Focal Point / Discussion

Sub-page of FocalPoint

Charles This terminology in English goes back a number of decades. Any Japanese or other term?

Bill: I usually see them referred to as tennozan, the name of a famous hill, which is also used to indicate a/the strategic point.

(Later): I see that the term, focal point, does not appear in the 2001 edition of the Go Players Almanac. Where does it appear in the go literature?

(Much later) I just ran across the term, 模様の接点, at [ext] this site, which may be temporary. 接点 is typically translated as contact point. The place where two moyos come into contact does make sense to me.

Also, a web search did uncover Japanese references to 模様の焦点 . I guess you can think of the place where moyo come together.

unkx80: I suspect tennozan is 天王山. =)

Bill: Yes. Thanks for the characters. :-)

unkx80: Then it is written exactly the same way in Chinese. =P

RobertoCorsini: I believe the term Focal Point refers to the simple fact that the move brings focus of the whole game into that area. It may not be a direct sente, but if left unanswered it will most likely prove to be a disaster. Thus, the one who makes a focal point move forces the opponent to do so as well - or find an even bigger move - possibly changing the course of the game.

Velobici: Could you look at merging focal point and tennouzan ? The Chinese go terms page points to focal point and the Japanese go terms page points to tennouzan...yet both are 天王山;

Bill: Tennouzan is the more general term in Japanese (maybe in Chinese, too). What is somewhat misleadingly called focal point here -- and maybe elsewhere, but I asked for references and got none -- is one kind of tennouzan.

unkx80: Frankly speaking, my idea of what is exactly a "focal point" and what exactly is "tennouzan" is a bit fuzzy. Searching for "focus point" on Google does not seem to give a lot of hits. Nonetheless, here are some references I found:

  1. [ext] BGJ #65, July 1985, page 28 and [ext] BGJ #66, November 1985, page 26. Both articles use "focal point" in the context of competing moyos.
  2. [ext] The Big Game 4. In this article, White has no moyo to talk about, although there is a Black moyo on the right side. Instead, White has a weaker group on the upper side, which makes the center to right side the "focal point".
  3. [ext] Go Winds, Volume 4, Number 1, page 15. A number of references to "focal point" found, a number of them not used in the context of moyos. This term seemed to be used in the context of "the focus of the game", and includes cutting and endgame.
  4. [ext] Daily Yomiuri, Magic of Go #113 and [ext] Daily Yomiuri, Magic of Go #202. Both articles refer to the places where the sphere of influences intersect. However, the second article shows only a local position and seems to imply the "focus point" may be used locally instead of globally.

I originally equated "focus point" with "tennouzan" on the basis of what was written on the parent page, but it does not seem to be true anymore. As such, I conjecture that:

  1. The emphasis of "tennouzan" is stronger than "focus point".
  2. "Tennouzan" seems to be used more exclusively for moyos, whereas "focus point" may include all stages of the game.
  3. There may be more than one "focus point", however, there may be at most one "tennouzan".

In this respect, I propose to replace the Chinese term of "focus point" with 焦点, which is actually a direct translation of "focus point" in normal usage.

My understanding may be wrong though. Please correct me if it is so. =)

Bill: Thank you so much for the references, unkx80! :-)

As for focal point and tennouzan, I guess they are just terms that overlap sometimes.

unkx80: I guess, they overlap to quite a great extent, that they may be used interchangably for most of the time, I suppose?

Bob McGuigan; Somewhere I saw the sort of move under discussion here described as being at the "junction of two moyos". I'm not too happy with focal point myself. It has a use in general discourse that does not agree with the go use. And you could refer to the focal point of a position and not mean a place where two moyos intersect. Moreover I'm not sure there is aneed for a specific term for this. If the importance of a play at such a point needs explaining, say in a commentary, I think it would be better to use a self-explanatory phrase such as "Black should have played at A which is a strategic point for both players' moyos".

Focal Point / Discussion last edited by on June 8, 2006 - 21:10
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