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 Post subject: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #1 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 7:46 am 
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An acquaintance of mine recently asked this question on Discord:

"Is it considered cheating, or bad manners, if I have pen and paper next to me and write some moves, variations or just my thoughts on the game during the game while the other player thinks?

This led to a discussion. Someone had been told in 1997 that this was allowed in the USA, provided that the opponent was allowed to see the notes. But it was suggested that the practice might not be permitted under AGA rules any more, since they state that "players may not consult any reference outside their own mind".

It was said in 2006, in the BGJ, that taking notes was OK under BGA rules. The topic was included in Geoff Kaniuk's referee exercises. The situation given was as so:

"A game between shodans had entered the late yose stage. Black counted very carefully, writing down the size of territories on a piece of paper. (...)"

Geoff's judgement (see BGJ 138 https://www.britgo.org/files/bgj/bgj138-1.pdf) was that:

"A player may make notes, but if asked, is obliged to explain the meaning."

What are the modern rulings on note-taking?

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 Post subject: Re: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #2 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 9:08 am 
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Quote:
Study aids During their game or its adjournment, players may not study the game on another board or use any material or machines for study purposes.


https://www.eurogofed.org/egf/tourrules.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #3 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 9:10 am 
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I don't know what updates BGA has made in recent years but it is accurate that it was allowed to take notes if you can explain them to your opponent upon request.

It is forbidden in EGF tournament rules (already quoted above) to use any study aids. Writing down variations to remember them later is clearly a study aid.

Is it cheating or bad manners? It is a rule violation according to the EGF general tournament rules, there are degrees to such things and you would generally be allowed to write down the game but not make other notes. I don't think people are very concerned about notetaking but I think it is a reasonable expectation that taking notes is not allowed. Interestingly, some online platforms don't seem to follow this rule as a default.

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 Post subject: Re: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #4 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 11:09 am 
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I would like to confess something.

In my PETC game vs Italy, I had just bought my first goban. And I played out variations on it during the game. By the rules this is clearly cheating, not sure if I realised at the time. The AI review showed my point loss that game was my lowest ever, though I'm skeptical how much the board variations helped.

As far as I know, it is the only time I have ever cheated in a Go tournament.

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 Post subject: Re: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #5 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 12:35 pm 
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dhu163 wrote:
I would like to confess something.

In my PETC game vs Italy, I had just bought my first goban. And I played out variations on it during the game. By the rules this is clearly cheating, not sure if I realised at the time. The AI review showed my point loss that game was my lowest ever, though I'm skeptical how much the board variations helped.

As far as I know, it is the only time I have ever cheated in a Go tournament.


I won't blame you for your honest confession but to me it would be 100% clear I am cheating. I come from a IRL era, maybe that's why it's intuitively obvious to me.

On the original question.

During a live game, recording your game on paper is fair to me while it can be a calming practice, avoiding rash play. But that goes for any psyhcological device. Recording a game on a computer I like less, because it's more distracting (for both) and as an opponent it's not easy to see what's going on there. Recording with Lizzie/KataGo would be unfair. Recording with any sgf editor would allow for playing out quick variations.

In online games you can't really distract the opponent and they can't see if you cheat or not. Since the game is recorded anyway, I would consider any side activity related to the game somewhat cheating.

In Hikaru one of his team mates was checking a joseki book during tournaments, as a comfort. The stronger team member scolded him for it, while it was allowed: he said it keeps you weak. And I think that goes for cheating in general.

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 Post subject: Re: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #6 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 3:16 pm 
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There are clear standards for this in chess. Recording your moves on paper is not only allowed, but compulsory. (Even at the very highest levels of play, they don't have game recorders like in go. The players write down their own moves.) Any other form of note-taking or electronic device is forbidden.

When I first started playing in chess tournaments, coaches would often recommend writing down your move before playing it on the board, as a final check for blunders. Some years ago (? early 2000s?), FIDE ruled that this is an illegal form of note-taking. Nowadays, you must make your move on the board first, then write it down on the game record.

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 Post subject: Re: Is taking notes at the board allowed?
Post #7 Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2022 9:24 pm 
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If you take notes on paper they will ban your IP! Watch out.


This post by CDavis7M was liked by 2 people: Elom0, xela
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