One-Two-Three / Discussion

Sub-page of OneTwoThree

Discussion moved here from One-Two-Three.

Dieter: Can we say that this subject falls under the general subject of order of play ?

Charles There is certainly a major topic you could call sequencing questions.

Alex Weldon: Like a lot of Go proverbs this one (don't play 1-2-3, just play 3 - see One-Two-Three) contradicts other advice, namely the idea of inducing moves. In Attack and Defence, James Davies says that if you want to play c, it is often better to look for a move that will induce a move from the opponent, which will, in turn, "force" you to play the move you wanted anyway. Basically, you're inducing the opponent to play a "thank you" move for you.

So, basically, this principle comes down to saying "inducing moves aren't always good." This makes sense, though, since things that look like kikashi aren't always good, either, if they're actually "thank you" moves.

I suppose the way to look at it is this: you're going to play B3 anyway. Rather than automatically playing B1, W2, B3, consider B1 and W2 first. Imagine B3 is already on the board, and you're considering playing B1, W2 as a kikashi. If it is indeed kikashi, the 123 is probably good. If it's aji keshi, or otherwise helps White more than it helps Black, Black immediately at B3 is better.

Like "extend from a crosscut," I suppose this principle is more intended to be a cure for a bad habit than an absolute rule.

Charles In the case of a good inducing move, B1 makes B3 look better; in the case of a redundant 1-2-3, the point is that B3 makes B1 look unnecessary. As Alex suggests, the principle falls into the category of concepts of which one should be aware, and gradually learn to apply appropriately.

Confused: As a rather weak player, I have trouble understanding where this proverb should be applied and why. Does this proverb cover the following situation?

Black 'a' instead of 1?  

Charles This hanetsugi is actually a case discussed on the reversible page. I've put a comment lower on this page.

Well, this page is marked 'dan-level' and there's a reason for that. These ideas have more holes in them than most proverbs, if you insist on them as rules.

The discussion here, to be full enough to be useful, ought to include the crosscut then extend stuff (see discussion pages linked from there); because that's really just an important special case. But that hasn't been brought to a satisfactory conclusion, in my view.

What seems useful to say is:

The '123 principle' is a small-scale version of a key proverb beware of going back to patch up.

Kupopo: I'm certainly out of my league in this discussion, but according to the example at the bottom of canonical form, the sequence in the above example must continue with Black 3 at a and White 4 at one of several points inside his own territory, preventing a white invasion. Regardless of whether or not White a is better then before, it's Black's turn to play, and he may have to give up sente (but probably not) to take that point, thus stealing one or two points of territory from White. Am I missing something?

Charles Yes. The point is not whether Black may gain something by this play (he may); but whether Black has already gained something by getting White to answer.

Bill: As the author of the canonical form page, your comment alarmed me, Kupopo. I checked, and indeed the example on that page is different. B3 at a is surely canonical, but W4 somewhere inside his own territory is probably not, and W2 may not be. One problem is that the diagram here is incomplete, so we cannot answer that question.

Bill: I am sorry for raising an objection, because I think that there is some useful advice here. Very often players, particularly kyu players, make unnecessary and even disadvantageous exchanges, which this warns against.

However, this piece of advice is not a principle, nor a proverb, nor a heuristic. If it were a principle we should have the following:

1-2-3 ???  

Black plays B1 directly instead of

1-2-3 ???  

Bill: Note: This criticism was aimed at the original formulation, which Charles has since clarified. :-)

Charles The so-called principle is a sort of axiom of criticism, best as self-criticism, in a minimalist spirit.

Nothing like a good reductio ad absurdum, is there? Of course if applied literally this argument implies Black should play the final move of the game rather than B1.

That is not of course what is meant: here in the second diagram Black prefers to have exchanged B1 for W2 before playing B3.

To take this up in detail.

1-2-3 ???  

If not, we might plausibly get this position: all stronger players recognise that though this is safer for Black than playing a pincer, it is also unambitious.

1-2-3 ???  

White also has the option of playing W2 the other way round, allowing B3 and a return to a joseki position (35 Point Low Approach Three Space High Pincer).

In any case the point is that the B1/W2 exchange in the first diagram is so far from redundant that it actually sets up the conditions for what follows. As is typical of opening moves, all subsequent stones should fit in; the early plays occupy 'high ground' of strategic importance.

I have added some amplification to the One-Two-Three page to expand on the principle.

One-Two-Three / Discussion last edited by CharlesMatthews on May 19, 2003 - 08:36
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