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a contrast

Posted By: Nack Ballard
Date: Tuesday, 31 January 2012, at 5:01 a.m.

In Response To: a contrast (David Rockwell)

On the first or second move of the game, I have a fairly strong preference for 21S, 41S, 51S, 52S and 54S over 21Z, 41Z, 51Z, 52Z and 54Z. Mainly, I see S as friendliest to beginning nactators, as it is the first letter in Split. Even if that were an irrelevant issue, by this time so many file names contain the S that it would create a dichotomy (or extensive overhaul) if one were to casually approve of Z as a common alternate for those plays. I do not go so far as to call opening 21Z, 41Z, 51Z, 52Z and 54Z Nactation "mistakes," but they do represent a deviance from standard form.

Given the constraints of a single character to describe two or four portions of a move, Nactation is necessarily a relative system. Positions with new points or blots can often affect the order of members and/or one's preference of family. Therefore, by the third move of the game, what may at first seem to be "inconsistencies" start appearing. David's position pair is a good case in point:

1O1O ' '2X3X '3X ' ' '4O

1X '1X ' '5O '3O1O ' '5X


1O1O ' ' '5X '3X '1X '4O

1X '1X ' '5O '3O1O ' '4X


Taking the left-hand position in isolation, I would use S for 23/21 13/9 and s for 24/22 13/9. It's natural for me, having a lot of experience nactating a wide range of early game positions. It is perfectly fine and understandable, though, to use Z for 23/21 13/9 and z for 24/22 13/9; I wouldn't fault anyone for that. [Nor would I fault anyone for using 52D-64R instead of my (stylish) preference of 52D-64H to describe the same second-roll play.] Either S/s or Z/z is easy to interpret.

As David points out, in the right-hand position (where White's 5pt is not made) it is necessary to use Z for 23/21 13/9 and z for 24/22 13/9, because S can only mean 24/20 13/11. Therefore, if I were to list rollout results for both diagrammed positions within the same post or document, I would tend to use Z/z for both positions, thusly:

    41S-11e-42 [Z z1] "<5
    41S-32Z-42 [z Z7 P14 D33] "<5

To be clear, it's fine instead to use S/s for the first position and Z/z for the second (just make sure, in any event, to give the 23/21 deuce the capital letter). In this case, my slight general preference for S/s when there is only one legal way to split is trumped by my slight preference for using the same letter when contrasting similar-looking positions. I am tolerant of other preferences as long as they do not actually mislead.


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