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 Post subject: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #1 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 4:13 am 
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When I read Mastering Basic Corner Shapes, I remember being a little bit surprised by the emphasis on "first try reducing the eye space from the outside". Isn't this just obvious? Does it need that much explanation?

But, coming back to goproblems.com after a long break, I'm seeing a lot of problems where the ratings surprise me. This pair is a good example.

Problem 19477
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W White to play
$$ | . . . . .
$$ | O O O . .
$$ | . X . O .
$$ | . X . O .
$$ | . . X O .
$$ | X X O O .
$$ | . X . . .
$$ -----------[/go]

Problem 19478
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W White to play
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . O O O . . . .
$$ | . O X . . O . .
$$ | . X X . X O . .
$$ | . . X . X O . .
$$ | . . X X . O . .
$$ | . X O , O . . .
$$ | . X O . . O . .
$$ | O O . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ ----------------[/go]


To me they feel about equally difficult. In both cases I see three or four candidate moves, and all but one candidate fails after some simple reading. But according to the empirical ratings on goproblems.com, people are finding the second one a lot more challenging than the first. What's going on?

My hypothesis:
  • Part A: A lot of goproblems.com users are clicking on their "first instinct" move, rather than taking time to read out each candidate before playing a move.
  • Part B: If you do a lot of tsumego, then you're seeing positions where "the ordinary move" doesn't work -- because otherwise it wouldn't be interesting enough to set as a problem. So you get used to discarding the simple push or block without really considering it, and first going to the "fancy" move such as a throw-in or placement.
  • Therefore the first problem matches up with the tsumego addict's first instinct, and the second problem doesn't.
Do you have any other theories?

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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #2 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 5:19 am 
Gosei
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For the first problem I need 3 moves to convince myself I obviously got the solution

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . . .
$$ | O O O . .
$$ | . X . O .
$$ | 3 X 2 O .
$$ | . 1 X O .
$$ | X X O O .
$$ | . X . . .
$$ -----------[/go]


Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . . .
$$ | O O O . .
$$ | 3 X . O .
$$ | . X . O .
$$ | 2 1 X O .
$$ | X X O O .
$$ | . X . . .
$$ -----------[/go]


whereas for the second problem I need 5 moves.
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . O O O . . . .
$$ | . O X . . O . .
$$ | 1 X X . X O . .
$$ | 2 . X . X O . .
$$ | 4 3 X X . O . .
$$ | 5 X O , O . . .
$$ | . X O . . O . .
$$ | O O . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ ----------------[/go]

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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #3 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 5:27 am 
Gosei

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Yeah, that's basically it, in my opinion.

A lot of people don't really read when they do tsumego, especially online when you can be told that you "solved" a problem when all you did was play a few "looks like this might work, let's see what happens next" moves in a row. And we get trained early on to pattern-match for opportunities to use those tricky vital-point / placement / throw-in moves. Once you start doing more difficult problems you can't really get away with this, but a lot of beginner-intermediate tsumego implicitly encourages it.

In Yunguseng Dojang game reviews, In-seong is constantly finding situations where players (strong SDK if not stronger) made a tricky placement that failed instead of just reading out "reduce from outside, reduce from outside, known dead shape". All the strong players I know prioritize reducing from the outside first in their reading.

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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #4 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 11:04 am 
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In connection with throwinitis,

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]ssc
$$---------
$$....X.O.O|
$$.O.XOXO.O|
$$..OOOXXO.|
$$......XOX|
$$.....OXX.|
$$.....OXO.|
$$.....OOO.|
$$.........|[/go]


Black to play and live.


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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #5 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 1:32 pm 
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xela wrote:
Do you have any other theories?


It is three or four things that you could summarize differently but I'll say it is the following four:
  • number of branches
  • tree depth
  • difficulty refuting the top candidate move in the initial position.
  • level or complexity of techniques that are required

The branching factor isn't the same
The first problem can be solved with a single variation that you can verify by discarding the possibility of black having any better moves. Black just doesn't have any real options after the first white move. Well, maybe you could say there are two branches but you might be able to use a shape argument to alleviate the need to check the second branch. The second problem, in contrast, has a much larger number of branches.

The depth of the reading isn't the same
You could solve the first problem with a three move variation or you could do it with a five move variation (and possibly two branches) but then you are done. There is lot more going on in the second problem. Maybe too much to be able to summarize quickly but let me try. If we assume that the first move is a given then I count three branches, then longest is five moves and the average is just over four moves.

It is hard to refute a wrong first move in the second problem
I assumed previously that the first move was a given and talked about the length of the variations in that case. Now, if we start with a wrong move in the second problem, especially when we start with the throw in, we'll need to refute this move. At least we need to convince ourself it's not the most promising move and decide to change horses midstream. Here I find five branches, the average length is six moves and the longest was eight moves. I don't wish to present a convention on how to count such things or convince you that it has to be done my way, someone else could reasonably count differently and that is fine. Refuting the wrong first move would appear to be much more difficult than starting with the right move, which is in turn more difficult than the entire first problem.

The second problem can't be solved without using many different techniques
I guess you might just have to believe me on this one but it also stands to reason that if there are eight branches (five for the wrong first move and three for the correct move) that there are many different techniques in these variations. If there weren't, then there probably wouldn't be different branches to talk of. Of course, it is simpler if you have internalized all of the required techniques. You'd be able to look at the right moves first and that would allow skipping some of the other moves. For example you only need to look at one first move if you start with the right one. If you can identify the right technique every time then you can quickly see what works and what doesn't. In this case you might even avoid laborious case by case analysis if your solution rests on good insight, which are really just good arguments.

The second problem could for some feel like it was solved instantaneously. That you just know the answers or are able to see them and there is nothing more to think about. It could be a prevalent attitude, there are so many dan players on L19 these days and the kyu players appear to be unusually good at tsumego. Not everyone will, however, find it as easy as drinking a glass of water (that is an English idiom, right? google seems to think it isn't). It really is a more difficult problem!

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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #6 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 3:01 pm 
Gosei

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I already agreed with the generalities of the original post but I also do agree that the second problem is harder. On the other hand I don't think it's 9 ranks harder!

By the way, over the years I have become quite sensitive to the following stone relationship:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . O O O . . . .
$$ | . O X . . O . .
$$ | Q X X . X O . .
$$ | . . X . X O . .
$$ | . . X X . O . .
$$ | . X Q , O . . .
$$ | . X O . . O . .
$$ | O O . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ ----------------[/go]
which I've never seen given a name. The most classic example:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ | . . . , . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . .
$$ | . X Q . . . . .
$$ | X . X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . .
$$ | Q . X O . O . .
$$ | . X O . . . . .
$$ ----------------[/go]
That certainly gave me a good candidate move for the second problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #7 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 3:24 pm 
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kvasir wrote:
...as easy as drinking a glass of water (that is an English idiom, right? google seems to think it isn't).

I haven't heard that one before. But there are so many idioms, I don't think anyone has heard them all. It feels like it should be an idiom! Let's use it more and see if we can make it so :-)

(For me, "as easy as..." maps to "falling off a log.")

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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #8 Posted: Thu Feb 29, 2024 5:46 pm 
Oza
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Problem 1 has width 3 and depth 5 (for me)
Problem 2 has width 6 and depth 8

So the 2nd problem is ~3 times harder.

Another way to look at it is that in problem 1 you only need to think about one side of a smile eyespace while in the second you must think about 2 sides of an eyespace that could potentially even become 2 eyes, so you can't exclude the vital points as initial moves.

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 Post subject: Re: Does too much tsumego give you throwinitis?
Post #9 Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2024 4:05 am 
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dfan wrote:
...the following stone relationship...which I've never seen given a name

Oh, thanks for the prompt! It's not the same shape, but today I finally got around to something that's been in the back of my mind for years: naming the xray monkey jump :-)


This post by xela was liked by 3 people: dfan, dust, jlt
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