Can a seki have damezumari


Seki discussion

Shortage of liberties: seki  

In this diagram, a seki is created: Black cannot approach White at the circled intersection because there already is a shortage of liberties.

By approaching, Black would put himself in atari and White could capture his stones. Note that if Black had an outside liberty, the two white stones could be captured.

Bill: This is not an example of a shortage of liberties, in the usual sense. It is only a shortage of liberties if one side tries to capture the other.

Charles: I don't then know what the 'usual sense' is.

Bill: "If either player tries to capture the other, he gives himself a shortage of liberties." (That's a little clumsy, because we would just normally talk about atari, but that's the normal usage. Shortage of liberties is a serious problem, as far as the stones that suffer from it are concerned. Seki per se is not.)

Charles Then the example at the top of the shortage of liberties page is not of shortage of liberties? I'd say it was, in ordinary parlance. I'd say you can have shortage of liberties, without red-lining it and getting down to auto-atari.

Bill: I think shortage of liberties is a problem. No problem, no shortage. These cases do not illustrate problems. That's their problem.

Now, there could be problems with such positions. For instance, suppose that Black started with a live group, but made a mistake and let White make seki. Then we might say, "Because of a shortage of liberties, White gets a seki." Similarly, in the first case, if White managed to connect previously dead stones and save them, we might say, "Because of a shortage of liberties, Black cannot prevent the connection." But the positions themselves do not illustrate problems.

Rafael: Are there 2 simultaneous discussions going on here? It seems there is a "damezumari is not the same as shortage of liberties" controversy (which is surprising to me) intertwined.

Anyway, I believe Bill is mistaken: there is damezumari in the seki. Only it's not usually mentioned. Usually we say, "if you play this way, it becomes a seki". You don't need to go as far as mentioning the damezumari because, hey, your audience knows what a seki is; you don't need to "read out" the position. But in a life-and-death introduction to beginners, it is advisable to read it out. Accordingly, damezumari can be mentioned in that context and, in fact, sometimes it is.

Bill: Professor Nakamura is quite learned in go. Why don't you ask him if seki is damezumari?

As for explaining seki to novices, you might possibly talk about damezumari, but for the situation when one player has approached too far, I think, not for the seki itself.

Rafael: I can ask him later, but I think I got it now. I've just googled this [ext] life-and-death introduction . Probably the source of my confusion is that I recalled damezumari being used in the context of explaining seki, but it seems to be used only in the (trivial?) sense of "when the group has few outside liberties". Not what we usually call "shortage of liberties", I guess, which also makes clear to me that other controversy. But then, I get confused again, because you and John say that damezumari is supposed to be something very very bad, and I'm not sure if that's the case here.

Bill: Very, very bad? I guess I overstated things, then. Problematic, to be sure. Besides, I am no authority on Japanese go terminology. I can easily be wrong, especially on fine points.

Rafael Hehe, sorry, I exaggerated a little, didn't mean to misrepresent your view.

That's essentially what Charles said, I think. But I have to point it out, since you guys don't seem to understand each other. :-)

Charles Ah, but I do now. The point is that damezumari has a restricted use: see Shortage of liberties / Discussion. Now I don't like using Japanese terms unless they are necessary. Here, to use damezumari is not necessary and also wrong. So I won't use it. What the discussion came down to is an understanding that I (presumably others, too) want to describe this kind of shortage of liberties. Bill says that damezumari doesn't translate to shortage of liberties. So, I'll keep away from damezumari, except for special cases such as double damezumari where it is accurately used.

Zook: Why is seki not a problem ? If you want to kill a group, but you can't, because of shortage of liberties, you have a problem, don't you ? What's the difference with a tempting cut or capture of cutting stones, which aren't possible due to shortage of liberties ?

I think that shortage of liberties has something to do with a desire. Something is tempting and looks possible at first sight, but turns out to be impossible at second. Therefor I also believe there is shortage of liberties for me in situations where there is none for a stronger player: (s)he shows no desire to cut/kill/connect or (s)he doesn't think it is possible even at first sight.

Me: can't I cut ? She: ah, no, you are short of liberties (to do that).

Me: so there is shortage of liberties. She: that depends on what you want to accomplish.

Bill: Zook, I addressed that in the original discussion, before it was broken up:

No, I think that the English shortage implies a problem, not just a small number. Also, in the context of playing a game, the point of the phrase is to highlight problems. That's why the seki example, in particular, struck me as inappropriate. If someone goes around thinking, "Seki. Damn! If it weren't for that shortage of liberties I could kill those stones," they are not only wasting their time, they are getting into a bad habit of thinking about the game.

Charles I think that's true enough. But in a sense useless enough. If you have a good feel for how false eyes affect shape, you revise expectations up if your opponent has a false eye, down if you have a false eye in a fight. You learn to see what's coming. If fact if you don't, if it gets you unawares (as it did to me on Thursday evening), you're making an amateurish mistake. In fact I think it's not coherent to say the constraint only hits you when you are practically 'immobile'.

So from my shape-oriented point of view, the terminology stemming from the Japanese here isn't very helpful.

John F. It's possibly getting a bit repetitive, but, as Bill says, seki and damezumari don't go together. With damezumari there is a cause (damezumari) and effect (death/capture).

It's quite easy to see where the confusion comes in. Someone says damezumari = shortage of liberties. Someone says both sides have a shortage of liberties in a seki. So someone else applies one of Bill's syllygisms and says there is damezumari in a seki.

Easy enough to see how it happens. Hard to sort it out. But Charles's WME of the liberty issue is, pace Bill, a masterful example that puts us on the right road and also - I hope - shows others how editing should be done.

Shortage of liberties?  

Bill: Much later reflections. Here is a seki. Is it a case of shortage of liberties?

Give me a liberty  

Bill: Well, we have given Black another liberty, and it's still a seki.

But we have given White a liberty, too.

Give just me a liberty  

Bill: OK, we have given Black another liberty. And it is still seki.

If we gave Black another outside liberty, he could win the semeai by playing first. In such a case, however, we just say that White loses the semeai, not that White has a shortage of liberties.

A seki is a kind of semeai, which is a standoff. Of course, liberties are important in semeai, not just how many, but also which kind. Losing a semeai is not just a question of shortage of liberties, nor is seki.

Can a seki have damezumari last edited by Bill on December 16, 2005 - 18:19
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