Philosopher's Stones

    Keywords: Ongoing game

SnotNose: The point of this game is to try to connect philosophical ideas to moves. This is hard (for me, at least). We're more interested in the ideas here than the quality of the game. Please write a bit about each idea in general before relating it to a move or to Go. (Sorry, this wasn't clear in the original rules.)

Rules of this game follow.

  • Anyone can play but restrict your play to only one side (Black or White).
  • Each player is to write a brief statement about the idea for the next move (will be in italics next to move number), make a move consistent with that idea and then propose the idea for the next move (but not make that next move, of course!). The statement should begin with a focus on the idea independent of its use in Go. Then, the idea can be related to a move.
  • It is nicer if the proposed idea is a good one for the situation (from your point of view). It is not nice to suggest an idea that you think will lead to a bad move. But don't worry about this too much :)
  • It is okay if the actual move played is obviously suboptimal for the situation. But it should be consistent with the proposed idea.
  • This game is about ideas and their relationship to Go, not about a good game of Go. Don't make a move if you don't discuss the idea first and in a way that connects to something outside the game of Go. (If this is unclear, ask questions.)

If this is confusing, then just see the game below and you'll probably get the concept.

Moves 31-40  

B1 It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. Ursula K Le Guin
--Naustin--In terms of strategy kikashi are a major part of the journey. The kikashi stones themselves may be completely disposable but the effect they create lasting. Here I play a kikashi in response to the approach move which I will eventually get back to but hopefully taking an interesting route to get there.

unkx80: Please see Middle Game Discussion 1.

W2 Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. (paraphrase of Hegel's dialectical process of history) --JoelR--The antithesis of a forcing move is a forced move. Hegel said that a historical period carried within it its antithesis, and Black's move certainly leaves White no choice where to play. Together, the two moves make something new, a synthesis. In this case, a settled area.

B3 Somehow, it's always right now until it's later. Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes)

Moves 21-30  

B1 You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.
Naustin-- As Kenny Rogers sagely advises one must be able to honestly and accurately size up the situations one gets involved with. This does not seem an appropriate place or time for black to sacrifice two
stones so I will admit I am afraid of white's threat and respond by connecting. This is not a purely defensive move however in that whites stones are still cut and so I continue to have avenues of attack open to me.

W2 The difficult develops naturally from the easy,
And the great from the small;
So the sage, by dealing with the small,
Achieves the great.

--[ext] Lao Tsu in Tao Te Ching
Barthoze -- W2 deals with the small and I fear the black stone if left alone might lead to troubles

B3 Scratch where it itches (bobulatorm - assumed this was athe cutting point extension)

W4 There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare Creating a safe link and some territory avoids a fight that could be bad for both sides, and gives extra strength incase the enemy decides to attack.

B5 The best defence is a strong offence--Naustin Seems like Black is ahead in this game in terms of development and also localy. Playing tenuki from the position at top seems to be the best means of continuing to develop this momentum and preventing white from seizing the initiative.

W6 ''The cosmos works by harmony of tensions, like the lyre and bow' - Heraclitus (trans. Brooks Haxton)-- For Heraclitus, the governing principle of the universe is change, and what we see as stability is due to a temporary balance of forces. For example, the motion of the planets, or any built structure. A bow works by the balanced tensions of the bow and the bowstring. In the game, I play W6 to balance B5, and to make a connection between C3 and L10. --JoelR

B7 Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity. - William of Ockham -- This move extends an existing stone rather than creating another group to defend. At the same time it threatens to cut the white stones at the bottom of the board into several "entities".Naustin

W8 Simplicity is the essence of Beauty--I think this may be an overstatement. Ornate things can be beautiful; it's just more difficult. Perhaps beauty in something ornate indicates a deeper simplicity? Nevertheless, I'll play the simple move. What could be simpler than following joseki? --JoelR

B9 Patience--The Black team has been very patient waiting for White to move.--Naustin-This move diplays patience in that Black continues to develop it's own sphere of influence and neither seeks to pressure white too severely or to precipitate local fighting. It is patient to play fuseki appropriately and take big points before fighting commences.

W10 The first shall be last and the last shall be first-Rassilon from Dr. Who. --- JoelR Actually, this quote is from the New Testament. The parable it goes with was to explain to the apostles that even though they had been the first to accept the Gospel, others might receive higher rewards. It is often the case that early adopters suffer more for their choices, while late arrivals reap the benefits for free. But if it's something you believe in, then the advocacy is its own reward. In game terms, I take this quote to mean that the hoshi stones, that were played at the very beginning of the game, knew what they were getting into. They were not played to take territory, but to stake out a presence. I play to approach Black's hoshi, while leaving the White hoshi to fend for itself a bit longer.

Naustin I am very glad to see people are continuing this game. I would just like to make a small point concerning the rules of the game. It is neccessary to set a topic for the next move. This way when someone comes to play they have an idea that they can work with in order to play. That is the real point of this particular ongoing game. Please read the rules above for further clarification.

JoelR I made one of the moves where I set my own topic; my excuse is that the pattern had already been broken. I like this notion much better, of responding to someone else's idea, playing a move, and adding a concept for the next player. It does slow things down, because you have more tasks per move. I'm saving some good quotes for later in the game.

Naustin- Thanks JoelR

Moves 11-20  

B1 Punishment: KarlKnechtel--Black aims to punish White's contact move and sequence via Hane at the Head of Two Stones. [1]

W2 An Eye For An Eye: SnotNose--To follow through with this idea means a certain equivalency. That is, what I do to you must be equivalent to that you have done to me. To do more would not be fair and might invite an escalation. To do less would show weakness and would demonstrate to you that you can get away with things. Either would throw things out of equilibrium. Can White do something equivalent to Black here? Black has played Hane at the Head of Two Stones. White can do the same, but it is equivalent? I think not, simple because it will be Black's move.

B3 Stay The Course: Naustin--To me stay the course means to continue with ones path or plan even in the midst of turbulence or circumstances that weren't planned on that cause difficulty. Black definitely seems to be in a difficult position here. The hane at the head of whites stones seems to me to be following through on a generaly aggressive path of play by black. To turn defensive now seems like it would be changing horses in mid-stream so B3 seems appropriate.

W4 Subterfuge: SnotNose--Very nice idea! The key component here is sub, meaning under. Of course, subterfuge implies a hidden agenda (an agenda underneath the appearent one). What is interesting about Go is that no agendas are hidden entirely by the move maker. To be sure, the mover can try to hide his agenda by making a move with multiple meanings, some more obvious than others. But, the opponent has all the information in front of him and can determine all of the possible agendas for himself. So, can one really hide anything in Go? Isn't the communication as complete as it can be? The "listener" need only "listen" carefully and he can "hear" everything clearly, no? Anyway, going with the sub (under) idea, I play a move underneath (in the sense of closer to the edge) Black's stones.

There is a related idea connected to sealed moves in a multi-session game. The sealed move really is hidden for some time. There have been cases where it has been used strategically. That is, the sealer can make a move to which he knows the answer (e.g., kikashi). In doing so, he has more information about the game over the break than his opponent. His opponent, on the other hand, can only wonder what the next move is.

B5 Laying a wall of sandbags to control a flooding river: Jared Beck--Black's village is about to be overrun by an angry river. If the muddy water breaks the wall of sandbags, the villagers might have to retreat to a nearby village. (Cut and kill to connect). If they cannot make it back to the village, they might have to make a little fort on the hill (ponnuki)

W6 Will the river overflow or stay within its banks? Lucas--Interesting idea, this game. Hope you don't mind my contribution. Looks like Jared Beck is imagining that the "banks" of the river are B5 and the two other nearby black stones. While it would be very nice for White to "overflow" that way, it would be okay to settle in the other direction. So, the answer to the question is: unclear but "overflow" isn't needed.

B7 Preparation: Naustin- This atari strengthens black on the left side of this situation in a forcefull way preparing to continue the attack on the white stones and in the future to make a position on this side if the attack doesn't result in a kill.

W8 Necessity is the mother of invention: Anonymous- Black's position looks somewhat threatening on both sides now. Why not try something unusual and daring? Black is almost destined to respond to this atari, either by killing or connecting. Either way, White is given a new angle of attack by letting W8 escape.

B9 Do not tempt fate: Anon- Somtimes the risk of disaster is greater than the humiliation of mediocrity.

W10 Is a bird in the hand really better than two in the bush?: JoelR- The proverb says it is, and advises that it is better to take a sure profit than to hold out for a larger prize. Or to be glad to hold the sure thing. In the Learn to Play Go Series, Kim and Jeong offer the suggestion, "Choose profit over glory". In the game, Black has captured one stone, and now White threatens to capture two. But perhaps the threat is just what White needs right now.

Moves 1-10  

B1 Speed: Naustin--speedy because it allows rapid development.

W2 Independance: HolIgor--If I want to be truly independent I'll find myself my own corner and build a castle. Let it be very small castle, let these speedy barbarians push me around. I am going to live anyway. I do not want to grab all those territories overseas.

B3 Flexibility: Naustin--Flexible because I can develop in several directions and am not deeply commited to the corner.

SnotNose: I think the 5-3 point is the most flexible corner move. It can change direction easily. This is not a critique of the 4-4 move that was made. It is also flexible.

Charles Dissenting view at choice of corner opening plays. [2]

W4 Peace through Strength: SnotNose--I show my strength to deter you from being aggressive. If I show a weakness, it might cause you feel you should exploit it. Slightly more generally, I wish to delay the onset of battle by not suggesting an obvious aggressive move. A symmetrical corner move (3-3, 4-4) is consistent with this since an approach is non-urgent.

B5 Grand Ambitions: Naustin--The Sanrensai opening illustrates grand ambitions to me because in some sense it claims the whole side of the board which is a difficult claim to defend. It also extends powerfull influence at least to the halfway line on the board.

SnotNose: Though one must take care in not thinking the whole side is territory. It is a sphere of influence. The sanrensai aims at building a large moyo and/or attacking. The moyo sense of it is ambitious. The attacking sense of it is aggressive. I think another very ambitious move would have been tengen.

W6 The Element of Surprise: SnotNose--The surest way to supprise someone is to know them well enough to sense what (s)he is expecting and then to do something very different. I do not know my opponent well here. I cannot sense what he is predicting. But I do know the common sanrensai strategy and tactics. So, my only hope of surprise is to not make a move that is obviously one of those. I considered attaching to the right of B5 and also the tengen. However, W6 is even more surprising. Perhaps a move just above or below W6 would be more surprising still but this is surprising enough, I hope.

B7 Consistency: Anonymous--Up to this point, black has only been playing on the star points.

W8 Malignant: SnotNose--It is not easy for me to find a malignant move at this stage. I find it somewhat irritating when my opponent plays a move like this so early in the game. It annoys me. Maybe it is malignant, I don't know. Any thoughts of other moves?

B9 Steady: Tamsin--"Rock withstands Fire". Black's simple extension provides him with a granite foundation for fighting. White will surely regret the flash of malice that prompted her trouble-making move of W8.

W10 Regretfully making the Best of a Bad Job: SnotNose--I regret W8. I even regretted it when I played it. I even regretted it before I played it. I even woke up that morning, regretful, knowing at some point I'd play a bad move. I was born regretful. I come from a long line of regretful ancestors. I come from a regretful species. Life is regret. A universe without regret is unfathomable. Yet, I must continue. Malignant, perhaps, was not the best idea for W8.

[1] SnotNose: This is purely a comment about punishment with respect to the move in the game with no broader thoughts included. I reiterate that the point of this game is to discuss the ideas first and then relate them to a move. (I fear this wasn't clear in the initial set of rules posted here. I've augmented them to try to remedy this.) Few have done a good job of this (IMHO, myself included). If it devolves into merely a game of go then it will have lost its purpose (and my interest).

I'd rather see more discussion of ideas than Go here. Perhaps this wasn't the right format for that. It was an experiment afterall and it may have failed (though I'm willing to wait a bit longer before declaring failure). I do recognize and accept that I cannot control content. I'm just registering my thoughts that this is not (yet) the game I had hoped it would be (and I take some responsibility for that). I hope this doesn't offend anyone because I mean no offense.

[2] SnotNose: The sense in which I consider 3-5 more flexible than 4-4 is that 3-5 has the option of closing the corner in one move. It can switch from territory to influence relatively easily. The degree to which it can switch sides (from bottom to right, say) is beyond my ability to fully evaluate at the moment since it depends on complexities of pincer joseki that I do not know well. But, I'd say at my level, switching sides is possible. Finally, since it is less-well known at my level, the possibilities seem more open than the 4-4, for which everyone I play seems to know what will happen locally. For stronger players, these may not apply.

Philosopher's Stones last edited by DudleyMoore on September 29, 2017 - 10:48
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