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 Post subject: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #1 Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:56 pm 
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Hi, is there any book which is very thorough with all the basic shapes, their weak points, how to attack them, how to defend them? It doesn't have to be in English, as long as I can buy it somewhere. I've checked out the book Making Good Shape but I didn't find through enough nor did it go into all the basic shapes, it was also pretty short.

I've heard maybe the Dictionary of Basic Shapes (New Haengma Dictionary), a korean book, could be good? I couldn't find where to buy it though, does anyone know?

Any suggestions?


Last edited by mizriw on Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Through book on basic shapes?
Post #2 Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:53 am 
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Did you look at the book "Shape Up"?

https://gobase.org/studying/articles/matthews/shape_up/

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 Post subject: Re: Through book on basic shapes?
Post #3 Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:29 am 
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jlt wrote:


I'll check it out, thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #4 Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:07 am 
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Unfortunately, such a book does not exist. (The existing shape books are somewhat useful but not what we want as described by you.)

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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #5 Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:41 am 
Oza

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Quote:
Quote:
Hi, is there any book which is very thorough with all the basic shapes, their weak points, how to attack them, how to defend them?


Quote:
Unfortunately, such a book does not exist.


I beg to differ. The Fujisawa Tesuji Dictionary hits the G-spot, and is available in English.

Fujisawa does not give explicit names to shapes, but far from being a drawback that is a big plus in my opinion. The obsession with shapes is a major fault in western go. It leads to an obsession with the static over the dynamic, which haengma partly addresses by going the other way.

By looking at Fujisawa's book and sifting out the relevant shapes yourself, but in varied contexts via the solutions, you learn to combine the static and the dynamic and so develop suji (the flow of stones), of which te-suji is just a subset with fancier moves. The effort of doing this is a boon because it contributes to the "effortful practice" that learning experts say is central (as in CENTRAL!!!!) to acquiring mastery. But Fujisawa does not leave you on your own: he tells you what each tesuji is for and not for.

Think of learning to tie your shoelaces. The resulting shape of two bows might be the most dominant aspect visually, but just telling someone to make that shape is no help whatsoever. But knowing that the aim is to get a tight-fitting knot and then being taken through the steps slowly (make one bow [not TWO], then make another, etc) is what gets you to your first success. Then you practise a bit more and learn to tie different kinds of footwear with different laces. You also learn when other knots have to be used. A tesuji is like 'tying a knot." It is not just a 'knot'.


Last edited by John Fairbairn on Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #6 Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:48 am 
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There are lots of good tesuji books (such as Fujisawa's) but no general (static and dynamic) shape dictionary.

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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #7 Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:26 am 
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It would be difficult to cover all aspects of all shapes because whether a shape is "good" or "bad" depends on context and how it arises in the development of the game. For example the empty triangle shape. Generally empty triangle shape is considered bad but in certain joseki situations it is good. I usually like to think about effectiveness of stones rather than just shape.


This post by gowan was liked by 2 people: Bill Spight, gennan
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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #8 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:30 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Fujisawa does not give explicit names to shapes, but far from being a drawback that is a big plus in my opinion. The obsession with shapes is a major fault in western go. It leads to an obsession with the static over the dynamic, which haengma partly addresses by going the other way.


Fair enough. By the way, recommended link for Shape Up! would be https://cdn.online-go.com/shape_up.pdf

"Shape Up!" was written as a "second book of go", to follow Teach Yourself Go, which is now called Be a Master at Go: Teach Yourself. I would first like to say that even if you read both books, you cannot expect to be a master. You might get up to about 2 kyu, with a bit more opening theory?

The first book names the empty triangle and the bamboo joint. As a teaching strategy, giving things names is by no means pointless. Teaching can be criticised if it leads to a further requirement of heavy "unlearning", which is the sort of point John is making here. So, one does have to learn about good empty triangles, and shortage of liberties caused by bamboo joints.

Part of the back story of Shape Up! was feedback from Richard Bozulich, including the gem that it would need revision because on the same page you were shown a given shape working/not working. Well, I would defend that kind of anti-doctrinaire approach, to this day.

There was a time when I did a lot of teaching, and I learned that giving names to things that were otherwise anonymous could help, in moderation. (If we didn't talk about "playing under the stones", for example, it would remain a "one-of-those"? A snapback is not a ko, and we need different recapture words.)

Now I tried to teach shape. I tried not to teach joseki, and I think seeing players around 1 dan or 2 dan suffering sclerosis of the opening because they are sure there are advantages in certain types of shape-fixing joseki is just rather sad.

The Michael Redmond Master Series commentaries are pretty interesting from this point of view. E.g.

    The pro plays the shape move and it is wrong.
    The machine plays non-joseki and gets a good result in the particular position.
    The pros persist in trying further variations in what is a busted opening. Go teachers recognise this as the "what if?" moment, where you are making teaching point A, and the pupil wants to pick holes in it.
    The examples of machine haengma applied in Magic Sword variations seem very suggestive.
    Some new AI joseki look like that ropy concept "middle game joseki" done right very early on.
    Sente matters! While some of the new ideas are to be found in late-period Kitani Minoru, his version of taking gote in some classic lines is a trade of time for thick shape that presumably is not going to be revived.

In short, if you want to explain go via standard patterns on sub-boards, you will have trouble at the higher levels. If you teach patterns rigidly, you may be storing up trouble later on, like ama 5 dans suffering from systematic errors. But I can't agree with junking the whole apparatus of shape-recognition and its articulation. It contains, as the traditional go proverbs do, valuable heuristics.


This post by Charles Matthews was liked by 3 people: Bill Spight, gennan, gowan
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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #9 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:07 am 
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Hi Charles

As you will recall from our MSO days I have little patience with teaching - we are opposites there! But I came across something not very long ago which I think could make shape teaching more game-related.

It was the Five Lands theory traditionally (but perhaps wrongly, in one modern view) attributed to Huang Longshi. He (or whoever) borrowed this from Sun Zi's Nine Lands, or terrains, and you can even make your own version by selecting any number of terrains on the go board for yourself and giving each a name that is redolent of how a general might see it. E.g. a Killing Ground is one where both sides have to fight to the death. Another type of terrain might be where one side can run away easily.

If you first identify such terrains i.e. identify both the salient features and the (fuzzy) boundaries - which is a useful skill in its own right - you can then ask questions about shape that are rather different from those usually asked.

I have found that the traditional thinking about shape - I mean the thinking that unprompted amateurs tend to adopt insticytively - is along the lines of asking things like "how do I complete this shape?" or "what is the weak point of this shape?. A very static approach. There was a little buzz some years ago when haengma seemed like the panacea. It introduced a dynamic aspect: "what is the follow-up tesuji to this shape?" or "how can I make a shape that will develop faster?"

But the problem with either of those ways of looking at shape is that it's somehow divorced from a real game of go. It's bit like learning to play the piano by learning how to write notes on staves and learning which notes harmonise with which. Not at all a waste of time in the long run but it doesn't help all that much in the short run, especially when attention spans or time to study are short.

But with "lands" you can ask different questions which, I believe, are not just closer to real go but are actually integral. You can ask things like, "What short of shapes (nb plural!) are useful in a killing ground?" Apart from coming up with a variety of shapes, you know what they have to be governed by, and you are also not constrained to the standard shapes. This combines both the static and the dynamic, but more importantly sublimates both into consideration of strategy.

None of that seems like a deep insight yet I can't think of any go book that has adopted it beyond trying apply shapes to josekis. For me that was where Fujisawa's book scores so heavily for me. (I've just realised he's come back to life here twice today! The Hall of Fame induction was the other instance.) He doesn't identify "lands" but he does go some considerable way towards that.

Furthermore, he is teaching only in the sense of offering information. He is not training students. As a result, I think his message is perhaps being missed by many. In the same way we get study books nowadays telling us how to read Shakespeare's plays, we could do with a guide to how to read Fujisawa's books.

On a quite different topic, a few times recently - for reasons I cannot fathom - your teaching venture in Uganda came to mind (and with it the name Omweso???). How has that panned out over the past few years?

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 Post subject: Re: Thorough book on basic shapes?
Post #10 Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:17 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
On a quite different topic, a few times recently - for reasons I cannot fathom - your teaching venture in Uganda came to mind (and with it the name Omweso???). How has that panned out over the past few years?


I still have a contact at Makarere University, I believe - nothing recent. They have a Sports Science department, which was part of the interest. (Omweso is the Ugandan mancala variant.)

Go teaching: judging by a recent video posted by Tim Hunt, there is more emphasis than ever on openings. Might as well be chess, though of course the issues are somewhat different. But shape comments are useful for coaching feedback.

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