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 Post subject: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in seki #1 Posted: Tue Oct 05, 2021 10:55 pm
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Continuing from yesterday as promised. Some logical reasons behind the "no territory in seki" rule (which is more than just a capricious tradition). This is only one example, the general problem is the dynamic nature and potential in sekis.

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

Assume a territory scoring game (pure territory, without pass stones), with a thousand year ko like above. If neither player wants to convert to direct ko, the difference here to a plain endgame ko is that this ko can only be won and filled by B (the expected outcome, creating seki).

This one-sidedness implies that B will make the last ko capture in the ko, which is 1 point better for him than if W were the last. W cannot fight the ko since he cannot fill it, and he also cannot leave it open even with excess ko threats, as B can retake and fill after passing a few times (when W runs out of threats, resuming the game if/whenever W also passes and stops it). The final position and the score remains well defined - because B is scorewise interested in resolving (winning the ko and making seki), and because W cannot prevent that.

But what happens if B doesn't want to fill? Suppose territory were counted in seki. Now B would be actually interested in winning the ko but leaving it open. A B ko stone is alive (can be replaced by uncapturable stone at will). So B could get 1 extra point for the "surrounded territory" in the ko if the game ended with his open ko.

But if B doesn't fill he would lose the advantage of being the only one who can do so. Now W could also retake a bit later, destroying B "territory", gaining a point (two with the prisoner). A W ko stone is dead, but this doesn't bother W.

This would lead to both sides creating/destroying that point of "territory" (plus a prisoner each time), through numerous resumptions. Since the game cannot reasonably end while a player has a desirable and score-improving move left, in a half point game this could create something like a draw on repetition - but a rather unhealthy one at that. The final position and the score would be undefined.

Area scoring is unaffected, so this would also make a behavior difference between the territory and the area game - violating the principle of reasonable equality betwen them. Hybrid scoring rules (territory phase + area phase with pass stones) also don't need seki exception because of the area phase (but can give even bigger bonus for B).

Last edited by jann on Sun Nov 14, 2021 1:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #2 Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 12:01 am
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The above was only a theoretical possibility that could only occur in a mannenko if territory were counted in seki. Then the normally one-sided ko could become zero-sided. That is, B could also become unable to fill (if that would lose by -0.5) - while leaving open would still give him hope for +0.5 (with the "surrounded territory").

A zero-sided ko (unwinnable for both) would be very challenging for go rules. Neither can fill, but they can flip-flop it and oscillate the winner (in close games, and depending on rules). The interesting thing is: even without points in seki such ko positions are actually possible.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #3 Posted: Mon Nov 08, 2021 9:00 am
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The problem in the above thousand-year ko is not really counting territory in seki, so much as the way resumptions are done / the life and death definition itself. For example Lasker-Maas rules are territory scoring rules that would not have this problem: after resuming to the second phase, black just fills and closes the ko, gaining the extra point and that's it, the fight ends, no "loop" happens.

For example, under Chinese or AGA rules, the point of territory in a final ko can typically be counted as extra territory, if left open until after all dame are filled (this is implicit, because then, once there is no more dame on the board, actually filling the ko does not change the score, and thus we can "imagine" that it was just left open and the point of territory counted directly, to the same effect. Meanwhile in AGA rules counting territory, it can be seen by the fact that the opponent is forced to pass to avoid filling self territory, but then black can fill the ko and force the opponent to pass again, cashing one pass-stone in the process which is the equivalent of keeping that point of territory of the still open ko). This is the "under the scenes" explanation of why Chinese rules dame fights exist: this is explained in more detail in https://forums.online-go.com/t/is-an-en ... nese-rules

So in all these other rules which count territory in seki (Chinese, AGA, Lasker-Maas), the final result is simply that black takes and fills the ko after all dames have been filled, and rightfully gets the territory point.

Even under Japanese rules with hypothetical play ko rules, but modified so that points in seki are counted, the result would be similar in a world without resumptions: black takes and leaves the ko open, and then life and death analysis gives him a live group with one point of territory (if seki is no longer a special case). The resumption rule where the normal turn-order can get flipped is the one at the core of this loop in my opinion, not really the "no points in seki" rule.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #4 Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2021 2:31 pm
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santo wrote:
The problem in the above thousand-year ko is not really counting territory in seki, so much as the way resumptions are done / the life and death definition itself. For example Lasker-Maas rules are territory scoring rules that would not have this problem

You may have missed what I wrote about this (around "hybrid scoring rules"). Area rules, or hybrid territory+area rules are not affected. The issue would be specifically for pure territory scoring, without pass stone playout.

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Even under Japanese rules with hypothetical play ko rules, but modified so that points in seki are counted, the result would be similar in a world without resumptions: black takes and leaves the ko open, and then life and death analysis gives him a live group with one point of territory (if seki is no longer a special case). The resumption rule where the normal turn-order can get flipped is the one at the core of this loop in my opinion, not really the "no points in seki" rule.

As I explained in the first post, this would not be possible. There ARE resumptions in go, and the turn order doesn't matter here.

Even if W cannot fill the ko, he can prevent B leaving it open (resuming whenever necessary) by taking back, then passing after B's forced pass. As long as B doesn't want to fill, W always gets to take back (regardless of who plays first in resumption).

The problem would be specifically with ending the game under such rules. If the score could change back and forth +-1 point with each resumption there would be no natural stopping point, no well defined end position and final score, just an unhealthy repetition.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #5 Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2021 5:49 pm
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"pure territory scoring", I see. We just have different terminology. I have always seen in the west (Sensei library and such) "territory scoring" to mean not Japanese rules, but any scoring method which normally (apart from rare positions) counts territory+prisoners (thus, is not subject to dame-parity, score varies by 1 point instead of two, etc), no matter the precise ruleset. So what you call "hybrid" probably counts as a territory ruleset to me, but this is just terminology, and not so important.

We are in agreement, as far as I can see. I felt that stressing these other points was useful for other readers, so that we have a more complete picture / different ways that the position can be analyzed as a reference. It is rarely "a single rule" that causes problems, but often the interaction of many rules, which is implied by "the context of Japanese traditional practice".

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #6 Posted: Sun Nov 14, 2021 1:18 am
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Yes, a territory phase followed by an area phase conducted with pass stones is still often called territory scoring, mostly becase of the way the final score is calculated. This is a bit inaccurate (the area phase changes a lot a things, one-sided dame etc.) but I tend to add "pure" to avoid misunderstandings (edited the first post now).

As long as you have an area phase this problem doesn't arise. Not only area scoring gives the same point whether B fills or not (no incentive to leave open so no repetition), you don't even have real L/D (the one-sided ko stone being alive is the root of difficulties). But as mentioned in the second post, similar 0-sided ko situations can still arise in other ways - and break pretty much every ruleset.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #7 Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:29 am
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This post got me thinking about something that I had never considered before. In modern Japanese rules this position would be considered seki if left as final position with the ko still open, no matter who took last. So white would prefer to take last and leave the ko open (white can't fill) to get the last capture in the ko (one point better than letting black fill ko and create seki).

If I understood you correctly, then resumptions that lift the ko ban (do Japanese Resumptions lift the ko ban?) are the reason why this mannen ko does not lead to a "dame fight" similar to those in Chinese rules: to keep the ko open white would need infinite ko threats, as black can resume as many times as he wants.

But then the question arises: what happens if white has infinite ko threats? For example, assume that somewhere else on the board white dies in double ko such as:

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

Since white's group's size is arbitrary in the mannen ko, we can assume that these infinite ko threats are large enough to fight for this one last point but small enough that white still cannot start the mannen ko and win it.

This infinite ko threats are not unremovable, but black needs to lose one point to remove them, so if black does white's goal is achieved, and white gets the extra point. Thus white can hold any number of resumptions, even if those lift the koban, and once black takes the mannen ko, white executes a threat and then retakes, leaving black no option but to pass. Black moves during resumption are useless, and every single resumption ends with white having taken the ko. Would white be allowed to keep the extra prisoner point in this case? I can't imagine any other ruling to be reasonable.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #8 Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:33 am
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And a natural followup question in the same spirit: if the point of that last capture in the ko would decide the game, and there is a double-ko-seki somewhere else (but say, still smaller than the groups involved in the mannen ko, so that the double-ko-seki is not a large enough ko threat to allow players to go for the kill in the mannen ko), would the game end without result?

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #9 Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:22 am
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If I remember correctly, the 1979 WAGC rules say that "in a mannenko like this, the player that can fill the ko and create seki MUST do so at the end of the game", so in that case none of this applies. But the 1989 Japanese rules do not have any such special ruling for this as far as I know (the 1979, like the 1949 rules, have lots of special-cases and no "general principle").

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #10 Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:42 am
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santo wrote:
If I understood you correctly, then resumptions that lift the ko ban (do Japanese Resumptions lift the ko ban?) are the reason why this mannen ko does not lead to a "dame fight" similar to those in Chinese rules: to keep the ko open white would need infinite ko threats, as black can resume as many times as he wants.

Yes, and this (resumption many times) is actually necessary for normal mannenko resolution where one side has excess threats (this actually happened to me a few months ago).

As for the ko ban I think it is already lifted by the stopping passes that precede the resumtion.

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But then the question arises: what happens if white has infinite ko threats?

This is something I planned to write about, but there didn't seem to be interest. I think this is a special case where moonshine life is alive even in Japanese rules.

Unlike in Korean rules where the normal moonshine ruling is achieved by the regional or local view on L/D (and where, consequently, combined/local moonshine is known to be alive), Japanese rules do hypothetical play with the special pass-for-ko rule that ensures moonshine life dies, both in remote and local/combined case.

But J89 offers no option to play an actual game phase with those stricter ko rules. This means moonshine life is dead, but still uncapturable in actual play. OTOH for the reasons shown above there is no territory in sekis, thus dead stones are not removable from there (only by actual play). So if a moonshine position can fit into a seki, the rules offer no way to deal with it - and I think the one-sided corner ko in a mannenko matches that exactly.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #11 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 5:59 am
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Fascinating! The idea of "moonshine life within a seki would not be removable and thus it would become part of the seki = 0 points (or null game)" is genius.

I've been thinking some more about this "resumptions are important for Japanese rules analysis", which I was not aware of before (mannen ko is now the only position that I know with this property, as normally the "hypothetical play life and death analysis" is enough that both players can force their best endgame position, then pass and end game and claim the result in hypothetical play).

The possibility of resumptions with the ko ban lifted is similar to the rules saying that the game end with three pases (or equivalently, two consecutive passes "on the same position", so that if and only if a koban is on the board, in that case the first pass does not count because it changed the position, lifting the ko ban). When superko is not used, the main non-traditional effect of such a rule is that a single double-ko-seki by itself is enough to void the game (it is impossible to force the end of the game), and even a simple double ko like the one from my previous example can be enough to void the game, if the extra point(s) that must be lost to remove the infinite ko threats is game deciding. Neither of these alone can create a no-result in Japanese/Chinese rules (although they could in combination with some other position).

But arbitrary resumptions could lead to a similar effect: players could resume again and again and make a capture-exchange in the double ko. Even more, depending on how carefully the opponent of the repeating player plays, two different "final positions" might appear, so not all the resumptions are ending with exactly the same board. These are equivalent as the difference would just be which "side" of the double ko is open, but nevertheless it is confusing to have an inter-resumption-cycle with more than one final-position occurring. How is it decided when to definitely stop, and which of those two to use for scoring? Maybe in some more complex case the different positions among the long inter-resumption cycle might lead to different results in the game. Is there a procedure for this? Is it up to the referee to decide whatever they deem best? Evidently "null game" if a "long cycle spanning across resumptions" like these emerges is not the normal ruling (otherwise it would be equivalent to the three pass rule).

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #12 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 9:35 am
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santo wrote:
I've been thinking some more about this "resumptions are important for Japanese rules analysis", which I was not aware of before (mannen ko is now the only position that I know with this property

A simpler one is 1EyeFlaw. But I think the option to resume playing is a natural part of the game, regardless of rules used (and passes lift bans).

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But arbitrary resumptions could lead to a similar effect: players could resume again and again and make a capture-exchange in the double ko. Even more, depending on how carefully the opponent of the repeating player plays, two different "final positions" might appear, so not all the resumptions are ending with exactly the same board. These are equivalent as the difference would just be which "side" of the double ko is open, but nevertheless it is confusing to have an inter-resumption-cycle with more than one final-position occurring. How is it decided when to definitely stop, and which of those two to use for scoring? Maybe in some more complex case the different positions among the long inter-resumption cycle might lead to different results in the game. Is there a procedure for this?

Good questions. Some of these also came up in the examples section of sensei's RR page. First, I think an important (unwritten) assumption is that although several resumptions are possible, one can not resume the game an infinite times (in practice).

But even with finite resumptions, cycles spanning stops remain a question. In particular, it seems very hard to get the correct ruling for ALL three of examples 1+2+6 of RR. (Most current rulesets have problems in example 6, and superko in 1 as well.)

What is a true final position? Two approaches seem possible for answering this.

With superko, since repetition is forbidden, you just need positions that are stable under superko. So double ko seki is a stable seki and stoppable not because of passes but because of this stability (with the two stable positions score-wise equivalent - luckily).

With normal ko, I think the first idea could be that two successive passes, if happen periodically and infinitely, should be enough to claim an end position and reject an infinite cycle. This works for things like mannenko or example 1, but example 6 shows this condition is not sufficient. OC in that case, the stop positions are not equivalent score-wise, which hints at a possible refinement. (But example 9, which I yet to finish analysis of, remains particularly challenging here.)

I doubt actual rulesets thought a lot about these questions theoretically. CJK rules are often incomplete, even for more practical things. Superko breaks any cycle, without worrying whether that is correct or not (1EyeFlaw and others). With RR you have minimal superko as a possible answer.

Last edited by jann on Tue Nov 23, 2021 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #13 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:06 am
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Very interesting, thank you.

Just a little nitpick: I think you misunderstood me when I said that mannen ko is the only one I know so far where resumptions are important (assuming players play correctly to try to win) to get the correct Japanese result.

When you say "A simpler one is 1EyeFlaw.", I do not see how adding resumptions changes anything relevant to that position, compared to a hypothetical Japanese rule that said "there are no resumptions allowed, ever: after two passes, the game ends and is immediately scored according to Japanese Rules life and death hypothetical play analysis" (presumably by the referee). In that position, all white 1eyed-stones die in hypothetical analysis, which is the correct status. The same is true of moonshine life and other such positions. Similarly, leaving a direct ko unresolved would make the ko stone dead (and presumably its neighboring group seki, but not the opponent group): that is much worse than just filling the ko, so still the player is made to fill the ko and not leave it open, even with excess ko threats.

However, in the previous hypothetical world where Japanese life and death is ruthlessly applied after the first two-passes and resumptions are not allowed, in the case of a mannen ko it is in fact useful to win the final fight to leave the ko open (and that changes once "any number of resumptions, at the referee discretion while the players are not uselessly looping" are allowed). Mannen ko is as I say, the first time I've seen this actual need, as opposed to modeling things by the theoretical "no resumptions at all" world (even if in practice, resumptions are allowed to reduce disputes by allowing some resolution to be played when possible).

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #14 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:37 am
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You are right, hypothetical play can often substitute resumption. But I think it only makes sense if it is closely tied to what could actually happen if the game would continue (without worrying of possible score changes by cleanup play). For example, I consider the moonshine-in-seki case a minor flaw of Japanese rules (continued actual play differs from hypothetical play, no actual game phase with the new ko rules). In any case, example 6 (generalizing the 0-sided ko mentioned in post #2 above) is another case where actual resumption is necessary.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #15 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:09 am
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Do you happen to know how the position from the original post would be handled under modern Chinese Rules, if there was a double ko seki somewhere else on the board? It would seem to count to me precisely as an example of "moonshine life" (of, say, the lone white ko stone): White can never resolve the ko, can only keep it open by using ko threats. Black could at any time make a move and then a second one to close it, which is in their best interests under area scoring. This is exactly like moonshine life! So as moonshine life is given explicitly as an example of not allowed repetition, I would tend to believe that Chinese rules says that black can get the two points and fill the ko, even if there is a double ko seki. Is there a precedent? Do you think this is a safe assumption, or might a Chinese Referee rule it differently?

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #16 Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:38 am
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I also think that is a valid example of moonshine life, and should ideally be treated as such (hence J89 flaw in not practically doing so). With Chinese rules, I wouldn't bet on whether a given referee would recognize this or rule a triple ko. The problem is those rules never even attempted a logical definition of which repetition is moonshine and which is real triple ko, so it is probably up to the individual judging it.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #17 Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:54 pm
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santo wrote:
If I remember correctly, the 1979 WAGC rules say that "in a mannenko like this, the player that can fill the ko and create seki MUST do so at the end of the game", so in that case none of this applies. But the 1989 Japanese rules do not have any such special ruling for this as far as I know (the 1979, like the 1949 rules, have lots of special-cases and no "general principle").

I correct myself: the WAGC 1979 rules just say (emphasis in upper case is mine):

"(4) In a thousand-year ko, if neither side is willing to start the ko, the player WHO IS ABLE by capturing and connecting to make the position a seki shall do so."

So it is not at all clear to me that they would apply to the situation at hand (because the player is not able, as his opponent will use infinite ko threats to deny such opportunity). Thus it seems that versions prior to the 1989 rules remained ambiguous about this.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #18 Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:17 pm
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I think the WAGC explicit mannenko mention was a J49 remnant, from the Segoe-Takahashi dispute, but probably not really necessary anymore. WAGC rules were before the pass-for-ko rule, but after passes become full moves, and the latter seems enough for normal mannenko resolution (OC moonshine-in-seki is different).

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #19 Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2021 5:59 am
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Upon thinking about this position again... I now think that it has quite an important difference with the standard moonshine life. So, since there is no "official" definition of what is moonshine life, it is open to interpretation whether this difference is enough to make it not moonshine life, and thus enough that the precedent in the Chinese rules no longer apply (Chinese rules show examples of the "standard" moonshine life explicitly, saying that it should be considered dead and the ko unfightable due to the repetition).

The difference is that standard moonshine life has the following fairly strong property (which we might choose to take as the definition of moonshine life, not being there an official definition): The defender can avoid their group being captured, if they have an infinite supply of ko threats, which can be used indefinitely to establish an infinite sequence. If however, the defender is given an infinite supply of ko threats, but is instructed to "resolve" the position, so that after playing for as long as they want under these conditions (being granted the power of infinite ko threats, a power which their opponent does not share) they have the obligation to eventually say "ok, it is resolved now", and give up their superpower, then the group cannot live.

This basically boils down to the fact that in a (standard) moonshine life position, there is absolutely no way for the defender to create a new position achieving life independent of ko threats, EVEN if given INFINITE, ARBITRARILY LARGE ko threats as a help in doing so. There is simply nothing to do in the standard moonshine life examples: the one and only possible thing to do in the position is to keep the ko open, which can only be done while there are ko threats.

In a mannen ko however, this is not the case: if white is given large enough ko threats, they can simply turn the mannen ko into a direct ko, and win the ko fight. After that the position is resolved.

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 Post subject: Re: A piece of the rules puzzle - mannenko and territory in #20 Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:05 am
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The argument would then be that in the diagram in the original post, the lone white stone is "more alive" than in standard moonshine life: having large ko threats only temporarily would be enough to avoid its capture, while in standard moonshine life that would never be enough, and only a PERMANENT supply of ko threats can avoid capture.

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