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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #21 Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 8:53 am 
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By the way, chess has been getting younger over the years as well, for many of the same reasons (such as the immense amount of playing experience youngsters can pick up over the internet). These days, when a player continues to perform at the top level well into his 40s (like Anand), it is considered notable. Perhaps go has been getting younger even faster; it's hard to come up with a good quantitative metric for comparison. But I'd be wary of making generalizations about the two games based mostly on personal impressions.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #22 Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:46 am 
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Brooklyn wrote
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If you watch current games regularly, this is very obvious. It is almost standard for these days for a game with a difference of only 4.5 to get resigned. Kang Dongyun is well known for almost always resigning if he's losing rather than finishing it out. I remember being very surprised to see a game record where he lost by 3.5 as it was the first time I saw him finish out a game where he lost by more than 0.5 or 1.5. This is not a case of me stating an opinion, this is very well accepted fact.


This is anecdotal and not evidence for anything. Every generation (and country) has had players who resign earlier or later than their peers. Without looking anything up I can take you back as far as the 1930s: Miyasaka Shinji was prone to resign if he fell behind by a small amount. Sakata didn't like resigning and several times played on even when over 20 points behind, even in title games. We even have claims that Otake Hideo would resign games if he made bad shape!

It makes much more sense to look for an explanation for the change in number of resigned games (if true) within the conditions under which the game is played. The apparent coincidence of the change with the rise in short time limits and with the rise of young players is no proof of cause and effect, but it's a good place to start.

Incidentally, I also don't accept the alleged embourgeoisement of go as a reason for the upturn in Korean go (or in China). I suspect it's only a factor in accelerating the rise. The initial impetus had to come from elsewhere, and in fact from the fledgeling pro community itself. Cho Nam-ch'eol had laid the ground work, and the likes of the Japanese-trained Kim In, Ha Ch'an-seok and Yun Ki-hyeon ensured that a decent standard of play was maintained, but it was the return of Cho Hun-hyeon from Japan that attracted major sponsors. The fact that the Japanese were then still top dogs and so were the target to beat played nicely into nationalist feelings (and let us not forget that Cho himself suffered from these, especially during his air force days, so to say it wasn't present is bunkum). It was only when these players and their sponsors had done their work that the middle classes could even begin to think about setting pro go up as a career path for their sprogs. In China the equivalent process, also driven by a "let's beat the Japanese 9-dans" slogan among the pros, was provided by the state.

I would accept that the talent pools that subsequently became available did then come into play as a major growth factor, but it is still a case of jumping on the bandwagon as opposed to creating it.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #23 Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:32 pm 
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dfan wrote:
By the way, chess has been getting younger over the years as well, for many of the same reasons (such as the immense amount of playing experience youngsters can pick up over the internet). These days, when a player continues to perform at the top level well into his 40s (like Anand), it is considered notable. Perhaps go has been getting younger even faster; it's hard to come up with a good quantitative metric for comparison. But I'd be wary of making generalizations about the two games based mostly on personal impressions.
The age of top competitors also fluctuates. I looked at top ratings, and in January 1995, 6 of top 48 chess players were teenagers. Still less than today's top go players (here are 7, and the list is probably not complete: Ke Jie, Shin Jinseo, Mi Yuting, Li Qingjang, Huang Yunsong, Byun Sangil. Maybe also Gu Zihao, and surely one or two others).

Based on several current top players in their early-mid 20s (Carlsen, Caruana, So, Giri, Karjakin) I had thought if I looked around in the 2008-2016 period I might find some other good periods, but other than Carlsen reaching #2 as a teenager, I didn't find much.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #24 Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:58 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Brooklyn wrote
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If you watch current games regularly, this is very obvious. It is almost standard for these days for a game with a difference of only 4.5 to get resigned. Kang Dongyun is well known for almost always resigning if he's losing rather than finishing it out. I remember being very surprised to see a game record where he lost by 3.5 as it was the first time I saw him finish out a game where he lost by more than 0.5 or 1.5. This is not a case of me stating an opinion, this is very well accepted fact.


This is anecdotal and not evidence for anything. Every generation (and country) has had players who resign earlier or later than their peers. Without looking anything up I can take you back as far as the 1930s: Miyasaka Shinji was prone to resign if he fell behind by a small amount. Sakata didn't like resigning and several times played on even when over 20 points behind, even in title games. We even have claims that Otake Hideo would resign games if he made bad shape!

It makes much more sense to look for an explanation for the change in number of resigned games (if true) within the conditions under which the game is played. The apparent coincidence of the change with the rise in short time limits and with the rise of young players is no proof of cause and effect, but it's a good place to start.

Incidentally, I also don't accept the alleged embourgeoisement of go as a reason for the upturn in Korean go (or in China). I suspect it's only a factor in accelerating the rise. The initial impetus had to come from elsewhere, and in fact from the fledgeling pro community itself. Cho Nam-ch'eol had laid the ground work, and the likes of the Japanese-trained Kim In, Ha Ch'an-seok and Yun Ki-hyeon ensured that a decent standard of play was maintained, but it was the return of Cho Hun-hyeon from Japan that attracted major sponsors. The fact that the Japanese were then still top dogs and so were the target to beat played nicely into nationalist feelings (and let us not forget that Cho himself suffered from these, especially during his air force days, so to say it wasn't present is bunkum). It was only when these players and their sponsors had done their work that the middle classes could even begin to think about setting pro go up as a career path for their sprogs. In China the equivalent process, also driven by a "let's beat the Japanese 9-dans" slogan among the pros, was provided by the state.

I would accept that the talent pools that subsequently became available did then come into play as a major growth factor, but it is still a case of jumping on the bandwagon as opposed to creating it.


This is anecdotal and not evidence for anything. Every generation (and country) has had players who dominated more than their peers. Without looking anything up I can take you back as far as the 1950s: Wu Qingyuan was able to beat the top players of the time down to handicap!

The apparent coincidence of the appearance of Cho Hunhyun with the rise of Korean go is no proof of cause and effect. It makes much more sense to look for an explanation involving the "embourgeoisement" of the population.

See? It's not so hard to be difficult.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #25 Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:09 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
This is anecdotal and not evidence for anything. Every generation (and country) has had players who resign earlier or later than their peers. Without looking anything up I can take you back as far as the 1930s: Miyasaka Shinji was prone to resign if he fell behind by a small amount. Sakata didn't like resigning and several times played on even when over 20 points behind, even in title games. We even have claims that Otake Hideo would resign games if he made bad shape!


Fair enough, I will concede that my assertion was based primarily on casual observation and is not a hard proof.

I'd like to point out however that I clearly talking about a very specific type of resignation - one that occurs in the late end game, with only a small number of obvious moves remaining, and the resigning player trailing by a small margin. Judging by the examples given above, you seem to have the understanding that I am talking about a wider range of resignations.

Based on my casual observations of pro games in the past, the outcomes of +2.5 to +5.5 were often played to the final move, resulting in a W+2.5 or B+5.5 result.

Based on my casual observations of pro games recently, the outcomes of games where pro commentators say that the margin is only 2.5 to 5.5 points is often resigned in the latter stages of the end game when the losing player could have played out a few more moves and lost by a few points rather than by resignation.

I also distinctly remember pro commentators mentioning this behavior in the past so that added to the confident manner in which I made this statement. Do I have a tape recording or do I remember the exact commentator and date when this comment was made? I do not, so if that is the bar to convince you, then I must admit I fall short and we must agree to disagree.

John Fairbairn wrote:
Incidentally, I also don't accept the alleged embourgeoisement of go as a reason for the upturn in Korean go (or in China). I suspect it's only a factor in accelerating the rise. The initial impetus had to come from elsewhere, and in fact from the fledgeling pro community itself. Cho Nam-ch'eol had laid the ground work, and the likes of the Japanese-trained Kim In, Ha Ch'an-seok and Yun Ki-hyeon ensured that a decent standard of play was maintained, but it was the return of Cho Hun-hyeon from Japan that attracted major sponsors. The fact that the Japanese were then still top dogs and so were the target to beat played nicely into nationalist feelings (and let us not forget that Cho himself suffered from these, especially during his air force days, so to say it wasn't present is bunkum). It was only when these players and their sponsors had done their work that the middle classes could even begin to think about setting pro go up as a career path for their sprogs. In China the equivalent process, also driven by a "let's beat the Japanese 9-dans" slogan among the pros, was provided by the state.

I would accept that the talent pools that subsequently became available did then come into play as a major growth factor, but it is still a case of jumping on the bandwagon as opposed to creating it.


Statement 1: Japanese Go played a crucial role in the development of Korean and Chinese Go. Without the foundation that Japanese Go built, Korean and Chinese Go would not be close to where it is today.

Statement 2: The development of Korean and Chinese Go was driven "to a large degree" by "nationalism" and an urge to "beat the Japanese"

I completely agree with statement one and totally disagree with statement two. Two completely different conclusions that you are conflating. The bandwagon that you are talking about is Japanese Go as a whole that is described in statement one. The love of the game, a drive to be the best at what you love (regardless of the nationality of the opponent) and financial rewards are in my opinion the primary motivating factors for any Go professional, regardless of nationality. The urge to beat the Japanese is so far distantly behind that it isn't even on the map. Again, my opinion and not a scientific proof.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #26 Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:00 am 
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The love of the game, a drive to be the best at what you love (regardless of the nationality of the opponent) and financial rewards are in my opinion the primary motivating factors for any Go professional, regardless of nationality. The urge to beat the Japanese is so far distantly behind that it isn't even on the map. Again, my opinion and not a scientific proof.


I share your opinion - for individuals. But you know I was talking about the institutions (pro guilds, sponsors, state) that make it possible for them to play. These entities are driven by different urges. Today it's now a case of Japanese sponsors coming in or making changes to catch up with the Chinese. The lack of these entities in western go also illustrates what happens when they don't exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #27 Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:25 am 
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To put more flesh on this business of more resignations:

I took some snapshots of GoGoD database games for 1996, 2006 and 2016. There appears to have been a drastic shift of some sort.

In 1996 (1905 games) 17.1% of games ended in a counted result between 2.5 and 5.5 inclusive.
In 2006 (2854 games) it was 14.4%.
In 2016 (3413 games) it 8.6%.

It seems that this change was reflected in more resignations rather than in higher scores.

In 1996 and 2016 the number of resigned games with fewer than 150 moves was almost identical (23.5% and 23.7%).

But in 1996 48% of resigned games were resigned before move 180 whereas in 2016 it was 62.8% - again a rather marked changed.

I think we all agreed before that this sort of change had taken place, but in my case it's a bigger change than I had expected.

I still don't know the reason. I suggested before that we looked at changed time limits, a change in go style or a change in the age profile. If I understand correctly Brooklyn rejects all these reasons in favour of a behavioural shift, players simply choosing to resign earlier. I suppose changes in fashion can explain anything, but my inclination is to say that's a cop out. My attention is grabbed first (but inconclusively) by two things: the big increase in resignations during the last decade which was also the decade that saw more short games, and the higher incidence of Chinese games nowadays.

Anyway, now that we have some figures, I'm even more interested to hear other opinions.


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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #28 Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:45 pm 
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Brooklyn wrote:

Statement 1: Japanese Go played a crucial role in the development of Korean and Chinese Go. Without the foundation that Japanese Go built, Korean and Chinese Go would not be close to where it is today.

Statement 2: The development of Korean and Chinese Go was driven "to a large degree" by "nationalism" and an urge to "beat the Japanese"

I completely agree with statement one and totally disagree with statement two. Two completely different conclusions that you are conflating. The bandwagon that you are talking about is Japanese Go as a whole that is described in statement one. The love of the game, a drive to be the best at what you love (regardless of the nationality of the opponent) and financial rewards are in my opinion the primary motivating factors for any Go professional, regardless of nationality. The urge to beat the Japanese is so far distantly behind that it isn't even on the map. Again, my opinion and not a scientific proof.

Here is a short excerpt from a book by Nie Weiping describing his development as a go player:
'Nie Weiping On Go' wrote:
Chen continued, saying that "weiqi was invented in China It was introduced into Japan before the Tang Dynasty,. In Japan weiqi skill blossomed and even surpassed that of the Chinese. There are now dozens of Japanese 9 dan players. They have defeated our Chinese players with ease, even giving a two stone handicap. This clashes with our international status. I once asked a Japanese 9 dan. 'In your opinion. how soon do you think the Chinese can catch up with you guys'? In ten years? He replied, China has a lot of people. so that might be possible.' However. when that same player came to Hong Kong later, he said, 'There is no way that the Chinese can catch up with the Japanese in twenty years.' " Chen sighed, and then continued, "China is the birth place of weiqi, with a long history and a lot of people. Today. we represent the new China under Socialism. As our country prospers. our weiqi skill should also blossom. We must develop our weiqi skill quickly, and catch up with Japan. I have asked for permission from Chairman Mao and Prime Minister Zhou Enlai to pursue this. and both of them approve."

Chen then stroked Nie's head with a smile and asked, "Can we surpass the Japanese?"
Nie replied. "We can. We must"
Chen then asked the older players, "Do you think we can catch up with them in ten years?"
All thc older players nodded, agreeing with Chen. Guo Tisheng answered "If we try hard, we can do it in ten years, but we need to train the young players"
Chen turned to Nie and Jibo saying, "The job of carrying on and developing weiqi skill lies on your shoulders! You should study hard, beat the Japanese 9 dans and bring honor to your country!"' Chen's remarks left an indelible memory in Nie's young mind. He began to believe them; he must surpass the Japanese! He expressed his resolve to Chen by saying, "l will study hard and bring honor to China'"
"Go for it,'" Chen said, giving a thumbs up sign to Nie and adding encouragingly. "l will take you to see Chairman Mao after you beat a Japanese 9 dan."
Nie glanced at his brother, feeling that he was the luckiest person on earth.
Chen preceded to talk to Guo Tisheng and Guo Xuchu. "Both of you should help these two young players. In order to surpass Japan. we must carefully analyze and study the top Japanese players' games. Try your best to get all their game results. We should concentrate on their strategy. We have to know our opponents before we can hope for victory.'"

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 Post subject: Re: Where are go's golden oldies?
Post #29 Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:55 pm 
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daal wrote:
Here is a short excerpt from a book by Nie Weiping describing his development as a go player:


It seems doubtful that this was his own writing. Nevertheless it does show that those on high can invest in national success - Soviet Chess was not an isolated case. It's unclear to me what the reality of South Korean or Chinese government intervention was.

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