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 Post subject: Genjo-Chitoku by Fairbairn
Post #1 Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:11 pm 
Gosei
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A picture showing the general format of the book on a 19 by 19 board.
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Learning

As someone who is both lazy and has a lot of hobbies I’m very interested in the science behind learning AND retaining the things you have learned. Therefore, I really applaud the author’s quest to present a game compilation from which you can learn (scientifically sound) and which also provides the tools to apply the things you learnt.

The two key factors in the science of learning are – to my understanding (I’m more interested than knowledgeable) – spaced repetition and feedback loops (i.e. tests). John Fairbairn does point to these two but tends to focus more on effortful practice and desirable difficulty. In short, effortful practice means focusing on the parts which trouble you (i.e. through spaced repetition) instead of just reaffirming the things you have already understood. The desirable difficulty of these troubling parts should be just short above your current level – thus manageable to attain but only with effort (see the advice to play someone two stones stronger than you or solving problems where your chance of success is about 50%).

The author incorporates effortful practice and desirable difficulty by completely omitting variation diagrams, which I personally really like. There is no effort behind following a variation diagram. Depending on the reader there might even be no use in the variation diagram because it either answers a question the reader does not understand, or it doesn’t answer the actual question the reader has about a move or variation. What Fairbairn does is hinting at the reason why moves or variations have been played out that way – he calls it ‘descriptive guidance’:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Wc Game 1
$$ +---------------------------------------+
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O O . . . . . . . . . X . . . . |
$$ | . O O X O O X . . , . . . 7 . , X . . |
$$ | . . X X O X . X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O X X . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 4 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 2 1 X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X O O . . . . . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . X , . . X O . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X O . X O X . X . X . . X . . . . |
$$ | . . O . O O O X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +---------------------------------------+[/go]


:w1: wrote:
It may seem premature to settle but if left till later, Black might answer at :w3: and risk turning the corner into a capturing-race ko on the left edge.


This is from game 1 of the compilation. Further explanation is not given. To understand this capturing-race ko you must figure it out yourself.

There is some room for criticism though. Fairbairn’s aspiration for his approach reads as follows: “Playing over go games by Meijins and trying to understand them sounds like ‘desirable difficulty’ to me” and even mentions in the Amazon short summary that this approach is oriented towards the stronger player. Therefore, as a measly kyu-player I can’t really share the above stated sentiment. Stuff will inevitably be way above my head. On my level figuring out the capturing-race ko will probably take up a lot of time and will only yield diminishing returns because of its practical application (or the lack thereof) and my own, more prevalent weaknesses which hinder my progress. It’s therefore neither the desirable difficulty for me nor effortful practice in the first place.

But that’s me and that’s now. Players with different strengths will judge it differently and I most likely will benefit from figuring out this capturing-race ko at a later stage in my go career. What’s important now is that I don’t have to understand this hidden variation. I don’t have to devote time to this. I can simply move on. For me that’s the great thing about omitting variation diagrams: I can enjoy the actual game without interference from diagrams of no importance to me. There will be unanswered questions but what’s stopping me from going back later? (Can I really and firmly state that I understood the book Attack and Defend after my first read-through?)

That all being said, Fairbairn does make use of variations. He just works them into the commentary instead (specially colour-coded!) and only ever uses letters in actual game figures to show points of alternative play. What’s more, the whole book is designed so that you can always see the game figure and its commentary on the same double-page. So, any variation you’ll see in the commentary can easily be followed in the figure. It’s baffling how much more enjoyable it is to go through games this way. Combined with the generous size of the book, you can really focus on the game played and spend considerably less time turning pages.

To take a quick step back and wrap up my thoughts on the learning approach behind the game compilation: I applaud it wholeheartedly, but I think in general it lacks guidance to be effectful. If your teacher will go through this book and give you recommendations based on your weaknesses which games to replay and which questions to answer and variations to figure out, there will be a lot to learn and it will be quite effective. If you already know of a particular weakness of yours and you consult the go-wisdom-part to find relevant games to learn from, it will also be good (I’m already looking forward to go through the yoritsuki-games!). But to get the most from this approach you have to know where to start.


History

If you have ever read any book of John Fairbairn, you know he embeds his protagonists and the games in their historical surroundings. Often prefacing games with page long descriptions of venues, their coming and going and different uses throughout time, and anecdotes pertaining this game or the players (Final Summit is laying besides me right now). You can also expect to get the biography of the protagonists. I love this. It was what made me enjoy John Powers’ Invincible despite lacking the taste for Shusaku’s bland playing style.

In the Genjo-Chitoku book I expected to have more notes to the historical surroundings and more detailed biographies. I’m fully aware that the lack of details stems from the fact that Genjo’s birthday was some 70 years before Shuei’s (THE reference work for me), so documents are scarce and Fairbairn even points this out in the biographies, but if it’s anybody’s fault then Fairbairn is to blame for setting such a high standard.

The biographies are by no means short, though. Genjo gets a good seven pages (the book features DIN A4 so a good seven pages are indeed a good seven pages), while Chitoku gets three. But sadly, we don’t really get to know the players well. There is no late-blooming Shuei, who struggles with the times, that are a-changing. There is no Go Seigen, being a prodigy of frail health amidst rising tensions between Japan and China. There are two boys who became the gold standard of the Golden Age of go through unknown means.

What we do get is a glimpse into both lives and an interesting roundabout of different characters and the politicking behind being an heir or the head of an esteemed go school (i.e. the death of Honinbo Retsugen and its repercussion on stipends). We are also treated to a five-page-intermezzo on castle games, the duties of professional go players and the conventions which followed their status. As a comparison, in John Power’s Invincible I could only find (albeit quickly browsing though) a one-page long treatise of castle games, and that book’s title references Shusaku’s untarnished record in said castle games. Of course, each game begins with its known and loved little tidbit about players, venues and/or sponsors (and often even more).

In the Amazon short summary for this book Fairbairn writes that the historical and biographical background provided is a first, in any language. It might therefore be on the shorter side compared to other works by Fairbairn but it’s still the interesting read you came to expect.


Games

This book is an annotated game compilation of the 86 known games, with all the known moves between Honinbo Genjo and Yasui Chitoku (often multiple moves are known and Fairbairn makes an educated and noted guess which source to trust, one time no moves are known). All known games mean we first meet our heroes in the year 1788 at the tender age of (probably) 13 and 12. Ten years before Genjo would be nominated as the Honinbo heir and probably twelve years before he was at the level of 6-dan. The first games are therefore – clearly indicated by the use of chess-like symbols to judge moves – at the lower end of the dan-ranks. Just as a comparison, in the Games of Honinbo Shuei we met the 17-year-old Shuei when he was already a 4-dan. In the Genjo-Chitoku-book we are getting 51 games until this strength is reached.

But this fits the story the book tries to tell: It’s about a rivalry. A rivalry of schools, styles and above all – albeit speculated – a rivalry of friends. And as in any good story this rivalry leads to greatness; to both becoming 8-dan, the highest rank attainable by pure playing strength in their era; to both becoming part of the Four Go Sages (players who should become Meijin but didn’t). The book follows their road to greatness.

The games are accompanied by commentary extracted from various professional sources, including Iwamoto Kaoru, Takemiya Masaki, Yoda Norimoto, Segoe Kensaku, Takagawa Kaku and many more. I have not played through all the games yet (by far…) but the games I replayed and the games, where I just read or browsed through the commentary left me with a very good impression of the quality. Although it sounds like being taken for granted, it is in fact a hard-earned credit: I have not expected any less of a Fairbairn book.

We follow our heroes until their last castle game in 1815, thus seeing their progress and emerging styles over roughly twenty years. Given the time span and the grand total of games it is understandable that the commentary will vary in detail. I estimate that on average the commentary is about three pages per game, but this excludes the eight games which don’t have any commentary (party due to their suspect origin). On the other end of the stick, game 83 has about seven pages of commentary devoted to 26 figures. The variations in commentary detail naturally reflect the esteem of the particular game. From the first (?) collection of games by our heroes Jowa is quoted that seven (or seventeen depending on whether you believe in misprints) were to be regarded as the work of Meijins.

The games are sliced into easy to decipher chunks of moves with no more than fifty per figure and often way less. This with the above-mentioned choice in format makes for an entertaining and fluid playthrough. It also helps that the commentary is intentionally held short, which I appreciate. This is due to reasons mentioned in Learning. It cuts to the point and keeps the game fresh in your mind instead of having to work through a lot of considerations while forgetting what’s happening on the board. As was mentioned in the Learning part of this review, Fairbairn does give variations but instead of whipping up a separate diagram, he works them into the commentary and the respective figure. Alternative moves not played in the respective figure are marked using letters. If the alternative move was played in the figure the move number is written in blue, so while reading you immediately know a variation is presented. Both should encourage the reader to visualise the variations, thus nudging him towards making a little bit of an effort while going through the game.


Physical quality

I got my copy via amazon.de, ordering on a Friday and receiving it the next Tuesday. According to the last page in the book it was printed in Poland. Since the book lacks any sort of emblem, I assume the paper has no ecological origin.

The book is printed in DIN A4 (21,6 x 27,9 cm / 8.5 x 11 inches) and has 460 pages. It weighs roughly 1,4 kg (~3 lbs). The paper is of good quality. You can actually - very slightly - see through the pages but not to any degree that it would become bothersome. In comparison it's way better than the pager used for Final Summit and slightly better than the paper used for Invincible. The quality of the paper is comparable to Robert Jasiek's self-published books but has a smoother feel to it.

I'm only using this book for a week so I can't make a final verdict of the quality of the binding. It seems very durable so far and has successfully endured the various positions where I opened it flat to write this review. As Fairbairn himself points out, the book easily and readily opens flat throughout. I can only confirm this.

The print is sharp, both for the diagrams and for the accompanied text. This also includes the parts printed in colour and the various chess-like symbols that are used.


Summary

All in all, if you know any other Fairbairn book you liked (i.e. Go Seigen matches, Games of Shuei), chances are you will like this book, too. It only makes stuff better in my opinion: thinking about making the study of professional games more beneficial, considering the format for the most pleasant playthrough, investing in colour, paper and binding to accommodate the actual use of a book written to be consulted over and over again.

Two pictures showing the general layout and an example of the use of colour and symbols.
Image
Image

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Last edited by SoDesuNe on Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Genjo-Chitoku by Fairbairn
Post #2 Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:02 pm 
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SoDesuNe wrote:
See: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=16548

Learning

As someone who is both lazy and has a lot of hobbies I’m very interested in the science behind learning AND retaining the things you have learned. Therefore, I really applaud the author’s quest to present a game compilation from which you can learn (scientifically sound) and which also provides the tools to apply the things you learnt.
The two key factors in the science of learning are – to my understanding (I’m more interested than knowledgeable) – spaced repetition and feedback loops (i.e. tests).


There is also imitation, which does not just mean monkey-see-monkey-do, or memorizing joseki. :) Diagrams can give you something to imitate.

Quote:
John Fairbairn does point to these two but tends to focus more on effortful practice and desirable difficulty. In short, effortful practice means focusing on the parts which trouble you (i.e. through spaced repetition) instead of just reaffirming the things you have already understood. The desirable difficulty of these troubling parts should be just short above your current level – thus manageable to attain but only with effort (see the advice to play someone two stones stronger than you or solving problems where your chance of success is about 50%).
The author incorporates effortful practice and desirable difficulty by completely omitting variation diagrams, which I personally really like. There is no effort behind following a variation diagram.


But there is if you study it. :) Just as there is if you study text.

Quote:
Depending on the reader there might even be no use in the variation diagram because it either answers a question the reader does not understand, or it doesn’t answer the actual question the reader has about a move or variation. What Fairbairn does is hinting at the reason why moves or variations have been played out that way – he calls it ‘descriptive guidance’:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Wc Game 1
$$ +---------------------------------------+
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O O . . . . . . . . . X . . . . |
$$ | . O O X O O X . . , . . . 7 . , X . . |
$$ | . . X X O X . X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O X X . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 4 3 . a . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . 2 1 X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X O O . . . . . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . X , . . X O . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X O . X O X . X . X . . X . . . . |
$$ | . . O . O O O X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +---------------------------------------+[/go]


:w1: wrote:
It may seem premature to settle but if left till later, Black might answer at :w3: and risk turning the corner into a capturing-race ko on the left edge.


This is from game 1 of the compilation. Further explanation is not given. To understand this capturing-race ko you must figure it out yourself.
There is some room for criticism though. Fairbairn’s aspiration for his approach reads as follows: “Playing over go games by Meijins and trying to understand them sounds like ‘desirable difficulty’ to me” and even mentions in the Amazon short summary that this approach is oriented towards the stronger player. Therefore, as a measly kyu-player I can’t really share the above stated sentiment. Stuff will inevitably be way above my head. On my level figuring out the capturing-race ko will probably take up a lot of time and will only yield diminishing returns because of its practical application (or the lack thereof) and my own, more prevalent weaknesses which hinder my progress. It’s therefore neither the desirable difficulty for me nor effortful practice in the first place.


Well, you have that option. :) And it can be quite helpful to play around with the possible ko position, playing stones on the board, whether you figure out the best sequence of play or not. Your understanding of similar positions will improve and will have some practical value. OC, you also have to option not to do that, as well. :)

As far as imitation goes, who better to imitate than meijin? And attempting to understand their play falls under the heading of programmatic imitation, and can be beneficial at any level of play. Subsidiary diagrams which illuminate the thinking behind their plays can be very helpful in that regard. But, as Znokso-Borovsky warned us, we should not get lost in a maze of calculations. ;)

Quote:
What’s important now is that I don’t have to understand this hidden variation. I don’t have to devote time to this. I can simply move on. For me that’s the great thing about omitting variation diagrams: I can enjoy the actual game without interference from diagrams of no importance to me.


Good point. :D

It is my habit to study diagrams, and the first thing that struck me about the above diagram is :b6:, which does not seem to do much. If :w7: were at "a", a play I could easily have made when I was a shodan, it would make sense, but White switched to the reducing play in the top right corner. My shodan self might have asked why White did not play at "a", and an answer readily comes to mind, whether it was what Genjo had in mind or not. ;) White is prepared to sacrifice the three stones he has just played, a sacrifice which can strengthen the other White stones in the vicinity. The general idea of playing stones in order to sacrifice them was something I had already learned. This diagram could have given me another example to improve my knowledge of that general strategy, especially as my instinct was not to sacrifice those stones. ;)

But that still leaves the nagging question of :b6:. If anything, it makes it more questionable. Maybe Black would have done better to switch to the top right himself with :b6:.

What follows are a few diagrams to explore the question of :b6:, which may be skipped at will. :) I make use of the published evaluations by Elf.

Elf thinks that :b6: is a big mistake, costing 29%. :shock: OC, Elf assumes a komi of 7.5 pts,, but I rather expect that it's a mistake with no komi, as well. You can make up your own mind. :)

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Bc Invasion
$$ +---------------------------------------+
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O O . . . . . . . . . X . . . . |
$$ | . O O X O O X . . , . . . . . , X . . |
$$ | . . X X O X . X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O X X . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . |
$$ | . . X O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . X O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . X O O . . . . . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . X , . . X O . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X O . X O X . X . X . . X . . . . |
$$ | . . O . O O O X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +---------------------------------------+[/go]


Elf recommends the invasion in the bottom right. When you see it, it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? :)

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Wcm2 White captures the invading stone
$$ +---------------------------------------+
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O O . . . . . . . . . X . . . . |
$$ | . O O X O O X . . , . 0 . . . , X . . |
$$ | . . X X O X . X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O X X . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . |
$$ | . . . O . . . . . . . . . . 6 7 B . . |
$$ | . . X O . . . . . . . . . 8 3 2 9 . . |
$$ | . . X O X . . . . . . . . . 4 5 . . . |
$$ | . . . X O O . . . . . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . X , . . X O . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X O . X O X . X . X . . X . . . . |
$$ | . . O . O O O X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +---------------------------------------+[/go]


:w2: is a normal attack, preventing the underneath connection. I might have played :b3: at 4, but the diagram shows a different tesuji. Through :w10: White captures the :bc: stone, but Black gets a ponnuki. settling the bottom right. Then :b11: plays to secure the top right, as expected. ( :w8: is instructive if you haven't seen it. Something to imitate. :)) Elf thinks that Black has a 55% chance to win, even giving komi, so settling the bottom right and securing the top right make a lot of sense without giving komi, as well. :) This is not Elf's main line, but it has the same winrate estimate, with somewhat fewer playouts.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$Bc Invasion, Elf's main line
$$ +---------------------------------------+
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O O . . . . . . . . . X . . . . |
$$ | . O O X O O X . . , . . . . . , X . . |
$$ | . . X X O X . X . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . O X X . . . . 7 . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . |
$$ | . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , O . . |
$$ | . . X . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . |
$$ | . . X O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . X O X . . . . . . . . 3 . . 6 . . |
$$ | . . . X O O . . . . . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . X , . . X O . , . . . 2 4 , O . . |
$$ | . . X O . X O X . X . X . . X . . . . |
$$ | . . O . O O O X . . . . . 5 . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +---------------------------------------+[/go]


:w2: starts a leaning attack, which :b3: stifles. To my eyes, Black has played in the style of Go Seigen. :D

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when Elf backed up my misgivings about :b6:, and the diagrams have provided food for thought. :)

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Last edited by Bill Spight on Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:22 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Genjo-Chitoku by Fairbairn
Post #3 Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:11 pm 
Lives in gote

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Thank you for the review. The format certainly sounds interesting; I'm also not a fan of either variation diagrams that might or might not be be appropriate for your level and/or answer your questions; or of SGF files with endless variation subtrees.

Did you order the book from amazon.de? And was the binding of the quality John described in his post?

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Post #4 Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:33 pm 
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What is colour used for in the book?

Could you describe its theory, please?

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Post #5 Posted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:24 pm 
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I can take or leave variation diagrams. If a go topic is over my head, e.g. when a variation is showing something that is termed a failure or mistake and I don't immediately know why, I see such variation diagram(s) as an opportunity to learn something about the concept by examining this example. Most of my "career" in go took place before computers and sgf readers, etc., existed and books or magazines with variation diagrams were very welcome. If there are variation diagrams are provided I am quite capable of skipping them if I want to. I think I get the most from playing through pro games and trying to anticipate the moves and, when I guess wrong, then think about why my choice was not good.

I like this book (Genjo-Chitoku) very much. Nothing much in the way of praise different from comments already made. Thanks to John Fairbairn for giving us such a fine book and a slice of the historical Japanese go world.


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Post #6 Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:43 am 
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I haven't read too many books like this one: Invincible by Power, the 1971 Honinbo Tournament and the Gu Li- Lee Sedol jubango by An Younggil. All of them held variation diagrams, which allowed me to grasp what was truly going on in the game (especially the jubango one did an extremely good job at making professional games accessible). In sparsely commented pro games, I can pretend I know what's going on but I obviously don't, since the variations the pros think of when making their decisions, are above my head.

Are these "over my head" variations useful at all for learning Go? That I don't know. But a fortiori this question applies to the game itself. A more valid argument for omitting variation diagrams is probably that John is not strong enough to provide credible ones and sticks to his expertise: historical and cultural context. Which is perfectly fine!

Mutatis mutandis, you could argue that getting this useful context is for the lazy student of history and culture, and you better figure it out for yourself. Not. This is why you buy a book from an expert, to make expert knowledge accessible to you.

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Post #7 Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:12 pm 
Gosei
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I updated the post a bit regarding formatting and adding some additional information and pictures.

Marcel Grünauer wrote:
Did you order the book from amazon.de? And was the binding of the quality John described in his post?


Physical quality

I got my copy via amazon.de, ordering on a Friday and receiving it the next Tuesday. According to the last page in the book it was printed in Poland. Since the book lacks any sort of emblem, I assume the paper has no ecological origin.

The book is printed in DIN A4 (21,6 x 27,9 cm / 8.5 x 11 inches) and has 460 pages. It weighs roughly 1,4 kg (~3 lbs). The paper is of good quality. You can actually - very slightly - see through the pages but not to any degree that it would become bothersome. In comparison it's way better than the pager used for Final Summit and slightly better than the paper used for Invincible. The quality of the paper is comparable to Robert Jasiek's self-published books but has a smoother feel to it.

I'm only using this book for a week so I can't make a final verdict of the quality of the binding. It seems very durable so far and has successfully endured the various positions where I opened it flat to write this review. As Fairbairn himself points out, the book easily and readily opens flat throughout. I can only confirm this.

The print is sharp, both for the diagrams and for the accompanied text. This also includes the parts printed in colour and the various chess-like symbols that are used.

RobertJasiek wrote:
What is colour used for in the book?

Could you describe its theory, please?


As was mentioned in the Learning part of this review, Fairbairn does give variations but instead of whipping up a separate diagram, he works them into the commentary and the respective figure. Alternative moves not played in the respective figure are marked using letters. If the alternative move was played in the figure the move number is written in blue, so while reading you immediately know a variation is presented. Both should encourage the reader to visualise the variations, thus nudging him towards making a little bit of an effort while going through the game.

Also see the added pictures at the end of my review.

Knotwilg wrote:
A more valid argument for omitting variation diagrams is probably that John is not strong enough to provide credible ones and sticks to his expertise: historical and cultural context. Which is perfectly fine!


John Fairbairn based the commentary on the work of at least 15 professional players. I mentioned a few names in my review. I also mentioned in my review, that the choice to omit variation diagrams was a conscious one to promote a different approach to study these games. I believe you can splendidly argue for and against this approach to study professional games, which this thread shows, but it certainly wasn't made to get an easy way out of delivering content ; )

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 Post subject: Re: Genjo-Chitoku by Fairbairn
Post #8 Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:31 pm 
Gosei
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SoDesuNe wrote:

John Fairbairn based the commentary on the work of at least 15 professional players. I mentioned a few names in my review. I also mentioned in my review, that the choice to omit variation diagrams was a conscious one to promote a different approach to study these games. I believe you can splendidly argue for and against this approach to study professional games, which this thread shows, but it certainly wasn't made to get an easy way out of delivering content ; )


Oh I see now the quote about "descriptive guidance"

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