Go Rules Dispute

I found an interesting anecdote on Sensei's Library. Two strong European players are playing an important tournament game in EGC 2002. The rules for the tournament were the Ing 1991 rules.

Player A was leading with around 30 points in the end of the game and it was a sure win. But he didn't know the specifics about the rules that was used. Player B who was in for a sure loss in the game is an expert of rules of all shapes and forms. He saw his chance...

Player B found a loophole in the rules and used it to try to get a win. Basically it is about the dead stones on the board for both players. You are supposed to capture them and remove them from the board. Player B did this while Player A just passed, as is common under other rules. Finally when both players had passed Player B said that his stones that were captured in the opponents territory are now alive and the game is now won by him. Confusion emerged!

This lead to a dispute and the judges had to be called in. They ruled in favor of Player A. The decision got appealed to EGF rules comity that also ruled in favor of Player A. The intent of the rules won over the letter of the rules.

This has been a dispute among go players since then and is still under discussion almost ten years later. It is interesting to read but it is easy for the discussion to get ugly from time to time. Especially against Player B.

Personally I think it is not so complicated and it was a very correct decision to let Player A get the victory as he deserved.

One can argue that Player B did nothing wrong when he tried to play the rules when he otherwise would have lost. And I can agree, that nothing wrong was made, if I only look at the rules that was used. But I think it is very ethically wrong by Player B and I am sure that this is not what Mr Ing meant when he invented the rules. The whole point with Chinese rules is that the rules should not decide the outcome of the games and if the players don't agree they should play it out on the board and it is there, on the board, that the game should be decided by the players. The rules would work good if both players knew them.

Obviously the rules had to be changed. Otherwise this can happen again. So the Simplified Ing Rules was created. You would think that the creation and use of the new rules should end the above mentioned dispute? Not at all... and it will continue for quite some while...

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