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 Post subject: Re: The practice of Tsumego - 2 questions
Post #21 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:03 am 
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I can share my personal experience here in a useful way, I think.

Around 2002, I got it into my head that it would be a very good idea to do lots and lots of tsumego/tesuji exercises over and over again. I called it "force feeding". The result was that I have indeed become good at spotting key moves and tesuji. However - and this, I realise now with the benefit of 16 years' of hindsight, is what's been holding me back - I never bothered to get a sound understanding of the fundamentals. So, while I became adept at spotting moves in isolation, I did not acquire the ability to engineer the situations in which I could play such moves.

I would, for instance, do 30 or 40 problems in a short time and then wonder afterwards what exactly I had learned.

In light of reading John's account above, and in light of more recent experience, I feel able belatedly to correct myself.

Recently, I went through Davies's Life and Death carefully. It's been paying me back. Not so much in terms of killing many dragons, though that has happened, but in the more subtle sense that I can use the knowledge as a weapon. For instance, recognising a corner as L+2 means that I don't have to play there - it's alive. In the past, I might have spotted the killing/saving move if it got to a L+1 situation, but I would not have recognised the process leading up to that. :oops:

I have some pocket books that I brought back from my time living in Japan. I'm just now beginning to see their true value.

Here is an example from 三段合格の死活150題 (150 Life and Death Problems for 3 Dan Standard), published by the Nihon Kiin (author: Kanagawa Masaaki)

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 21, No. 2: Black to live
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . X X O . . . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]


The rubric says if you can do it in 1 minute, then you're 1 kyu.

I should think most 1 kyus could see in 1 second that the only move for Black is to extend.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 21, No. 2
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . X X O . . . . .
$$ | . 1 O O . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]


But is it really enough be able to spot this? Of course not!

I sat and thought about this problem and learned something more from it.

First, the basic shape is a three-space notcher, and White has taken the vital point: the "button" in the middle:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 21, No. 2
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . @ X O . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . X X O . . . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]


Second, Black has to extend eye space, but will find that after White blocks that it is impossible to get two eyes.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 21, No. 2: White says "Where's your second eye?"
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | 4 O X O . . . . .
$$ | . X X O . . . . .
$$ | 3 1 O O . . . . .
$$ | . 2 . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]


And so, given that two eyes cannot be had, the only hope is to create a frozen shape in which White cannot give atari without leaving a live shape behind. In other words, the saving move is the funny-looking move 6 in the next diagram that prevent White from almost-filling for a bulky five.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 21, No. 2: Black responds: "Your attack is exhausted!"
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | 4 O X O . . . . .
$$ | 5 X X O . . . . .
$$ | 3 1 O O . . . . .
$$ | . 2 . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]


Each of these points is very simple in isolation, but doesn't the difficulty of go consist in learning how to combine its elements? That's what these training books are for: not for spotting just one idea or key point, but rather in learning to use them together as a system.

From this one exercise, I was able to deepen my appreciation of

1) the three-space notcher
2) extending eye-space
3) recognising the potential for bulky 5
4) recognising the potential to make 4 in a row (live shape)
5) using shortage of liberties through a slightly strange-looking move in order to guarantee 4


I never bothered to go through the steps I've just outlined back in 2012 or whenever I bought the book. Now I have, and I have the distinct sensation of actually having learned something.

Here is another example. What I find especially interesting here is that I think the book solution is wrong.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . . O X . . . . .
$$ | X . . X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


The rubric says if you can do it in 3 minutes then you're a shodan.

Again, it should not take more than a second to see that 1 is a likely vital point.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . . O X . . . . .
$$ | X 1 . X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


You can gain that sort of superficial "instinct" for the vital point through "force feeding", as I've said above. But it's only good up to a certain point.

Let's look a bit deeper:

If connects, then Black notices a problem: he cannot directly create a dead internal shape:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . . O X . . . . .
$$ | X 1 2 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: White creates a seki (Black cannot give atari without granting four-in-a-row)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 3 4 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 1 2 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


Therefore, Black has to find another way:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . 3 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 1 2 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


And now Black threatens to almost fill with bulky five, leaving White with ko as the only resistance:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Book solution - ko
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 4 3 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 1 2 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


But here is the thing: as I considered this position, I thought that I could make out the potential for two other fundamental ideas: the farmer's hat and shortage of liberties.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . . O X . . . . .
$$ | X 2 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


Surely now White has got two problems on her hands: that a Black stone on X would be occupying the vital point of the farmer's hat, while the other stones would be caught in a shortage of liberties:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | M . O X . . . . .
$$ | X 2 1 X . . . . .
$$ | @ . @ X . . . . .
$$ | . @ @ X . . . . .
$$ | . X X X . . . . .[/go]


Black plays at the marked point, and the shortage of liberties seems to be White's downfall when trying to make a second eye:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25: White cannot play 4 at X because of shortage of liberties
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 3 4 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 2 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | M O O X . . . . .
$$ | 5 X X X . . . . .[/go]


When White captures, Black simply plays atari on the three stones, leaving the eye false:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | 6 O O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . O 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | 7 O O X . . . . .
$$ | X X X X . . . . .[/go]


Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | 6 O O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | . O 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | 7 O O X . . . . .
$$ | X X X X . . . . .[/go]


Am I missing something?

Could it be that White can play a hane and make a "Hail Mary" sort of ko?

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25: White cannot play 4 at X because of shortage of liberties
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 3 6 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 2 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | 7 O O X . . . . .
$$ | 4 X X X . . . . .
$$ | 5 . . . . . . . .[/go]


Black would get to play first, and the ko would be very heavy for White.

Whether or not I am missing something, I feel, again, I have learned something from this, because I have been able to practise the following points:

1) vital point
2) spotting potential bulky 5
3) spotting potential four-in-a-row
4) using ko to prevent bulky 5
5) shortage of liberties
6) noticing the potential for a farmer's hat
7) Using hane to increase the "stickability" of a group, in this case by setting up a rather desperate ko


Anyway, my conclusion is that my old way of doing these problems was only helpful in a shallow way. You can make some progress by reading through likely moves and defences. However, if you think about each stage in terms of fundamental technique, then you get an altogether different appreciation of how the shapes relate to one another, and how you can use them effectively in a real game. It's all about learning how to spot what's going on under the surface. After all, it's not as though a strong player is just going to present you with a nice juicy bulky five or farmer's hat; you'll have to work hard to manouevre him into such a situation.

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Last edited by Tami on Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

This post by Tami was liked by 2 people: Bill Spight, daal
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 Post subject: Re: The practice of Tsumego - 2 questions
Post #22 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:35 am 
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For your variation in the second problem,

Yeah, I think the best white can get is the two step ko :
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 3 6 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 2 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 4 X X X . . . . .
$$ | 5 . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


But it's better for black than the solution

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 Post subject: Re: The practice of Tsumego - 2 questions
Post #23 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:37 am 
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Tryss wrote:
For your variation in the second problem,

Yeah, I think the best white can get is the two step ko :
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 25, Problem No. 4: Black to make ko (kill?)
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | X X X . . . . . .
$$ | O O X . . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 3 6 O X . . . . .
$$ | X 2 1 X . . . . .
$$ | O . O X . . . . .
$$ | . O O X . . . . .
$$ | 4 X X X . . . . .
$$ | 5 . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


But it's better for black than the solution



Thanks, Tryss - I was desperately trying to write up my correction before somebody else beat me to it :lol: Looks like we both arrived at the same conclusion.

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 Post subject: Re: The practice of Tsumego - 2 questions
Post #24 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:10 am 
Honinbo

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Tami wrote:
I can share my personal experience here in a useful way, I think.


I think that this is a very useful post. :D

Quote:
However - and this, I realise now with the benefit of 16 years' of hindsight, is what's been holding me back - I never bothered to get a sound understanding of the fundamentals.


Good point about the importance of fundamentals. :)

In high school I picked up a book by a professional basketball coach. The main thing that impressed my was that, even though he had a professional team, and a championship team to boot, at the start of every season's training, he drilled his players on the fundamentals.

Quote:
So, while I became adept at spotting moves in isolation, I did not acquire the ability to engineer the situations in which I could play such moves.


IMO, that ability is above the level of fundamentals.

Quote:
Anyway, my conclusion is that my old way of doing these problems was only helpful in a shallow way. You can make some progress by reading through likely moves and defences. However, if you think about each stage in terms of fundamental technique, then you get an altogether different appreciation of how the shapes relate to one another, and how you can use them effectively in a real game. It's all about learning how to spot what's going on under the surface. After all, it's not as though a strong player is just going to present you with a nice juicy bulky five or farmer's hat; you'll have to work hard to manouevre him into such a situation.


Well worth repeating. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The practice of Tsumego - 2 questions
Post #25 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:10 am 
Gosei

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Tami wrote:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Page 21, No. 2: Black to live
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | . X X O . . . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]

I went through pretty much the same thought process as you, with one additional stop along the way:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Bc First instinct leads to failure
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . O O . . . . . .
$$ | . X X O O . . . .
$$ | X O X , . . . . .
$$ | . O X O . . . . .
$$ | 3 O X O . . . . .
$$ | . X X O . . . . .
$$ | 4 1 O O . . . . .
$$ | . 2 . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . .[/go]
which led me to the correct move for :b3:.

This problem didn't activate the "three-space notcher" area of my brain because so much has happened already that one can just calculate. It would be interesting to try to come up with an earlier plausible real-life position that could lead to this one, though.

Thank you for the problem!

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 Post subject: Re: The practice of Tsumego - 2 questions
Post #26 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:51 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
If you want to try another technique for yourself (i.e. collecting and analysing it yourself), I'd recommend Rooster Standing On One Leg as examples are easy to find and it has very wide application in real play.

There is a fairly recent Chinese book devoted to Rooster Standing On One Leg published Jan 2018.
金鸡独立
ISBN 9787500948698
There are 99 problems in the book. Unfortunately, the problems are not associated with difficulty levels.
https://www.amazon.cn/dp/B0788WSVWV/ref ... 1533008814

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Post #27 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:07 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi Tami,
Quote:
the funny-looking move 6...that prevents White from almost-filling for a bulky five.
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O , O O O O . , .
$$ | . O X X X X X O . O .
$$ | . O X O O O X 1 2 . .
$$ | . . . X . 4 5 3 . . .
$$ -----------------------[/go]
Probably a small typo: :b5: instead of 6.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B :b5: tenuki
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O , O O O O . , .
$$ | . O X X X X X O . O .
$$ | . O X O O O X 1 2 . .
$$ | . . . X 6 4 . 3 . . .
$$ -----------------------[/go]

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