Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

CALLING ALL GO-PLAYING TOPOLOGISTS

It is really boring to take the same four mile walk every morning, despite the occasional rabbit or Blue Heron or deer, so I have lots of time to think.  As I was passing the semi-circular grassy space in front of the entrance to the Mason Farm Waste Water Treatment Facility on Old Mason Farm Road, I saw a black car parked right up against the tree line, with someone inside.  On my way home, I noticed that a red car had pulled in right next to the black one.  Since at  that point it was 6:45 a.m., I figured it was two workers waiting to go to work.  The two cars put me in mind of my post about Tibetan restaurants and the economics of location [marred, alas, by my ignorance of the fact that there are at least six Tibetan restaurants in the fifth arrondissement,  not two as I claimed.]  But since the two cars were in a two-dimensional space, not on line, I began to wonder what the solution to the location problem would be in two dimensions.  And this -- my mind being rather oddly wired -- made me think of the game of Go.

In my youth, I played a good deal of Go.  I was never more than a patzer, as they say in the chess world,  but I did develop some sense of strategy, as opposed to simple two or three move tactics, and I learned that in the opening, the right thing to do is to place one's stones near the border, maybe three rows in, and slightly off center from the large dots spaced out on the board at certain intersections.  It occurred to me that maybe great Go players place their stones in a manner that accords with the solution to the two-dimensional economics of location problem.

Are there any Go-playing topologists out there who can throw some light on this?

2 comments:

anotherpanacea said...

In Go, it is a commonplace that you should respond to attachment with "hane," which means "reaching around." Basically, if someone puts their stone next to yours, you do the same. (Think of Starbucks across the intersection from each other.)

Since a stone alone has 4 liberties, and players take turns, by placing my stone immediately adjacent to my opponent's stone I limit both her liberties and my own. But now it is her turn, and so she can hane and increase her own liberties at my expense. On my next move I will have only 2 liberties, and I will be forced to respond.

Generally speaking, you should not attach when attacking, though there are exceptions.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Many thanks, especially for the links. It makes me want to haul out my Go board and stones and sit in a cafe, looking for an opponent. By the way, has anyone ever played Japaese chess, introduced to me in 1953 by a graduate student at Harvard, Georg Ishikawa [his father was a professor of German in Japan.]