One of the more common mistakes I see in any endgame-related discussion is related to the value of a kō capture. The usual touted value of ½ points only applies to the very last kō of a game; and the more knowledgeable players who have heard of the ⅓-point theory often use it wrongly in relation to other endgame values. This essay seeks to remedy the above mistakes while deepening the reader’s understanding on how endgame calculations work.
When estimating the score of an unfinished game, it is useful to know how to value unfinished territories fairly. Many amateur players prefer not to go through the effort, and instead spend their time in locating the largest move on the board. I would however argue that without evaluating the board position at all, the largest move will be challenging to find.
This text begins a series of blog posts with a common theme: that of explaining what the proverb “sente gains nothing” means. My design is to start the explanation from easier, endgame-technical examples and little by little work towards more difficult concepts. If everything goes according to plan, at the end of the series I should have conveyed the idea of the proverb without (hopefully) having to explain it in abstract terms at all! (Having read essays on the art of human rationality on LessWrong, I wanted to try a similar concept on Go.)
At the same time, through the series I hope to improve on my writing skills. If the blog posts turn out well, I will probably refine them further into a part of an endgame theory book I have been planning for some time.
For readers unfamiliar with the terminology: please bear with me! I will also explain the technical meanings of sente and its opposite, gote in following posts.