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 Post subject: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #1 Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2023 2:55 am 
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Camille Lévêque, famous French artist, made a fabulous drawing that deserved its own book.
Now here it is!

ISBN-13: 9783987940170
Publication date: 12/01/2023
Pages: 190
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.44(d)

What is the most important skill in Go? It is the ability to calculate variations.
In the middle game, about eighty percent is reading power, the rest is intuition. To improve your reading, it is essential to practice life-and-death problems.
This book gives you 180 life-and-death problems with only one hint, whether the solution involves a ko or not. The solutions are limited to one diagram, so you may have to figure out on your own why your attempt to solve the problem has failed.

This book comes in a rather unusual format for Western go books. It is pocket-sized, like many Japanese go books.

Available at various shops, e.g.:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/3987940174/


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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #2 Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2023 11:12 am 
Gosei

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What is the source of the problems?

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #3 Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2023 12:06 pm 
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dfan wrote:
What is the source of the problems?


The source of the problems in this book is my collection of about 600 go books.

The level of the problems is about upper dan level, i.e. 1d and 2d players will find them rather difficult.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #4 Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2023 7:44 am 
Judan

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"What is the most important skill in Go? It is the ability to calculate variations.
In the middle game, about eighty percent is reading power, the rest is intuition."

(The following is not a criticism of the book but only of the cited statements.)

There are two equally important skills: a) reading, b) calculation.

80% reading for the middle game is much exaggerated, or subject to different players' emphases.

Intuition, or, to remove word discussion, subconscious thinking, is not the rest. There are many other skills, which can fill large parts or all of the rest. Such as positional judgement and strategy.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #5 Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2023 4:11 pm 
Oza

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Quote:
Intuition, or, to remove word discussion, subconscious thinking ...

This seems to indicate that you have different interpretation of 'intuition' from everyone else, and may explain previous baffling remarks.

To quote a couple of distinguished lexicographical sources for 'intuition' (my emphasis added):

(1) Oxford University Press: "the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning" (and 'reasoning' is further defined as "the action of thinking about something in a logical, sensible way")

(2) Cambridge University Press: "an ability to understand or know something without needing to think about it or to use reason to discover it."

In the past, whenever we have broached this topic, I think everyone except you has used 'intuition' in this way. The explanation of why you choose to differ would be of great interest. Or, to put, it another way, what is 'subconscious thinking'? I can see that German definitions may offer some scope for scope for divergence (e.g. das unmittelbare, nicht diskursive, nicht auf Reflexion beruhende Erkennen) but on ther whole they seem to me to be in tune with the English definitions.

Related to that:

Quote:
There are two equally important skills: a) reading, b) calculation.

That's a new one to me. Reading is just a lazy rendering of Japanese yomu, which does mean 'to read' but also 'to count', etc. In chess we usually talk about analysing and calculating, but they boil down to the same thing. Why is go so different?

While awaiting a reply, let us stick with the English definition of intuition. I would say that it is or should be by far the most important element on solving tsumego. It can be close to 100% of the decisive factors.

Think about what intuition is in go. It is your own deliberate use of the early warning system in your brain so that when you look at a go problem, your brain screams at you, "I know that" or "I've seen something like that before". Your brain is comparing current environmental cues to patterns it has stored from your previous experiences. In short, intuition in go is mainly about recognition.

Now, some people might say that they never have these out-of-body experiences in go when a warning light flashes on and off in their brain. In fact, I'd say that almost all amateurs have it either very rarely or rarely. That is not because they are stupid. It is because they haven't put in the work to ensure that the go pigeon-holes in their subconscious are full of interesting go memos rather than the occasional paper clip or stale sandwich crusts.

At the moment, I am working my way through a large collection of classical problems that I have never seen before (as a collection). As I turn to each new problem, my subconscious brain tells me, "Seen that. Been there. Done that. That looks like so-and-so." and so on. It is telling me what it recognises. As a result, I can say things like, "That's in Gateway To All Marvels" (though I can't say what number it is, so it is not pure memorisation). In other cases I might recognise only certain elements - "those couple of stones in the corner usually mean there's an eye in the corner at the 1-1 point" "or "there's a strong whiff of seki in the air." That does not mean I can solve them instantly, but I certainly have more than a head start and the amount of reading I have to do is minimised.

I think a lot of amateur dans will have had similar experiences, but perhaps I do it more than most - not because I'm stronger but because I started from a different place. When I compiled GTAM (which has almost 500 problems), I had to check every solution scrupulously against several professional sources, which quite often differed from each other - sometimes contradicted each other. In addition each problem has a name in GTAM, and that tells you quite a bit about either the problem or the solution, or both. I had to explain all these classical allusions. Finally, I created a thematic index and so had to think hard about names for things that had never been singled out before in any language (e.g. the caterpillar move and the bent elbow). The end result was that I was investing a lot of effort into presenting each problem at a fairly slow pace over a long period, which meant all this data was going into my brain with lots and lots of associations, and as there wasn't too much of it in one go it was being filed away in my subconscious library, nicely catalogued and cross-referenced for me by the invisible machine as I slept.

The result is that when I looked at the new collection, several years later, I could recognise something significant about a very high proportion of the problems - I'd guess over 90%.

I believe that a pro would recognise something in even closer to 100% of the problems, and he would also recognise much more then me within each problem. In other words, he would solve almost all of them almost instantly. He would have to do very little reading, and it would be fairly easy stuff of the confirmatory type. His previous experiences would prune his search trees down to a tiny number of branches. I, too, would have a similar experience, though at a much lower level, with search trees being significantly pruned but trimmed rather than pollarded as in his case.

He would also have reached that level of ability by a very different route from mine, but I do think the two experiences tell us something about the best way to learn (or do) tsumego. If you start by accepting the benefit of having all these positions and the associations between them in your subconscious, you have to ask how do they get there. My own way is clearly not for everyone. I'm not certain how pros go about it. I know some elements, which will not apply to every pro anyway. For example, I know of pros who do problems in bed and go to sleep with the book under their pillow. This seems important - the subconscious mustn't be overloaded and needs time to do all the filing. Some pros think, or are taught about, the significance of shapes within groups of problems. Kitani Minoru did this with his pupils, and there is a great example as an appendix in one of his books. He also set problem solving as a competition, and I assume motivation helps by telling your subconscious what you think it should be concentrating on. There are quite a lot of pros who create go problems. That seems to be their equivalent of the way I thought about certain shapes to give names to them.

What does not seem to work all that well is doing masses of problems very quickly and repeating the same material over and over again. That's not entirely futile, of course, but it's not the most efficient way to go about things.

But whatever process is used, the end result is that every pro (I believe) approaches any life & death situation first of all from the standpoint of recognition based on the sum total of his previous experiences. His intuition, in a word. Since his first step is to apply this intuition to every situation (you can't really turn off your early warning system, so that's a given), I think it is fair to say that intuition is much more important than any other element. It even has an added importance if you have to play blitz games.

That is not to say that the other elements, such as reading, are not important. But, again, well trained (note that word) intuition will much reduce the burden of relying on these other factors. And in a typical opening or middle game as opposed to L&D the number of recognisable elements is no doubt smaller and so increases the need to rely on reading. Nevertheless, I am constantly struck by the number of times I read a pro comment on a game in which he says "In this sort of situation we usually play X" and that something he refers to as usual or common is something I've never seen before. So, again, I assume they have all been working their socks off, and continue to so so, to stock or update their intuition library.

In the problem collection I referred to above, I came across one peculiar example. I didn't recognise anything about it, except that it was a centre-board problem. My early warning system usually screams "red alert - go and make a coffee" whenever I meet a centre-board problem. I find them hard to pin down or analyse and so hard to remmember. With corner problems, and even side problems, you have anchor points from the edge of the board and (in my brain, at least) these seem to provide ample associations for my subconscious to work on. Another feature of this problem is that it was the only one without a name (another thing my intuition noticed).

Coffee in hand, I looked at it afresh, though with a scowl. A penny dropped when I realised that the most distinctive shapes were a couple of knight's moves, but that came from a recent discussion in another thread about attributes of basic moves (ikken tobis, kosumis and keimas). Still, I had to switch over to reading to see the solution. But the knight's moves clue allowed me to home in on the right lines.

It turned out that this problem had FOUR themes. Usually the number of themes is an indication of how hard a problem is, and three is the usual maximum for dan-level problems. So it was no surprise that it caught me out. As it is Christmas soon, Santa has asked me to copy this bauble for your tree (W to play).

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . O O O . . . . . .
$$ | . . . , O O X X O , . . . .
$$ | . . . O X X X . O . . . . .
$$ | . . . O X . . . O . . . . .
$$ | . . . O . . X X O . . . . .
$$ | . . . O X X . . . O . . . .
$$ | . . . . O . . . X O . . . .
$$ | . . . , O X X X X O . . . .
$$ | . . . . . O O O O . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ -----------------------------[/go]


Answer after Hogmanay.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #6 Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2023 6:25 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Answer after Hogmanay.


I think I solved it fairly quickly. The first move just came to me immediately, third move not until after other moves, I didn't really know where I was going with the first move, but fifth move was also immediate. Then I had to check that it really worked.

My opinion on this intuition debate is that if one doesn't find a good move quickly that the chance of playing a good move in the end really shrinks. That doesn't mean one should always play quickly, but having a good baseline first instinct move really helps.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #7 Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2023 8:05 pm 
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I have adopted the word intuition due its use a) by all my biology teachers at German schools and b) in countless TV documentaries on animals, where, besides meaning close to your cited dictionary definitions (or of the Duden "das unmittelbare, nicht diskursive, nicht auf Reflexion beruhende Erkennen, Erfassen eines Sachverhalts oder eines komplizierten Vorgangs", "Eingebung, [plötzliches] ahnendes Erfassen", which fails to report the central use in contexts of applied biology), it has always also had the contextual or explicit meaning of (genetically inherited) skill possessed since birth. Differently, my use of the phrase subconscious thinking is close to the citations except for any 'instinctive' aspect. In contexts farther from biological and closer to informal, especially careless usage, meaning closer to your cited definitions sometimes occurs; then use of 'subconscious thinking' avoids most of the ambiguity use of 'intuition' can introduce.

Reading is Japanese: might be. I have always used reading (for board or abstract games) in English, where I have never before witnessed counting as part of the meaning. Therefore, it has been me to create the phrase 'the method of reading and counting' when reading is combined with counting of resulting positions of variations and ensuing comparing and decision-making during the reading depending on propagated counts. Before my (and IIRC Bill Spight's) promotion of this combined method, reading mostly relied on (life and death) status propagation.

Reading in chess: interesting.

I am shocked to see you again promoting 'intuition' (and patterns) for reading. As discussed earlier, such was the extreme block preventing my improvement of reading skill for several years. The best advice on reading is to consider the actual variations and decisions. The worst advice is to avoid their consideration. (As to patterns, recall that very similar patterns can have contrary outcomes. It is safe to cross an empty street but can be lethal to cross an almost-empty street. AI struggles to recognise a STOP sign with red dots on it - almost the same pattern but ignorance kills.)

"it is fair to say that intuition is much more important than any other element" - I would even say it is the most detrimental aspect;)

Maybe pros can solve problems almost instantly, but only the bad teachers among them teach that badly as just pattern recognition while the good teachers teach that as mandatory reading whenever memorisation does not apply exactly. Instead of making wild claims on tiny number of read branches and downplaying skill, I suggest appreciation of the pros' skill to read hundreds of variations correctly very quickly.

"There are quite a lot of pros who create go problems." I also see a lot of pros who lazily copy the classics. There are also amateurs who create go problems, and this is a possible indication of book quality. I am not impressed that this book relies on existing problems.


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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #8 Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2023 12:36 am 
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I have no problem with describing intuition as "unconscious thinking". I don't think it's a conscious process, and in my view is certainly part of thinking. (Thinking is more than just analysis and calculation.)

kvasir wrote:
My opinion on this intuition debate is that if one doesn't find a good move quickly that the chance of playing a good move in the end really shrinks. That doesn't mean one should always play quickly, but having a good baseline first instinct move really helps.

Indeed it helps, but of course it's not the full story. For weaker players such as myself, playing by intuition has two problems. Sometimes there seem to be two or more equally good moves at first glance, and some analysis is needed to decide which is best. And there's false positives: the move that looks intuitive (to my amateur eyes) but doesn't actually work -- which is why you need to verify your intuition by reading.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #9 Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2023 3:39 am 
Oza

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I'm sorry but I have difficulty in taking the Humpty Dumpty approach seriously. If a surgeon cuts your leg off instead of your arm and then refuses to acknowledge his mistake on the grounds that arms and legs are both limbs, you start to wonder if he's abusing words, right? Let me also quote an American journalist:

Quote:
In the last issue of Nygaard Notes, ‘way back on April 26th, I quoted the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. The quotation ("A word means what I want it to mean, nothing more, nothing less.") was not in fact uttered by the Red Queen, nor was it from Alice in Wonderland. The words are to be found instead in "Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There," and they were uttered by Humpty Dumpty. Alice's exchange with Mr. Dumpty illustrates the point I was trying to make in the last issue even better than the original "Quote", so I shall reproduce it here:

"‘When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.'

‘The question is,' said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things."

‘The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that's all.'"

Substitute any high-ranking Bush administration official for Humpty Dumpty in the above exchange, and it may be said that you have before you Chapter One of the book "Inside The Beltway and What The American Public Found There."

Note to aspiring journalists: I had seen the Red Queen quotation cited by some sociologist or somebody in my recent wanderings, and it seemed so appropriate to the quotations at hand that I went ahead and published it as I found it. Taking a shortcut of this type was such a departure from my usual rigorous practice that I was led to go back and re-read both "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," and "Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There" (an endeavor I heartily recommend!) which led me to discover the error. There are two distinct lessons here for all you young journalists:

1. Never quote anything from just a single secondary source, and
2. Trust your intuition.


Mention of the Red Queen (who is in my mind because of the wonderful Zenaida Yankowsky in that role in the Alice in Wonderland ballet - the Tart Adagio, especially) is also relevant to the complaints of those who say they don't have enough in their intuition bank to play good go and so need recourse to reading.

The Queen offers advice to Alice, who finds herself running intensely but not actually moving forward, by pointing out that it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that. And since, Robert prays biology in aid, it is perhaps worth pointing out that biology has taken over the Red Queen Hypothesis to explain evolution (or, in simpler go terms, progress).

In go you come to a point (each day, in fact) where you need to study/work to make progress, not just play. You need to fill those go pigeon-holes in your subconscious brain (pigeon holes that don't think - they are just there, like a library. Playing won't fill them at any substantial rate. Practising reading while making no changes to the substrate of your intuition is just a way of consigning yourself to playing Chopsticks on the piano every day. You may end up playing it faster then anyone else, but does it teach you anything worthwhile about music?

It's Christmas Eve. Have a mince tart before you rush slowly to reply.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #10 Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2023 5:57 am 
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A more correct phrase is probably "unconscious cognition" not "subconscious thinking". Cognition is the action or mental process of gaining knowledge, understanding, or really just processing any information. Thinking on the other hand is a form of conscious cognition; that is why thinking can only be conscious.

Maybe when we talk about intuition being so important in Go we are not being precise either. When our vision and thinking is drawn to something that has task specific relevance then that is better described as attention. Intuition is the ability to complete a task (or understand it) without recourse to conscious reasoning, on the other hand attention is the ability to focus immediately on something important and task specific. Both play a huge role in playing Go but I'd say intuition works best when you can get to the point when you'd say "I have seen all I need to see - this is what I'll do" and attention is crucial for reaching this point efficiently.

Personally, when I play many first instinct moves I quickly get into difficult positions.

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 Post subject: Re: New Book: 180 Tsumego. Dan Level
Post #11 Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2023 7:31 am 
Gosei
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John Fairbairn wrote:
It turned out that this problem had FOUR themes. Usually the number of themes is an indication of how hard a problem is, and three is the usual maximum for dan-level problems. So it was no surprise that it caught me out. As it is Christmas soon, Santa has asked me to copy this bauble for your tree (W to play).

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . O O O . . . . . .
$$ | . . . , O O X X O , . . . .
$$ | . . . O X X X . O . . . . .
$$ | . . . O X . . . O . . . . .
$$ | . . . O . . X X O . . . . .
$$ | . . . O X X . . . O . . . .
$$ | . . . . O . . . X O . . . .
$$ | . . . , O X X X X O . . . .
$$ | . . . . . O O O O . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$$ -----------------------------[/go]



I don't know what the four themes are but my subconscious thinking found :w1: rather quickly, then I found :w3: after 30 seconds and got completely stuck: I wanted to play :w5: at :w7: but realized this didn't work, and couldn't find the solution without playing it out on a board. Probably predictable for a sub-dan player.

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

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