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 Post subject: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #1 Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:47 am 
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As hanekomi mentioned, Mainichi Communications have published several excellent go books in recent years - no doubt the result of having an excellent commissioning editor. The prices are also excellent.

That prompted me to write a few notes about another of their books, one by His Excellency Cho Chikun. This is 趙治勲流地取り戦法 (Cho Chikun's territory-taking style), ISBN 4-8399-1700-0. 222 pages, about 1300 yen.

This too is an excellent book, though with perhaps not enough evidence of lucubration to claim the sense of 彫心鏤骨 and yet perhaps too novel to be labelled 重畳. Not quite refined enough perhaps to be 卓筆 but too good to be dismissed with a mere 凄い, and 逸物 might be too teasing. Maybe just 優良 will suffice.

It has three parts. Part 1 is an explanation, longish but not of the order of a disquisition, of the important notion that taking territory can be a thick and therefore good style of play. The bulk of this part is devoted to a definition of what thickness really means (i.e. not influence), with a couple of pages recommending that you try playing this way, and finally several pages on "The Structure of This Book". Apart from it being unexpected to see such a section on page 40 of a book, this is an unexpected treat in other ways. The rest of the book is a slew of examples, but this section on structure explains how to read those examples. It does so by giving an example. In brief, it tells you how to evaluate positions using Cho's approach. This is an excellent idea.

Part 2 is sixteen examples on "Attack and Defence round about the 3-3 point". As in the rest of the book, all the examples are full-board early games positions. Obviously the 3-3 point has been chosen as an exemplar for invasions in general, and at first sight some of the examples will look mundane: Black invades at the 3-3 point, which side does White block on? But the key difference is in the evaluation techniques. This is no mere "block on the side where you can develop most" sort of evaluation. It is more precise, more challenging and much more interesting than that. The real questions are, e.g. "Do I need sente or gote here?" or "Which side does White block, knowing that Black has gouged out his territory?" or "Is a solid position better here than a developmental one?" Other topics include weighing pros against cons, sabaki and consistency of style, but overall the message is - evaluate like this! Great stuff.

Part 3 takes Part 2 to another level. It is a series of nineteen examples showing how to fight Cho Chikun-style. Rather than evaluating a position, as in Part 2, you are now evaluating an attack or a strategy. This is when the budding surgeon gets to put his scalpel into live bodies instead of corpses. The examples do illustrate the differences: e.g. wanting to do something but not necessarily being able to do it. What then?

Yes, you do need to be able to read Japanese to get more than a whiff of value out of this book. But this book is 99% go text, with no reminsicences, soliloquies or other discursive text, so people who have done some basic Japanese should find it accessible. To those who don't have that background, please don't feel teased. I think there's value in simply knowing what exists out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #2 Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:06 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
a definition of what thickness really means


Does this define the shape / stones that build the thickness, the impact on near or afar intersections or both? Or does it go even further to define usages of thickness?

Apart from usages, I imagine two approaches to defining thickness. The first defines via thick shape (little or no aji etc.) and influence. The second defines in an abstract manner via 1) number of tenukis before stones are captured and 2) number of plays to connect a stone to the thickness stones. Does the book use a similar or a very different approach? Which?

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #3 Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:13 am 
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robert:
john is doing EXCELLENT job on explaining the book in detail.
if you are really curious then you buy the book and read.
dont expect him to copy the book on this thread because this forum will not let him do that.

PS: me and everyone in the forum are not enjoying your mindless writing so you should stop.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #4 Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:32 am 
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Magicwand wrote:
robert:
john is doing EXCELLENT job on explaining the book in detail.
if you are really curious then you buy the book and read.
dont expect him to copy the book on this thread because this forum will not let him do that.

PS: me and everyone in the forum are not enjoying your mindless writing so you should stop.


I am also very much not enjoying your own posts on this subject. Please stop following Robert around to every thread he posts in and making disparaging comments.


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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #5 Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:19 pm 
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Robert's question seems fine to me. It's true that he's a vocal critic of the current state of Go books and instruction, but differing opinions are exactly what is needed in public forums. In this case I might ask the same question, in order to see if this book adds anything novel to the current literature. More bluntly, if one has already read Cho Chikun's books on the 3-3 point and positional judgment, how much is new in this book? Is the new book superior or just different?

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #6 Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:34 pm 
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Magicwand wrote:
john is doing EXCELLENT job on explaining the book in detail.


For "excellent", see the other thread "The definition of "Excellent"".

Quote:
if you are really curious then you buy the book and read.


I can't because I can't read heavy Japanese text books.

Quote:
dont expect him to copy the book on this thread


1) I expect a definition of thickness to be short enough to be repeated.

2) If the definition should be surprisingly long, a summary would be much better than nothing.

3) Attempts of definitions of thickness are something rather new and surely it is something very important everybody should know. Therefore there is very good reason to describe what has been defined and to compare different definition approaches. I consider that to be much more important than reviewing a book because thickness is a central strategic concept. A definition will appear in my next book and I hope it will be cited and discussed. Maybe criticised. But the more input on the topic I get until the book will be finished the better my definition can become. If instead an Edo period approach of secrets should prevail until my definition will appear, I will then still be interested to learn about a definition published earlier in a book. If definitions turn out to be the same, it will be good confirmation - if they will be different, then there will be good chances for improving definition research by possibly unifying the different definitions.

4) I don't expect anything but I hope for everything. Writing messages in forums is always voluntary.

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because this forum will not let him do that.


Eh? Apart from copyright violation by copying an entire book 1:1, what's the problem?!

Quote:
PS: me and everyone in the forum are not enjoying your mindless writing so you should stop.


Meta-discussion of the personal attack style hold with yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #7 Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:08 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
a definition of what thickness really means


Does this define the shape / stones that build the thickness, the impact on near or afar intersections or both? Or does it go even further to define usages of thickness?

Apart from usages, I imagine two approaches to defining thickness. The first defines via thick shape (little or no aji etc.) and influence. The second defines in an abstract manner via 1) number of tenukis before stones are captured and 2) number of plays to connect a stone to the thickness stones. Does the book use a similar or a very different approach? Which?

I do not know enough Japanese to be able to recognize if there is a "definition" of what Cho Chikun understands by 厚い = atsui = "thick". May be that "definition" is done by providing many examples.

Seeing the example's diagrams, I would suppose that "thick" could be meant as something like "there is little or no aji, the opponent can exploit". These "thick" groups live already.

It is not meant in the sense of "influence", facing the centre of the board.

Best (or ideal) seems to be, when the opponent's stones on the outside have some cutting points, which is aji.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #8 Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:14 am 
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snorri wrote:
Robert's question seems fine to me. It's true that he's a vocal critic of the current state of Go books and instruction, but differing opinions are exactly what is needed in public forums. In this case I might ask the same question, in order to see if this book adds anything novel to the current literature. More bluntly, if one has already read Cho Chikun's books on the 3-3 point and positional judgment, how much is new in this book? Is the new book superior or just different?

Haven't read the book yet, but went over the diagrams only.

Chapter 2 of this book is about invasion at 3-3 under Hoshi, Cho Chikun's book on 3-3 is about 3-3-Joseki and usage of the 3-3-point. So I would suppose, that they have not so much in common.

In chapter 3 of this book there cannot be found any of the territorial assessments, typical for the book on positional judgement. This chapter seems to be on fighting techniques.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #9 Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:35 am 
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Magicwand wrote:
robert:
john is doing EXCELLENT job on explaining the book in detail.
if you are really curious then you buy the book and read.
dont expect him to copy the book on this thread because this forum will not let him do that.

PS: me and everyone in the forum are not enjoying your mindless writing so you should stop.


So now we have a dead-horse flogger, and a dead-horse flogger flogger? Do we really need this?

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #10 Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:55 am 
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Dead horses a bad notion. Go software programmers know it better: A feature is currently not supported (i.e., might be supported later).

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #11 Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:57 am 
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Cassandra wrote:
It is not meant in the sense of "influence", facing the centre of the board.


Regardless of whether the book does not (appear to) emphasise this, thickness facing the outside does have influence.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #12 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:37 am 
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When spoken of in Chinese (and I imagine this to be the same situation in Korea and Japanese), it is quite intuitive what "thickness" means. Think of it as the opposite of "thinness" - a thin position is one that is easily broken through; easily smashed. A thick position is then one that is relatively impervious to outside developments; like a strong castle.

"Influence" on the other hand, uses the same character as that of power - think geopolitics and spheres of influences. It is a description of your ability to affect the surroundings. So you can see they are quite different and clear cut in terms of meaning, but sometimes they can be the same thing - a strong castle is naturally a good place from which to exert influence, but you can also be bunkered in and not affecting much.

I see these meanings to be sufficient, and if you think they are not enough, I feel you are in the minority unfortunately - to most native speakers it is quite obvious what they refer to.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #13 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:52 am 
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Regarding the level of Japanese necessary, is around the 400-450 kanji level sufficient to not have to look a million things up every second?

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #14 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:45 pm 
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Aphelion wrote:
what "thickness" means. Think of it as the opposite of "thinness" - a thin position is one that is easily broken through; easily smashed.


This addresses the well connected aspect of thickness.

Quote:
A thick position [...is] like a strong castle.


This is the life aspect.

Quote:
"Influence" [...] It is a description of your ability to affect the surroundings.


And therefore it is an ability of, e.g., thickness, unless that is enclosed by opposing thickness.

Quote:
I see these meanings to be sufficient, and if you think they are not enough, I feel you are in the minority unfortunately


There is much more in influence and thickness, as I will explain in my next book. In particular, it is possible to describe the concepts so that one can distinguish better from worse moves in the neighbourhood of thickness.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #15 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:12 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
as I will explain in my next book.

When is your next book expected to be published and available for sale?

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #16 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:19 pm 
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Jedo wrote:
Regarding the level of Japanese necessary, is around the 400-450 kanji level sufficient to not have to look a million things up every second?


AJATT stated it best - you can't own the books until you own the books.
Buy it and find out :tmbup:

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #17 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:20 pm 
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tchan001 wrote:
When is your next book expected to be published and available for sale?


It is in the proofreading. So chances are that it might appear in May or latest June, I hope.

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #18 Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:14 am 
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Hi John,

Any plans on translating this book?

Cheers,
Mogens

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 Post subject: Re: Cho Chikun's territory-taking style
Post #19 Posted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:41 am 
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Hi John,

I appreciated this review and would enjoy seeing more reviews or even just a listing of Japanese in-print books that would be of value. If you could post the ISBN numbers as well that would be great.

Gurujeet

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