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Thickness for 5-dans

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John Fairbairn

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Dec 9, 2001, 6:38:06 PM12/9/01
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We have had discussions here before about what aspects of go exist that the
higher-level players know that the rest of us don't. I think it's fair to
say our conclusions were dispiritingly fuzzy. In other words, we hadn't a
clue and I imagine some of us feel that until Robert Jasiek unveils his
long-promised books (this is the real crisis, Robert!) we are destined to
remain blissfully ignorant.

However, I have bought a new book today, which seems to promise some relief.
Called "A Go Reader for True 5-dans: Playing Thickly" (Jitsuryoku Godan Igo
Dokuhon: Atsuku Utsu; Seibundo; ISBN 4-416-70142-X C0076) it is written by
the editorial staff of the magazine Igo. There has been a small trend
recently for books to be published by such staff in Japan and Korea, and
invariably they are much better than the hack books written or ghosted by
pros.

This book promises to be the same high quality. It begins thus: "Thickness
is a part of thickness," And it tells us that an important skill is to know
how to convert thickness into thickness.

This is a classic case of losing something in translation. I'm pretty
confident that virtually every instance of go atsumi that has been
translated into English as thickness. Ditto every case of atsusa. The
opening sentence above actually says atsumi is a part of atsusa.

The adjective is atsui, root atsu-. In Japanese you can make abstract nouns
from adjectives by adding -mi or -sa. There is, however, a difference. -sa
is more abstract. -mi denotes something rather closer to, but not quite at,
a concrete level. Thus, from takai = high, takami can often be translated as
high place. Similarly, atsumi suggests to a Japanese structures such as
walls, though as this book shows it is wrong to miss out the "such as" (and
also quite wrong to think of it as influence).

So the skill we have to learn is to convert atsumi, which I think most dan
players more or less understand (the book offers the meaning as something
that has no weaknesses), to a more abstract kind of thickness called atsusa.

To help us reach this goal, the book shows examples of atsumi thickness
characteristic of several top players. Amazingly different in each case, and
I'd wager many people wouldn't even class some as thickness at all.

Then, as the conversion process is amply illustrated, it explains the
difference between atsui katachi, atsui gokei and atsui keisei (the
character for katachi and kei is the same = shape). I've only browsed
through the book so far and I haven't got my head round this distinction -
especially gokei. I've never come across this before.

The method of teaching is first to give a preamble for each section talking
about definitions and theory. It seems to be very high level stuff, tersely
written without the usual padding. Then examples (sorry, Robert), but a
notable feature here is that rather than opening or middle game positions
with a few key moves this book gives complete and well annotated games so
that you can see the effects of atsumi evolve fully. My first impression is
that atsusa only becomes truly evident at the endgame stage, so this would
make sense if so.

There are a couple of other books in the same series. One is thinking about
kikashi. The other is on countermeasures against overaggressive players.

This all strikes me as a pretty useful syllabus, and my first impression of
the thickness book is that it sets a new high standard. It goes well beyond
the invaluable Attack and Defence, I suspect. I'd be interested to hear what
other readers think of it. It's probably too advanced to merit translation,
unless a publisher is willing to take the long view.


Bill Taylor

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Dec 10, 2001, 11:53:18 PM12/10/01
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"John Fairbairn" <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> writes:

|> It begins thus: "Thickness is a part of thickness,"

|> ...


|> This is a classic case of losing something in translation.

Hah! Yes. But may I suggest it is not so much losing in translation,
as just *poor* translation, (like most "losing-in"s are I expect.
It looks a little like it was translated by someone who didn't
really know the topic too well.


|> The adjective is atsui, root atsu-. In Japanese you can make abstract nouns
|> from adjectives by adding -mi or -sa. There is, however, a difference. -sa
|> is more abstract. -mi denotes something rather closer to, but not quite at,
|> a concrete level.

Nice description! So it might be, then, that a reasonable translation
would have been something like, "solidity is the heart of thickness",
or thereabouts?


|> So the skill we have to learn is to convert atsumi, which I think most dan
|> players more or less understand (the book offers the meaning as something
|> that has no weaknesses), to a more abstract kind of thickness called atsusa.

So that would make sense. Solidity could easily become mere heaviness,
unless it is turned into useful thickness first. No doubt a good proverb
lurks in there!

I seem to recall a Chinese co-proverb:- "First squash your opponent flat,
then suffocate him." Done mostly with judicious peeps, seemingly.


|> The other is on countermeasures against overaggressive players.

Now THAT sounds *really* useful! Something we'd have ample opportunity
to use in Western countries. Specially when playing Koreans... ;-)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Taylor W.Ta...@math.canterbury.ac.nz
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some moves are merely KYUte, but others are truly DANgerous!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bill Spight

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Dec 11, 2001, 3:03:49 AM12/11/01
to
Dear Bill,

> |> It begins thus: "Thickness is a part of thickness,"
> |> ...
> |> This is a classic case of losing something in translation.
>
> Hah! Yes. But may I suggest it is not so much losing in translation,
> as just *poor* translation, (like most "losing-in"s are I expect.
> It looks a little like it was translated by someone who didn't
> really know the topic too well.

English is a subtle language, but in this case, conveying the subtle
distinction between "atsusa" and "atsumi" is awkward, particularly as
translating both by the term "thickness" is normally quite sufficient.
Here I think John was having a little fun. If he were translating the
book I doubt if he would use that sentence. ;-)

> Nice description! So it might be, then, that a reasonable translation
> would have been something like, "solidity is the heart of thickness",
> or thereabouts?
>

Solidity, as you point out later, is not the same as thickness. Nor its
heart, either, for that matter. :-)

> |> So the skill we have to learn is to convert atsumi, which I think most dan
> |> players more or less understand (the book offers the meaning as something
> |> that has no weaknesses), to a more abstract kind of thickness called atsusa.
>
> So that would make sense. Solidity could easily become mere heaviness,
> unless it is turned into useful thickness first. No doubt a good proverb
> lurks in there!

I haven't seen the book, but perhaps something of what they mean has to
do with context. Making stones that may have a shape that is normally
considered thick but which do not, in the context of the rest of the
board, play the role of thick stones is not playing thickly. Conversely,
what ordinarily would be thin stones may play the role of thick stones
to some extent, again depending on context. Similarly, ordinarily heavy
stones may be treated lightly, and vice versa. In addition, playing
thickly and lightly are in part matters of attitude.

What if you make a wall and drive your opponent's weak stones towards
it, only to lose the wall in a battle? The ignominy of Wall Death! Maybe
your wall wasn't so thick, right? Or maybe it was. I remember a game in
which I lost 3 walls in such a manner. My opponent was shocked to find
that he had lost the game. Most satisfying. ;-)

Best,

Bill

Robert Jasiek

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Dec 11, 2001, 6:09:30 AM12/11/01
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John Fairbairn wrote:
> We have had discussions here before about what aspects of go exist that the
> higher-level players know that the rest of us don't.

Did we have them? Most aspects can be understood by kyu players
as well if only they are explained and explained well.

> In other words, we hadn't a
> clue and I imagine some of us feel that until Robert Jasiek unveils his
> long-promised books (this is the real crisis, Robert!) we are destined to
> remain blissfully ignorant.

Crisis, ah that reminds me of Crisis :)

Do you ask for the contents of my books? If I explained it here
in detail, then why should I still publish them? Ok, I give you
a hint:

. . . . . . . . . .
. . . O . . . . . .
. . # . . O . . O .
. . . # . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .
. . # . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . .

A typical joseki book:
"This is joseki. Both groups are settled. Tenuki comes next."

This leaves many aspects unanswered; they are not even mentioned:
- Who has sente? (Black.)
- What is the difference of the numbers of played stones? (Zero.)
- Why is it joseki? (Similar stability, the difference of the
numbers of played stones is zero, etc.)
- Which groups are involved? (One black group consisting of the
three black stones and one white group consisting of the three
white stones.)
- What is the type of the joseki? (It is a joseki where each
player constructs one unconditionally living group, etc.)
- What are the sizes of the territories?
- What are the strategic relations of the joseki?
- Under which strategic circumstances could the joseki be played?
Etc.

This is just a small selection of aspects discussed in my
The Key to Joseki Study books. If you compare it with an ordinary
joseki book like Star Point Joseki, then the first question is
about the only one that is answered. (And Star Point Joseki is
the first book, which I see, to answer this one question more or
less consistently.) So before I even mention my own general
methods of analysis, even the most recent books' theory pales in
comparison.

[Star Point Joseki fills a gap since 4-4 joseki were not properly
covered elsewhere. OTOH, the selection of joseki is still small.
At least some joseki will be new to the reader. A few essential
points of a joseki are summarized like "Black has sente, etc.".]

> However, I have bought a new book today, which seems to promise some relief.
> Called "A Go Reader for True 5-dans: Playing Thickly" (Jitsuryoku Godan Igo
> Dokuhon: Atsuku Utsu; Seibundo; ISBN 4-416-70142-X C0076)

It is a book in Japanese and any translations here are by you?

> The method of teaching is first to give a preamble for each section talking
> about definitions and theory. It seems to be very high level stuff, tersely
> written without the usual padding.

Fine:)

> Then examples (sorry, Robert),

Eh, who said that examples are bad? (I might have said that nothing
but examples is bad.)

> This all strikes me as a pretty useful syllabus, and my first impression of
> the thickness book is that it sets a new high standard. It goes well beyond
> the invaluable Attack and Defence, I suspect.

It seems to go into the right direction, indeed:) What makes it
better than A&D? Do you say so just because it is for dan players
rather than kyu players?

--
robert jasiek

Simon Goss

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Dec 11, 2001, 6:22:07 AM12/11/01
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Bill Taylor writes

<...>


>Solidity could easily become mere heaviness

<...>

I wish our English terminology helped us better to distinguish between
clumsy (of shape) and burdensome (of groups we don't want to sacrifice
but have to invest purely defensive moves to look after). People use
"heavy" for both, of course, but they're quite different ideas. A dango
that you can afford to sacrifice isn't heavy in the latter sense. A
group that has no obvious bad shape may be heavy in the latter sense if
it can't be sacrificed and looking after it is a burden.

Clumsy shape is a tactical concept; burdensome is a strategic one. There
is some correlation between them, but it's loose one. Using "heavy" for
both meanings is confusing.
--
Simon

Charles Matthews

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Dec 11, 2001, 6:55:57 AM12/11/01
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Simon Goss wrote

Good debating point.

(i) It is very helpful to those learning the game to name mistakes.
Overplays have something in common with each other, heavy plays, thin plays
and so on are mistakes we name in order to be able to refer to whole
clusters of errors.

(ii) When the level of sophistication in discussion gets higher - suitable
for dan players - you can subdivide mistakes again in order to be clearer
about the point being made. So "overplay" has subtypes 'one line too deep
gets capped', 'second weak group in one area' etc.

(iii) Simon would like two aspects of heavy play to be decoupled in the
terminology. There is a snag or two. The correlation is there on the level
of tewari. Some heavy groups cannot be sacrificed as a way of cutting
losses, because too many (net) plays have gone into them and one is
committed to getting something out. This links the clumsy shape and
burdensome aspects.

Something about this that has only recently come to my attention, as a
systematic error in my own game. There is a sense in which key cutting
stones are always heavy, whatever their shape. They are not stones that can
be sacrificed during the middlegame fighting, in general (if they were,
'key' would be a misnomer). You have to defend them. No strategic or
tactical mistake need be involved, of course. Where I have fallen down in
the past, according to strong players, is in not playing down towards the
edge on the third or second line to make a decisive separation of the
opponent's groups. *Looks* heavy, perhaps, and is slow and burdensome - but
can be on a vital point. That is, one ought sometimes so to get committed.

Charles


Rafael Caetano

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Dec 11, 2001, 2:04:58 PM12/11/01
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"John Fairbairn" <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<1007941126.12488....@news.demon.co.uk>...

> However, I have bought a new book today, which seems to promise some relief.
> Called "A Go Reader for True 5-dans: Playing Thickly" (Jitsuryoku Godan Igo
> Dokuhon: Atsuku Utsu; Seibundo; ISBN 4-416-70142-X C0076) it is written by
> the editorial staff of the magazine Igo. There has been a small trend

John, what is the public for this book in your opinion?
It seems that Japanese 5-dan is equivalent to European 3 or 4-dan, right?

Anyway, "for 5-dans only" seems too narrow a range.

> This is a classic case of losing something in translation. I'm pretty
> confident that virtually every instance of go atsumi that has been
> translated into English as thickness. Ditto every case of atsusa. The
> opening sentence above actually says atsumi is a part of atsusa.

I wonder how is "atsumi/atsusa" usually translated into French. Since
there's already quite a few go books in French, I hope they've fixed
a term for it.

Same for Spanish and Portuguese.

BTW, any Portuguese players reading this newsgroup?

bye,
Rafael Caetano <rcaetano7 at yahoo.com>

Barry Phease

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Dec 11, 2001, 3:21:43 PM12/11/01
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On Tue, 11 Dec 2001 11:22:07 +0000, Simon Goss
<si...@gosoft.demon.co.uk> wrote:


>I wish our English terminology helped us better to distinguish between
>clumsy (of shape) and burdensome (of groups we don't want to sacrifice
>but have to invest purely defensive moves to look after).

I don't think this problem is confined to English. I think that a
heavy shape (eg dango) and heavy group (burdensome) use the same words
(commonly) in Chinese and Japanese too. It is possible to distinguish
them, but there is a very strong overlap.

"Light" has a similar range of meanings.

Barry Phease

mailto:bar...@es.co.nz"
http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~barryp"

John Fairbairn

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Dec 11, 2001, 3:25:59 PM12/11/01
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"Rafael Caetano" <rcae...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:94a6da7.01121...@posting.google.com...

>
> John, what is the public for this book in your opinion?
> It seems that Japanese 5-dan is equivalent to European 3 or 4-dan, right?
>
> Anyway, "for 5-dans only" seems too narrow a range.
>

It is very easy to be glib about J 5d = E 3d, in the same way that every man
and his dog rubbishes every Japanese book by a pro as by a ghost writer.
Often true, but far from always. The title of the book specifies "true"
5-dans of which there are many in Japan. Of course people of lower grades
can get much from this book, but as it assumes a certain level of technique
I think you'd have to be a solid dan player to get much from it.

To answer another question - of course it's in Japanese. It's only just
appeared and there is no translation.

A further, very good, point raised was the value of "decoupling" certain
terms, especially for discussions among dan players. It is obvious to me
that many basic terms are not understood in the west in remotely the same
way as in the east. That is not necessarily a handicap, but I think it can
be mind expanding to try to understand the different approaches. In the
present case, given that one characteristic of western thought is to make
things as concrete as possible, you will hear western players say things,
"White has profit but Black has lots of thickness," treating thickness as a
quantifiable mass noun (to use a linguistics term). Not only would it be
very unusual for a Japanese to use a quantity word like this - a quick
riffle of the book in question elicits no examples - they are so much more
comfortable with purely abstract nouns that they have two here: atsumi and
atsusa.

Because westerners are often more comfortable with concretisation, they tend
to think of thickness as influence (which is seiryoku). This, in my
experience, is a mistake more characteristic of the kyu player. Dan players
seem to have acquired at least some understanding of thick play, but to my
eye their thinking generally seems too rigid. For example, they will regard
a solid connection at a cutting point as thick play, but not so a knight's
move connection. The keima can in fact be a perfectly valid thick play - you
have to look beyond the connection to the group as a whole. I think this
rigidity is behind the problem that Simon Goss identifies in avoiding
heaviness.

I haven't had time to look at more of the book yet, and even when I do I may
not comment further, but if you want to take your own thinking a bit
further, the following game is given as a classic of thick play (by Black),
and there's barely a wall or solid connection in sight. The moves
that are mentioned as especially thick are: 1-3-5 in combination, 11
(because it denies scope to White), 33 (especially - a connoisseur's move),
the sequence 29-35, 37 (starts utilisation of atsusa (nb not atsumi)), 51
onwards, White 76 (trying to utilise his atsumi (nb not atsusa) to the
left), 77 etc., 91.

The game is courtesy of GoGoD.

(;SZ[19]FF[3]
PW[Murase Shuho]
PB[Honinbo Shuwa]
DT[1871-06-22 (Meiji 4 V 5)]
PC[Residence of Maki Ryutaro]
KM[0]
OH[B-B-(W)]
RE[B+R]
US[GoGoD95]
;B[cp];W[po];B[dc];W[eq];B[qd];W[oc];B[de];W[qh];B[pe];W[pq];B[do];W[iq]
;B[lc];W[cj];B[nd];W[pl];B[ch];W[cn];B[dn];W[cm];B[dm];W[dl];B[el];W[dk]
;B[gq];W[io];B[go];W[bq];B[bp];W[cq];B[er];W[dr];B[fr];W[br];B[gl];W[aq]
;B[ko];W[kq];B[km];W[im];B[hn];W[in];B[kk];W[ll];B[kl];W[ik];B[hl];W[il]
;B[ki];W[ii];B[lp];W[lq];B[mp];W[mq];B[np];W[oq];B[qj];W[pj];B[qk];W[pk]
;B[ql];W[qi];B[qm];W[on];B[ro];W[rp];B[qo];W[qp];B[pn];W[oo];B[sp];W[pm]
;B[qn];W[sq];B[so];W[lg];B[mh];W[mg];B[nh];W[ng];B[mj];W[lh];B[li];W[oh]
;B[oi];W[pi];B[ml];W[mn];B[ln];W[mm];B[lm];W[fp];B[gp];W[fk];B[hr];W[fo]
;B[fn];W[fl];B[fq];W[mb];B[pc];W[od];B[oe];W[md];B[mc];W[nc];B[ne];W[lb]
;B[kc]
)

John Fairbairn

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Dec 12, 2001, 3:38:27 AM12/12/01
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Apologies, but after startijg to read the book properly in bed, I realised
that the comment on 33 below refers to a similar but different game between
the same two players. An move unmentioned here that was highlighted as
important for thickness was 41.
Message has been deleted

John Fairbairn

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Dec 12, 2001, 3:14:45 PM12/12/01
to
From the GoGoD collection, here is the game that contained the connoisseur's
example of thick play, Black 33. It is not given in the book in question
except for the opening moves.

(;SZ[19]FF[3]
PW[Murase Shuho]
PB[Honinbo Shuwa]
DT[1871-06-22 (Meiji 4 V 5)]

PC[Shimuzu mansion, Nagoya]
KM[0]
OH[B-B-(W)]
RE[B+6 (moves beyond 131 not known)]
US[GoGoD95]
;B[cp];W[pq];B[dc];W[eq];B[qd];W[ce];B[od];W[po];B[do];W[ci];B[qj];W[ql]
;B[ed];W[jc];B[lc];W[gc];B[hq];W[cr];B[fp];W[fq];B[gp];W[bq];B[oj];W[oh]
;B[qh];W[je];B[le];W[qc];B[pc];W[rd];B[rc];W[mh];B[pf];W[bc];B[gd];W[hd]
;B[ge];W[fc];B[df];W[cf];B[dg];W[cg];B[he];W[id];B[dh];W[jg];B[lq];W[hh]
;B[fh];W[rk];B[rj];W[ol];B[mj];W[kh];B[nq];W[cj];B[fj];W[dl];B[fl];W[oq]
;B[np];W[ik];B[gr];W[fr];B[li];W[lh];B[ji];W[ml];B[ih];W[ig];B[hi];W[kl]
;B[kn];W[im];B[in];W[jm];B[jn];W[kb];B[lb];W[or];B[lm];W[mk];B[on];W[oo]
;B[nn];W[pn];B[cq];W[br];B[cm];W[cl];B[dm];W[ls];B[mr];W[ms];B[ns];W[nr]
;B[ks];W[os];B[lr];W[ns];B[jr];W[gm];B[hg];W[hf];B[gg];W[la];B[ma];W[ka]
;B[nb];W[sj];B[si];W[sk];B[qi];W[nf];B[me];W[cb];B[db];W[eb];B[bm];W[bl]
;B[al];W[ak];B[am];W[bj];B[da];W[bo];B[bp];W[ap];B[fn];W[co];B[dp]
)

Bill Spight

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Dec 12, 2001, 9:40:47 PM12/12/01
to
Dear John,

> There are a couple of other books in the same series. One is thinking about
> kikashi. The other is on countermeasures against overaggressive players.
>

Another is on countermeasures against large moyo. Another is about
difficult kos. And another is about real game life and death in the
corners.

A good series, I think. :-)

Best,

Bill

Bill Spight

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Dec 12, 2001, 9:51:02 PM12/12/01
to
Dear John,

> It is obvious to me
> that many basic terms are not understood in the west in remotely the same
> way as in the east. That is not necessarily a handicap, but I think it can
> be mind expanding to try to understand the different approaches. In the
> present case, given that one characteristic of western thought is to make
> things as concrete as possible, you will hear western players say things,
> "White has profit but Black has lots of thickness," treating thickness as a
> quantifiable mass noun (to use a linguistics term). Not only would it be
> very unusual for a Japanese to use a quantity word like this - a quick
> riffle of the book in question elicits no examples - they are so much more
> comfortable with purely abstract nouns that they have two here: atsumi and
> atsusa.
>
> Because westerners are often more comfortable with concretisation, they tend
> to think of thickness as influence (which is seiryoku).

Oh, I don't know about that. Plenty of people think that Western thought
is more abstract, Eastern thought more concrete and metaphorical. ;-)

I am not familiar with the go literature in English. When I was learning
the game, there were only a handful of books in English. It is much
broader today, but I suspect that a good part of the lack of subtlety in
regard to "thickness", for example, in Western thinking has to do with
seeing only certain features and plays described as "thick", and that
the main reason for that is the relative paucity of go books in English.
As more material is translated and more Westerners see more plays and
shapes described as "thick", understanding will grow. :-)

Best,

Bill

Robert Jasiek

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Dec 13, 2001, 3:28:30 AM12/13/01
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Dear Bill,

> Another is on countermeasures against large moyo. Another is about
> difficult kos. And another is about real game life and death in the
> corners.
>
> A good series, I think. :-)

What are the correct ISBN, please? Is there a series ISBN, too?

Best,
--
robert jasiek

Dieter Verhofstadt

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Dec 13, 2001, 5:52:05 AM12/13/01
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Bill Spight <Xbsp...@pacbell.net> wrote in message news:<3C1817BF...@pacbell.net>...
Dear Bill and John,

Although a high degree of accuracy in translating Japanese terms is
desirable and probably the best way to enhance our understanding of
the concepts involved, proper translation and thorough understanding
are not synonyms. I mean, even if we haven't yet found a nice English
counterpart for each subtlety in French erotic literature, that should
not prevent us from making love, or, for those who are bad at doing
it, from discussing it, don't you think ?

Dieter

Rafael Caetano

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Dec 13, 2001, 1:05:54 PM12/13/01
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"John Fairbairn" <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<1008102337.22205....@news.demon.co.uk>...

> > John, what is the public for this book in your opinion?
> > It seems that Japanese 5-dan is equivalent to European 3 or 4-dan, right?
> >
> > Anyway, "for 5-dans only" seems too narrow a range.
>
> It is very easy to be glib about J 5d = E 3d, in the same way that every man
> and his dog rubbishes every Japanese book by a pro as by a ghost writer.

John, you seem to be implying that my comment was derrogatory.
I just made an observation (or rather, a question) about the relative
difference between European and Japanese ranks, that's all.

AFAIK, top amateur players are usually graded 6-dan in Europe, while
in Japan they would be 7 or 8-dan. Of course this doesn't mean that
European players are stronger. It's just a different scale.

Yes, I know there are some European 7-dans. But they are all
ex-inseis
or ex-pros, right? Well, any corrections are welcome.

> Often true, but far from always. The title of the book specifies "true"
> 5-dans of which there are many in Japan.

It's not a question of "true" or "false" 5-dans. I wasn't alluding
to the fact that many Japanese players "buy" their ranks, if that's
what you mean.
It's a simple question of different scales. If my assumption is
correct, even the "true" 5-dans in Japan would be substantially weaker
than European 5-dans, generally speaking.

> Of course people of lower grades
> can get much from this book, but as it assumes a certain level of technique
> I think you'd have to be a solid dan player to get much from it.

OK, do you consider yourself a "solid dan player"? :-)

bye,
Rafael

John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 5:04:28 PM12/13/01
to

"Bill Spight" <Xbsp...@pacbell.net> wrote in message
news:3C1817BF...@pacbell.net...
> Oh, I don't know about that. Plenty of people think that Western thought
> is more abstract, Eastern thought more concrete and metaphorical. ;-)
>
> I am not familiar with the go literature in English. When I was learning
> the game, there were only a handful of books in English. It is much
> broader today, but I suspect that a good part of the lack of subtlety in
> regard to "thickness", for example, in Western thinking has to do with
> seeing only certain features and plays described as "thick", and that
> the main reason for that is the relative paucity of go books in English.
> As more material is translated and more Westerners see more plays and
> shapes described as "thick", understanding will grow. :-)

I disagree with Bill on both points but refuse to be drawn on the former as
it is one of those topics that is best left dinner parties. On the other I
disagree for two main reasons. (1) I think Bill is overlooking the vast
output of (English) Go World, though I'd have to concede that too few people
buy and support it. (2) The Japanese miss its subtleties too. That is part
of the point of the book in question.

On further browsing I have found it not just an interesting but a very
intelligently written book. It makes the point (once, modestly) that it is a
new treatment. Although done with the greatest respect, it dumps the
traditional treatments of thickness into an appendix. It quotes there at
length from Kojien (an equivalent of OED/Websters) on the general meanings
of atsui, and also at length from the Encyclopaedia of Go by Hayashi Yutaka.
Although the go historian non pareil, Hayashi was not a strong player and
his explanations of atsui and the various associated terms (teatsui, atsumi,
atsugaru etc) cover what you see in a typical hack go book aimed at mainly
kyu players. The present book ignores all of this and follows its own
agenda. It does not say, but I am pretty certain that what we are seeing is
a description of the way pros talk about thickness among themselves - the
authors would certainly be part of their milieu and would all be superstrong
amateurs.

A confusing topic thus has the potential to become more confusing, though
one of the many virtues of the present book is that it does not confuse. If
we need to distinguish, I'd suggest (a little glibly) talking about kyu
thickness and pro thickness. But that's a different topic - revenons a nos
moutons.

I give the second game in the book below (this part of the book is just
setting the scene by showing classic examples of playing thickly). You will
see in the lower left a white structure that any kyu player would recognise
as thickness. Yet this book does not mention it except as a glancing
reference later in the game. The early part of the game is copiously
annotated, but the discussion is on the lines of to moyo or not to moyo.

Indeed, apart from the title, the the first reference to thickness is after
move 55, and there's virtually no reference beyond that. What it says after
55 is that White is now behind in actual profit but will now start to catch
up by exploiting his atsusa. I'd suggest that until this book came along,
anyone (me certainly) would have translated this as something like: White
will use his thickness to catch up, and I would have had firmly in mind the
White wall in the lower left. But I now maintain that the correct
translation should be something like: White will use his **later/future**
thickness (or maybe another word such as solidity) to catch up. As
confirmation of this, the wall is mentioned glancingly a little later as the
atsumi (not atsusa) in the centre. The title refers to "unbeatable atsusa".
You will see from the game that atsusa can't refer to the wall alone as it
hardly gets involved in the game. Incidentally the process of moving from
atsumi to atsusa seems to ivolve at least two closely related sub-processes
mentioned in this game: making surplus profit from attacking (nb not just
profit, but extra, which is presumably why this whole topic is also closely
related to amashi strategy) and ijime or teasing. This word ijime is
extraordinarily common but never seems to have been picked up as a topic
before. It's a kyu level one on its own but seems to be lacking in the
syllabus here as an identifiable skill.

In view of the general lack of interest in this thread, this will be the
last posting from me, but I felt I had to offer a follow-up to the few
diehards whose interest I had piqued.

PSl. Since I keep nagging Robert about the non-appearance of his books,
fairness demands that we all press Bill to get on with *his* eagerly awaited
tome.

(;SZ[19]FF[3]

PW[Takagawa Kaku]
WR[7d]
PB[Hashimoto Utaro]
BR[8d]
EV[7th Honinbo Final]
RO[Game 4]
DT[1952-08-06,07]
PC[Echiro, Toyama City, Toyama Pref.]
KM[4.5]
RE[W+3.5]
US[GoGoD95]
;B[qd];W[dd];B[nc];W[pp];B[dq];W[co];B[dl];W[fo];B[gp];W[go];B[fp];W[ho]
;B[eo];W[en];B[dn];W[do];B[ep];W[dm];B[cn];W[cm];B[bn];W[em];B[bo];W[hp]
;B[pj];W[ql];B[or];W[pq];B[lq];W[gc];B[ol];W[pn];B[pl];W[rk];B[qm];W[qi]
;B[pm];W[qf];B[on];W[nq];B[nr];W[mo];B[pr];W[rm];B[po];W[ro];B[qo];W[rp]
;B[pf];W[pg];B[pe];W[og];B[kc];W[ce];B[di];W[fi];B[cg];W[bm];B[eg];W[gg]
;B[ee];W[ed];B[ck];W[ek];B[kp];W[kn];B[lk];W[kk];B[kj];W[jj];B[lj];W[bi]
;B[bf];W[bk];B[bh];W[ci];B[ch];W[df];B[ef];W[bd];B[dg];W[eh];B[gf];W[jc]
;B[jb];W[ib];B[kb];W[fg];B[cc];W[bc];B[de];W[be];B[ic];W[hb];B[ge];W[ji]
;B[kl];W[jk];B[km];W[jn];B[fc];W[fb];B[dj];W[cj];B[dh];W[dk];B[ai];W[cl]
;B[if];W[re];B[rd];W[jg];B[hr];W[hq];B[gr];W[mq];B[mr];W[jq];B[qq];W[qp]
;B[rq];W[mm];B[ml];W[ir];B[sq];W[sd];B[sc];W[se];B[rc];W[nm];B[qj];W[rj]
;B[pi];W[ph];B[ni];W[jf];B[ie];W[ig];B[ke];W[lf];B[jp];W[jm];B[fd];W[ec]
;B[ne];W[rn];B[qn];W[kr];B[lr];W[gq];B[fq];W[bp];B[cp];W[an];B[dp];W[ao]
;B[bq];W[gd];B[fe];W[jd];B[je];W[id];B[hd];W[hc];B[he];W[db];B[ng];W[rg]
;B[qk];W[rl];B[of];W[mh];B[qh];W[ri];B[oh];W[qg];B[mg];W[lg];B[lh];W[li]
;B[kh];W[ki];B[mi];W[ap];B[aq];W[am];B[kd];W[ic];B[aj];W[le];B[ld];W[jh]
;B[nh];W[fr];B[er];W[ip];B[ks];W[js];B[ls];W[kq];B[lo];W[ln];B[nl];W[jl]
;B[ll];W[me];B[md];W[hs];B[fs];W[ja];B[ka];W[ia];B[ei];W[fh];B[hg];W[hh]
;B[ej];W[fj];B[sp];W[af];B[ag];W[ae];B[cf];W[ak];B[so];W[sn];B[jo];W[io]
;B[nn];W[mp];B[lp];W[oq];B[no];W[mf];B[hf]
)

Robert Jasiek

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 5:49:50 PM12/13/01
to

John Fairbairn wrote:
> PSl. Since I keep nagging Robert about the non-appearance of his books,
> fairness demands that we all press Bill to get on with *his* eagerly awaited
> tome.

BTW, what is your next project and, Charles, when is SU! going to
appear and, Ríchard, what about LCW?:)

--
robert jasiek


Louise Bremner

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 5:59:56 PM12/13/01
to
John Fairbairn <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> In view of the general lack of interest in this thread, this will be the

> last posting from me....

Please don't stop. As a (somewhat bemused) possessor of a genuine Nihon
Kiin 5-dan diploma, I'm wondering how I can get to justify its
possession outside of the limited groups I play in. But I don't feel I
can contribute anything constructive to this thread, myself.

________________________________________________________________________
Louise Bremner (log at gol dot com)
If you want a reply by e-mail, don't write to my Yahoo address!

Jackie & Barry

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 6:05:58 PM12/13/01
to

John Fairbairn wrote:

> In view of the general lack of interest in this thread, this will be the
> last posting from me, but I felt I had to offer a follow-up to the few
> diehards whose interest I had piqued.

Lots of us are interested, we're just sitting quietly, listening to the
teachers.

I think of thickness in two ways. Firstly in the "local" sense of
"power" or "influence", as in the "wall". There is a crude strength that
makes white's wall strong.

In this case, the enemy is thick here, don't approach him.

Secondly, there is the more subtle (?) "global" sense of stones that are
secure, yet not tucked away in the corners & sides.

In this case, the enemy is thick everywhere, approach him or lose.

It seems that it is in the second sense that white has thickness as
discussed in the game you presented.

Black is "forced" into dealing with white in regions where white has the
advantage of overall security and black is necessarily far from home
base.

Barry

Dan Schmidt

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 5:43:47 PM12/13/01
to
"John Fairbairn" <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> writes:

| In view of the general lack of interest in this thread, this will be the
| last posting from me, but I felt I had to offer a follow-up to the few
| diehards whose interest I had piqued.

I'm sure a lot of people, like me, are very interested in the subject
but feel they have little to offer to the thread.

--
http://www.dfan.org

John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 6:28:45 PM12/13/01
to

"Robert Jasiek" <jas...@snafu.de> wrote in message
news:3C19308E...@snafu.de...

Thank you for the excellent lead-in, Robert! As you know GoGoD is a BIG
running project, and the next update will be available at the London Open.
Over 60MB of data now. (PS for you - it contains the Magic Sword now).


John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 6:48:39 PM12/13/01
to

"Jackie & Barry" <here...@mts.net> wrote in message
news:3C193456...@mts.net...

>
>
> Secondly, there is the more subtle (?) "global" sense of stones that are
> secure, yet not tucked away in the corners & sides.
>

Barry, you are on the path to greatness! This is one of the messages of the
book.


John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 6:45:50 PM12/13/01
to

"Dan Schmidt" <df...@harmonixmusic.com> wrote in message
news:wku1uua...@turangalila.harmonixmusic.com...

I phrased that badly. I know LOTS of people are **interested**, but I meant
lack of a certain type of response. Occasionally I would like to learn
something myself too. So it's not me that you need to plead to. It's all
those STRONG players out there you need to badger. I know they are lurking
there but they never come down from Olympus to scatter a few words of
wisdom.

This is a wider problem than r.g.g. of course. I believe one of the prime
reasons for revamping the British championship rules recently was to punish
those strong players who only ever turn up for prestigious events and give
nothing back to the game in other ways. Even when they do turn up they never
offer comments between games. It was felt (I think) that at the very least
they should be made to give other players the chance to play them
occasionally.

Even a busy guy like Cho Chikun gives something back off the board. He
recently let a bunch of youngsters come to live with him for six months, not
as actual pupils but as a sort of holiday camp. (One father did not want to
let his son go but said when Cho Chikun makes an offer like that, what can
you say?)


Bob Myers

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 8:04:01 PM12/13/01
to
I would be interested in hearing anyone's comments on the relationship
between the points John discusses about "atsumi/atsusa", and the common use
of the word "atsui" in Japanese go (perhaps more among pros than amateurs?)
to simply mean "ahead/winning".

--
Bob Myers


Bill Taylor

unread,
Dec 13, 2001, 11:31:27 PM12/13/01
to
"John Fairbairn" <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> writes:

|> > Secondly, there is the more subtle (?) "global" sense of stones that are
|> > secure, yet not tucked away in the corners & sides.
|>

|> Barry, you are on the path to greatness! This one of the messages of the book.

Good for Barry! But I would like perhaps a little elaboration of this point,
as it seems an important one.

My first reaction to Barry's comment was that stones can indeed be secure,
though in the centre-ish of the board.

It struck me that this is (standardly known to be) possible in two ways,
either by having good shape (internal, local, tactical), or a connection
to the centre (external, global, strategic).

But JF's remark seems to suggest that there is (a lot?) more to it than that.

Can JF (or elseone) expand on this please?


' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
/ /____/____/____/____/____/____/____/_ _
/ / / ___/ / / / / /
/ /____/_/####\__/____/____/____/____/_ _
/ / / \####/ / / / / /
/ /____/____/____/____/____/____/____/_ _
/ / / / / / / / /
/ /____/____/____/____/____/____/____/_ _
/ / / / ___/ / / / /
/ /____/____/_/####\__/____/____/____/_ _
/ / / / \####/ / ___/_ / /
/ /____/____/____/____/_/. . .\_/____/_ _
/ / / / / / \_____// /
/ /____/____/____/____/____/____/____/_ _
/ / / / / / / / /
/ /____/____/____/____/____/____/____/_ _
/_________________________________________ _
|
| Bill Taylor W.Ta...@math.canterbury.ac.nz
|_________________________________________ _

Robert Jasiek

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 1:58:28 AM12/14/01
to

John Fairbairn wrote:
> I phrased that badly. I know LOTS of people are **interested**, but I meant
> lack of a certain type of response. Occasionally I would like to learn
> something myself too. So it's not me that you need to plead to. It's all
> those STRONG players out there you need to badger. I know they are lurking
> there but they never come down from Olympus to scatter a few words of
> wisdom.

I know that you would not mean me here since I do occasionally open
my mouth:) Nevertheless, maybe you do not mind if I add yet a few
further words.

Unfortunately, I have not studied thickness with the same eagerness
as the authors of that book yet. OTOH, they seem to study it in a
rather broad sense that also includes thick shape, securely connected
shape, and stable living shape. In a strict sense I would have called
neither of these nor influence alone "thickness". I use these
concepts but not under the collective term thickness. So to some
extent it seems more a matter of terminology to recognize thickness.
The book seems to go even further in its broad usage by including all
sorts of using thickness strategically. Needless to say, every dan
player knows something here but hardly anybody would have developed
a well researched overview of possible strategies respecting
particular subtypes of thickness. Does the book describe such
valuable analysis? Do the other books in the series provide similar
coverage for their topics?

> I believe one of the prime
> reasons for revamping the British championship rules recently was to punish
> those strong players who only ever turn up for prestigious events and give
> nothing back to the game in other ways.

Was has been done to the rules?

--
robert jasiek

Charles Matthews

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 5:12:39 AM12/14/01
to

John Fairbairn wrote

> This is a wider problem than r.g.g. of course. I believe one of the prime
> reasons for revamping the British championship rules recently was to
punish
> those strong players who only ever turn up for prestigious events and give
> nothing back to the game in other ways.

A favorite off-topic topic of mine. Well, the unique British 5 dan who
played in the championship this year literally hadn't played in competition
since the previous year's one - so doesn't work, does it? Actually the
system bears down far too hard on the upcoming 1 kyus and 1 dans, who given
the grade deflation we are experiencing are deprived of a Swiss in which
they actually could play some stronger players in the early rounds.

Charles


Charles Matthews

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 5:39:38 AM12/14/01
to

John Fairbairn wrote

> You will see from the game that atsusa can't refer to the wall alone as it
> hardly gets involved in the game.

Isn't that a bit misleading? I'd say W54 creates a typical White-strategy
framework - and if Black really has to try to live on the right side rather
than push in from outside, White has a natural-looking strategy going for
attack. I guess we're trying to put our finger on a typical 'phase
transition' (around 88 in this game); and I suppose my question would be,
how does it compare with the normal one at the start of the oyose (after
which no big group should die)?

>Incidentally the process of moving from
> atsumi to atsusa seems to ivolve at least two closely related
sub-processes
> mentioned in this game: making surplus profit from attacking (nb not just
> profit, but extra, which is presumably why this whole topic is also
closely
> related to amashi strategy) and ijime or teasing. This word ijime is
> extraordinarily common but never seems to have been picked up as a topic
> before. It's a kyu level one on its own but seems to be lacking in the
> syllabus here as an identifiable skill.

Two complementary terms that come to mind:

'dangling', ie letting yourself have a weak group that could be attacked
(amashi strategy) but in a way wrong for your opponent's good direction of
play (don't chase into your own framework);

'bull-fighting', the art of leaving gaps your opponent is best advised not
to rush into (the diagonal jump is a prime example).

I believe players stronger than me do use these kind of teases as a matter
of course.

Charles

John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 6:24:40 AM12/14/01
to

"Bob Myers" <r...@gol.REMOVE.com> wrote in message
news:5ecS7.3596$NL4.58...@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com...

This usage looms large in the Thickness book (as atsui keisei). An important
point of which even graduates in Japanese are often unaware is that most
Japanese adjectives carry within them an element of comparison. Such people
would translate atsui in the above context as thick. Bob's translation
rightly shows the true meaning as thicker, and in pro talk and the context
of this book I think it means has more atsusa, not atsumi (i.e. better
prospects for acquiring extra points in the endgame).


Simon Goss

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 7:08:54 AM12/14/01
to
Robert Jasiek writes

>Unfortunately, I have not studied thickness with the same eagerness
>as the authors of that book yet. OTOH, they seem to study it in a
>rather broad sense that also includes thick shape, securely connected
>shape, and stable living shape. In a strict sense I would have called
>neither of these nor influence alone "thickness". I use these
>concepts but not under the collective term thickness. So to some
>extent it seems more a matter of terminology to recognize thickness.
>The book seems to go even further in its broad usage by including all
>sorts of using thickness strategically. Needless to say, every dan
>player knows something here but hardly anybody would have developed
>a well researched overview of possible strategies respecting
>particular subtypes of thickness. Does the book describe such
>valuable analysis? Do the other books in the series provide similar
>coverage for their topics?

AIUY, Robert, what you're talking about here is still thick *shape* and
its strategic use. You're talking about "subtypes" ("thick shape,
securely connected shape, stable living shape") but these are all
variations on one idea.

From what John has been saying, it seems that the new (to us) idea must
be quite a lot broader than that - something roughly along the lines of
an overall, whole-board deployment that is, in some sense that we're all
groping to understand, "thick".

It's worth paying very close attention to the annotations John gave to
the first game he showed (the Shuho-Shuwa game in John's reply to
Rafael). There are some initial clues in there.

For just one example, at move 37 John observed "starts utilisation of
atsusa (nb not atsumi)". It's not too difficult for us to see that Black
37 et seq is the kind of thing we like to have thickness elsewhere in
order to do. That is to say, starting a fight in one place in order to
exploit thickness in another is about the best-known strategy for
utilising thickness. But what is the nature of the "atsusa" of Black's
global position just before move 37 in this game? It doesn't look much
like the kinds of thing we've been shown as examples of thickness up
till now.

Regards,
--
Simon

Charles Matthews

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 8:53:14 AM12/14/01
to

Simon Goss wrote

> From what John has been saying, it seems that the new (to us) idea must
> be quite a lot broader than that - something roughly along the lines of
> an overall, whole-board deployment that is, in some sense that we're all
> groping to understand, "thick".

Well, yes. At the risk of (re-)stating the obvious, we have to grapple with
process - winning a position that is 'won' by the standards of strong
players. Terminology in Japanese can only help so far (even if we are fully
up with parts-of-speech implications, as JF would like us to be).

Now, is what is being said that you have to learn to split the difference
between early influence and the start of the endgame? To get to a position
where competently-conducted fighting can't go badly? That would be
interesting, certainly.

How would it relate to Takemiya-style influence play, which tends to a
miasma of a late middlegame? I suspect it is saying something contrasting,
because it is more about fixed rather than mobile shape (?), but with some
points of contact, too (?).

Charles

Bill Spight

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Dec 14, 2001, 10:17:56 AM12/14/01
to
Dear John,

John Fairbairn wrote:
>
> "Bob Myers" <r...@gol.REMOVE.com> wrote in message
> news:5ecS7.3596$NL4.58...@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com...
> > I would be interested in hearing anyone's comments on the relationship
> > between the points John discusses about "atsumi/atsusa", and the common
> use
> > of the word "atsui" in Japanese go (perhaps more among pros than
> amateurs?)
> > to simply mean "ahead/winning".
> >

If Bob is referring to material in English, then indeed the term "thick"
has been used in its full range in English go literature. If it has not
been, then how could the readers of that literature (and not the
Japanese literature) have a proper understanding of the term?

I do not agree that it simply means "ahead/winning", although it conveys
that connotation. It refers to the quality of the player's overall
position, which confers an advantage.

>
> This usage looms large in the Thickness book (as atsui keisei). An important
> point of which even graduates in Japanese are often unaware is that most
> Japanese adjectives carry within them an element of comparison.

Really? I was taught that in the first semester.

> Such people
> would translate atsui in the above context as thick. Bob's translation
> rightly shows the true meaning as thicker, and in pro talk and the context
> of this book I think it means has more atsusa, not atsumi (i.e. better
> prospects for acquiring extra points in the endgame).

Yes, more atsusa. :-)

A related concept, I think, is "ni no ya" (second arrow). Plays with
good followups or threats (second arrows) are usually preferable to
comparable plays without them. In general, one's thin positions are full
of threats for the opponent, one's thick positions are full of one's own
threats.

One idea that is well known to Western chess players is that plays that
combine threats are very strong. It is difficult or impossible to
protect against all of them. Thick positions are more likely to engender
such plays. (I think it would be easy to apply the terms, "thick" and
"thin" to chess. :-))

Best,

Bill

Robert Jasiek

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 10:29:37 AM12/14/01
to

Simon Goss wrote:
> AIUY, Robert, what you're talking about here is still thick *shape* and
> its strategic use.

I also but not only talk about thick shape and its usage.

> You're talking about "subtypes" ("thick shape,
> securely connected shape, stable living shape") but these are all
> variations on one idea.

That's what you say:) Do you suggest that these are subtypes of
thickness? One might say so but I don't, simply because I use
the term thickness differently. I use it in a strict sense of
"accumulated thick shape which radiates influence", i.e. a wall
facing a more a less open outside. A wall or a living group visually
hidden by opposing stones may be used like some sort of weaker
thickness, however, I would call a hidden wall "securely connected
shape" and a hidden living group "stable living shape". If such a
shape is tightly hidden in a corner, then there is no point in
calling it thickness. Otherwise one might call it thickness,
however, for the sake of my own terminology I don't; only on a
level of strategic usage I might consider "can be used as if it
were weak thickness". As I say, it is all a matter of personal
terminology. My preference is to distingish shapes that form
thickness from shapes that resemble thickness and thickness from
usage or transformation of thickness. Parts of John's translation
attempts are caused by getting such distinctions right, I guess.
What the book in question really offers as new detailed insight
is still unclear. John seems to say that it offers quite a lot
but what exactly?

--
robert jasiek

Bill Spight

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 10:33:45 AM12/14/01
to
Dear John,

Bill:


> > Oh, I don't know about that. Plenty of people think that Western thought
> > is more abstract, Eastern thought more concrete and metaphorical. ;-)
> >
> > I am not familiar with the go literature in English. When I was learning
> > the game, there were only a handful of books in English. It is much
> > broader today, but I suspect that a good part of the lack of subtlety in
> > regard to "thickness", for example, in Western thinking has to do with
> > seeing only certain features and plays described as "thick", and that
> > the main reason for that is the relative paucity of go books in English.
> > As more material is translated and more Westerners see more plays and
> > shapes described as "thick", understanding will grow. :-)
>

John:


> I disagree with Bill on both points but refuse to be drawn on the former as
> it is one of those topics that is best left dinner parties.

I once believed that, but that was before I took a class in Chinese
philosophy taught by a Chinese philosopher. ;-) But I do not believe
that the Japanese are more at home with abstractions than English
speakers, either. :-) (Actually, both languages have been greatly
enriched by the infusion of a great many words from another language,
French in the case of English and Chinese in the case of Japanese. And
now Japanese is incorporating a great deal of English, -- with a twist,
of course. ;-))

> On the other I
> disagree for two main reasons. (1) I think Bill is overlooking the vast
> output of (English) Go World, though I'd have to concede that too few people
> buy and support it.

As I said in another post, if the English literature includes the use of
"thick" to describe the overall board position, then my impression is
wrong. If it does not, then those whose go reading is confined to that
literature simply have no basis for a full understanding of the term.

> (2) The Japanese miss its subtleties too. That is part
> of the point of the book in question.

I wasn't referring to anything subtle, just common usage. :-)

Best,

Bill

Bobby Six

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 10:41:01 AM12/14/01
to
"Charles Matthews" <cha...@sabaki.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1008326668.9376.1...@news.demon.co.uk...

(snip)

> Two complementary terms that come to mind:
>
> 'dangling', ie letting yourself have a weak group that could be attacked
> (amashi strategy) but in a way wrong for your opponent's good direction of
> play (don't chase into your own framework);
>
> 'bull-fighting', the art of leaving gaps your opponent is best advised not
> to rush into (the diagonal jump is a prime example).
>
> I believe players stronger than me do use these kind of teases as a matter
> of course.

I recognise these as well. There's also 'head-banging' which is having a solid
group
towards the centre of the board. As played against me by A Strong Player, it
seems to involve driving your opponents stones towards the a solid group in the
centre of the board
not to capture them but to neutralise moyos (I'm an inveterate san-rensei moyo
builder)

--
Posted from [164.36.142.217]
via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

Bill Spight

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Dec 14, 2001, 11:05:04 AM12/14/01
to
Dear John,

> Indeed, apart from the title, the the first reference to thickness is after
> move 55, and there's virtually no reference beyond that. What it says after
> 55 is that White is now behind in actual profit but will now start to catch
> up by exploiting his atsusa. I'd suggest that until this book came along,
> anyone (me certainly) would have translated this as something like: White
> will use his thickness to catch up, and I would have had firmly in mind the
> White wall in the lower left. But I now maintain that the correct
> translation should be something like: White will use his **later/future**
> thickness (or maybe another word such as solidity) to catch up.

How about "overall thickness"?

> As
> confirmation of this, the wall is mentioned glancingly a little later as the
> atsumi (not atsusa) in the centre. The title refers to "unbeatable atsusa".
> You will see from the game that atsusa can't refer to the wall alone as it
> hardly gets involved in the game.

I beg your pardon. It is intimately involved with White plays 56, 58,
60, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 78, 82, 88, 96, 98, 100, 104, 106, 108,
112, 114, 118, 122, 136, 138, 152, 154, and 156, and less directly
connected to other plays. It plays a major role in the development of
the game.

At the same time, I agree that "atsusa" does not refer to the wall. It
refers to White's whole position. But the thickness is not something
that develops later. It is already there. And it isn't just solidity.
Solidity can be heavy, or simply slow, lukewarm, or passive.

Best,

Bill

John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 11:30:19 AM12/14/01
to
I'll give in to pressure from GoGoD fans and continue to give the
scene-setting games of the Thickness book with a few notes. I gave two so
far, plus the full version of one that was cross-referenced. This part
occupies about a third of the book and gives five games. I must say I find
them very well annotated but I am only mentioning here the references to
thickness and the odd extra related theme.

Part 2 is called "Various types of thickness" and appears to take up from
Part 1, which - as I see it - is about demolishing existing preconceptions,
but is too cleverly written to say so as brutally as I do.
Part 2 appears to be much more than listing definitions, but starts to
construct a new theory.

The three types identified are: (1) Atsui katachi - thick shape, and this
concentrates on josekis but also gives a fascinating look at different ways
different players (Takemiya, Takagawa, Kato, Otake, Fujisawa) use to
implement it; (2) Atsui gokei - thick go shapes, which seems to be the most
revolutionary part; (3) Atsui keisei - thick, countable positions, this
being largely the usage referred to by Bob Myers. Item (2) is the one I'm
looking forward to and seems to refer to the intermediate stage between
thick katachi (or atsumi) and the final stage thick keisei. As Charles
Matthews rightly pointed out it is necessary to realise that this is a
**process**.

Parts 3, 4 and 5 of the book cover each if these stages in turn by use of
well annotated games. Finally there is an appendix where, as I said before,
the traditional or kyu-level theory seems to have been ever so politely
dumped.

Scene-setting Game 3 from Part 1 is below. The first reference to thickness
is to move 21 where it says that Kitani rated the size of the profit and the
overall effectiveness of the atsumi as outweighing the overconcentration
with 13. Since many players have traditionally seen thickness as something
you get in return for giving profit, it is interesting to see here an
example of thickness and profit sharing the same space belonging to one
side!

The bulk of the early discussion, however, is about decisions whether to
make the game broad or narrow (lots of small positions). As with ijime
(bullying), and choshi (momentum) this is one of those concepts that are not
specially high level in themselves but which seem to be talked about only
(but very often) by very high level players.

The next reference to thickness is not until move 35, though there are a
couple of other references to overconcentration. (One of the things I admire
about this book is the way it drip feeds these related concepts in.). It
says the right side has become teatsui **because** a Black move at the star
point is forcing. There are some who would claim a nuance in meaning for
teatsui but it is safe to treat it as identical with atsui. Note that this
book never seems to mention walls. It specifically says the right side is
made thick by 35.

Then there is a long gap but it is worth noting in passing that 61 is
mentioned as typical of the way Black refuses to give White any leverage in
this game. For that reason, White becomes desperate and plays a meltdown
move at 72 - he would normally just attach at 75.

The next thick reference is after 85. Black has achieved his aim of using a
splitting attack and his
atsusa will now be decisive. So we can infer from this that Black has moved
from atsumi to atusa in the course of the last 50 moves. I presume this is
the crux of the game.

For 99 it is mentioned that 100 would be a thick(er) way of attacking but
this was rejected because White can live too easily. Black has to maintain
the tension. That's it as far as thickness comments go, though the general
commentary does go on for few more pages.

Game 4 to come is about the practical uses of thickness. Game 5 is about
turning thickness into a moyou (don't surround thickness, says the
proverb...?).

(;SZ[19]FF[3]

PW[Fujisawa Hideyuki]
WR[9d]
PB[Kitani Minoru]
BR[9d]
EV[1st Old Meijin League]
DT[1961-09-20,21]
PC[Nihon Ki-in, Minato-ku, Tokyo]
KM[5]
RU[W wins jigo]
RE[B+R]
US[GoGoD95]
;B[qd];W[cd];B[pq];W[oc];B[cp];W[qo];B[od];W[nd];B[oe];W[pc];B[qc];W[kc]
;B[qj];W[ed];B[eq];W[cj];B[qm];W[mq];B[po];W[jq];B[qn];W[co];B[do];W[cn]
;B[bp];W[dn];B[hq];W[eo];B[dp];W[gd];B[ld];W[lc];B[ne];W[md];B[me];W[mo]
;B[cc];W[dc];B[bd];W[bc];B[ce];W[cb];B[ch];W[ci];B[dh];W[ei];B[fg];W[df]
;B[eh];W[fi];B[gf];W[ef];B[if];W[nj];B[ii];W[pj];B[pi];W[qk];B[pk];W[oj]
;B[qi];W[pl];B[fk];W[ek];B[el];W[fl];B[gk];W[dk];B[rk];W[ok];B[ql];W[qp]
;B[on];W[qq];B[pr];W[qr];B[pp];W[mr];B[mm];W[lk];B[lp];W[ki];B[jk];W[kl]
;B[jp];W[kp];B[ko];W[kq];B[lo];W[ip];B[jo];W[iq];B[jl];W[ml];B[mi];W[mj]
;B[li];W[lm];B[mn];W[jm];B[im];W[kk];B[hr];W[io];B[jn];W[km];B[in];W[gn]
;B[ro];W[rp];B[rn];W[qs];B[or];W[sr];B[en];W[em];B[go];W[fh];B[eg];W[hh]
;B[hn];W[ig];B[hg];W[gh];B[hf];W[jf];B[je];W[jg];B[id];W[he];B[gc];W[ge]
;B[ie];W[ke];B[kd];W[le];B[jd];W[lg];B[jb];W[kb];B[mc];W[nc];B[mb];W[nb]
;B[jc];W[ma];B[fb];W[hc];B[hb];W[fc];B[gb];W[hd];B[cf];W[bg];B[bh];W[af]
;B[ae];W[cg];B[bf]
)

Charles Matthews

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 12:23:27 PM12/14/01
to

Bobby Six <bobby...@aol.com> wrote

> "Charles Matthews" wrote


>
> (snip)
>
> > Two complementary terms that come to mind:
> >
> > 'dangling', ie letting yourself have a weak group that could be attacked
> > (amashi strategy) but in a way wrong for your opponent's good direction
of
> > play (don't chase into your own framework);
> >
> > 'bull-fighting', the art of leaving gaps your opponent is best advised
not
> > to rush into (the diagonal jump is a prime example).
> >
> > I believe players stronger than me do use these kind of teases as a
matter
> > of course.
>
> I recognise these as well. There's also 'head-banging' which is having a
solid
> group
> towards the centre of the board. As played against me by A Strong Player,
it
> seems to involve driving your opponents stones towards the a solid group
in the
> centre of the board
> not to capture them but to neutralise moyos (I'm an inveterate san-rensei
moyo
> builder)

Oddly I picked up a book this afternoon in which 'ijime' occurred - more
'bullying' rather than 'teasing', as JF's later post reveals. So that would
be closer to yoritsuki (harassment), which is a rather better known pair
with amashi ... you are supposed to counter the dangling group by
constructive action which does you some definite good (profit, or influence
acting in a sensible direction), not plunge in over the top to kill, leading
to the dreaded amarigatachi or broken shape when (if) you fail.

Still, the tease and the bully are partners in a dance here - balletic at
best.

Charles

Robert Jasiek

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 1:24:18 PM12/14/01
to

John Fairbairn wrote:
> The three types identified are: (1) Atsui katachi - thick shape, and this
> concentrates on josekis but also gives a fascinating look at different ways
> different players (Takemiya, Takagawa, Kato, Otake, Fujisawa) use to
> implement it; (2) Atsui gokei - thick go shapes, which seems to be the most
> revolutionary part; (3) Atsui keisei - thick, countable positions

Might you give small example positions for (1), (2), and (3) each?

> The bulk of the early discussion, however, is about decisions whether to
> make the game broad or narrow (lots of small positions). As with ijime
> (bullying), and choshi (momentum) this is one of those concepts that are not
> specially high level in themselves but which seem to be talked about only
> (but very often) by very high level players.

I saw a German 2d talking about it.

> The next reference to thickness is not until move 35,

24-26-28 also consitute thickness. That it is not mentioned indicates
that the book concentrates on examples of thickness during a game and
does not mention all thickness. Move 29 turns the thickness of
24-26-28 back into ordinary (not so) thick shape and is also
reverse sente prohibiting permament thickness if white got 29. If this
book is fond of processes, then it is a little surprising that no
words are lost here. Is it too obvious for the audience ("for 5-dans")?

> Note that this
> book never seems to mention walls. It specifically says the right side is
> made thick by 35.

This is about the same as saying that completing the wall
11-1-9-33-35 (plus 31 as assistance) makes thickness towards the
right side.

--
robert jasiek

Mike M.

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 1:26:42 PM12/14/01
to
On Fri, 14 Dec 2001 16:30:19 -0000, "John Fairbairn"
<john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> I'll give in to pressure from GoGoD fans and continue to give the
> scene-setting games of the Thickness book with a few notes. I gave two so
> far, plus the full version of one that was cross-referenced. This part
> occupies about a third of the book and gives five games. I must say I find
> them very well annotated but I am only mentioning here the references to
> thickness and the odd extra related theme.

[...]

John, why don't you translate the book into English,
so we can buy it (for more than just the pictures)?

Best wishes, - Mike M.
--
Washington state resident. Don't send me spam, and i won't
send you a bill for $500. http://www.wa.gov/ago/junkemail/

gowan

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 1:50:18 PM12/14/01
to
"Bob Myers" <r...@gol.REMOVE.com> wrote in message news:<5ecS7.3596$NL4.58...@newssvr14.news.prodigy.com>...

I don't think this use of "atsui" means "winning" or "ahead". It
seems more to be used when the game is actually close, but one side
has the potential to make more points than the other. Indeed it may
be applied to a situation in which the player who is "atsui" may, in
fact, be behind at that moment.

best,

gowan

John Fairbairn

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Dec 14, 2001, 1:52:17 PM12/14/01
to
"Mike M." <SL.AM.m...@foxinternet.net> wrote in message
news:3c1a43fc...@news.foxinternet.net...

> On Fri, 14 Dec 2001 16:30:19 -0000, "John Fairbairn"

> John, why don't you translate the book into English,


> so we can buy it (for more than just the pictures)?
>

With current go book sales and the pathological unwillingness of so many go
players to support publishers, I would be lucky to get more than a couple of
hundred dollars over several years.

Incidentally, the book cost me 30 dollars so I'm SUBSIDISING you all!!!


John Fairbairn

unread,
Dec 14, 2001, 2:13:31 PM12/14/01
to

"Robert Jasiek" <jas...@snafu.de> wrote in message
news:3C1A43D2...@snafu.de...

>
> Might you give small example positions for (1), (2), and (3) each?

Give me a chance! I haven't read it yet. I'm reading it bit by bit in bed
and writing up what I remember the next morning.

> 24-26-28 also consitute thickness. That it is not mentioned indicates
> that the book concentrates on examples of thickness during a game and
> does not mention all thickness. Move 29 turns the thickness of
> 24-26-28 back into ordinary (not so) thick shape and is also
> reverse sente prohibiting permament thickness if white got 29. If this
> book is fond of processes, then it is a little surprising that no
> words are lost here. Is it too obvious for the audience ("for 5-dans")?
>

You are getting way less than 10 per cent of the commentary so I don't see
how you can make so many assumptions. There are comments on 22 etc. As to
White's thickness: (1) the commentary focuses on Black as the winner and so
presumably more successful thickness maker; (2) White's strategy involves
moyoisation. That is dealt with in Game 5. Patience.

> > Note that this
> > book never seems to mention walls. It specifically says the right side
is
> > made thick by 35.
>

> This is about the same as saying that completing the wall
> 11-1-9-33-35 (plus 31 as assistance) makes thickness towards the
> right side.

Maybe (though I quibble strongly with the word towards), but from this and
other comments you seem to be wanting to drag this book (as interpreted by
me) back to traditional modes all the time - or maybe to your own
Brettanschauung? :) Isn't the whole point of the discussion to explore new
ground? We may end up back where we started, but at least we may have had an
entertaining ride. We may even end up somewhere new and exciting. Let's try
to keep an open mind and above all try to escape from the clutches of
traditional and (here) potentially misleading terminology. Because I believe
it accords with the authors' intentions, I am especially trying to get
people away from the facile equation thickness = walls.


Goran Siska

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Dec 14, 2001, 2:37:53 PM12/14/01
to

John Fairbairn <john...@harrowgo.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1008355915.5405.0...@news.demon.co.uk...
I second Mike's suggestion! You should translate it to English. I'd buy the
thing! It's rare to find a go-book to suit players above kyu level in
English and I think there's a large population of go players in Europe that
are above 1dan level who are just hungry for a book like that.

Goran

Michael Alford

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Dec 14, 2001, 3:22:06 PM12/14/01
to

>In view of the general lack of interest in this thread, this will be the
>last posting from me, but I felt I had to offer a follow-up to the few
>diehards whose interest I had piqued.
>

John:

Count me among the diehards :) I find this thread quite interesting.

Thanks,

malf