Endgame 3 Accurate Local Evaluation
|Table of contents||Table of diagrams
The author and publisher of Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation is Robert Jasiek. The book is of A5 size, has 256 pages, has 5 diagrams per page on average, is written for players from 5 kyu to 9 pro and has the suggested price Ä 26.5 (book) or Ä 13.25 (PDF).
Last December I briefly reviewed [the book] Endgame 2. I bought the pdf versions of Endgame 3 and Endgame problems 1 in early June but later picked up on Robertís offer to review them against a (physical) copy.
The books were very, very well packed and it took me a few minutes to unpack them. The printing and binding quality is also very good.
I had started Endgame problems 1 before the books arrived. I left it aside to get a full hang on the theory before going back to practice.
The introduction (chapter 1) quickly caught my attention. The positions below are the first examples of the book and part of the introduction.
In the first example, is it sente for black to connect 2 stones ? In the second example, is it sente for white to connect 6 stones ? I would (have) answer(ed) my opponent without question in both cases. Actually, both positions are local gote. Correct judgement of these kind of positions is the topic of chapter 3.
Chapter 2 quickly deals with the basic of miai counting, or modern endgame as Robert would call it. Itís a a good reminder if you forgot about some of the formulas, or you know about miai counting but you need to learn about Robertís notations or vocabulary. Itís too short if youíre completly new to the topic, but to be fair you should be reading Endgame 2 before Endgame 3 in that case.
Chapter 3 is about judging whether a local endgame is sente or gote. We learn about 4 possible ways to do that with counts and move values. Each way is treated several times in examples. Overall the chapter was very clear to me, and determining the values and result for easy positions like the two examples was easy. Each method looked similarly efficient when working out examples and problems with pen and paper.
Chapter 4 is about discussing sente and gote options. We have positions where a gote and a sente sequences are both making sense. The objective is to decide which one is optimal. This chapter was also very clear and examples/problems were tackled without much trouble. The same position with a couple of stones moved here and there was used many times so that it was clear using instinct was a poor way to guess the answer.
Chapter 5 is a mix of several topics. First, privileges are briefly discussed. Nothing new for dan players I hope but worth mentioning for weaker players. Also good for the sake of clarity, as some examples uses the concept later in the book. Next comes ę double sente Ľ. We use examples to see that itís not (really) a thing, but we get practical advice on how to deal with situations we perceive as double sente. Last, we get introduced to traversal sequences, which will be the topic of the two remaining chapters. Traversal sequences are sequences that should be play in one go : interrupting the sequence can lose points. The follow up idea is to determine when play should be interrupted to play elsewhere on the board.
Chapter 6 presents a sure way to handle long sequences. The downside is that the calculus was a lot of work even for basic positions. I mostly got the examples and problems right so I think I understand the theory correctly, but I needed some time and some paper to do it properly. It was definitly too much time to consider trying it in a real game at my current capacity.
Chapter 7 presents another way to handle long sequences, which doesnít always work if I understood correctly. That chapter wasnít untirely clear to me and I started the first problems unsure of where to look at. I wasnít as lost when doing the last problems but itís still a bit fuzzy. Iíll give it some time to digest and Iíll give it another chance after. The method was clearly requiring less calculus, but Iím still unsure of being able to do it without a pen and paper.
I was satisfied with Endgame 2 and I am satisfied with Endgame 3. No rough start this time, as the last chapter was the only one giving me trouble. Even if I donít think I can make use of everything in a real game, solving some of the positions was satisfying on its own. The part about double sente is concrete advice which I think I can apply in my games. Distinguishing gote and sente sequences also seems doable in my games during the microendgame and may give me the chance to grab some extra points over the course of a game.
In his review Robert said ę The book is not for you if you die on seeing explicit calculations. Ľ and I very much agree. The book doesnít offer any tactical difficulties, but youíll see a lot of values and variables. This is a theory book, but you should try to work out the values by yourself as much as possible so itís quite a lot of work for a theory book. On the other hand I donít want to oversell the difficulty. The math level required isnít high. Everyone who doesnít want to run away after reading Endgame 2 or reading some of the endgame topics here should be fine.
Finally, the last paragraph is about chapter 3 and adressed to Robert and the other readers of Endgame 3. On page 50 it is said ę If we prefer application of conditions 1, we need to learn these relations by heart Ľ and it wasnít my experience. Conditions 2 was my intuitive view of local sente/gote so the relations made sense instantly. Conditions 1 and 4 came next and they are closely tied in my eyes. The defender chooses if it is a local sente or a local gote. So on conditions 1, he picks the count most favorable to himself and declares the locale as such. On conditions 4 he attributes the lowest move value to his opponent. Conditions 3 are not intuitive to me. I understand that in a local gote M_G<M_S (conditions 4) and F<M_G (conditions 2) thus F<M_S. I can do a similar reasoning in a local sente, but I canít explain with words why the relation is as it is.
Arnaud Boucherie, somehow 2 dan at the French go federation and about 4/5 dan on Fox/Tygem.
- Title: Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation
- Author: Robert Jasiek
- Publisher: Robert Jasiek
- Edition: 2019
- Language: English
- Price: EUR 26.50 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF)
- Contents: endgame
- ISBN: none
- Printing: good
- Layout: good
- Editing: good
- Pages: 256
- Size: 148mm x 210mm
- Diagrams per Page on Average: 5
- Method of Teaching: principles, methods, classification, examples
- Read when EGF: 5 kyu - 9 pro
- Subjective Rank Improvement: o
- Subjective Topic Coverage: +
- Subjective Aims' Achievement: ++
The subtitle Accurate Local Evaluation is the book's program: it evaluates local endgame positions accurately. During all phases of the game, correct local evaluation is a requirement for very good global decisions. Whenever tactical reading is too complex, we also need strategy, approximative positional judgement or more precise endgame evaluation. The latter can often replace global reading by a combination of local reading and value comparisons.
The values of a local endgame depend on its type and lengths of sequences. Do we have a local gote or sente? For how long should local alternating play proceed? When must we interrupt and play elsewhere? By answering these essential questions, we can calculate the values correctly. Therefore, we avoid losing many points due to evaluation mistakes.
The book is the result of 15 months of full-time work. Half of it has been research, which has been necessary to fill huge gaps in earlier theory and create a consistent, sufficiently complete and well applicable, general theory of endgame evaluation. Previously, we were only given the chance to compete with 9 dans on the topic of getting the last point. This book enables every serious learner to reach this level on the much broader topic of local endgame evaluation. This is so because the methods and principles often represent truths derived from mathematical theorems. The value calculations in the examples are supported by meticulous proofreading.
An introduction gives an overview on the contents and demonstrates that we lose points in every local endgame by evaluating it wrongly when confusing gote with sente or misjudging for how long we should continue local play. The book presumes fluent application of the basics of modern endgame theory: the count (positional value) and move value (value of a move) of a local gote or sente endgame and its followers (follow-up positions); the gain of every individual move (the value of how much a player's move shifts counts in his favour); negative numbers favouring White. Although readers of Volume 2 are familiar with these basics, Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation can be read independently because the chapter Basics summarises them. The book concludes with an appendix, which lists keywords and the conventions for diagrams and variables. The major contents is presented in the following three parts:
- The chapters 'Gote, Sente and Short Sequences' and 'Gote and Sente Options' evaluate local endgames with short sequences consisting of one or two plays worth playing successively. The former studies local endgames in which a player starts a gote sequence, whose continuation results in a sente sequence. The latter studies local endgames in which one player chooses either his gote option starting a gote sequence or his sente option starting a sente sequence. Both kinds of local endgames are evaluated differently.
- The intermediate chapter 'Local Sequences and Endgames' briefly introduces privileges, ko and the global positional context, discusses double sente, introduces long sequences consisting of at least 3 plays, and provides simplifications. We learn that, usually, local double sente does not exist, its traditional evaluation has had little meaning, and how to evaluate and play a perceived double sente in the global context: we do not always need accurate evaluation as a local gote with follow-ups but can often apply principles to evaluate like a ko exchange. Long sequences are introduced by first examples, calculation of their values, classifications of the types of sequences and local endgames, and the properties of long sequences worth playing successively (called 'traversal sequences'). Simplifications are very fast tools, with which we can sometimes circumvent detailed methods.
- The next two chapters explain ordinary or fast evaluation of long sequences. Both major kinds of evaluation determine the count and move value of an initial local endgame. Ordinary evaluation also determines the gains of the sequences' plays to clarify the correct moments of interrupting local play and playing elsewhere, and assesses whether ko threats should be preserved. Fast evaluation skips such details but applies sophisticated means to only determine the initial values.
Unless we have a simple gote without follow-up, a local endgame with short sequences has follow-ups of one of both players. After the first move, we need to know whether the opponent must reply immediately. Depending on the answer, the local endgame is a 'local gote', 'local sente' or their hybrid, which is called an 'ambiguous' local endgame. The book distinguishes and determines these types objectively. For this purpose, we verify whether some value condition is fulfilled. Such a condition compares two particular move values or counts. For example, a move value of the initial local endgame is compared with the follow-up move value in the position created by the first move. We can choose our preferred kind of value condition because the book offers four alternative kinds (and a fifth kind designed for long sequences, which can also be applied to short sequences).
A local gote has a 'gote count' and 'gote move value' while a local sente has a 'sente count' and 'sente move value'. Calculations of gote values differs from calculations of sente values. Initially, we do not know the type of a studied local endgame yet. Therefore, we consider 'tentative' values. We can confirm them by confirming a value condition. For example, if we compare a tentative gote move value of the initial local endgame to a smaller follow-up move value, this condition of decreasing move values confirms the gote move value and type 'local gote' of the local endgame.
The book explains the similarities and differences of value conditions for local endgames with Black's follow-up, White's follow-up, both players' follow-ups or less valuable iterative follow-ups. A short section on multiples provides additional insight. Usually, values are calculated from Black's perspective (positive values favour Black). However, the reader can also study the optional sections on White's perspective, for which counts, calculations and conditions differ.
We need different conditions and verify additional assumptions for those local endgames with a player's gote or sente options. For them, the reader can choose among two kinds of equivalent value conditions.
The theory is explained in detail by introductions, value conditions stated as formulas, principles and text, summarising tables and value trees. To ease learning of the theory, the examples are very basic. For every example, the book demonstrates calculations for all possible, alternative value conditions. Some examples are close calls, for which only accurate calculations can determine the right values.
Not surprisingly, evaluation becomes more difficult if a local endgame allows Black or White to start a long sequence. While the values of a local endgame with short sequences are derived from the followers after one or two moves, we might need to derive the values of a local endgame with long sequences from followers created after three or more moves. We calculate their gains to determine the lengths of any traversal sequences. For this ordinary evaluation of long sequences, we apply the method of 'making a hypothesis': we assume some long sequences, derive tentative values accordingly and check whether they are consistent because the conditions comparing the gains are fulfilled. If necessary, we test an alternative hypothesis. On confirming a hypothesis, we know that its values are correct.
The scope of examples varies from simple to advanced - from three to nine moves worth playing successively. The meticulous calculations proceed move by move and position by position. Every type of local endgame is discussed. There are also counter-examples including a crucial one refuting wrong earlier theory.
We can sometimes apply one of the three sophisticated methods of fast evaluation: 'comparing the opponent's branches', 'comparing counts' and 'comparing move values'. If certain assumptions are fulfilled, we can greatly accelerate calculation of initial values. Examples demonstrate how very much analysis can sometimes be accelerated. Diagram trees assist our perception. Font aspects enrich the presented information.
The book is not for you if you die on seeing explicit calculations. Variables play an important role in the value conditions. Analysis of an example involves several different values, which the book identifies by their names (the variables). These names (or single letters) are chosen carefully to make their meaning apparent at a glance whenever possible. While experienced readers of calculations can understand their meanings easily, others may find the learning curve steep. At a few places, detailed prose provides additional explanation for beginners. If, however, every calculation was hidden in prose, the text would have to be split into five books. It is simply impossible to teach a great amount of advanced contents also for beginners in a single book. Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation is for intermediate to strong players prepared to invest the necessary effort. How else can we expect to reach understanding beyond 9 pro level?
Although research developing, and completing invention of, the theory has been much more demanding than anything I have studied before, the now available theory is well applicable. We must learn some value conditions and spend the necessary effort on doing the calculations while not accidentally confusing values. Tactical reading can be more difficult as soon as we become as familiar with endgame calculations as we are with tactical reading. Both are essential. A major part of our effort lies in recalling several intermediate values, which we need until determining the desired initial values. Hence, the reader's major effort is two-fold: he must become familiar with the notation of values and calculations in the book; he must practise calculations until they become his second nature, quite like tactical reading.
Why do we invest in such effort? We can greatly simplify our tactical reading and enable decisions when it would be too complex. We must not neglect any central topic of go theory, such as endgame evaluation. Our weakest skills impede our strength. If we are weak at endgame evaluation, we must study it.
The book is neither an introduction for beginners nor an 'Endgame Evaluation for Dummies'. School mathematics is sufficient and there is no advanced mathematics, such as calculus, combinatorial game theory, difference games (further research is needed), construction of trees (the few trees in the book are visualisation aids), thermography, cooling and infinitesimals. The book skips the finest global evaluation, with which one might get the last play according to the theory in Volume 2 or the book Mathematical Go Endgames. Complex kos, whose local evaluation also depends on the global context, are not explained. Although a few problems test understanding of the most difficult topics, systematic training of the theory is planned for the separate book series Endgame Problems. Global endgame evaluation (better than the principle of usually playing in order of decreasing local move values) and mathematical proofs of theorems are scheduled for later volumes.
Endgame 3 - Accurate Local Evaluation teaches essential theory previously neglected by everybody (except Bill Spight). If we take evaluation as seriously as tactical reading and invest the necessary effort of calculation, we learn to avoid countless evaluation mistakes, whose loss is circa 1/2 to 5 points per local endgame.
The book is available directly from the publisher or soon from European retailers.
The table of contents is available at the authorís site.
A Sample is available.