BillSpight: Just a linguistic note.
From a linguist's or lexicographer's point of view, words typically have more than one meaning. I can identify three main senses of sente, for instance. This point of view is descriptive: how do people actually use the word?
There is also a prescriptive point of view: How should people use the word? There is not always agreement on this, of course, or else people would use the word as they should. ;-) From a technical point of view, it is nice to make a clear distinction between synonyms, so that they do not overlap. One may then prescribe a meaning for a technical term that is narrower than common usage.
In the case of sente and kikashi I think that there is plainly an overlap in common usage, rather than a clear distinction. (And this does not bother me. :-)) It is a question of nuance.
In this diagram I think that most Japanese go players would describe the plays, Black 1 and White 4 as kikashi and sente, respectively. If asked if Black 1 was sente, they would say of course. If asked if White 4 was kikashi, they would say yes, but. It sounds a little funny.
However, they would later call the black stone at 1 a kikashi stone, but would not call the white stone at 4 a kikashi stone. A kikashi stone is one you can easily throw away.
I'm not living in Japan, now. Maybe DaveSigaty would like to check my sense of usage.
DaveSigaty: I can't clarify the actual usage. I would like to blame my Japanese ability but I suspect that also my general conversations about Go do not rise to the necessary heights :-)
I think that the following is very interesting. It is from Brian Chandler's "Translator's Notes and Terminology" at the beginning of Beyond Forcing Moves:
In addition to the help with the meaning of kikashi, I also like this for the definition of thickness which is different from (and I think more subtle than) the way I have thought about it up to now.
Very interesting. :-)
(moved from main page)
I'd use forcing moves, initiative and disposable stones as useful concepts and would leave it to the translators to fit kikashi and sente onto those. Currently I interpret having sente to having the initiative, a sente move as a forcing move and kikashi as a forcing move that becomes a disposable stone. Dieter
strongeye: So, could a ladder breaker be considered a kikashi if its in sente?
Answerer? : yes! it could!
Andy: The impression I get from reading English go literature is that the difference between "kikashi" and "sente" is that a kikashi stone is not immediately useful: it might become useful later or never depending on how subsequent play develops. In contrast, a sente play is one that has immediate value at the time it is played, that is, there is less of a speculative future value consideration of a sente play compared to a kikashi play. By this reasoning, in the examples on this page, the isolated peep at the tiger's mouth is kikashi, but the extension of white's wall threatening to kill is sente.
Bill: Good point, Andy! :) I think that what you say meshes with Sakata's explanation. Besides being sente, kikashi does work. The value of that work, as I see it, is not immediately apparent, but depends upon future developments. However, in the proverb about taking kikashi before living, the value of the kikashi is often immediate. Like most of language, things are not unambiguous. ;)
xela: It looks to me as though the "extension of white's wall threatening to kill" example is meant as a contrast with the previous example, to illustrate not-kikashi. The comment that shouldn't be sacrificed is what gives me that impression--therefore it's not kikashi irrespective of whether it's "really" sente?