Introduction to the 'tap' tactic / Discussion

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Thank You

(Sebastian:) Thank you for the enormous effort you consistently put in SL, and for this page in particular. It is an interesting concept and it is probably very useful for beginners to look at the immediate neighbours of a stone they put on the board. At the very least, this will help them learn how to look out for their liberties.

Bill: My thanks to everyone for their comments and critiques. They have been a great help to me. Even if we do not see eye to eye, I appreciate everyone's point of view. :-)


See Introduction to the 'tap' tactic / Introduction

Page name and motivation

(Sebastian:) I don't understand why you call this page "The Most Useful Play" - if there is a different, bigger play, wouldn't that be more useful?

Bill: As for it's being the most useful play, when it is played it is usually the biggest play, no? ;-) In its various forms, it is one of the most frequent plays in go, if not the most frequent. That's pretty useful.

(Sebastian:) Re: "when it is played it is usually the biggest play" - Certainly not! This is an introductory page, which will be read by people below the beginners' level. By definition, a move they make or consider will often not be the biggest play. Or do you mean: Beginners should always attach, even if there are bigger moves?

Bill: Well, my observation is that rank beginners often miss the press. In fact, that is my main motivation for this page. Showing them the press and explaining its virtues will help dispel their early confusion about where to play and why.

(Sebastian:) I see your motivation. Unfortunately, though, the title contributed to my confusion because I expected a page about useful play in general. If only we had a unique name for the play (see previous section), we could simply name the page that.

Rakshasa: Why all the superlative titles for pages?.. I would say the most useful plays in go are those that manage to be placed close enough to an intersection, thus avoiding any confusion as to it's intended position. This page describes a fundamental type of move, but the most useful? Maybe the most played move, but does that really matter?

Is this general concept really useful?



I can't just help it, sorry. =P

Bob Myers: I've always thought there were concepts out there that our language hadn't captured adequately and thus we were not able to talk about to others or even inside our own heads. I even designed a computer project to try to identify such patterns, although I still haven't gotten around to actually doing it.

Having said that, I don't think the press is such a concept. From the examples, I don't see why it's different from either push or block, the distinction between which is useful I think (and probably should be defined more clearly and intuitively somewhere).

But in the definition, you say this move can have either black or white stones at any of the four little red squares. Depending on which color stone is where, though, the meaning and quality of the move changes dramatically. For instance, if there's a White stone in the upper left, Black's move blasts through the knight's move. If there's a Black stone there instead, Black's move is an empty triangle. If there's a White stone in the lower right, Black is pushing from behind. And so on.

If your attempt was simply to generalize pushing and blocking, that could be useful, but with various combinations of stones of either color at the red rectangles as you propose, the moves covered by this definition include far more than just moves and blocks.

Bill: I do think that it is a useful concept, both in theory and for new players who have not learned about blocks, pushes, etc. My aim was to introduce them to very basic, general, and useful ideas in a simple way. If there is any theoretical advantage to the concept, so much the better.

Calvin: Thanks for this page. It's important to emphasize this. I have been studying haengma recently, and the press is one of the more useful applications of this most solid connection, and it is often neglected. The discussion here is interesting, too. I think the Japanese literature (and much of the English literature that is derived from it) tends to distinguish a block from push from an extension because they have different uses (as Bob suggests), but the Korean literature on haengma seems to go in the completely opposite direction in mental organization. They would go even further than Bill and include extensions that are not presses (which also have implications in terms of liberties) and if you include those, then the nobi really is a ubiquitous and vastly underappreciated play! I think beginners neglect it because it feels dumb and slow and not clever at all, but that's not the case. A properly timed turn can completely change the flow of the game. I am only beginning appreciate this. Next you might write about why beginners don't see the kosumi as often as they should!

Bill: Thanks for your comments, Calvin. I have not studied haengma, myself. I look forward to more discussion of it here, as you and other players learn more about it. :-)

Difference between "press" and "attach"

(Sebastian:) You do mean exactly the same thing as attachment, or don't you?

Bill: No.



Vive la difference! :-)

(Sebastian:) Is there really no term for this basic pattern yet? If that is so then we should clarify this on the attachment page and replace the diagram there with your diagram here. Or do you mean that your move is a special case of attachment?

Difference to the term "press" as defined in the "press" page.

(Sebastian:) press is already used. It is not up to me to say how often it is used, but the page has been in existence for over two years, and nobody ever thought fit to mention with a single word that it's ambiguous or even deprecated, as you imply by superseding it.

Bill: I think I explicitly do not deprecate it or supersede it.

Bill (moved from another reply): [ W]hen I realized that, aside from this page, you are not going to say press, but block, push, turn, or crawl (and maybe a few others), I figured the name was not a problem. Press is descriptive.

(Sebastian:) What do you mean by "this page"?

  • If you mean the press page then I interpret your words as: Let's not care what the press page says and just use the same word in a different meaning. Or am I misunderstanding you?
  • If you mean that the term should not be used outside of the page you created then we should move your reply to "Is this general concept really useful?" above. I think it supports Bob's question.

Bill: Yes, I meant that I just needed a term of convenience, to refer to the play. I was not out to reform go terminology. My aim was to give new players a general, useful concept. Experienced players, especially those who know the other terms, do not need it.

If a beginner learns from this page to call the attachment "press" and looks it up on the press page, they will get confused. Why confuse beginners of all people?

Bill (moved from another reply): Also, there is precedent for some ambiguity: extension for both nobi and hiraki.

(Sebastian:) I can't follow your argument that it's OK to add more confusion just because we already have confusion about some other words.

unkx80: [] I would prefer to see the meaning on the press page expanded to include this kind of "press" Bill described, but how do Europeans and Americans use the term "press" in Go? FYI, the Chinese use 压 to denote either form of "press down".

Bill: Does 压 cover the meaning of the move? If so, we should note that.

As for the meaning on the press page, it is a translation of the Japanese term, kake. I see no reason to be Nihongo-centric here. Why not at least have a link from the press page to a page for the Chinese term? (I do not recommend changing the English usage, however. It is established.)

unkx80: If it is established English usage, then lets not change it.

Alternative Names for this play

Bill: First, about the name. I looked for alternatives, but did not find any that satisfied. (As for attach, it does not convey the application of pressure that the friendly stone helps to exert.)

(Sebastian:) If you look for a general term, how about "the workhorse"? How about names such as "punch", "knock", "clout", "whack", "thwack", "blow" or "shove"? (I'm not familiar with boxing terminology, maybe there are more terms we could borrow.) These are all free - there's no page with these names, so it would adress all my above concerns. Would any of these work for you?

Bill: Upon reflection, I think knock is a good choice. Especially since we are changing the page name. How about it?

Dan: My first choice would be "elbow"; it feels to me like one is elbowing the other player out of the way. But "elbow" often seems to have a diagonal connotation. "Knock" is okay with me.

(Sebastian, later:) Your examples did help. I now see that this includes even the crawl, so the imagery of synonyms to "hit" doesn't really fit. How about "tackle", "shield", "check", "buttress", "play against" or if you want a very general term: "confront"?

unkx80: I think generally the term "press" is okay, but I thought normally people "press down" rather than "press up" (e.g. crawl)? []

Charles The play is a push. Could we just have the content of the parent page moved to that one?

Bill: Actually, Charles, the most common form of the play is a block, not a push.

Charles Well, you made the page Introductory level. I'll trouble you not to argue in terms of oshi versus osae, therefore, for reasons that are well-rehearsed here on SL. 'Block' is a hopelessly vague term to use with beginners; they always think they should be blocking something or other, and rarely get that clear.

Charles I think this page should be renamed as 'the press is the most useful play in go'.

Introduction to the 'tap' tactic / Discussion last edited by on November 28, 2004 - 17:19
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