75327 - Transcription Podcast #25: Life, Death and Tsumego, July 20th 2022

N. Lygeros

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Today, I would like to talk about life and death. Not in a general point of view but in a rather specific way due to the Go game.

In this game life and death is an important part, it’s not just details. If you can keep your groups alive or you are able to kill those of your opponent it will make a lot of difference to your game. This is the first point of view.

In this field we have eyes, two eyes, eyespace, false eyes, other things like this but for me the most important is in fact the tsumego. The tsumego is related of course to life and death but it is also related to ko also capturing races, cutting, connecting. But for me that foundation of the idea of the tsumego which is related to the tsumeshogi, in fact in another game, shogi, is to kill or save stones. So, we have stones under goban, we try to save some of them, not all, some of them to get a structure which is robust. On the other hand if we want to kill the stones of the opponent, we have to find the structure and to find some key points, life points, to destroy the structure end to use his weakness to win the game, at least for this part of the game. So tsumego is more tactics rather than strategy but it’s important. It is more or less like MAT in chess but very often in chess we say MAT in a few moves. We are more close also to the notion of study. The idea is the following, we have a part of the goban we have some stones, black and white black . Black has to do something, he is the first player traditionally in the go game. There is a difference with the chess where the white is the first player. At the philosophical level the interesting thing is to see that with some moves sometimes rather strange we can save stones. So especially if you have to solve a tsumego at the Dan level or even more, I mean until level 9, often maybe very often at the very hard level you have to find some moves outside of the structure. It’s very impressive to think that the core of the structure can be outside and for me it’s very important in the same way when we want to save people who belong to one structure. It’s meaningless to think that the solution is only in the structure. So, we can use hyperstructure to find the solution to get a new way to think of the problem and with this new way to solve it and to fix the problem to get something new. The idea about that is to use it in real life and to image that you have only one move to save some people. So the problem is to find the good move not the best. Just the good the one which is sufficient to save people. In this way with this mentation it’s important to think that the resolution of a problem of tsumego can be very efficient to teach someone what the key points are, the life point ,the critical point, the foundation of the resolution and to use it in a more human way to find the solution which can be totally invisible to the related people but obvious for someone where is an expert in this field. So this difference important to see that with tsumego we can imagine that there is a relation with inside and outside of the structure so we have a link maybe even more, a bridge, and e can use this image inside the big picture of Mankind to save people in a safe way using deep strategic tools like something we mentioned, tsumego but also imagine in a more general way life and death so the problem which forces the player to think that one move can be vital or lethal. So it’s important to choose it in an efficient way of course but more importantly in a robust way.