Life In 19x19

Chinese go - a game of two halves?
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Author:  Bill Spight [ Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chinese go - a game of two halves?

WriterJon wrote:
The maths and analysis of this are a bit beyond me, but untangling the word "primitive" from "simple" might give you another line of reasoning to try and figure out what game was being played with the scores.

In evolutionary biology "primitive" means "similar to the common ancestor," not "simpler."

For example, modern Japanese and American Go rulesets branched from early-20th Century Japanese Go.

No. Modern AGA rules are derived from modern Chinese go. I know, because I wrote the article in the AGA Journal in 1977 about modern Chinese go that set the stage for the rules that were later adopted. I introduced the idea of pass stones, which I called bookkeeping stones, to leave the same number of stones of each player on the board during counting phase, so that the area (Chinese) score could be counted by counting territory, which is what American players were used to, from Japanese go. I do not think that I was the first person to think of pass stones. :)

WriterJon wrote:
To work out the ancient ruleset you would need to look at the entire pool of modern and historical rulesets that are available and trace the branches of relatedness where we can. This might start to give a family tree that can point towards some likely ruleset for the original.

There is no written rule set before 1949. As for ancient rules, the earliest known description of go suggests that stones were counted. The earliest known scored game records are consistent with counting territory with a group tax. Since one form of stone counting that persisted into the 20th century had a group tax, it was once thought that a group tax was a feature of stone counting, but we now know that that is not the case. A group tax is also a feature of no pass go with territory counting. It is unclear whether a group tax was a feature of the most ancient form of go. The text is ambiguous, at best.

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