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 Post subject: Re: This 'n' that
Post #41 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:23 am 
Oza

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Bill Spight wrote:
through the double translation from Japanese to German to English, sente became Upper Hand.

I haven't seen or heard that one before. I like it. I even like it better than initiative. I'm going to start using that one.

What did gote become from German to English?
The best I can think of off the top of my head might be, backhand, afterplay, fall back. None of those feel quite right to me yet

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Post #42 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:55 pm 
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xed_over wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
through the double translation from Japanese to German to English, sente became Upper Hand.

I haven't seen or heard that one before. I like it. I even like it better than initiative. I'm going to start using that one.

What did gote become from German to English?
The best I can think of off the top of my head might be, backhand, afterplay, fall back. None of those feel quite right to me yet


I scanned my Korschelt and did not find a word for gote. In the section on endgame plays, he (or the English translators) referred to a gote sequence as Upperhand lost, or U. L., and a sente sequence as Upperhand retained, or U. R. (I misremembered how they spelled Upperhand. ;))

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Post #43 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:46 pm 
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xed_over wrote:
I haven't seen or heard that one before. I like it. I even like it better than initiative.


A bit off topic, but I agree that 'initiative' and 'sente' are different. To me, 'initiative' is like controlling the flow of the game, even if you periodically end in gote.

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Post #44 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:50 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
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"Tedomari is worth sente."


I've never come across this in any language. Is it perchance a western invention, Bill?


I thought that I read it in a book by Sakata. Anyway, it was before Ishi Press. (BTW, I brought the first Ishi Press books to the U. S. Bozulich gave me some to hand out before publication. :)) I am glad that it was not widely disseminated. As I said, it is misleading.

Quote:
Quote:
OC, if you get the last play of the opening, you give up sente,


I await the promised explanation, but I don't mind admitting that I for one do not yet see why "OC".

{snip}

In general it seems that a tedomari in the opening does imply a threat or a follow up. Because the board is so open at this stage, the opponent can naturally decide to ignore the tedomari's threats, but that doesn't seem automatically to confer the initiative on him. At best he may get a local initiative, but the whole-board initiative surely still rests with the guy who got the tedomari.


Fortunately, sente is more precise than initiative. :) Even gote can carry threats. Globally, as long as there are plays to be made, each play, whatever we call it, threatens to play them. With regard to those threats, the distinction between sente and gote does not matter. In chess, with its relatively limited scope, the initiative has a good bit to do with attack and defense, the attacker having the initiative. In go, with its wider scope, sente (in its sense as Upperhand ;)) has more to do with shifting the scene of battle, causing the opponent to make the last play (gote) in some local area, at least for now.

Carrying a threat can confer initiative, but it is not enough to make a play sente. :)

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Post #45 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:10 pm 
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Carrying a threat can confer initiative, but it is not enough to make a play sente.


I agree, though the way I read what you said I thought you were promoting "initiative" for sente.

Didn't Korschelt use Nachhand for gote in his journal version? In English the most idiomatic equivalents seem to be at t'other end of the body: front foot and back foot. To cricket fans especially these seem to convey just the right nuances that "initiative" (too military/strategic?) misses.

It won't be to the taste of many people here, but the Greek tragedicians came up with rather interesting sente/gote equivalents in protagonist and deuteragonist. I have pointed out Shuho's apparent affinity with the ancient Greeks in another connection :)

There is of course also the possibility of using the terms embedded in the legal definition of sente: Whereas the party of the first part hereinafter referred to as Player A may execute a move in a manner so stipulated in the regulations with such effect that the party of the second part hereinafter referred to as Player B gets the heebie jeebies and insofar as aforesaid Pro B responds like a wimp said party of the first part shall be deemed notwithstanding any temporary unrelated responses by aforesaid Player B to have retained his status as the party of the first part and such status shall continue until the party of the second part grows a pair provided said pair is of magnitude at least equal to the magnitude of the conformable appurtenances of current party of the first part.

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Post #46 Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:11 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Quote:
Carrying a threat can confer initiative, but it is not enough to make a play sente.


I agree, though the way I read what you said I thought you were promoting "initiative" for sente.


Only for one sense of sente, as in taking sente. OTOH, I am perfectly happy not to translate sente and gote at all. :)

Quote:
Didn't Korschelt use Nachhand for gote in his journal version?


I believe that Vorhand and Nachhand are the German renderings, and they may well go back to Korschelt. :)

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 Post subject: Re: This 'n' that
Post #47 Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
[..]

I believe that Vorhand and Nachhand are the German renderings,
korrekt … uhm … correct ;-)

Quote:
and they may well go back to Korschelt. :)
I haven’t read any “classics”, but I’d imagine that the concept of “Vorhand” (forehand) and “Nachhand” (sometimes also “Rückhand” or “Hinterhand”) (backhand) would be quite a lot older.


<edit>

Here an old mention of “Vorhand” — http://woerterbuchnetz.de/DWB/?lemma=Vorhand from the “Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm. 16 Bände in 32 Teilbänden. Leipzig 1854–1961”:

Quote:
3) beim kartenspiel hat der die v. oder ist, sitzt in der v., der durch ausspielen das spiel eröffnet; sitzt an der v. Adelung; bei skatspiel sitzt der nächste in der mittel-, der dritte in der hinterhand; auf den vortheil den die v. hat, beziehen sich scherzhaft redensarten: de v. ies a hausbacka brut wart Rother d. schles. sprichwörter 431b; de förhand is n daler werd ten Doornkaat-Koolman 1, 540b; v. is eben so good as en frischmelkte muus Mensing schlesw.-holst. wb. 5, 472; vgl. Wander dt. sprichw. lex. 4, 1692. — nach Jacobsson technol. wb. 8, 112b auch auf das ballspiel übertragen.


This relates to card games, and it mentions even older proverbs, such as “forehand is a dollar’s worth” (I’m translating “Taler” as “dollar” here, for understanding).

Further on in that dictionary entry one can find “Vorhand” for a situation where the eldest sister who can choose her husband from a bunch of healthy brothers, and for taking the initiative in a battle.

</edit>

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Post #48 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 8:38 am 
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I'm not sure that upper hand really captures the meaning of sente. To me upper hand in every day English usage has a meaning of advantage. The SL entry http://senseis.xmp.net/?SenteGainsNothing seems to indicate that sente is not simply connected with advantage.


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Post #49 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:24 am 
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gowan wrote:
I'm not sure that upper hand really captures the meaning of sente. To me upper hand in every day English usage has a meaning of advantage. The SL entry http://senseis.xmp.net/?SenteGainsNothing seems to indicate that sente is not simply connected with advantage.


Having taken a quick look again at my Korschelt, I think that the English translators made a poor choice of terms. AFAICT, looking only at the English text, Korschelt mixed two different meanings of sente, 1) that of playing first, or having the initiative, and 2) that of a play which carries a threat "which the opponent must either answer or else suffer a severe loss" (p. 59).

Until the dame stage playing first gains something; that is, the right to play has value. If the opponent takes gote when he should not, ceding the initiative, he has taken a loss. That is one reason why, "The player who has the Upperhand most of the time in the game usually comes out the victor" (pp. 51-2). Korschelt alludes to another reason, when the opponent has weak groups that may be attacked with sente.

OTOH, when a play is sente in a local area and it is correct for the opponent to answer it in gote, we consider that the player with the sente has the privilege of playing it (with sente) and will almost certainly be able to do so. In that case playing sente would gain nothing (on average). Playing such a sente is like cashing a check, to use the example from the CGT text, Winning Ways.

It took me some time, way back when, to discern different meanings of sente. More later, probably this afternoon. :)

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Post #50 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 3:49 pm 
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I take the initiative

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest said that the battle goes to him who "gits thar the fustes' with the mostes'." (Spurious quotation, I gather. ;)) As a beginner at go I tried to git thar fustes', anyway. ;) If my opponent made an invasion, I usually tried to kill the invading group, but if I could not, I tried to make sure that it lived in gote. As I said, taking sente often meant that I left weak groups behind and lost them. But there again, if I did not think that I could live, I tried not to die in gote, but to sacrifice my stones, preferably in sente. Edit: That's not all that clear. I would sometimes leave a weak group behind in order to take sente, and then, when it was attacked and killed, I would try to sacrifice it and take sente again. Two sente for the price of one group. ;) End edit. Since I often lost groups, that meant that I often made sacrifices, and thus made thickness. This eventually led to a thick style, even though I started out playing what I thought was a fleet footed style. You know, to git thar the fustes'. ;)

Anyway, I don't think that that is a bad approach for a beginner. Certainly much better than following White around the board. :) If you aren't sure whether your group is alive and you make a protective play, you may never know, but if you leave it alone and play elsewhere and your opponent kills your group, that's a big clue. :)

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Post #51 Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:54 am 
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I learn more about sente and gote, and am confused

I was not always sure whether a play was sente or gote, in fact, I was seldom sure. If a play threatened a group, it was usually sente, but what if it carried a smaller threat? Sometimes my opponent answered. Did that mean that my play was sente? After all, I had played it with sente. Or had the opponent made a mistake? Much later I heard that someone said that sente was a play that you hoped your opponent would not answer. ;) That's not bad. :) But my sense of sente was vague.

I started to actually study go when I was 4 kyu, in the sense of book learning. I had always studied my own games. :) I learned about the classification of plays into gote, sente, reverse sente, and double sente. I also learned that you doubled the value of sente. Why, I did not know. And if you doubled the value of sente, why didn't you quadruple the value of double sente? Obviously I had no clue.

My favorite form of study was pro games. I had gotten a book of Go Seigen's games as a birthday present when I was 4-5 kyu. Sad story. It was a present from my 5 kyu teacher, who had been my only opponent during my first 5 or 6 months of play. I had been playing for 11 months at the time. The night he gave it to me we played three even games. I had moved up to even a few weeks earlier. I won all three games that night, and those were the last games we ever played. I guess he could not stand the idea of taking Black from me. :( The next month I left Japan to go back to school. I was back in Japan the next summer, but we did not play any go.

Back to studying pro games. Pros, to my surprise, often took gote in certain situations in the opening where I would not have. Those moves were uncommented. Like, they were obvious, right? Well, not to me. I finally came up with a reason. They were plays to bolster weak groups, groups which were -- to my eyes, anyway --, alive, but attackable. Attackable in sente. So those moves, I figured, were reverse sente to prevent attacks. If I was right, the attacks were larger than I thought, and thus the prophylactic defensive plays were larger than I thought. :)

Another thing that really surprised me was one pro game where one player played a prototypical double sente, the kosumi on the second line where the other player also has a kosumi on the second line on the same point, and the other player did not answer the double sente. (!) Double sente? It wasn't even sente! At least, in the sense of being played with sente. Then I began to notice games in which the pros had the chance of playing that double kosumi but did not do so, often for a long time. But the proverb says to play double sente early. Most perplexing. :-?

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Post #52 Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:24 pm 
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I look forward to seeing where you take this discussion of sente / gote, Bill. I'm around the level where you began to study, and I've also discovered that professionals often make defensive plays at times that surprise me.

I've realized that the choices for sente / gote (especially in the opening) are not governed by a single question (e.g. "Where can I make a sente move?") but by a set of questions: Where can I attack and make profit? Where can my opponent attack and make profit? Where would a strong group give me significant advantage in future fighting? Where would a weak group leave me at a significant disadvantage in future fighting?

There are many more questions one can ask, to be sure, but I've enjoyed exploring the game from this perspective. I'm sure you have a lot of insight in this area!

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Post #53 Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:51 pm 
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Quote:
the proverb says to play double sente early


Bill: v. enjoyable to read about your travails on the road to mastery. I've had my own share of perplexing things to grapple with, and most remain intractably covered in slime, but oddly this business of double sente never troubled me in the same way it troubled you, and I think for a respectable reason.

First, I don't think I have ever seen the proverb you quote in Japanese. To be on the safe side I did check a couple of books, and there's no such reference even in books devoted 100% to yose. Even if someone pops up with a refernece, I feel safe in saying it's hardly a mainstream proverb. I suspect, again, a western origin (possibly from a mathematician?).

Second, and more important, I seem never to have had the same sense of its meaning as most westerners. Instead I have followed Japanese definitions. Again, to avoid relying on an increasingly creaky memory, I delved in the Japanese literature I could reach without getting out of my chair and here are a couple of definitions of double sente which accord with what I have always understood:

(1) "A boundary play [yose] which is sente for whichever side plays it."

(2) "The border line [kyoukai] where the boundary plays [yose] for either side are sente."

In other words, I have always had it in mind that double sente plays come into the reckoning only once boundary plays come into the reckoning. Like you, I have often looked at double kosumi regions and wondered why the pro didn't play there, but I just assumed that the pros had decided they were not at the boundary play stage yet. That assumption has nearly always stood me in good stead once I've seen how the rest of the game develops - almost invariably there is aji around that I couldn't see until it was played out, and playing the kosumi (or whatever other sente-looking move) would have destroyed the aji. And, in passing, the very fact that these plays are boundary plays means that they will never normally be played early in the game.

If I may go into broken-record mode, I think this once again shows the value of correctly denoting yose as boundary play rather than endgame. Of course the endgame is full of boundary plays so it may seem no harm is done, but this double sente business is one of several things that show that harm does in fact accrue.

As it happens, I think the meaning of sente has suffered in its transition to the west. I won't go into detail, but sente o toru is usually translated in go as 'take sente', so that people end up thinking sente is the end product and that what they are doing is converting gote to sente. In fact sente o toru is used in the ordinary language and the idea there can be 'take an initiative' but is often something like either 'to forestall' or 'to steal a march', and normally there is no idea of getting something (the reward comes later: the phrase just describes the start of a process). There is also a well known nuance from sword fighting and other martial arts (front foot vs back foot), but there there is no real sense that sente is good, gote is bad (as most go amateurs seem to think). Being on the back foot can be just as good as being on the front foot. This of course ties in with what you observe about prophylactic defence (i.e. mamoru as opposed to ukeru), which is another of my many hobby-horses (sorry!). But in the early phase of the game that you mention, I'd suggest the focus would be on hon- (honte, honsuji) rather than gote. At least now that you've moved on well past your 4k stage.

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Post #54 Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:55 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
the proverb says to play double sente early


John Fairbairn wrote:
First, I don't think I have ever seen the proverb you quote in Japanese.


In the Yose Dictionary Kano says of double sente, "なるべく急いで打たねばなりません" (p. 4). As for the proverb, a number of sources give this:
Quote:
両先手逃すべからず
 

John Fairbairn wrote:
I suspect, again, a western origin (possibly from a mathematician?).


It doesn't make mathematical sense.

Quote:
Second, and more important, I seem never to have had the same sense of its meaning as most westerners. Instead I have followed Japanese definitions.

{snip}

(1) "A boundary play [yose] which is sente for whichever side plays it."

(2) "The border line [kyoukai] where the boundary plays [yose] for either side are sente."

In other words, I have always had it in mind that double sente plays come into the reckoning only once boundary plays come into the reckoning. Like you, I have often looked at double kosumi regions and wondered why the pro didn't play there, but I just assumed that the pros had decided they were not at the boundary play stage yet. That assumption has nearly always stood me in good stead once I've seen how the rest of the game develops - almost invariably there is aji around that I couldn't see until it was played out, and playing the kosumi (or whatever other sente-looking move) would have destroyed the aji. And, in passing, the very fact that these plays are boundary plays means that they will never normally be played early in the game.


Well, if double sente has some special meaning in the West, I don't know what it is. Even in the discussion at http://senseis.xmp.net/?DoubleSenteIsRelative agrees with the first (Japanese) definition that you give.

I have sometimes observed that top pros play better than what the textbooks say. Even when they play the double kosumi it is answered only about half the time. See http://senseis.xmp.net/?HowBigIsThe6PointDoubleSente .

Quote:
If I may go into broken-record mode, I think this once again shows the value of correctly denoting yose as boundary play rather than endgame. Of course the endgame is full of boundary plays so it may seem no harm is done, but this double sente business is one of several things that show that harm does in fact accrue.


IMHO the problem lies with the concept of double sente. Even in the 70s Kano knew there was something wrong with it, so did Ogawa and Davies. Kano makes a hash of his discussion of it. In his recent yose book O Meien avoids discussing double sente entirely. I suspect that he understands the problem, but did not want to introduce confusion by discussing it and puncturing widely held beliefs about it.

Quote:
As it happens, I think the meaning of sente has suffered in its transition to the west.


Most go terms suffer in transition to the West, but I think that the reason is that Western go players are weaker on average than Eastern go players. Weak players in the East misunderstand go terms, as well. :)

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Post #55 Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:10 am 
Oza

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In the Yose Dictionary Kano says of double sente, "なるべく急いで打たねばなりません" (p. 4). As for the proverb, a number of sources give this:


Bill: The above is not a proverb, and the proverb you quote says nothing about playing double sente early - it just says don't overlook it. In addition, Kano's advice is by definition, being in a Yose Dictionary, intended for the boundary play stage, which is the thrust of what I am saying.

Quote:
Well, if double sente has some special meaning in the West, I don't know what it is.


'Meaning' is probably a lax word here, but my point is that amateurs are apt to play double sentes at completely the wrong timne, i.e. outside the boundary-play stage. I'm suggesting that western amateurs may be especially apt to do this because of the existence of a possibly spurious (or misinterpreted) proverb. I suspect a mathematician's hand in it not because it's intended to be accurate but because it's the sort of joke proverb a mathematician might come up with. One thing we have been good at in the west is coming up with joke proverbs ("tenuki is worth 8/15/20/30 points" is another one), but maybe too many have come back to bite us in the bum.

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Post #56 Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:53 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Quote:
In the Yose Dictionary Kano says of double sente, "なるべく急いで打たねばなりません" (p. 4). As for the proverb, a number of sources give this:


Bill: The above is not a proverb,


Kano is giving what is behind the proverb: hurry to play double sente. I read something similar by Sakata or Takagawa, or both, who were whom I was reading at the time.

Quote:
and the proverb you quote says nothing about playing double sente early - it just says don't overlook it.


Oh, it's stronger than that. It can be translated as

Quote:
Don't let double sente get away

or

Don't miss the chance to play double sente

or

Don't lose double sente to the opponent


All of which indicate urgency. As Kano, et al., say.

Quote:
In addition, Kano's advice is by definition, being in a Yose Dictionary, intended for the boundary play stage, which is the thrust of what I am saying.


As we know, boundary plays can occur during any stage of the game. :)

Quote:
I suspect a mathematician's hand in it not because it's intended to be accurate but because it's the sort of joke proverb a mathematician might come up with.


That's a little in joke between me and John. I proposed the proverb, When in doubt, tenuki, as a joke. ;)

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Last edited by Bill Spight on Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #57 Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:15 pm 
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As I said above, the fact that O Meien avoids any mention of double sente in his recent yose book may indicate that the idea is losing currency among pros. But as I was searching for the proverb about the urgency of playing double sente, I ran across a good example of how it can negatively affect thinking about go.

The Nihon Kiin's Small Yose Dictionary (May, 2000 printing), starts with a discussion of double sente and gives the following whole board example with two variations.



This example is intended to illustrate the value of double sente by comparing the results when Black gets seven double sente in a row versus when White does. End of discussion.

I hope that these variations gave you an uneasy feeling, to say the least. Apparently it did not give the writer or editor an uneasy feeling, nor did they seem to get feedback from any readers who got an uneasy feeling in the five years between the first printing and this one. Readers of Sensei's Library may have wondered about mutual damage. See http://senseis.xmp.net/?MutualDamage . Just because a play is called a double sente doesn't mean that you should answer it. Particularly if you have a so called double sente yourself. :) Surely one of these variations shows incorrect play, if not both.

I found something similar in a An Overview of Igo by Nogami Akira, 5 dan, written in 1954. He starts his yose section with a similar example with a variation where White to play gets a number of double sente, followed by a variation where Black to play gets a number of double sente. But there are a couple of important differences between his example and the Nihon Kiin one. In his comments he does not mention double sente once. (He brings it up later in the book, however.) Instead, he says that there are sente yose and gote yose. He also offers a third variation, which he labels as correct play. :) Before, I said that I have observed top players playing better than the textbooks. I am guessing, but I think that the third variation, and the lack of any mention at this point about double sente are the doing of the supervising editor, Shimamura Toshihiro, 8 dan. Certainly the first two variations look like they are intended to illustrate double sente, just like the variations in the Small Yose Dictionary. My guess is that when Shimamura saw them, he said that they needed a variation with correct play. Once that diagram was made, talk about double sente was beside the point. In any event, Nogami and Shimamura did not fall into the trap that the later writers did. Here is their example with the variations. :)


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 Post subject: Re: This 'n' that
Post #58 Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:11 pm 
Honinbo

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Territory scoring, no komi.

Black first, what result?

White first, what result?

Enjoy!

:)

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 Post subject: Re: This 'n' that
Post #59 Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:58 am 
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Well, nobody bit. Too easy, I guess. :)



Black to play wins by 1 point. White to play wins by 1 point. Each player is indifferent between playing the sente or reverse sente and taking the largest play in the environment.

The environment is constructed so that playing in the environment alone gains 1/2 of its temperature. The temperature of the environment is 2, and the original count of the board is 0, so the player with the move (sente) wins by 1 point.

In the main line, where Black takes the sente first, I do a count of the whole board after White's reply. It is also 0. As the proverb says, playing the sente gained nothing. :)

This board justifies calling the sente a 2 point sente. That is the temperature of the environment where each player is indifferent between playing the sente or reverse sente and playing in the environment. Note that 2 points is how much the reverse sente gains. (The sente gains nothing, OC.)

The swing value of the largest gote is 4 points. Each play gains 2 points. Which is how much the reverse sente gains. Once we figure how much a play gains (on average) then we can compare different plays. To do that we divide the swing value of the gote by 2.

As far as comparison is concerned, we could double the value of the sente instead, and that is what was traditionally done. Now we understand why we double the value of sente; it is not just a rule plucked from the air. However, we have to remember that the swing value does not tell us how much a play gains. A lot of players assume that it does, and end up confused. Better, IMHO, to stick with how much a play gains. :)

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 Post subject: Re: This 'n' that
Post #60 Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:31 am 
Honinbo

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OK, here is a variation on a theme. :)



Territory scoring, no komi.

Assume best play.

Black first, what result?

White first, what result?

Enjoy!

:)

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