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 Post subject: Theory for top players only?
Post #1 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 12:11 am 
Judan

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Quotation reference:
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John Fairbairn wrote:
these are concepts that can only be sensibly discussed once you know all the basics inside out, and so can apply only above about 6-dan amateur.


I do not think there is anything like that - go theory that could be understood only by 6d+ and professionals. I do, however, think that there still is some go theory "hidden" from most amateurs (and some professionals) because of being described too unspecifically (or not at all) in writing thus far and therefore available mostly verbally from professionals choosing to talk about it.

The basics are no mystery any longer, also because of my own contributions. Apart from faster endgame value calculations, professionals excel mainly at faster reading. However, slower reading does not prevent amateurs from understanding - they just need to invest more time. So given a reasonable study of basics and time investment for reading, amateurs can, in principle, also understand "for 6d+ eyes only" theory if only there is specific information about it at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for top players only?
Post #2 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 2:32 am 
Oza

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I dissociate myself completely from this thread. Once again you have not read what I have written, but have twisted things so that they refer back to your books. My oft repeated view has been that understanding is not what makes a pro a pro. It is his intuition. So I am never likely to say what you imply I said.

My reference to sensible discussion was a suggested explanation as to why pros don't bother writing about this sort of topic. It's not because amateurs can't understand; it's because they can't make use of the information unless they've put in the 10,000 hours. It would be a waste of the pros' time. I understand how to drive an F1 car at 300 mph, but I could never get beyond 100 mph in a straight line, so discussing with me how to take it round the bends of Monza at full speed would be a total waste.

And for the record, I don't think the basics of go have ever been a mystery. The only mystery is what subset does an amateur who doesn't want to spend all his time on the game need to know to achieve a decent grade such as 1-dan in as short a time as possible. This applies in any subject, and so books like "Become a brain surgeon in 3 months" attract attention. The real mystery is why such books actually sell.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for top players only?
Post #3 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 6:13 am 
Judan

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IMO, reference to "intuition" is an excuse for not explaining things that can be explained. Also professionals rely their decisions on reading, judgement and strategy. If somethings is too complex (and there is not theory for handling a particular complex thing), they (like amateurs) can make an "arbitrary" choice among seemingly equally promising options. However, even such a choice need not be called intuition. Perception can be a shortcut for reading, judgement or strategic decision-making, is reasonable if assessment is obvious and such again need not be called intuition.

Lots of professionals are very eager to teach amateurs, including strong amateurs. Objectively, one might call this a waste of time. Nevertheless, professionals do it. Therefore I do not buy the argument that professionals would not write about advanced theory because of fearing to waste time.

While I dislike reference to intuition, it is possible that quite a professionals also use subconscious thinking (in fact, a number of them have told me so). Such thinking need not be above amateurs' ability of understanding. Regardless of your disliking of my reference to my (re)invented go theory, I consider it relevant for this discussion because I have revealed very important go theory that every professional applies, that can be understood relatively easily as soon as the theory is described in writing but that professionals never seem to have written down, never have mentioned verbally in my presence and so likely have mostly used subconsciously.

Such theory is not above the professionals' ability of formulating at least rough approximations explicitly. Or is it? Too many professionals have told me that they could not express their thinking well in words. Not the theory of professionals is difficult but their own effort to analyse their own thinking. To some extent I can understand this. Despite my very analytical thinking, for many years I had great difficulties to approach the theory clearly, first had to develop a framework of basic theory described clearly and only during the recent years my framework has been powerful enough to describe parts of go theory of the professional thinking. (This is evident to me because I see such theory consistently applied in professional games.)

This means that my theory could also serve as an interface between professional thinking about go theory and amateur learning of it, if only enough professionals bothered to become familiar with the interface. Progress remains slow as long as every eager person invents his own interface (compare Yilun's or Saijo's efforts).

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for top players only?
Post #4 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 7:02 am 
Lives with ko

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Quote:
Apart from faster endgame value calculations, professionals excel mainly at faster reading. However, slower reading does not prevent amateurs from understanding - they just need to invest more time.


I disagree that my reading is only inferior to pro's in terms of speed. For one, I lose track of earlier stones in certain situations, particularly when I need to read something deeply in one direction, and then double back to an earlier area of hypothetical play and read a continuation from there: I can keep a "wave front" of recently played stones, but stones 15 moves prior tend to shift.

I also miss important moves and read out dead ends. Reading depth is tightly connected to tree breadth, so failing to prune a bad move does constrain how far out I can read. Additionally, if I have a 3% chance of incorrectly pruning out the right move per ply and a pro has a 0.5% chance, that more strictly constrains me to a myopic view regardless of how much more time I am given.

If we mean go theory in the general: the importance of thickness, of sente, the existence of tewari analysis; I agree that there's no magical concepts that a reasonably strong amateur couldn't understand in the abstract. However, if we mean application of go theory, then I absolutely can get hopelessly over my head. If I invade on the side, a professional might point one space to the left and say "your way gets more territory, but it's not worth the extra thickness he achieves", but if I can't read out precisely how this invasion will go or judge how valuable the peep his continuation leaves behind in the full board context, I understand what he's saying but have no hope of applying it.

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 Post subject: Re: Theory for top players only?
Post #5 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 7:24 am 
Lives in sente

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Maybe it's not because professionals believed it was literally unexplainable to most amatuers below close to pro level, but just simply because of the relatively precise language required to explain concepts to the level of a professional, not to mention the large amount of diagrams needed to have any hope of getting across the nuances of the theory across, a theory which most professionals may not even have a name for, yet alone describe in words.

/rant alert/

I think it's actually something Mr Jasiek said earlier that describes this phenomenon-- that in reality, only a small fraction Go theory is understandable by only 6d+ players. It's just that on a professional level, the grasp on even these rare and bespoke concepts make the difference between a World class professional and your average shin-shodan. There is of course a loose, general limit, but it's lower than 6d.

It may be the case that the thinking behind the lack of material on such advanced concepts is that if a player really wanted to get to the level of a professional, she or he would not be spending time trying to acquire the concept from
books, but actually playing many, many games against high level opponents and have them reviewed by pros, which is a better way to understand these concepts, most likely be an insei. How about 8 hours a day?

Put simply, the concept of europeans trying to become as strong as Lee Sedol 9p by sitting at home reading books and going to the odd tournament is a relatively new concept in the world of go.

In my humble status as an observer on the sidelines who doesn't know anything, it seems at first glance that both Mr Jasiek and Mr Fairburn are correct in at least a significant proportion of their assements. It would take a long time before professionals in Asia master the western audience, as we're asking for something almost "ridiculous" (for lack of a better word) to ask for in China, Japan and Korea. It also seems that it may be more viable to go in the other direction, as we are doing now with, for example, CEGO.

_________________
On Go proverbs:
"A fine Gotation is a diamond in the hand of a dan of wit and a pebble in the hand of a kyu" —Joseph Raux misquoted.


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 Post subject: Re: Theory for top players only?
Post #6 Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 7:42 am 
Judan

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Elom, "advanced theory" can be explained (to dans) reasonably well without precise language, many diagrams, many played games or concept names. Everything relies on comparing two sizes or something similarly simple, sometimes comparing a few simple values or statuses. The difficulty is "only" to discover which things to compare for which purpose. But this "only" is the really tough part, which can take many years if one needs to rediscover things on one's own.

I agree with Polama that application can be difficult when many easy concepts must be applied simultaneously. BTW, beginners face the same problem.

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