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 Post subject: Finite Go variant: Loose #1 Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:07 pm
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LOOSE

Introduction

Loose is a finite territory game for two players: Black and White. It's played on the intersections (points) of an odd-sized, initially empty square board. Both players must have access to a sufficient number of stones colored black on one side and white on the other.

The goal of the game is having the most stones on the board when both players have passed. Loose features surround capture, like Go, but surrounded stones are flipped instead of removed, and a natural, game-defining mechanism is used to favour (rather than ensure) eye creation upon captures. Since no stones are ever removed from the board, cycles are not possible.

Definitions

A group is a set of like-colored, adjacent stones.

A liberty is an empty point adjacent to a group. A false liberty is an empty point which is adjacent to at least one stone of each color and no empty points. Liberties which are not false are true.

`[go]\$\$B The a points are false liberties; \nthe b points are true liberties.\$\$ --------------\$\$ | . . . . . . .\$\$ | . X X X . . .\$\$ | X O O a X . .\$\$ | X O b O O X .\$\$ | X a O O a X .\$\$ | . X b b X . .\$\$ | . . X X . . .\$\$ | . . . . . . .[/go]`

Play

Starting with Black, the players take turns placing stones with their color showing on empty points of the board, one stone per turn.

After a placement, all enemy groups with no true liberties are flipped, i.e. all the stones in them are turned round to show the player's color, after which the turn ends.

At the end of a turn, every group on the board must have at least one true liberty. Otherwise, the move is illegal and the player must choose another one.

Players can pass their turn at any moment. When both players pass in succession, the game ends, and the one with the highest score wins.

A player's score is the number of stones with his color showing that there are on the board, plus a komi (see below) in the case of White. In the event of a tie, whoever made the last move loses.

Komi

The komi is the even number of points which are added to White's score at the end of the game as a compensation for playing second. Before the game starts, the first player tells his opponent the even number which will be used as komi, and then the second player chooses which color to play.

Examples

• A capture:

`[go]\$\$B After , all White's liberties are false...\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | O O . X . . . .\$\$ | O . X . . . . .\$\$ | O 1 . . . . . .\$\$ | O . X , . . . .\$\$ | . X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

`[go]\$\$W ... so White's group is flipped.\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | X X . X . . . .\$\$ | X . X . . . . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . X , . . . .\$\$ | . X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

• Not a capture:

`[go]\$\$B After , White's group isn't flipped, \nsince the a points are true liberties.\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | a O X . . . . .\$\$ | O a X . . . . .\$\$ | O a X . . . . .\$\$ | O O X , . . . .\$\$ | . 1 . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

• Illegal move:

`[go]\$\$B After , White's marked stone is \nflipped, but doesn't get any true liberties \nas a result, so Black's move is illegal.\$\$ . . . . . . . .\$\$ . . . X . . . .\$\$ . . O . O . . .\$\$ . 1 . W . X . .\$\$ . . O . O . . .\$\$ . . . X . . . .\$\$ . . . . . . . .[/go]`

Sample game

 Attachments: File comment: Sample Loose game between two beginners. Sample 9x9 Loose game.sgf [705 Bytes] Downloaded 85 times

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Last edited by luigi on Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:08 pm, edited 13 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #2 Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:33 pm
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luigi wrote:

`[go]\$\$B After B1, White's group isn't flipped, \nsince the a points are real liberties.\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | a O X . . . . .\$\$ | O X X . . . . .\$\$ | O X X . . . . .\$\$ | O O X , . . . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

Isn't this group still alive, because the a stone doesn't count as a false liberty? It sounds like making life will be too easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #3 Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:43 am
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hyperpape wrote:
luigi wrote:

`[go]\$\$B After B1, White's group isn't flipped, \nsince the a points are real liberties.\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | a O X . . . . .\$\$ | O X X . . . . .\$\$ | O X X . . . . .\$\$ | O O X , . . . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

Isn't this group still alive, because the a stone doesn't count as a false liberty? It sounds like making life will be too easy.

In your example, Black can flip White's group by playing at a, which is the last true liberty of said group.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #4 Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:43 am
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Game is pointlessly changed too much

`[go]\$\$B \$\$ ----------------\$\$ | . a . O X . . .\$\$ | O O O O X . . .\$\$ | O . . O X . . .\$\$ | X X X X X . . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

a - Illegal move for black.

`[go]\$\$B \$\$ ----------------\$\$ | O O X . O X . .\$\$ | O . a O O X X .\$\$ | O O O O . . X .\$\$ | X X X X X X . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

a - Illegal move for black

`[go]\$\$B \$\$ ----------------\$\$ | O O X . O X . .\$\$ | O . a O O X X .\$\$ | O O O O . X X .\$\$ | X X X X X X . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .[/go]`

a - Legal move, because addition of stone that does not even contact group? Really obtuse.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #5 Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:46 am
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Game is pointlessly changed too much

Yes, the game is quite different from Go, but this is not meant to be Go anyway. It's just a interesting variant designed with the purpose of avoiding cycles. In that sense, I don't think it's pointless.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #6 Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:07 pm
 Oza

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Quote:
At this moment, all the moving player's groups must have at least one true liberty. Otherwise, the move is illegal and the player must choose another one.
What does this mean then?

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #7 Posted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:24 pm
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hyperpape wrote:
Quote:
At this moment, all the moving player's groups must have at least one true liberty. Otherwise, the move is illegal and the player must choose another one.
What does this mean then?

"At this moment" means "after all enemy groups without true liberties have been flipped".

`[go]\$\$B After , White's group is flipped, \nsince it has no real liberties.\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | 1 O X . . . . .\$\$ | O X X . . . . .\$\$ | O X X . . . . .\$\$ | O O X , . . . .\$\$ | X X . . . . . .\$\$ | X . . . . . . .\$\$ | . . . . . . . .[/go]`

`[go]\$\$B The position after the capture.\$\$ ----------------\$\$ | X X X a . . . .\$\$ | X X X a . . . .\$\$ | X X X a . . . .\$\$ | X X X a . . . .\$\$ | X X a . . . . .\$\$ | X a . . . . . .\$\$ | a . . . . . . .[/go]`

Note that, after the capture, the resulting Black group has plenty of true liberties (the a points).

I have added a sample game to my OP. I hope it helps. I have also added the pie rule to balance the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #8 Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:57 am
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I'd say the pie rule is extremely ugly for go, as it encourages bizarre play that (unlike what I'd assume would be true in hex) doesn't converge to natural play. I suspect that any move above the second line fails as a balancing play, and I wouldn't even count on a corner move on the second line working.

Edit: silly me. That's the pie rule in Go. I have no idea what it would be like in this game.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #9 Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:46 pm
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hyperpape wrote:
I'd say the pie rule is extremely ugly for go, as it encourages bizarre play that (unlike what I'd assume would be true in hex) doesn't converge to natural play. I suspect that any move above the second line fails as a balancing play, and I wouldn't even count on a corner move on the second line working.

Edit: silly me. That's the pie rule in Go. I have no idea what it would be like in this game.

I've just chosen the pie rule because I find it a bit more elegant that komi, but I know many people won't agree. Could you elaborate on why it should feel more bizarre in Go than it does in Hex?

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #10 Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:01 pm
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luigi wrote:
I've just chosen the pie rule because I find it a bit more elegant that komi, but I know many people won't agree. Could you elaborate on why it should feel more bizarre in Go than it does in Hex?
Well, take it with a grain of salt: I'm not good at Hex. In fact, I've not played much at all. But in go, it is quite hard to make real use of a random second line stone. We have joseki and whatnot that will be played elsewhere, and we just have this stupid idiotic stone left lying around.

In Hex, it seems like the initial stone may not be placed that well, but I don't perceive the same lack of fit. Play a couple of moves and it will be part of the game, I think, unlike the 2-7 point in Go.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #11 Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:08 pm
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Oh, another point: the pie rule would probably lead to trick plays being abused in go. That's no fun!

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #12 Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:12 pm
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hyperpape wrote:
in go, it is quite hard to make real use of a random second line stone.

Well, it should be, or else it wouldn't balance the game at all. I think it's the same in any game.

hyperpape wrote:
We have joseki and whatnot that will be played elsewhere, and we just have this stupid idiotic stone left lying around.

True, the first stone doesn't fit with the joseki, but that's just because no joseki have been developed for it yet. If the pie rule had been used systematically in Go, there would be plenty of suitable opening theory built on it.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #13 Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:00 pm
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A trick play is a prepared trap that is understood to be inferior, but has a very subtle refutation that will probably not be apparent to the opponent. Such moves reward careful preparation over knowledge of the game. They're bad for the same reasons that chess's extensively developed opening theory is considered a bug of the game.

As for joseki, there's a difference. The go board has four corners, each of which may see joseki played*. The one corner will end up being an odd man out.

To be a balancing move, the move has to have some effect on the result of the game. Granted. But I think there's a difference between a stone that influences the result and a stone that is in the right place. The relation between the balancing stone and the "natural" stones on the board will be awkward and forced. With komi, each player plays each stone in a natural place, and the game has a flow. With the pie rule, there will be an odd man out.

I'm no chess player, but I think there might be an analogy to the way that material handicaps are felt to be an ugly method of balancing the game between uneven players.

* As has been pointed out in other discussions on the boards, high level play features a lot less joseki than you might think, and a lot more improvised patterns. So really the point is about the natural development and flow of the stones.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #14 Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:20 pm
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I think I have discovered a very interesting property of Loose, but I need your help to either prove or disprove it.

In Go, barring cycles and passing prematurely at an equal score, a game can only end in a tie if there is an odd number of points in seki. In Loose, I'd say this is impossible, but I can't be completely sure.

If that's the case, however, then Loose will be effectively drawless without the need for any tie-break rule.

For example:

`[go]\$\$B\$\$ -----------------\$\$ | . O . X . X O .\$\$ | O O O X X X O .\$\$ | X X X O O O O .\$\$ | . . . . . . . .[/go]`

In Go, this is the simplest situation with an odd number of points in seki, whereas in Loose, whoever plays first will kill by simply filling the opponent's eye.

Can you find any Loose positions with an odd number of points in seki? Do you think they're possible or not? I'm really curious about it.

EDIT:

As for the komi/pie rule discussion, maybe I will opt for komi after all. I've been following your interesting discussion on the pie rule in the other thread and I understand the reasons why you don't like it, namely that it's not actually an even trade and that it disrupts the natural flow of the game. I also understand that it's kind of a waste to use the pie rule if the game already has a scoring system which can be easily adjusted to balance the game with great precission.

My only issue with komi is the fact that it should be different for players with different skills. For example, in 5x5 Go, good players should set komi at 25 points (the whole board), but for absolute beginners that would be too much. For this reason, I wouldn't use a fixed komi even if I knew the value which made the game balanced at the highest levels of play. I think it's better to let the players negotiate it before the game in this way: first Black suggests a komi, then White may choose to swap sides.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #15 Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:00 am
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luigi wrote:
As for the komi/pie rule discussion, maybe I will opt for komi after all. I've been following your interesting discussion on the pie rule in the other thread and I understand the reasons why you don't like it, namely that it's not actually an even trade and that it disrupts the natural flow of the game. I also understand that it's kind of a waste to use the pie rule if the game already has a scoring system which can be easily adjusted to balance the game with great precission.

My only issue with komi is the fact that it should be different for players with different skills. For example, in 5x5 Go, good players should set komi at 25 points (the whole board), but for absolute beginners that would be too much. For this reason, I wouldn't use a fixed komi even if I knew the value which made the game balanced at the highest levels of play. I think it's better to let the players negotiate it before the game in this way: first Black suggests a komi, then White may choose to swap sides.

Update: I've finally settled for komi instead of the pie rule. I've also removed most of my boring introduction.

I'm starting a game on an 11x11 board:

`[go]\$\$Bcm1\$\$ ------------------------\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . 1 . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ | . . . . . . . . . . . |\$\$ ------------------------[/go]`

Does anyone want to give it a try? I'll play with anyone.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #16 Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:05 am
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luigi wrote:
I've finally settled for komi instead of the pie rule.

Don't buckle under on the pie/komi issue. Komi is an aesthetic Hiroshima.

Pie Go is simply uncharted territory. Not bad, bugged or odd territory. The first move doesn't have to be awful - just bad enough that you don't care if you get pied.

It's just common decency. Black gets to have an extra stone half of the time, thoughout the game. Not an extra, catalog-perfectly placed stone half of the time. That would be hugely inequitable, requiring extreme score jerrymandering in the form of komi.

If the Go tree is as astronomical as it's purported to be, there should still be plenty of game left over after a restricted first move. Now you've got a game of 300 unrestricted placements instead of 301 unrestricted placements.

Go is a lot bigger than the relatively diminuitive Chess, where chopping out a major tree branch would be devastating.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #17 Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:32 am
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luigi wrote:
As for the komi/pie rule discussion, maybe I will opt for komi after all. I've been following your interesting discussion on the pie rule in the other thread and I understand the reasons why you don't like it, namely that it's not actually an even trade and that it disrupts the natural flow of the game. I also understand that it's kind of a waste to use the pie rule if the game already has a scoring system which can be easily adjusted to balance the game with great precission.

The problem with the pie rule in go, IMO, is that there are no viable first moves. Any move on the second line or higher favors black significantly, any move on the first line favors white significantly. Ergo, you cannot compensate for the first move advantage in go with the pie rule, because there is no suitable move to do so. Now you could probably find some balanced position after 3, 4 or 5 moves, but why bother when there is already a perfectly fair and extremely elegant solution in the form of komi?

Quote:
My only issue with komi is the fact that it should be different for players with different skills. For example, in 5x5 Go, good players should set komi at 25 points (the whole board), but for absolute beginners that would be too much. For this reason, I wouldn't use a fixed komi even if I knew the value which made the game balanced at the highest levels of play. I think it's better to let the players negotiate it before the game in this way: first Black suggests a komi, then White may choose to swap sides.

I've often heard the claim that fair komi (here used in the sense of giving both players equal chances) depends on the playing strength of the players, but I've never seen anyone provide even a shred of evidence for this assertion. Your example doesn't work, because a 25 komi game on 5x5 has only two possible outcomes: it's either a tie, or white wins. Black can never win. Under those conditions, any non-perfect black player is at a disadvantage with 25 komi.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #18 Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:27 am
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MarkSteere wrote:
Don't buckle under on the pie/komi issue. Komi is an aesthetic Hiroshima.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #19 Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:28 am
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HermanHiddema wrote:
The problem with the pie rule in go, IMO, is that there are no viable first moves. Any move on the second line or higher favors black significantly, any move on the first line favors white significantly. Ergo, you cannot compensate for the first move advantage in go with the pie rule, because there is no suitable move to do so. Now you could probably find some balanced position after 3, 4 or 5 moves, but why bother when there is already a perfectly fair and extremely elegant solution in the form of komi?
Even 2-7 or 2-10? There's a thread elsewhere on this topic, btw.

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 Post subject: Re: Finite Go variant: Loose #20 Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:49 am
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HermanHiddema wrote:
The problem with the pie rule in go, IMO, is that there are no viable first moves. Any move on the second line or higher favors black significantly, any move on the first line favors white significantly. Ergo, you cannot compensate for the first move advantage in go with the pie rule, because there is no suitable move to do so. Now you could probably find some balanced position after 3, 4 or 5 moves, but why bother when there is already a perfectly fair and extremely elegant solution in the form of komi?

I agree.

HermanHiddema wrote:
Quote:
My only issue with komi is the fact that it should be different for players with different skills. For example, in 5x5 Go, good players should set komi at 25 points (the whole board), but for absolute beginners that would be too much. For this reason, I wouldn't use a fixed komi even if I knew the value which made the game balanced at the highest levels of play. I think it's better to let the players negotiate it before the game in this way: first Black suggests a komi, then White may choose to swap sides.

I've often heard the claim that fair komi (here used in the sense of giving both players equal chances) depends on the playing strength of the players, but I've never seen anyone provide even a shred of evidence for this assertion. Your example doesn't work, because a 25 komi game on 5x5 has only two possible outcomes: it's either a tie, or white wins. Black can never win. Under those conditions, any non-perfect black player is at a disadvantage with 25 komi.

You're actually proving me right. You're saying that 25 komi in 5x5 Go is only fair for perfect players, and that everyone else should use a lower komi. Ergo, fair komi (or, more precisely, "balanced komi") depends on the playing strength of the players.

(It shouldn't be that hard to be a perfect 5x5 Go player, by the way.)

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