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 Post subject: Endgame 2 - Values
Post #1 Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:41 pm 
Dies with sente

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I bought the PDF version of the book in late August after the debate about Robert's review of The endgame from James Davies and Tomoko Ogawa. I had been curious about miai counting for a while, mostly from Bill Spight, but I never took the proper time to learn more about it on sensei's library.

The start of the book (~50 pages) was the rough part for me. A lot of things get mentionned, not all of them clearly defined, and it wasn't clear what would be important or what could have been kept for later. Around that time another discussion started about the value of moves and it made me get a feeling for what would be important. After that, I started reading the book from the start a second time and it was already smoother.

The rest of the book felt a lot easier. Things are slowly explained and there is a lot of examples. I read the book with a pen and paper to do all the examples by myself before checking the values. The examples are very detailled. I finished the book with a feeling that I had a solid grasp on the basics of miai counting.

Overall I've been satisfied with the book. I wanted to learn about miai counting and I did. I've been thinking about how much better of a player it makes me and it's hard to judge. I learned about ko evaluation, which I somehow managed not to do before. It be easy to add that to my play. The part about corridors has concret values that I should try to remember, because they should be helpful in game.

It still leaves out a lot of positions, which I don't know how to handle. In theory (maybe not for complicated ones), I know how to evaluate them but can I actually do it in my games? The examples in the book are very good to understand the theory, but they are not realistic. They still took me some time to do despite the reading being very easy. I've barely played since I've finished the book and I didn't try to apply the theory. I should look at some of my old games to try and get the values, if I can. I wonder how many values I can count in a tournament game, or in a online game. Would I get much faster if spending some hours training? According to the author's review, I should find volume 4 very interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Endgame 2 - Values
Post #2 Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:22 pm 
Tengen

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The introductions prepare understanding of the main chapters. The key concepts are explained a few times and described from different angles. I am glad that you find the main chapters easier. The key concepts of endgame evaluation can be hard to learn because they closely depend on each other. The explanation has to start somewhere and one does not know all related concepts in advance. Therefore, your second reading of the introductions has been a good decision.

IYO, which things should get clearer definitions? Every term is defined but some terms only get rough preliminary definitions because precise definitions and related explanations will fill large parts of the next volume.

For the first 50 pages, you say that it wasn't clear what would be important or what could have been kept for later. Everything is important...! Ok, it would have been possible to move, e.g., the description of global sente to another chapter later in the book. My intention has been to broaden one's thinking when studying local evaluation: one must also be aware of the global context etc. Always. It is not just a footnote.

You are right that this theory book leaves out a lot of positions, shapes and more realistic (instead of the simplified) examples. They appear in the later problem book(s).

How many values can you calculate in a tournament game and how much faster will your calculations become? View it as a process! "Some hours" might not be enough:) Be patient with yourself: start with 1 value per game. Increase your speed steadily.

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 Post subject: Re: Endgame 2 - Values
Post #3 Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:50 am 
Dies with sente

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Quote:
IYO, which things should get clearer definitions? Every term is defined but some terms only get rough preliminary definitions because precise definitions and related explanations will fill large parts of the next volume.

Maybe that was me not being careful. My first reading was on my computer, but I printed many pages for the second reading, which also helped as well. Browsing through the book, I remember being upset by the move values on pages 9 and 10, but after reading page 11 again, I can't see any problem.

Quote:
For the first 50 pages, you say that it wasn't clear what would be important or what could have been kept for later. Everything is important...! Ok, it would have been possible to move, e.g., the description of global sente to another chapter later in the book. My intention has been to broaden one's thinking when studying local evaluation: one must also be aware of the global context etc. Always. It is not just a footnote.

Here is my perspective. As a complete beginner to miai counting, I started the chapter 2 (basics) from zero. I had to remember some new vocabulary/concepts (locale, count, follower, child, excess plays) and the way it's noted. I had to get used to count white's points negatively which was a first. None of this is actually hard but in the middle of that process
- the discussion about preventing necessary defense is obvious and I don't see how it contributes to anything regarding miai counting. It takes some of my attention.
- the method of reading and counting took me some time to do the examples properly. The third example took some time to do properly, while I would solve it at glance without applying the method. While it was an interesting exercice, it don't think it contributes to my early understanding of miai counting.
- the discussion on pages 32-33 about disregarding dominated moves is obvious but takes some of my attention.
- the discussion about local/global sente/gote is interesting and probably necessary at some point. However it's not that easy and, again, it doesn't contribute to my early understanding of miai counting
- the discussion about delayed sente plays and intermediate plays is obvious at my level, but still takes my attention.
All of that is not an issue if you're already familiar with miai counting and trying to have a better grasp of it. If you're new to it, it can be overwhelming.

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 Post subject: Re: Endgame 2 - Values
Post #4 Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:26 am 
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Thank you for sharing your experience! Everybody's preliminary knowledge can differ so something obvious for some reader might not be obvious for others. Regardless, your input is helpful for better considering attention to contents in relation to structure of chapters in some future books.

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 Post subject: Re: Endgame 2 - Values
Post #5 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:55 am 
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Preventing necessary defense is obvious as a technique to most intermediate or all advanced players but not to beginners. Overlooking superior preventing necessary defense results in wrong evaluation because inferior resulting counts are used. Another aspect of preventing necessary defense is the amount gained by applying it. Before writing the book, I would calculate such an amount for every specific example. Now, I can apply the principle stating the amount. Maybe some advanced players were subconsciously aware of the principle but its explicit statement enables everybody to apply it.

In an actual game, the method of reading and counting is an overkill when applied to the simplest examples, such as those used to explain the method. Of course, the purpose of explanation is theory, that is, a clear understanding of how the method works in general. Thereby, we learn how to apply it to difficult examples for which other means of evaluation might be inapplicable or unknown. Furthermore, the method supports acquiring trust in other means when we see the same results regardless of whether we use the method or other means.

Dominating moves are obvious when they are much more valuable than inferior, alternative moves. Dominating moves are not obvious when they are only slightly more valuable than (or as valuable as) other alternative moves. In such positions, we must evaluate dominating and the largest dominated moves to confirm the dominating moves. This enables correct evaluation even when the distinction is not obvious.

Delayed sente plays are frequently handled wrongly. Evaluation for the sake of improving timing is somewhat sophisticated. For learning, first we need the hint to reflect delays at all and later we improve timing by using value conditions.

Interrupting local play and playing intermediate plays elsewhere is difficult for all player strengths. According to Bill, the literature makes many related mistakes and I think he is right. This is so because we can decrease numbers of mistakes by improving accuracy of local evaluation and assessment of plays in the global environment. Accurate local evaluation often requires effort. When several similar values are involved, we make mistakes unless we evaluate accurately. I never stop being surprised about finding correct moments of interrupting local play when completing an accurate local evaluation of a local endgame of intermediate difficulty. Intuition often fails miserably. Only calculation can clarify matters.

You are right that these aspects need not be studied in detail for an early learning of endgame evaluation. They become very relevant in later volumes. Nevertheless, it is good to have at least some early awareness.

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