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Topic: When to cap and when to block?
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watsu

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When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 16, 2010, 6:34 PM

In what situations should a player take a capture across an opponents threat and when should s/he block that threat instead? Below is a prime example of a position where blocking the threat is preferable to taking the available capture-despite the fact that it will open up the blocked 4 on the K line. Black has a sure win by blocking at O14 and a sure loss by taking the cap @ M8.

However, it seems to me that I've won game in the past because an opponent has failed to take the available captures and chose instead to block. I've noticed that players I look up to will often choose the block instead of the capture, but my tendency has been to take the caps while I can, since I hate reaching the end of the game with available captures hanging around on the board but insufficient initiative to cash them in.
I'd appreciate hearing and seeing some examples of both sides of this issue from any experts who feel like putting a few words and examples up...


Message was edited by: watsu at Mar 16, 2010 1:34 PM


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zoeyk

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 19, 2010, 7:23 AM

a very interesting topic here. i plan to try and give my best answer when i can. the more i think about it the more i realize ill need more time to formulate it correctly. the answer entails many factors, and actually multiple answers for different phases and situations of the game.

zoeyk

Scire hostis animum - Intelligere ludum - Nosce te ipsum - Prima moventur conciliat - Nolite errare
zoeyk

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 3:19 AM

dang, i really want to tackle this one, but i already have other pente topics and stuff going, where i haven't enough head space and time right now for this one, but again i have a feeling it will take like 10 pages of posts to hit the ocean floor on this topic. im just not ready to commit to it yet. perhaps ill chime in on occasion with little tid bits of opinions when they hit me.

sorry watsu.

Scire hostis animum - Intelligere ludum - Nosce te ipsum - Prima moventur conciliat - Nolite errare
jasonb

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 9:05 PM

Watsu,

I am still a newb, but hopefully it's still OK for me to chime in.

The question has so many potential answers that even if it is answered fully, I doubt anyone would be able to remember all of the scenarios in game play. It may be better to work from a rule of thumb so there is far less to memorize.

***Cap at every opportunity, except when it will cause you to loose initiative or control of the game.***

zoeyk

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 31, 2010, 1:03 AM

***Cap at every opportunity, except when it will cause you to loose initiative or control of the game.***


you can add to that "or unless capping causes the solution to be a longer line than needed".

and but here's the thing. your stating the obvious of basically do it if it wins, and don't do it if it loses.
which i think doesn't really need to be said, since the goal is to win.

what i think watsu is asking is a formula or definition of how to tell which is a win or lose choice is various situations.

and that you will not sum up into a sentence that can fit on a bumper sticker i don't think. unless you can break it down into a numerical formula for example as a way to abbreviate it.

its a answer of depth to ponder.

Scire hostis animum - Intelligere ludum - Nosce te ipsum - Prima moventur conciliat - Nolite errare
jhs55

Posts: 264
Registered: Jun 4, 2006
From: Houston, tx
Age: 58
Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 31, 2010, 2:18 AM

All I can say to this is ....." boat pente " some day I will play ZK on a frickin boat !

i owe riii 15 cases of beer !...dang man...
jasonb

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 31, 2010, 2:19 AM

By "longer line than needed", do you mean more steps than are necessary to achieve a win?

I agree that the solution will not fit on a bumper sticker. I don't think it will fit in a 50 page thesis

If the question is posed for the purpose of solving a puzzle, then I understand the reason for it.

But, if we are looking for a solution that can be committed to memory so that it could be applied during game play, I'm skeptical one exists.

I am very interested to see what you come up with. You've definitely got your work cut out for you on this one.

watsu

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Mar 31, 2010, 6:36 PM

Thanks to both of you for your replies. I guess my thought when creating this thread was- here's a clear example of when capping loses and blocking wins; how about some other examples of both this and its opposite and some comments from players as to how they analyse positions of this type looking for the better option when things are not as clear cut...

I don't want to play non tournament rules games. If you take one of my unrated invites, play tourney
up2ng

Posts: 542
Registered: May 9, 2002
From: Northeast USA
Age: 38
Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Apr 1, 2010, 3:15 AM

Hey watsu, I put together a quick example of when capturing is worse than blocking. It's a contrived example but I hope it makes the point:





If black blocks on the low end, he defends against a possible continuation off to the left side of the board, sets up a 2nd capture opportunity if the first capture is made later and forces white to try to find some tricky offense without it getting ruined by captures. (Especially if white has already given up one or more captures and now has to worry about getting into capture trouble by continuing such an offense) It makes things more complex for white in this case and provides better defense in a couple of different ways.

If the capture is taken instead, white's next move is down to J5, which now forces a recapture of black's pair. This recapture is particularly devastating to black in that it takes away a critical stone that is needed for any black offense if the opportunity for offense were to come around later. In addition, white opens up new lines for attack and the continuation is less likely to run into problems.

It's hard to describe exactly what the thought process should be when deciding whether or not to capture. In this case, black does not gain any immediate threat or forcing move from capturing and it tends to actually make life easier for white instead of more difficult or complex. After looking ahead a couple of moves to think of what the opponent's response will likely be to your capture or two your block, and reminding yourself that capturing is not always the best move, you will likely come to the correct decision.

Watsu, this example was based vaguely on a game (or a few games) that were analyzed in those old articles you found and posted in that other thread. The move in question was a diagonal tria similar to the one I have set up -- I think the position comes from a Wedge variation. The author talks about how capturing "releases the tension" of the position and how it would have been better to block and continue "building the tension", or something to that effect. See if you can track this down and post the game and the analysis as a good example here.

watsu

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Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Apr 1, 2010, 10:01 PM

Thanks for the example and the pointer, Dean- leading to this game:


http://renju.se/rif/pente/s84pen06.gif
http://renju.se/rif/pente/s84pen07.gif

I don't want to play non tournament rules games. If you take one of my unrated invites, play tourney
up2ng

Posts: 542
Registered: May 9, 2002
From: Northeast USA
Age: 38
Re: When to cap and when to block?
Posted: Apr 2, 2010, 12:37 AM

Hey watsu, interesting game there but that's not the one I was thinking of.

I went through those old articles and found the situation that I remember reading about. It comes up in the '83 Championship, Game #69 and then again in Game #86. Notice black's 10th move in each of these games and what develops from there. In one game a capture is made, and in the other game a block is made which is the better choice. If you know how to do it, feel free to post both games in this thread for a comparison.

Interestingly, the comment in the analysis that I remembered, which is "Taking the capture immediately would remove the pressure on white's position" is actually referring to a situation slightly later in the game, and I don't really follow the logic in that case as I see no reason not to make the capture immediately in that case. But, for the 10th move, which was a key improvement in the line, blocking rather than capturing was a critical choice.

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