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up2ng

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Registered: May 9, 2002
From: Northeast USA
Age: 38
Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 27, 2010, 4:13 AM

The concept of initiative in the game of Pente has been around for a long time. It is a central idea to successful play which must be grasped and be at the top of the mind of all players throughout their games if they hope to progress their skills from Beginner level play to Intermediate and Advanced levels.

In casual conversation, players can generally agree on what it means to have initiative and can communicate about the concept and be reasonably sure of being on the same page. But, like many other concepts and terms in Pente, there does not seem to be an exact definition that everyone can point to and agree upon. I believe that this is partly due to the fact that Pente has always been a bit of a niche game with a relatively small following and participation. So many advanced concepts are just never formalized the way that they are in other, more widespread games.

Chess, for example, has millions of casual players and many thousands of expert, competitive players, which has led to a massive number of man hours spent on analysis, documentation and expert literature. Some of the terminology becomes so pervasive throughout such a large audience of players that it becomes "standardized" over time.

Pente, on the other hand, has very limited amounts of written resources and only a handful of expert players active at any point in time, who effectively keep such concepts logged in their heads which tend to get passed on to the next generation of players more informally through casual discussion forums, chats and conversations.

Initiative, then, describes the state of play whereby one player "initiates" the action, which must be responded to immediately by the opponent in order to stave off defeat. Generally, the player who has the initiative is on the offensive and that player's opponent is on the defensive.

But what exactly does the term initiative mean? When does a player actually have the initiative, and which moves allow him to retain this initiative and which ones cause him to lose it? There does not seem to be a precise definition anywhere that everyone agrees upon.

I have always used the term, and have heard it used by others, in a manner which means that the player with the initiative is in a winning position and can continue to force the action offensively until the game is won, unless he makes a mistake and loses the initiative. To me, this does not necessarily imply that a tria or tessera has been made which requires a response. For example, the way I view the concept, Player 1 has the initiative from the first move of the game. 1. K10 is a winning move. It is offensive, it "initiates" the action, and requires a defensive response from the opponent. Successive "building" moves maintain the initiative when played properly, requiring the opponent to mount a strong defense, trying to elicit a mistake so that he can gain the initiative. Then, in the mid game, consecutive trias or tesseras are often used to maintain the initiative, continuing to force the action and searching for victory.

This seems to differ in some ways from how others are using the term "initiative". Another viewpoint is that any individual move that forces a response from the opponent is a move "with initiative", regardless of whether or not such a move will help to achieve victory. I disagree with this. I'm not sure which term should be used in its place for that concept, but I do not feel that such a move means that the player making it has the initiative in the game.

One easy example: Player one plays his 3rd move such that his three stones form a "shape", such as an L. Player two plays his third move such that his three stones form a tria. So, on the next move, Player one must respond and block on one side or the other. But, with certain exceptions, player two is still in a losing position at this point in the game. Certainly, the next move by player 2 can NOT be another tria, and so it will not be a forcing move -- Player one can then continue to make forcing moves of his own if desired. Does this mean that Player 2 had gained the initiative for one move, and then lost it? In my opinion, no. He never truely had it.

Next example: Player one is in the midgame, playing consecutive trias and searching for victory. Black, while on defense, eventually found that he had three stones in a row, blocked on one side. White now makes another open tria. Black responds by extending his one-sided three into a one-sided four which must be immediately blocked by White, but this extention does not lead to any further threats. White can then continue to make forcing trias and search for victory. Does this mean that Player 2 had gained the initiative for one move, and then lost it? In my opinion, no. He never truely had it.

More complex examples include a longer series of moves that eventually runs into a dead end, no matter which path was chosen for this sequence from the very beginning. Such situations can come up in the early/mid game that can last 3 or 4 moves or even longer, but will eventually result in having to resort to a defensive move and handing the initiative over to the opponent, no matter which path was chosen. In my experience, this actually occurs most often to Player 1 after making some sort of error in the opening. Knowing that Player 1 must generally try to press the initiative until the end of the game, he continues to try to make forcing moves, playing several trias in a row before it all breaks down and it becomes quite clear that Black has taken control of the game. So, did white actually have the initiative all the way until the point where Black plays his first tria which requires White to defend? Or, did White actually lose the initiative in the opening and just didn't realize it or was just stubborn about it for several more moves? This is a more difficult scenario, but is an important one in trying to nail down the definition of the term "initiative".

Instead of us just trying to put forward our own opinions of what we think the term initiative "should" mean, it would be great if someone could track down some of the masters of the past and see how this term has been used historically, and perhaps how it has evolved over time. I would love to hear what the experts from the early 80s would have to say on this subject. Other players from within the past decade or so, such as dmitriking, progambler, virag and sjustice would be great resources as well.

In addition to how players have used the term, and described the concepts, over the years, it would also be great to review some of the few, limited Pente publications out there in the world. Pente champion Tom Braunlich has written and published at least 5 books about Pente. If anyone has a copy of these books and would like to share whether the term (or the concept) of initiative was discussed in these books, please share. Some other resources: I always seem to lose the link that I had to a series of Pente articles and newsletters from the early 80s, which were written at an extremely advanced, analytical level on a series of topics. Many common Pente terms were used and "standardized" in these documents. I remember specifically analysis of The Hammer position, The Wedge opening, The Wallace, The Allen, among others. I don't recall if the term initiative was used or not but it would be great to review these documents and find out, if anyone still knows of any links to them. I also remember some Pente documentation either written by nosovs, or linked from his web pages. These had pictures of example games which described specific concepts. I remember the term Atari being used often. I don't recall if the term initiative is used in these either.

Anyway, opinions on the subject are appreciated, and also if anyone can actually research some of these historical publications and share what they find that would be excellent as well.



zoeyk

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 27, 2010, 10:01 PM

i have all of tom's books. and i am in touch with tom b. and gary gabrel via email. ill see if we can get them in here. rollie tesh is MIA with his own projects currently.
john krenz is a possibilty tho. i have his email too.

i have my own opinions to add to this topic, which ill do with in a couple days here.

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

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 28, 2010, 3:28 AM

Dean,
I got to do a tiny bit of looking through some of the old Pente newsletters, parts of which are able to be found online @ http://renju.se/rif/pente/pentgifs.htm and found Tesh using the words initiative and initiate in the following article which starts on
http://renju.se/rif/pente/s83pen14.gif

"Am I winning now?" Tesh asks after his move 6. "At the time I thought I was. But Peter now sacrifices two more captures to secure a promising initiative"



I'll leave it to your judgement as to what precisely "promising initiative" may have meant to Tesh in this case. As the article and the game continue, white appears to have winning initiative according to the analysis. Tesh also uses the word initiative to describe his 19th move- "and instead attempt to get my first initiative of the game". No mention is made of 19. __ Q13, which since neither player was seeing white's win on the L line would appear to be a better bet...

Tesh uses initiate during his game against Allen to describe his move 14 to K9 after Allen's 14th N9 in this game- "My turn to initiate events!"



and in the game against Webber- "Now Webber [after 5. ...L10] finds that there is no initiative to be found with [6. H13] after all!




Message was edited by: watsu at Mar 27, 2010 10:19 PM


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

Posts: 157
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Age: 30
Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 29, 2010, 3:47 PM

Up2ng, thanks for another well written intro to a difficult topic.

I would like to offer my thoughts for what they are worth. Although I dont come to this as a Pente master, I think I have enough understanding of the game now to make a couple of observations. Also, coming from a strong chess background I know something of the way initiative is spoken of in chess circles and how it is conceived of by players.

The key aspect to your discussion points that stands out for me is the idea of determinism. The fact that it is predetermined that Player 1 has the win and only loses via a mistake leads one to frame all subsequent discussion in those terms. Further, even if a given position has been arrived at with some degree of imperfect play, we will agree that it is still in-principal predetermined that one player will win from there if play is perfect from that point (setting aside the idea of a perfectly balanced game !) . It follows from this that in all examples you will always be able to go back to the fact that there is a perfect solution to a given position and that there is only one perfect play winner from that point. Therefore any game commentary that ascribes the word initiative to the moves of the player who should technically lose is, by this definition, incorrect. Or, even if play is not perfect, we should still not assign the term initiative to the actions of the eventual loser. Although this last point deals with play that does not necessarily follow the predetermined path (results from imperfect play), we still apply a deterministic model that makes us only think in terms of outcomes and says that the term initiative should apply ultimately to play associated with winning. Under deterministic thinking, everything is cast in terms of winning and losing, of black and white.

I find this definition of initiative unsatisfying.

I see initiative as something more than just a mathematical calculation of a predetermined result under perfect play, and more than just a term we assign retrospectively to the actions of the winner. Surely the act of taking the initiative can be its own reward? I mean the opportunity just to have the initiative during a game is something worth fighting for is it not? Otherwise it would just be a procession with each game ending with the player winning who had the initiative at the start and never lost it. When you think about it, gaining the initiative from the other player is the spice that makes the game worth playing even when you lose. You may play twenty games and win all the whites and lose all the blacks and yet enjoy the battle, but if and only if, you had wrested the initiative off the opponent for at least some of the time during all those black losses. Having the initiative is a chance, however fleeting and ultimately forlorn it may be, to chart your own destiny, to fight the good fight ? this is why we play.

More than this though, having of the initiative can often produce an effect that may be greater than the technical merit of the moves themselves. Having the initiative carries with it the chance to confuse and trick the opponent, the opportunity for psychological factors to loom large, and for emotion to influence decisions. Is not initiative more a posture or attitude than it is a set of moves? Should we really disqualify claims of having the initiative purely on the grounds that a few moves later it turns out that the other player ?inevitably? regains control? Is this not just hindsight overruling what might, against a different opponent, have been a successful gambit if say the psychological dimensions of the player?s moves had hit their mark? Is this postscript assignment of initiative to the winner doing the losing player a disservice, and leading us to overlook the fact that in that moment there was tension, there was fear, there was no certainty, and the players were fighting it out not knowing who the winner will be.

I think that applying a deterministic framework to the concept of initiative takes out all of these other dimensions and much of the art and subtlety of the game. In chess the term initiative is not really used in situations where the result is predetermined. In fact it would be rather meaningless to say it in that situation because at that point nothing remains to be done but complete the winning sequence. The term is used more as a reference to the fact that a player now has a chance to create something, to surprise, or to seduce, or to blast a hole unexpectedly into the defenses of the opponent and shock her into a hasty move. This sort of situation can occur even if that player?s position is ostensibly a losing one. To have the initiative in chess may mean you have control or have good winning chances, but it can also mean that you are in a weaker position but just for a moment you have the opportunity to grasp the nettle and attack with the spirit of the 300 Spartans in the battle of Thermopylae, or to go forth with the invocation Once more into the breach my friends Henry V style and die on your feet, sword still swinging.

Perhaps it is fitting that in Pente, which appears to be more deterministic than chess, that the concept of initiative is re-framed in a deterministic context, but for me it would still miss that quintessential sense of the opportunity to make a fight of it, to create something new, to throw the challenge back to the opponent and force them to beat you, rather than never having the chance to do anything but resign to the cold inevitabilities of your fate. Initiative is a chance to bring something of yourself to the situation, to leave your mark, and to be a contender. It is a word that is itself ephemeral, illusory and perhaps undefinable and should I think carry with it a certain mystique, an implied and unresolved threat, a potentiality, a fear of the unknown, and an excitation of possibilities. There is a game being played between the two combatants which is beyond the pieces on the board; it is a game of wits, and it is to that game that the word initiative speaks.

~Alison

watsu

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 29, 2010, 8:16 PM

A first draft on my two cents as to what initiative might mean to me:
A move or sequence of consecutive moves by a player, threatening something more than solely an extension of the number of moves in the game.

The way I see it, if a player sees a ray of hope- however forlorn- in a potential trap for his/her opponent, extending the game for a few moves is justified, even if his/her opponent doesn't fall into the trap. Often, a player in the middle of a game may not see a winning line through extension threats until after the process has already begun- however, they can sense that there may be a possibility- as opposed to the case of a completely isolated blocked tria being extended to a tessera when the next move is going to be right back to block the opponent's threat....

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: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 29, 2010, 11:36 PM

Alison, very interesting take on it. But, in general, I think I agree with what you were saying in your first paragraph when you were describing initiative as being deterministic rather than the subsequent paragraphs which talked more about the psychological aspact of the game.

The exception being this:

"Or, even if play is not perfect, we should still not assign the term initiative to the actions of the eventual loser."

I believe that it is accurate to talk about a player having the initiative at some point during the game and eventually losing, IF a mistake is made at some point along the way.

In my opinion, what you and Watsu seem to be getting at about the psychological aspect of certain moves that really have more to do with posturing or trying to be aggressive and offensive when your opponent is the one who is truely on the offensive, is not initiative. To me, that is more of a gambit -- a term I have borrowed from Chess and have not really seen used in Pente, but which I believe describes this scenario more accurately than initiative.

Watsu was describing additional scenarios where the player on the defensive has created a trap and hopes for the opponent to fall into it. In my opinion, we are confusing terms if we use the term initiative to describe this state of the game. Let's remember, there are plenty of effective defensive tactics that can be used by black, including traps, especially early in the game. The defensive aspects of the game involve a bit of psychology and the effort to add complexity to the game in order to increase the chances for a human opponent to make an error. Defensive aspects of the game can be just as interesting as the offensive side, but let's be clear that the term initiative describes an offensive position only. Hopefully we can start by agreeing on that much.

Here's what I'm personally not clear on yet: Given that a player having the initiative in the game basically means that they are on offense, should the term apply to situations where this offensive sequence turns out to be a false threat or a temporary line that hits a dead end? Even if neither player is clear about what will happen as these moves are occurring? What about when one player goes on offense and the second player begins defending and neither player realizes that the second player has a clear win somewhere else on the board -- such as what happened in one of the matches with Rollie Tesh in the article that watsu attached previously in this thread?

That part is still up in the air.

zoeyk

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 1:51 AM

well,... Lets start this off correctly by starting at Websters Dictionary.

Websters definitions;
in·i·ti·a·tive [ih-nish-ee-uh-tiv, ih-nish-uh-]
?noun


an introductory act or step; leading action: to take the initiative
(this speaks of a "executed power" beginning before the obtainment
of a ultimate goal, how ever does not address if the "executed power"
ensures obtainment of said "ultimate goal")

readiness and ability in initiating action;
(this speaks of a "executed power" beginning before the obtainment
of a ultimate goal, how ever does not address if the "executed power"
ensures obtainment of said "ultimate goal")

The power or ability to begin,
(this speaks of a "executed power" beginning before the obtainment
of a ultimate goal, how ever does not address if the "executed power"
ensures obtainment of said "ultimate goal")

or to follow through
energetically with a plan or task

(unfortunately "a plan or task" is too vague, this could imply I.e., "to force into
a confusing move juncture of choice where victory has yet to be secured,
how ever the odds of the human opponent making an error has increased", thus,..
(this speaks of a "executed power" beginning before the obtainment
of a "ultimate goal", how ever does not address if the "executed power"
ensures obtainment said "ultimate goal"))

A beginning or introductory step; an opening move: took the initiative in trying to solve the problem.
(please note that Webster said "trying to solve" , very important, thus,
(this speaks of a "executed power" beginning before the obtainment
of a "ultimate goal", how ever does not address if the "executed power"
ensures obtainment of said "ultimate goal")
(i will further note that "A beginning or introductory step;" clearly "SEEMS TO BE"
referring to Player one's K10 stone in pente if to be taken literally. and in Pente K10
is a ensured win in perfect play, HOW EVER, Websters definitions are not limited to
the world of pente and pente's restrictions and limitations, Because what of the games
designed where Player one has sure loss by default, Thus, we can not assume that
Webster is implying that "A beginning or introductory step;" means sure win.
and since we can not, then when we refer to K10's sure win, we can not use the
word "initiative" by it's self, if trying to be complete and accurate.

The power or right to introduce a new legislative measure.
(hmm yes "Power", but notice where it says "INTRODUCE",
we all know this does not imply the "introduced measure" will win/pass,
nor even if it passes is it promised to never be over ruled/changed of its final result.)

The right and procedure by which citizens can propose a law
by petition and ensure its submission to the electorate.

(Note "Propose,Petition,submission to the electorate,...
definitely no where there does it imply that victory will be achieved,
just means a right to push in a direction with momentum towards that goal
no matter how futile it is. ahh boy, not looking good for you here dean

?Synonyms
leadership, forcefulness, dynamism.


just because your in "the lead" in all things does not mean you have sure win in all things,
"force" does not mean sure win,
and now "dynamism",... yes what does Webster say this word means????



dy·na·mism
[dahy-nuh-miz-uhm]
?noun
1.
any of various theories or philosophical systems that seek to explain
phenomena of nature by the action of force.

(Note "SEEK, by the action of force", you know that saying seek
and ye shall find? rubbish, lol, it aint true, i been seeking for a
100 million dollar winning lotto ticket, but it aint goina happen.
but i force the search with my dollar i pay with it's true, yet still a loss.)

2.
great energy, force, or power; vigor:

oh great energy, well i just stand corrected here, NOT lol.
do you get where im goin yet with all of this guys?

3.
Psychology. a habitual mode of reducing or eliminating tension.

well geez, this is the closet yet to what your pushing for lol,
eliminating tension sounds good for your argument,
but the "or reducing" makes this just way too vague/versatile,
flip floppy, unfortunately.




ok,.. sorry for all that there, lets get back on track here,
"initiative" stolen from chess and brought to pente, hmmm lets just look at that for a sec.
in chess perfect play is a draw, Red Flag there!
rules like 50 checks bring forth a victor was later instated, blah blah, what ever, ext...

they used initiative in chess because a force in chess was clear, but a winner in chess was not clear,
and that's pretty much how Websters has stated the word initiative,
a beginning initiated step backed with some force of a un-predetermined level,
that may or may not lead to a series of forces, and may or may not achieve the final ultimate goal.

"Initiative is a Strong Alpha aimed in the direction of having/obtaining/achieving/becoming
a Final Winning Omega,
and but with "No Promise" of having/obtaining/achieving/becoming a Final Winning Omega."


This word "by it's self" is sooo fitting for chess, and sooo not fitting for pente.
it's time to realize this and find the correct "word(S)" to do it right!


i will have more forth coming in another post. this was just a "introductory step" hehe.

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

Posts: 157
Registered: Nov 27, 2008
Age: 30
Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 1:53 AM

up2ng
I believe that it is accurate to talk about a player having the initiative at some point during the game and eventually losing, IF a mistake is made at some point along the way.

I would not see this as an exception Dean since what you are really saying here is that the win was rightfully his/hers in perfect play, so we will allow the term initiative to be used. This is still deterministic thinking.

I would also point out a diagnostic problem in your regime in that there could be a sequence in which player two had the initiative from move 6 to 10 and then the game ended at move 29 with a player one win. Even with the advantage of hindsight can we have such certainty about who should have won from that point under perfect play that we can confidently assign the term initiative correctly?

For me, if the very idea of initiative is only to be framed in a deterministic way, then the term is practically meaningless. Since the only way player two gets the initiative is through the error of player one. Thus player two did not 'take it' but was given it. Once it is given then the situation is reversed and now the second player should win, and if she doesn't it is because she makes an error and gives the initiative back. So we are really just talking about the consequence of error against an ideal of perfect play. So when we ask what does it mean to say a player has the initiative? It means that the other player failed, and now this player has to not fail before the game ends, or the initiative goes back to the first player. It is about failure, nothing more. The term therefore has no practical value.

I think maybe all this tells us that Pente analysis should be confined to terms which are more mechanical and clinical and aren't loaded with baggage from usage in other games or don't evoke emotional responses from the reader. To me the effect of using the term initiative is to place an unwarranted emphasis on the actions of the player who has it, when in the true deterministic sense, we should be focusing on why the other player lost it.

I think usage of the term has occurred because we want to believe that players make plays which is a positive outlook of the game. It validates us. However, this is misaligned with the ethos of determinism which says that there is an ideal and our mistakes take us away from the ideal, and this is a negative outlook. It invalidates us. So, in summary, usage of the term initiative struggles to find a raison d'etre into the lexicon of appropriate Pente terminology because it seeks to divert our attention from the centrepiece of the deterministic view - that all Pente games are about error. But we persist in it's use because part of us wants to focus on the positive, creative aspects of ourselves. I think this is essentially the underlying tension in all attempts to define the term in the Pente context.

This is why we should not go down this road. We should allow the term to be used with imprecision, with some degree of license to allow us to speak of things beyond the moves, otherwise we trap ourselves in unresolvable contradictions.

zoeyk

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 2:14 AM

hey good stuff alison.

im goina go back on my path here..
the term initiative in pente is too vague by itself.
and to use it as something more than it is when its by its self is incorrect.
there for we need to consider that when using initiative in pente, it must be assigned with another word or words.
whether or not we agree to make sub categories for it in pente is besides the point. having a forcing move(s) + sure win can not just be called "initiative". way to simplistic, and actually does not follow Websters correctly.

in addition tho,.. once we can get passed this concept im talking about, ide really like to start addressing the need for multiple types of "energy/force/momentum/initiative/dominant position/temp force/end game force" ext... for lake of better terms.


some possibilities to think about, seriously,..

4 kinds of initiative <- for a lack of a better singular word, and used by way of popularity by many, regardless of its vague inaccuracy.

~WDP~ Winning dominant position = win

~WTT~ Winning by temporary Threats (in a singular series, or in a multiple series of separate groups (2 or more) inevitably leading to the obtainment of a ~VCT~) = win

~LTT~ Losing by temporary Threats = LOSS

~VCT~("victory by continuous threats" that ultimately leads to the obtainment of a unstoppable double threat, or greater) VCT initiative = win


Message was edited by: zoeyk at Mar 29, 2010 8:25 PM


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

Posts: 2,006
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From: San Francisco
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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 2:20 AM

just to add this is in. this was a post from another thread that was what got the idea for starting this thread going..
it was my post in response to a players rough draft for a beginners tutorial and i addressed my concerns and ideas of what initiative means in pente, or doesn't mean...


Very nice thanks for sharing!

the following is to address your first statment marked as 1.

i will address the others too, but i will post them separately.


1. Initiative is the key to winning.

in a nut shell yes, you are correct.

Initiative means you are forcing your opponent to block your 3s or 4s.

not exactly. that is the definition for "forcing initiative", and its not complete.
you forgot chasing for 5th capture. and you also forgot fukumis. a fukumi may not be a unblocked 3 or 4, yet it has the exact same threat level as a unblocked 3 if unanswered. examples of fumkumis can be found at this link - http://pente.org/gameServer/forums/thread.jspa?forumID=27&threadID=4281&tstart=0

and,.. there is still another,..VCTs using either post 3 shapes or split 4 shapes, or both.

and there is another type of initiative.
that has the exact same power level as forcing initiative.

its is called "dominant position".
This although not immediately forcing, holds so much available momentum that just like forcing initiative, if a winning initiative the player will result in obtaining a double threat or greater.

there are no neutral positions in pente. they can only appear that way. these positions still at the very least have one player holding a dominant position.

note that dominant position implies that it has a 100% winning position.
where as forcing initiative does not. it can force for a bit and then dead end with the opponent taking it away.

that's why there are 2 kinds of forcing initiative;
"temporary forcing initiative" - aka "mid game initiative"
and
"VCT (victory by continuous threats) forcing initiative".
aka "end game initiative".

but, some temporary initiatives still can force a win, where it is known that the force will run out and the opponent will get the initiative, but its also known their initiative will run out too, thus you get it back again, and hold it until double threat is obtained.


(note that whether or not the temporary initiative has the win or not, initiative can flip flop through out a game up to 15 times each in theory. (doubt you'll ever see 15 times each in a master vs master of perfect play tho)

5 times is more than reasonable tho.)


but if temporary initiative can get a win, then its different.
so there are 2 kinds of temporary initiatives.

thus we now have 4 kinds of initiative.

~WDP~ Winning dominant position = win
~WTT~ Winning by temporary Threats (in a singular series, or in a multiple series of separate groups (2 or more) inevitably leading to the obtainment of a ~VCT~) = win
~LTT~ Losing by temporary Threats = LOSS
~VCT~("victory by continuous threats" that ultimately leads to the obtainment of a unstoppable double threat, or greater) VCT initiative = win


note that both ~WDP~ and ~WTT~ are implying by default that a ~VCT~ will come after them. you can not have a ~WDP~ or a ~WTT~ with out also having a ~VCT~ sometime after.

also note that a ~LTT~ is implying by default that there will be no ~VCT~ coming, because LTT = lose, and VCT = win.

and no, there is no such thing as a losing dominant position. such a paradox can not exist in pente.

also note that "momentum" is another except-able way to say "initiative", both are commonly used.


If you don't have it, try to take it from your opponent. If you have it, keep it, even if it means giving up a pair or two.

agreed, "but If you have it, keep it" can not apply to the following initiative;
Winning temporary initiative = win
other than that exception, it is true what you say.

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zoeyk

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 2:56 AM

so now that we know that initiative does not mean sure win.

lets look at "a introductory step" as Websters defines it.

does this mean a series of forcing moves? no, it surely does not. yup i done said it. literally in the situation of you doing a extension to 4 and then back to blocking the opponents winning moves after that, your extension to 4 was initiative. how ever if you accompany the word initiative with another word, then its meaning can really start to take shape!

the extension to 4 sure was not a "winning initiative", it was a "losing initiative".

we can go round and round on this one, but in the end im right,.. because Websters+logic is on my side, plain and simple.

to "Initiate a Series of Forcing Moves" in pente implies absolutely nothing as to who the winner is... not until its accompanied by a word the specifies what the initiative's "immediate result, pre-end result, or end result, ext... in fact is

ide be tempted to call up "CHESS" and let it know it can have it's word "initiative" back.... surly Pente can do better than this.

i thought it interesting in karlw's pente theory long ago that he had said that he is officially replacing the word initiative with the word Momentum for pente. not that Momentum was so much better in being specific, but that a player was willing to go out on a limb and say "hey what a minute! im goina think for my self here, and question common terms, and replace them with better ones if i see fit, with out fear of others defending the old familiar terms!"

and the whole thing about the old timers,.. yeah,.. if they called a opening a hammer, well then its a hammer. i agree with this. but when it comes down to deciding how to use the dictionary to discuss things correctly, if the old timers where wrong, or incomplete, or just too gosh darn vague for my taste, well then they were, and ill ignore them and reword it the way i like.

you "Must" walk into this conversation fully Open minded and prepared to take what ever you thought was right, and "if" shown it was wrong, remove it and replace it, or add to it, fix it, no matter how painful it is.

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zoeyk

Posts: 2,006
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From: San Francisco
Age: 42
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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 3:13 AM

although i might not end up agreeing with karlw, i really hope he chimes in with his 2 cents, im curious to see.

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up2ng

Posts: 542
Registered: May 9, 2002
From: Northeast USA
Age: 38
Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 3:47 AM

Well of course I'm going to disagree with just about everything that's been written here. We are all free to have our own opinions after all. I don't believe there's anything lacking in the term initiative in itself to describe a very specific and very important concept in Pente. We certainly don't need to go around making up a whole new list of terms and acronyms, none of which are common usage at all.

I tend to agree with Alison's conclusion when she said that we should simply continue to use the term initiative as it is commonly used and allow ourselves some imprecision and leeway with its usage.

As zoey mentioned, this discussion came up because another player took it upon himself to come up with a nice little guide for beginners to start thinking about Pente concepts to improve their game and part of that guide included a nice little summary of the concept of initiative. In response, zoey basically disagreed with how the term is often used, and described how it was incomplete and inadequate to fully describe the concept which was being described. When I saw this, I was surprised since zoey's explanations were so far away from how I've always used and seen the term initiative used that I wanted to explore it further. The way I saw it, this beginner's guide author was pointing out some simple rules of thumb, including always trying to acquire and retain the initiative, with a brief description for what initiative means. Well rules of thumb often do have exceptions or do not always describe boundary conditions, etc, and zoey's descriptions were searching for a more complete or robust solution for the concept. Certainly there are many important points within those descriptions, but I'm not convinced that using the term initiative in the context of how it's commonly used in Pente is inadequate or incomplete. It is its own concept, and a very important one. But it does not describe the whole game. There are many other important concepts too. Initiative is just one of them.

If you read all of those old articles that were posted and follow the games as they are being described, whenever the term initiative (or initiate) is used, there is something very tangible happening at that precise point in the game which will be clearly recognizable to advanced players who are following and analyzing the game. In general, control of the game has shifted from one player to the other. The term itself is a very good choice to describe what is happening and the meaning is clear to the readers.

The worst thing you can do in situations like this, IMHO, is to refer to Websters Dictionary and then stick like glue to a very literal "all purpose" definition. Words have common usage, slang, phrasology and so on that is not described in any dictionary, but is still part of our language.

zoeyk;
"so now that we know that initiative does not mean sure win."

I missed the leap you're making here, as I don't believe we know any such thing. Generally, when someone has the initiative in Pente, they are on the offensive and do indeed have a sure win -- although it may be too far into the future for anyone to predict with certainty. I have been questioning whether or not the term initiative should be used for sequences of a few moves where one player is making forcing moves but the overall threat will clearly run out. I'm not convinced that this is having any initiative at all in the sense that we commonly use the term in Pente -- but I was asking around to see if other people, past and present, use the term in that way.

zoeyk;
"does this mean a series of forcing moves? no, it surely does not."

Well this time I guess I will agree with you. Although I do believe it is commonly used for a series of forcing moves such as a tria, in my opinion it is just as accurate to describe very early opening moves ("potentials") as initiating events also. It has to do with the degree of threat that's present and whether or not the opponent can respond with a series of stronger threats -- if not, then the current threat must be responded to so that it does no come to fruition.

zoeyk;
"lierally in the situation of you doing a extension to 4 and then back to blocking the opponents winning moves afer that, your extension to 4 was initiative."

I'm going to disagree strongly with this. This is simply not how initiative is used in Pente. When there is literally no threat happening except for a single obvious move, there is no initiative there. To me, this one should be obvious although I'm sure I didn't do a great job of explaining why.

zoeyk;
"we can go round and round on this one, but in the end im right,.."

LOL, oh my...

jasonb

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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 5:40 AM

In terms of the game of Pente, I think of initiative as having control. We all know that feeling of when we loose or gain control. Simply put, the person that has the flexibility to determine the course of the game is the one with the initiative, IMO. But what do I know, I'm just a newb.

zoeyk

Posts: 2,006
Registered: Mar 4, 2007
From: San Francisco
Age: 42
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Re: Concept: Initiative
Posted: Mar 30, 2010, 6:27 AM

jasonb;
>determine the course


please define "the course". does this imply that the one determining the course has sure win in perfect play?

or does it not imply this?

i mean, in your opinion of course...

the answer to that will show which side of the argument you are leaning towards.

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