I figured a few days ago that instead of writing yet another small status update about “soon publishing the kikashi essay”, I’d rather just take a few more days, actually write the essay, and then talk about it. Here’s a late Christmas present for my readers!
It has probably been nine years since my first encounter with the go term kikashi. Back then, I was neither much in touch with Japanese go terminology nor strong enough to figure out what was actually meant with the term, so I, like many others, assumed the more common western understanding of kikashi: that of a simple “forcing move”. While I’m certain many western players do have the right conception of kikashi, I’ve experienced that the term is also often misused. While this essay will never reach the whole of its target audience, I think it will be successful if even a few readers reach a moment of clarity after finishing reading.
My main incentive for writing this text wells from now having studied go in Japan for a few months. When I arrived in Japan, I didn’t have an accurate conception of kikashi myself, but now I feel I have mostly figured the term out. Since most western players don’t have a similar opportunity to go absorb correct go terminology, I feel it’s my duty to contribute something on this part. If, after reading the hopefully-not-too-long essay, you feel you’ve learned something and you like what you’ve learned, I would like to hear any thoughts or commentary you have about it!