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 Post subject: Re: Game 4
Post #21 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:00 am 
Oza

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Second, in the published methods that I have seen, pros subtract full komi from Black's score. But they should not do that early in the game, only subtracting full komi by the end of the game. I do not know actual pro practice.


I think this is a vitally important point that merits much wider discussion.

First let us note that Bill correctly makes an implied distinction between what is published (i.e. is aimed at amateurs) and what pros actually do. Although he says he doesn't know actual pro practice I am sure that he is inferring it, and in general terms this is quite possible on the basis of published commentaries.

For example, in commentary after commentary on games in the no-komi era (I'm sure you know I've read more than my share of them, and I was reading yet another this morning where this point came up) there is some reference along the lines of "Black is now ahead". Initially, I used to think, "Hang on - Black was ahead to start with. There was no komi. Where did he go wrong before he recovered?" I can even recall sometimes going back to the beginning of the commentary to check whether there was komi.

What I now realise, though, is that while Black may start in an advantageous position, he actually has to earn the right to say he is ahead. It's more subtle in komi games, but the need to earn bragging rights still applies.

That's Point 1. Point 2 is that it is very, very rare for pro commentaries to give a count until very late in the game. One minor exception early in the game is when an area is clearly cordoned off and you may get a comment along the lines of "Black's moyo has consolidated into 70 points of sure territory", but even then you very rarely see a count for the whole game (instead you get comments like, "So White has to try desperate measures").

This is not so strange when you consider that Japanese (and Chinese and Korean) don't really have a word for early counting in our whole-game sense. Instead they refer to "evaluation of the situation". However, while 形勢 is really just a normal word for 'situation' it is impossible for an Oriental go player not to see both 形 (shape) and 勢 (influence/strength) in this, and to be influenced in how he views the process. The commentaries bear this out by repeatedly talking of evaluation in such terms (形 here, however, means shapes in general, not just 'good shape', and if necessary that can be made plain by using the phrase 碁形).

Of course individual players may prefer to count more precisely but I would hazard a guess that Yi Se-tol, given his style, is not one of them and that he tends to think in terms of shape and influence, especially attacking potential. In the case of the present game, for example, I think I'd expect him to review the lower right not by saying, "I thought it was worth 30 points but it looks like it may only have been 25", but by saying something like, "Hmm - I thought it was thickness but I ended up having to defend that group a little, so maybe it wasn't so thick after all."

Any sort of counting in joseki is absurd in a whole-game context, but even counting fuseki stones in a whole-game context looks iffy. It seems as if the goal of a student for the first 100 moves is not to be able to say X = B - W - komi, but simply to assess reliably things like whether "Black is thick everywhere but White is thin", "White has chances to start a fight", "Black's moyo has great potential", "White is now pleased to have the initiative", and so on.


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Post #22 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:24 am 
Tengen

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Of course, W lost: he used too much of his thickness for making too small territories in front of it, because B preventing efficient W extensions from the W walls.

Bill, what, for positional judgement, do you call "accurate", so that then you say not to know of accurate methods anywhere? Is half a point accuracy not good enough, or do you wish to include influence, strategic options and fighting aspects in what shall become an accurate judgement?

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Post #23 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:47 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Of course, W lost: he used too much of his thickness for making too small territories in front of it, because B preventing efficient W extensions from the W walls.


So you disagree with An Younggil's analysis that white's result in the lower right was ok and that white lost the game with bad choices at the lower left and top in late middle game? I'd be interested to compare your commentary with your numerical evaluation techniques to Younggil's.

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Post #24 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:05 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Point 2 is that it is very, very rare for pro commentaries to give a count until very late in the game.


To add to this, I'm not even sure that pros have a definitive count in their own mind. I remember watching Michael Redmond do a game commentary and he commented that one side was ahead. Someone asked by how much and got a fairly generic answer in response ('quite ahead', or some such).

I piped up and asked Michael how many points komi he would want to switch sides and that stopped him in his tracks. He looked at the board for a good minute before coming up with a number.

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Post #25 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:23 am 
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The book Nie Weiping on Go: the Art of Positional Judgement features whole board counting in the opening.

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Post #26 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:09 am 
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pwaldron wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
Point 2 is that it is very, very rare for pro commentaries to give a count until very late in the game.


To add to this, I'm not even sure that pros have a definitive count in their own mind. I remember watching Michael Redmond do a game commentary and he commented that one side was ahead. Someone asked by how much and got a fairly generic answer in response ('quite ahead', or some such).

I piped up and asked Michael how many points komi he would want to switch sides and that stopped him in his tracks. He looked at the board for a good minute before coming up with a number.


This is an interesting point. I doubt that such a "komi" would necessarily be equal to how many points the other side was behind, so naturally Redmond had to think about it.

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Post #27 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:16 am 
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The Redmond anecdote suggests that pros don't really calculate but rather feel who is ahead, by merely looking at the disposition of the stones. They cancel out certain structures which they recognize, even across the board, by having played and analysed hundreds, even thousands of games. Or rather, they keep track of the exchanges done, in an almost physical way. Since the "badness" of their moves never accounts for more than 2 points, the accumulated difference will rarely go beyond 10 points, or they will resign. That means they need to callibrate the difference between 10 and -10 and probably between -5 and +5, which is a colour palette that can be maintained easily. So I would think they rather think in these terms, like "quite ahead", than calculating the actual difference by assigning counts to each group or territory. That would be the reason why Redmond needed to think about the actual difference, while he felt very clearly that one player was "quite ahead".

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Post #28 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:41 am 
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No, the Redmond story tells something different: that also professionals need time to count accurately. Redmond was reported to calculate accurately at other times, when he was playing and had the thinking time for it. But during a live commentary, it is possible that he does not always have the time, until asked specifically for the count.

Uberdude, after move 27, the W wall has only ca. 4 significant influence stones. K3 is not really a threat yet. Therefore, the W excess of influence stones (B also has some!) is small and cannot compensate B's big lead on territory.

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Post #29 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:58 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Bill, what, for positional judgement, do you call "accurate", so that then you say not to know of accurate methods anywhere? Is half a point accuracy not good enough, or do you wish to include influence, strategic options and fighting aspects in what shall become an accurate judgement?


It is true, as John Fairbairn says, that pro commentaries seldom talk numbers until late in the game, and that is, IMO, appropriate. However, many years ago I was surprised to read in an article in one of the go magazines about an instance when some young pros (less than 5 dan in those days) were discussing a game and had laid out over 20 moves when another young pro walked in, took a quick look at the board which, as I recall, had a White wall in the top left, and said, "Oh! White is 3 points ahead." That was just what the other young pros had agreed on. That tells me that pros know heuristics for estimating the numerical value of positions early in the game. In this case these pros came up with a precise estimate of three points. That does not mean that it was accurate. ;)

It is possible to be accurate, even though there is a great deal of uncertainty about the outcome of a position. For instance, suppose that White has enclosed a Black group which is unsettled. In one play Black can live and make 2 points; in one play White can kill and make 28 points. An accurate estimate of the local position is 13 points for White, even though the eventual result will be 15 points different.

Now, the traditional estimate of the value of a single stone on a 4-4 point is 10 points. We now know that that is too low. The actual value is around 14 points. (At least, early in the game, before surrounding stones may have altered its value.) Suppose that, early in the game, several stones have been played on the left side of the board, while Black has nirensei on the right side. Anyone using the traditional estimate for the value of those stones could underestimate the value of the whole board for Black by as much as 8 points.

Consider a 3-4 5-3 shimari. Traditionally, that is valued as 11 points, because that much territory is relatively secure. However, the traditional value does not take into account the possibilities for development from the shimari. Nobody knows the actual value of the shimari, but 25 points is more like it. Maybe 30 points.

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Post #30 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:04 am 
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Well, professional players have played thousands of games throughout their life; they must have a strong intuition about the 'tendency' of the game. If An Younggil thinks the position was even, it is likely to be, and also pros talk with each other about such big matches, so what An has written is based on not only his own opinion but also other pros'. If there had been disagreement he would have said that some pros have different thoughts rather than clearly stating 'the game is even'.

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Post #31 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:20 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Uberdude, after move 27, the W wall has only ca. 4 significant influence stones.


Interesting. Put in those terms, I would guess that the White wall is worth between 3.5 and 4 stones. :)

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Post #32 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:33 am 
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MJK wrote:
Well, professional players have played thousands of games throughout their life; they must have a strong intuition about the 'tendency' of the game. If An Younggil thinks the position was even, it is likely to be, and also pros talk with each other about such big matches, so what An has written is based on not only his own opinion but also other pros'. If there had been disagreement he would have said that some pros have different thoughts rather than clearly stating 'the game is even'.


Well, he did not so clearly state that the game is even. He said it was "playable" for both sides. Only later did he say that it was still even.

Also, we should keep in mind professional courtesy and saving face. While American football sportscasters may criticize their peers or betters loudly and roundly, real time go commentary is rather more polite. Perhaps with the exception of people like Kajiwara, who had a sharp tongue. It is hard to believe that, when he played :w10:, Lee Sedol had not anticipated something like the position after :b27:. Thus, without taking the time to do a thorough analysis, it would hardly do for a commentator to say that Lee played like a professional shodan.

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Post #33 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:04 am 
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Well, having had time for further consideration, An sticks with his assessment of an equal game. In a comment on the gogameguru site he states:

An Youngil wrote:
The result looks better for Black, but his lower side area is still a bit weak even after Black 27. White can also reduce the lower right corner in the endgame (for example, White 156 was sente in the game). In addition, Black spent more moves in this area, so he got a better result. However, White got sente, and played somewhere else, so the result was still even.


Emphasis added. :)

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Last edited by Bill Spight on Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #34 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:09 am 
Oza

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Knotwilg wrote:
The Redmond anecdote suggests that pros don't really calculate but rather feel who is ahead, by merely looking at the disposition of the stones. They cancel out certain structures which they recognize, even across the board, by having played and analysed hundreds, even thousands of games. Or rather, they keep track of the exchanges done, in an almost physical way. Since the "badness" of their moves never accounts for more than 2 points, the accumulated difference will rarely go beyond 10 points, or they will resign. That means they need to callibrate the difference between 10 and -10 and probably between -5 and +5, which is a colour palette that can be maintained easily. So I would think they rather think in these terms, like "quite ahead", than calculating the actual difference by assigning counts to each group or territory. That would be the reason why Redmond needed to think about the actual difference, while he felt very clearly that one player was "quite ahead".


I seem to recall reading a quotation from a Japanese professional somewhere about counting, where he stated that he would figure out the count by looking at the position, feeling who was ahead, and trying to decide how many points he would want extra to take the losing side. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I got this idea from, so it's probably hard to verify unless someone else can recall it.

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Post #35 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:48 am 
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Are we getting to the conclusion that counting is like teenage sex?
everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone things everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it


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Post #36 Posted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:20 pm 
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Uberdude wrote:
Re move 20: black isn't forced to atari and let white capture the cutting stone


Thanks for the correction Uberdude; that was a poor choice of words on my part. I meant induces rather than forces and didn't really mean to comment on the viability of any possible resistances black might have.

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Post #37 Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:00 am 
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The discussion about the result up to 27, which is also carried at gogameguru is very interesting and could lead to a paradigm shift in amateur positional judgment.

It is also interesting that Robert maintains his opinion on that position, holding his judgment devoid of flaws. I prefer critically assessing my own judgment: what can be wrong with it if, it is so apparently different from the pro's ? The gap between a pro and a ama 5d may not be that big and of course anyone is entitled to their opinion but it does shed a light on previous encounters between Robert and the community. The masses are not always right and expert individuals may also be found wrong sometimes but there appears to be a constant here.

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Post #38 Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:27 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
It is also interesting that Robert maintains his opinion on that position, holding his judgment devoid of flaws.


My judgement, as far as described so far, has been elliptical. Therefore, it is premature to claim it to be without flaws.

Quote:
I prefer critically assessing my own judgment: what can be wrong with it if, it is so apparently different from the pro's ?


If you are as critical as you claim, ask yourself also what can be wrong with the professionals' judgements. To start with, as long as professionals, in their stated comments, do not even distinguish influence stones with greater versus smaller influence and development potential, their comments are incomplete concerning a very important point.

Quote:
there appears to be a constant here.


Indeed. I have still to see professionals start assessing values of influence and relating them to amounts of territories. (Takagawa's way described by Ishida in GoWorld 41 is not really a counter-example.)

Quotations from http://gogameguru.com/gu-li-vs-lee-sedo ... go-game-4/

Younggil An: "The result looks better for Black, but his lower side area is still a bit weak even after Black 27."

I agree to "his lower side area is still a bit weak even after Black 27" and have pointed out this before.

"White can also reduce the lower right corner in the endgame (for example, White 156 was sente in the game)."

Of course; therefore I do not count what can be reduced in sente as territory.

"Black spent more moves in this area, so he got a better result."

This argument is not convincing, because one does not need to restrict counting stones to "this area". Instead, one can count the stone difference on the whole board. After move 28, the stone difference is 0, and so "more moves" is not any problem of judgement here.

"However, White got sente, and played somewhere else, so the result was still even."

As before. After move 28, White lost sente, and the stone difference is 0. Therefore, An's argument "White got sente, and played somewhere else" is void and the conclusion "so the result was still even" lacks justification.

Dieter: "Up to amateur 5d people are convinced the three stones at the bottom negate White’s influence"

Which amateur 5d has this opinion? I do not have it; I have not said "negate", but I have said "preventing efficient W extensions from the W walls" and indicated that the lower part of the (not: the whole) W wall does not have significant outside influence stones. "Negate" would imply "the W wall does not have any (useful) influence at all"; this would be very wrong.

"later on the thick group makes small territory in front of it."

Indeed. You do not suggest that any professional would claim the opposite, don't you?

"It seems there is a substantial gap in amateur positional judgment to cover here."

Which gap? Who has to cover it? Why do you, Dieter, suggest that all amateurs would have the same positional judgement?

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Post #39 Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:58 am 
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Answers to your questions:

1) I'm critical of my own judgment, a bit less critical of your judgment and not critical at all of a professional's judgment. I think it is a very reliable heuristic to say that when I disagree with a pro's positional judgment, I'm wrong and have something to learn. And I think that is only marginally less true for you.
2) I agree with you though that not all arguments are equally convincing to explain the pro's judgment. I think a pro's ability to explain a situation will always be lower than his ability to assess it. An Younggil does very well overall though.
3) I'm sorry for not quoting you literally. It's a habit of mine to reword concepts and thoughts from conversations, while it's a habit of yours to deny any of those representations if they are not literal. So indeed, you haven't said "negate". It may be due to my not being a native speaker but I think of "negate" as a strong variant of "reduce" but not to the extent of "reduce to zero". Your "preventing efficient W extensions from the W walls" is much more precise. It may however reveal exactly the difference in thinking between you and the pros: White's group is not just a wall. It's a thick group. It doesn't need an extension. It is powerful in itself. I always thaught thickness needed to be used for attack, eventually. Now I also understand it can be used as a negative force, disallowing the opponent to do anything meaningful in the vicinity, as in "don't play close to thickness".
4) Returning the favor, I did not literally say that all amateurs would have the same positional judgment. However, if even a ama 5d disagrees, just like the rest of us, with the pros about the position at move 27 being equal, there seems to be at least a substantial minimal gap. And yes, I still believe you are wrong, and yes mine is a miserable argument of authority.

Incidentally, David Ormerod is ama 5d too and he has been struggling to understand the pros' positional judgment just as much.

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Post #40 Posted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 12:50 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
White's group is not just a wall. It's a thick group. It doesn't need an extension. It is powerful in itself.


The W group is strong enough not to need any extension soon. I have mentioned extensions for a different purpose: constructive development.

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