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...


Fat Tuesday

Today is the Swedish celebration of fettisdag which is directly translated to "fat Tuesday" and is the Swedish Mardi Gras.

The only way the regular Swede is celebrating this is to eat a Semla. Of course I went to buy me one as I love sweet pastries.

The normal Semla is a sweet bun that is spiced with caardamom. The top is cut off and a small hole is pinched out. Then you mix some almond paste with powdered sugar that you put in the hole, add some whipped cream, put the lid on top and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.

One crazy way of eating it is in a bowl and pouring hot milk over it and eat with a spoon. I am not that kind so I keep my milk in a glass and eat it directly. But first I eat the lid with some of the cream and then big bites of the rest until my plate is empty and I dream of another one.


Chinese New Year

Happy New Chinese Year! Now it is the year of the tiger. This is something that is celebrated by all Chinese people. Much like we westerners are celebrating our new year at the 31st of December.

This year, like last year, we celebrated it together with the employees of Huawei. This year Girlwing was the hostess together with a college.

We started with eating a lot of tasty Chinese food and drinking Swedish beer. A couple of the Chinese employees had some fine BaiJiu with them from China and I was treated with some. Quite tasty but also strong with 43% alcohol.

When everybody were done eating it was time for some performances and snacks. This is to my understanding very common on occasions like this. Many of the employees were involved in some way with singing, dancing and fun games. Many of the employees children made performances as well. One thing that struck me is that this would never work in a Swedish company's party. We are too shy and would need a lot of beer and wine to have fun together, not to mention spontaneous singing in front of a crowd . Not a single person at this party got drunk. Another difference is that in a Swedish party there would possibly be some social dancing and that is probably very rare in any Chinese party and there were of course no social dancing at this party.

Most of the celebration was made in Chinese and much of Girlwings role as a hostess was to translate what was said to Swedish. As to be expected most of the Swedish guests left quite early after the food. Probably because they didn't feel like a part of the group when they couldn't understand everything. That is a bit sad but it can be understandable.

The whole celebration is anyway for the Chinese people, who are kind of stranded here in Sweden, so far away from their families at home. It is for them like it would be for us to be all alone over Christmas in China, but a hundred times worse. Family and friends are very important for them, so it is very valuable to be able to do this together with the colleagues and friends they have here so far away from home.


How to become a go pro

If you are living in in another country than China, Japan or Korea, how do you become a professional weiqi player? One way is to move to one of those countries and join their insei schools. There are a couple of western players who have done this. This is really hard work with a lot of competition against the other students and you have to be one of the best to make it to become a pro.

But now you have an easier way if you are foreigner of Japan. You can apply for a special foreigners test at the Kensai Ki-in. I believe this new test has been passed already. It is a quite simple procedure... You will play two games against two 1 dan pro players as black without komi.
  • If you manage to win both games, then you become a pro. 
  • If you lose both games then you will of course not become a pro, but you can try again next year.
  • If you win one of the games and lose the other, then you will get another chance by playing a third game against a 9 dan pro. If you win that game then you will become a pro.
You might have a good chance of playing against non active professionals, because the active ones are usually quite busy with their career with studies, travel and tournaments. This way makes it possible for even strong 6 dan players to pass the exam.

I think this is good news for all the strong western players. Also, with more strong players with pro status it will encourage regular players to study more when they have western pros to look up to. These western pros will be more like celebrities than the 6 dan and 7 dan we have now. So I encourage all 6 and 7 dan players that feel that they might have a chance to pass the test to go to Japan and try.

Now go and become a pro, every country needs one!


Future go program

Sometimes when you surf around on Sensei's Library you will find some interesting, odd or fun stuff. It is easy to spend a couple of hours reading about this and that.

I am interested in programming and am still searching for the perfect go software. So when I stumbled over this page I felt that it is something worth spreading. The name of the page is "Go Software For The Future" and there anyone can post their suggestions and requests for the perfect future go program for programmers to consider.

So please do! :)


Blog Statistics

I read somewhere that IE8 now is the most common web browser on the Internet. I got surprised by that news so I decided to check the statistics for my blog.

I could not find any support at all for the claim from IE8 to be the most common browser. Rather the opposite.

Ok, my small blog is no good benchmark for this but I got around 200 visitors each month so that gives something to go on.

About the visitors to my blog we can see that Firefox is the most popular browser. Good second place is IExploder. How common is version 8 among those? About 6% of all IExploders are of version 8. 52% is version 7 and 43% is still version 6.

Another interesting thing we can read from the graph is that Google Chrome is slowly gaining interest. It will maybe pass IExploder within a year among my readers. No? You don't think so? Hmm... we'll see...