It sounds worth looking in to but for now I suspect this may be the one point of genuine disagreement. I think if I'm failing 50% of my problems because I overlooked variations, that means I'm not being thorough enough in my reading, and if I'm failing to find any solution that means I'm attempting problems I can't possibly expect to read thoroughly. I like 50% even less when applied to other things. A musical passage I get wrong 50% of the time? I'm spending as much time drilling the mistakes as I am the correct version! :scratch:


Not so. As for drilling mistakes, I have made the same point here on L19 about attempting to read too deeply. :) The 50% rule is combined with overlearning, so that most of your practice or drill is in doing it right. Overlearning means that you don't just work on something until you get it right, you keep on doing it right, again and again.

Quote:
Bill Spight wrote:

Because of copyright issues, I am not sure that posting a full translation here would be considered fair use. But surely summarizing his ideas would be valuable. :)


Don't worry, I'm just adding English subtitles to his youtube video (with permission) so there's no copyright issue and the video will be free for all to view.


That's terrific! :D

BTW, this is a recurrent theme for discussion here on L19. I didn't search for all that I have written about it, but I did refer to the pages on SL.

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 Post subject: Re: Tsumego: Easy or hard?
Post #5 Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:51 pm 
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Well it turns out translation is slower harder work than I thought, so the promised videos will take longer than I expected. Sorry to anyone who is waiting.

Also, the series is guidelines for those that want the advice of a pro. It's not a thorough argument designed to sway those who disagree. (Just to manage expectations :lol: )

@Kirby: Then the beginner problems I'm doing are too hard for me :blackeye:

I might try looking for some really simple stuff I can do quickly as supplementary study though.

Bill Spight wrote:
Splatted wrote:
Would you consider a problem easy if you found a successful line quickly but struggled to read it out thoroughly?


To quote myself from the Fudge Factor page on SL:

Much, much later (2019): Now I have a strict criterion for solving a problem. You have to be able to answer all of the opponent's replies.


So you wouldn't consider it easy. That's how I initially interpreted that quote but I wanted to be sure. We mostly agree then. One side says "Go back to the basics and hold yourself to such a high standard that they seem challenging once again", and the other says "Do not dismiss problems as not challenging enough if you can not solve them to a high standard of completeness." They are essentially the same thing.

Our differences are in the smaller details, and imo are more about efficiency and personal preference than right and wrong.

Bill Spight wrote:
Splatted wrote:
I didn't mean to imply there were only two variables, just that I suspect people often match the amount of reading they do to the difficulty of the problem and so attribute their improvement to studying difficult problems.


I guess we are talking to different people. ;) What I have heard, over and over, is the advice to do a lot of easy problems, and do them quickly. Until this discussion, I have not heard anybody attribute their advancement to doing hard problems. (Edit: And I have heard more than once people claim that they are working on problem sets that they get right at least 90% of the time instead of moving on.) The 50% rule is a Goldilocks heuristic: not too easy, not too hard, but just right. :)

Edit: The handicap system in go is, in terms of advancement, an example of the 50% rule. You keep on adjusting the handicap until you get a challenge that is just right for learning. That's one reason why reviewing your own games is one of the best ways to advance. :)


Well I've heard all sorts. As you say, "do a lot of easy problems and do them quickly" seems to be the most common advice, but that naturally leads to a lot of people trying it and finding it doesn't work. I actually think easy and quick is not wrong though, just missing important clarifications. It's almost like Chinese whispers. Pros say solve lots of easy tsumego, and that gets repeated without the proper context. It's intended to be a subordinate goal to the approach described above. I have heard similar advice time and again from expert musicians, artists and writers etc, as well as pro go players of course.

There is a simply massive amount to cover in order to reach a high level, and each step along the way requires more than the last. In order to cover it all, you must increase the speed at which you work. If you prioritise speed over accuracy that's putting the cart before the horse, but if you can improve your speed without sacrificing accuracy, you are suddenly capable of learning more in the same amount of time. Even small differences can have a cumulative effect that is significant over time. There will be more depth and breadth to your study.

Imagine that player A has solved all the problems player B has solved, but also done them more times and had time for some others. Is it not obvious that if player A hasn't sacrificed accuracy they will be ahead of Player B? That may seem like a big if, but when you treat speed as another aspect to be worked on, it is entirely possible to improve.

Bill Spight wrote:
Splatted wrote:
*I haven't actually heard of the 50% rule. It sounds worth looking in to but for now I suspect this may be the one point of genuine disagreement. I think if I'm failing 50% of my problems because I overlooked variations, that means I'm not being thorough enough in my reading, and if I'm failing to find any solution that means I'm attempting problems I can't possibly expect to read thoroughly. I like 50% even less when applied to other things. A musical passage I get wrong 50% of the time? I'm spending as much time drilling the mistakes as I am the correct version! :scratch:


Not so. As for drilling mistakes, I have made the same point here on L19 about attempting to read too deeply. :) The 50% rule is combined with overlearning, so that most of your practice or drill is in doing it right. Overlearning means that you don't just work on something until you get it right, you keep on doing it right, again and again.


I realise my mistake. I was assuming you were aiming for 50% percent across the whole study session, but I now realise that reviewing is different and it sounds much more reasonable. I still think a higher success rate is better though. In fact the 90% you cited as a mistake seems like a good number, though towards the upper limit. The reason is basically what I wrote above. Getting the problem right is only part of the equation. Speed and fluency also matter, and a problem cannot be considered fully learned if you struggle to read it out, even if you do get everything right. A 90% success rate means the problems still require careful reading or the failure rate will shoot way up, but they are accessible enough that you can also challenge yourself to read quickly as well.

In my experience, this difficulty level, where you mostly know what's right but still have room to improve, is the true goldilocks zone of learning. Not only can you work through the material quickly, and thus cover more, but everything is easily internalised because it's all at that "next step" level.

I presume you have seen enough evidence for the 50% rule that individual opinion doesn't count for much against it, so let me propose another way of looking at this. I think you're actually being too lax in what you consider successfully solved. You are considering only that which can be easily measured and aiming for 50% in that area. Perhaps consider a time goal like Kirby suggests. Even with a modest goal, getting 50% of the problems correct in time would naturally mean that the percentage of answers that meet your current standard would be higher than 50%.

My point isn't that you should have a time goal. My point is that even were the 50% rule the literal word of god, your application of it would still be just one possibility. Those 90% success rates may in fact be in line with it when working on more than just accuracy.

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 Post subject: Re: Tsumego: Easy or hard?
Post #6 Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:56 am 
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Splatted wrote:
Well it turns out translation is slower harder work than I thought, so the promised videos will take longer than I expected. Sorry to anyone who is waiting.


Gambatte kudasai! :)

Splatted wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
To quote myself from the Fudge Factor page on SL:

Much, much later (2019): Now I have a strict criterion for solving a problem. You have to be able to answer all of the opponent's replies.


So you wouldn't consider it easy. That's how I initially interpreted that quote but I wanted to be sure. We mostly agree then. One side says "Go back to the basics and hold yourself to such a high standard that they seem challenging once again", and the other says "Do not dismiss problems as not challenging enough if you can not solve them to a high standard of completeness." They are essentially the same thing.


Actually, that standard is for myself. I actually think that kyu players should take Kirby's 2 minutes or less, unless they want to take longer. Over the years I have written a good bit on this subject, and this discussion is not a high priority for me, now, given the givens of my life. I do think that kyu players should go beyond the main variations that appear in books and such, but at leisure, and often by playing around with positions on the board.

BTW, a personal note. I mentioned before about not worrying too much about the order of solving problems, within limits. When I was a 2 kyu I worked on one of Segoe's A level problems, knowing it was theoretically beyond me. Part of the reason was that I felt right away that I almost had the solution. It took me 2 hours to solve, but I did it. :rambo: I never repeated that process again. :lol:

Splatted wrote:
There is a simply massive amount to cover in order to reach a high level, and each step along the way requires more than the last. In order to cover it all, you must increase the speed at which you work. If you prioritise speed over accuracy that's putting the cart before the horse, but if you can improve your speed without sacrificing accuracy, you are suddenly capable of learning more in the same amount of time. Even small differences can have a cumulative effect that is significant over time. There will be more depth and breadth to your study.


Reducing the time to solve a problem, however you define doing that, is one way of increasing the difficulty. I do not recommend it for review, as it can lead to recognizing a problem without attention to significant details. (One thing I recommend for review is to close your eyes and recreate in your mind where every essential stone is.) But if you set a quick time limit for new problems at a level that is easy, given 1 minute, you can bring your success rate down towards 50%. ;) I once attended a lecture about training methods. Among other things, the speaker talked about the difficulty of flying a helicopter. The first task he gave new pilots was to keep the helicopter over a one acre field. When they could do that, he increased the difficulty by adding another task for them to do simultaneously, something he called loading. This is reflected in our folkways by the phrase, "and chew gum at the same time." ;)

There used to be a Japanese site with a variety of go content, including some not very difficult L&D problems. You could set a timer to solve the problems, with up to 9 seconds. After that time the site would play through the main line of the solution at a rate of 1 second per move. I set the timer to 5 seconds. ;) One interesting thing was that, even if I did not solve the problem in that time, after the site showed the first move in the solution, I nearly always saw the rest of the solution instantaneously. Very interesting experience. :)

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Post #7 Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:36 pm 
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Well I would say I can take a hint, but apparently I missed I missed it completely. If you're not interested in discussing this further I will of course let it drop. I may have been particularly like a dog with a bone here because part of my reason or returning to go was I wanted to test these ideas in a way that would prove to me that my new approach to learning is a genuine improvement on what I used to do, but I also find this subject fascinating in general and appreciate you taking the time to explain your methods to me.

I will definitely be looking more in to the 50% rule and past discussions on this forum. :study:


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Reducing the time to solve a problem, however you define doing that, is one way of increasing the difficulty. I do not recommend it for review, as it can lead to recognizing a problem without attention to significant details.


Just to clarify rather than argue. I was imagining more that you would solve that you would always solve them thoroughly, but only consider a problem (or set) learned when you could do so quickly. So no time limit, just a time goal. Still could encourage rushed work of course.

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(One thing I recommend for review is to close your eyes and recreate in your mind where every essential stone is.) But if you set a quick time limit for new problems at a level that is easy, given 1 minute, you can bring your success rate down towards 50%. ;)


This sounds like a great exercise!

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I once attended a lecture about training methods. Among other things, the speaker talked about the difficulty of flying a helicopter. The first task he gave new pilots was to keep the helicopter over a one acre field. When they could do that, he increased the difficulty by adding another task for them to do simultaneously, something he called loading. This is reflected in our folkways by the phrase, "and chew gum at the same time." ;)


Yes I find this approach to be incredibly helpful. I like to create cycles of "loading" and returning to the isolated skill to adjust and improve.

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There used to be a Japanese site with a variety of go content, including some not very difficult L&D problems. You could set a timer to solve the problems, with up to 9 seconds. After that time the site would play through the main line of the solution at a rate of 1 second per move. I set the timer to 5 seconds. ;) One interesting thing was that, even if I did not solve the problem in that time, after the site showed the first move in the solution, I nearly always saw the rest of the solution instantaneously. Very interesting experience. :)


I have a similar experience. When I can't remember how to play a piece of music I just put my bow on the string and start playing. Often the desired piece is what comes out, which is very surreal. In fact just watching myself in the mirror while I play is enough for things to get strange. It's like my body is moving of it's own accord. The power of triggers and mental pathways is really quite amazing. Hopefully I can internalise tesuji and shape the same way I internalise melodies and chords. :D

I'm not trying to draw you back in to the discussion so don't feel the need to reply. I just thought since you took the time to write on the topic I should share my reaction to it.

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:01 am 
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Splatted wrote:
Well I would say I can take a hint, but apparently I missed I missed it completely. If you're not interested in discussing this further I will of course let it drop.


It's nothing personal. I have enjoyed our discussion. If you had caught me 5 years ago I would have gladly continued it, but today is, unfortunately, a different kettle of fish. Besides, I have written a great deal on this topic over a long period of time.

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I may have been particularly like a dog with a bone here because part of my reason or returning to go was I wanted to test these ideas in a way that would prove to me that my new approach to learning is a genuine improvement on what I used to do, but I also find this subject fascinating in general and appreciate you taking the time to explain your methods to me.


Well, they are not my methods. :) I hope you find success with your new approach.

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Quote:
Reducing the time to solve a problem, however you define doing that, is one way of increasing the difficulty. I do not recommend it for review, as it can lead to recognizing a problem without attention to significant details.


Just to clarify rather than argue. I was imagining more that you would solve that you would always solve them thoroughly, but only consider a problem (or set) learned when you could do so quickly. So no time limit, just a time goal. Still could encourage rushed work of course.


In my case mental speed comes from thorough knowledge and understanding. (I don't think that I am unusual in that regard, but I am unaware of any research about it.) I have never trained for speed at any mind game. There are players who believe that speed training improves their intuition. I doubt it. There is a fair amount of research on intuition. Not that I have studied it deeply.

When I was learning go I was satisfied if I found the main variations that the author provided. Four was a typical number. Several years ago I chanced upon Mr. K's site where he presented basic life and death situations. I was impressed by his thoroughness, which went into much more detail than books that I had seen. Here is the part of his site that I think I am referring to. My browser does not trust the Japanese plug in that he uses, so I am not absolutely sure that this is the part of his site that I mean. http://mrkigo.sakura.ne.jp/ksikatuindex.html

Since then I have enjoyed exploring positions that I thought I had understood and finding aspects of them that I had never thought of. :)

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Quote:
(One thing I recommend for review is to close your eyes and recreate in your mind where every essential stone is.) But if you set a quick time limit for new problems at a level that is easy, given 1 minute, you can bring your success rate down towards 50%. ;)


This sounds like a great exercise!


Some years ago I saw a player make a life and death tesuji, which did not work. He had not learned the conditions that made it work. But the authors hardly ever explain what those conditions are. They don't say, this stone is necessary, and it has to be here. (OC, they could have placed stones differently to make the play work. It is impractical to explain everything.) My point is not that it is an exercise, but if you are going to solve a problem, you ought to know what the problem is. Sometimes the authors describe the problem accurately and precisely. E.g., here is a certain eye shape in the corner with so many liberties. But usually they don't. They just show some stones on the board and give a few variations.

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When I can't remember how to play a piece of music I just put my bow on the string and start playing. Often the desired piece is what comes out, which is very surreal. In fact just watching myself in the mirror while I play is enough for things to get strange. It's like my body is moving of it's own accord. The power of triggers and mental pathways is really quite amazing. Hopefully I can internalise tesuji and shape the same way I internalise melodies and chords. :D


Music making and the brain is a very interesting topic, with a fair amount of research about it. You might find it interesting to talk with xela and Knotwilg. :)

Quote:
I'm not trying to draw you back in to the discussion so don't feel the need to reply. I just thought since you took the time to write on the topic I should share my reaction to it.


As I said, I enjoy our discussion, I just can't devote as much time to it now as I would like. :)

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Post #9 Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:51 am 
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BTW, I just ran across this page, on which I discuss some of these things, and other people join the discussion with some good ideas, as well. :)

https://senseis.xmp.net/?BillSpight%2Fimprovement

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Post #10 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:20 am 
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Is it me, or do most tsumego try to find a novel pattern with a fun solution? Certainly a lot of weird stuff on goproblems.com and also even in books like Cho Chikun's

Whereas in real games you get a lot of groups dying or making life via cut in the middle of the board. There's a disproportionate amount of corner stuff that doesn't arise from joseki and is only useful to make you read weird lines like how 1-1 can be the solution of a go problem. (spoiler: sometimes you need to remove liberties from a placement stone, even if you're not killing it)

Let's say you wanted to create the perfect set of problems to take someone to 1d. You wouldn't include clever problems.

You would start by drilling all of the live/dead shapes and how almost filling works. Then you'd learn all the joseki patterns that are relevant to life/death in the corner. Then some live/dead small groups like L shape group, tripod group, carpenter's square (I get a lot of traction on this study, it just comes up from time to time). Then drill all of the common tesuji problems.

Some of the more difficult problems at the 1k level have illogical shapes to set up under the stones problems. Guess what? You can be 1d without ever playing under the stones. They are more of a curiosity than an actual improvement to playing strength. I haven't been able to see that pattern in my own games, despite knowing about it and looking for it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a sagari in the corner can be very useful to know about, since there are cases where you would accidentally fight a ko where a sagari instead of hane would outright win. This happens in crosscut fights in real games.

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Post #11 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:49 am 
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I guess the point of "clever" tsumego is not to drill common life-and-death shapes but to develop a feel for candidate moves and the ability to read them through. This ability you can use throughout the game, which makes it argueably more useful then just solving standard corner shapes - which also don't appear really that often.

Though the main point for me: "clever" tsuemgo are just more fun to solve. I had my fair share of tackling All about Life & Death or similar or even more specialised treatise on common shapes. Gets really dull really fast.

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Post #12 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:09 am 
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I'm a regular tsumego solver, mostly using a mobile app called tsumego pro. I have coined the terms "width" and "depth" to quantify a problem's complexity. Those terms are not absolute because 1) stronger players select fewer candidates 2) stronger players prune sequences earlier. So they apply to a person, at most a level.

When qualifying complexity this way, I came across "hard" problems in the mobile app which were indeed kind of hard but didn't have a major width x depth quantity. Rather, a player could overlook the starting move or an astute move along the solution sequence. In other words, tesuji was involved.

Regardless of tesuji, I find "wide" problems more difficult than "deep" ones. In the extreme, ladders are not really difficult even at depth 50 because they don't branch. A problem with 8 possible starting moves is very hard for me.

I'll post examples if that's helpful.

That doesn't answer the question "what you should do" but that's every (wo)man to themselves.

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Post #13 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:44 am 
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Breadth and depth do not describe complexity of a tsumego problem, which can be bread or deap without being complex. Broad: many first moves but each is refuted easily. Deep: long ladder without branching.

Instead, complexity of a tsumego problem must be described by the minimum number of variations whose reading is mandatory to make enough decisions to correctly determine the result.

iopq, IMX, there are three major kinds of tsumego problems in decreasing order of frequency in problems: 1) some reading is required but the complexity is not too great because the solution depends on comparatively few mandatory variations, 2) finding some cute technique(s) solves the problem, 3) reading is as complex as in typical real game situations whose solution requires non-trivial reading with an intermediate to large minimum number of mandatory variations. That the most useful type (3) is the least frequent in problem collections has a reason: authors must spend much effort and time on verifying solutions.

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Post #14 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:17 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Breadth and depth do not describe complexity of a tsumego problem, which can be bread or deap without being complex. Broad: many first moves but each is refuted easily. Deep: long ladder without branching.


You refute "broad and deep" by refuting "broad or deep". As a mathematician, faut le faire.

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Instead, complexity of a tsumego problem must be described by the minimum number of variations whose reading is mandatory to make enough decisions to correctly determine the result.


That number is capped by breadth x depth. For me that's a good approximation of complexity. We're basically saying the same thing but it's always possible to find a way to disagree.

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Post #15 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:41 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
We're basically saying the same thing but it's always possible to find a way to disagree.


Well worth repeating. :)

Applicable in many contexts.

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Post #16 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:05 pm 
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iopq wrote:
Let's say you wanted to create the perfect set of problems to take someone to 1d. You wouldn't include clever problems.

You would start by drilling all of the live/dead shapes and how almost filling works. Then you'd learn all the joseki patterns that are relevant to life/death in the corner. Then some live/dead small groups like L shape group, tripod group, carpenter's square (I get a lot of traction on this study, it just comes up from time to time). Then drill all of the common tesuji problems.

This is pretty much what the Essential Life & Death books from Baduktopia do. There are four volumes that start with DDK-level patterns and end with ones I see dan-level players get wrong in actual games. It's pretty much all stuff that shows up in actual games. They get my highest recommendation.

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Post #17 Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:23 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
You refute "broad and deep" by refuting "broad or deep". As a mathematician, faut le faire.


I have been aware of this but it is a matter of practical complexity - not one of algorithmic complexity or upper bounds. You can have 10 moves broad and one ladder sequence 100 moves deep but the practical complexity might be to read the ladder and 9 very short, unbranched sequences.

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Post #18 Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:18 am 
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SoDesuNe wrote:
I guess the point of "clever" tsumego is not to drill common life-and-death shapes but to develop a feel for candidate moves and the ability to read them through. This ability you can use throughout the game, which makes it argueably more useful then just solving standard corner shapes - which also don't appear really that often.

Though the main point for me: "clever" tsuemgo are just more fun to solve. I had my fair share of tackling All about Life & Death or similar or even more specialised treatise on common shapes. Gets really dull really fast.


I see this shape or variations like every other game

http://josekipedia.com/#path:pdqfncqcqdrdrercqeobnbocod

but what if it's like this?

http://josekipedia.com/#path:pdttpfqcpcpbobqbncqeqfre

why is that bad according to josekipedia? can black kill?

It's the problem that I am good at surprising moves, but I can't tell the life and death of common corner shapes because probably most people think they are too boring

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Post #19 Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:43 am 
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I would do 90% difficult problems;where it at least takes 5-10min to solve the problem,otherwise i believe people are not really thinking,just randomly guessing

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Post #20 Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:18 pm 
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iopq wrote:

I see this shape or variations like every other game

http://josekipedia.com/#path:pdqfncqcqdrdrercqeobnbocod

but what if it's like this?

http://josekipedia.com/#path:pdttpfqcpcpbobqbncqeqfre

why is that bad according to josekipedia?

Because black has much better shape on the outside with the hanging connection.

iopq wrote:
can black kill?

No, but white doesn't have the annoying stone at r14 aiming at s14.

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