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 Post subject: Age discrimination in Korean go
Post #1 Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 11:43 am 
Oza

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I hesitate - nay, I shudder at the thought! - to warm up cold rule embers, but this little titbit seems worth the risk.

In 2009 the Korean Go Association successfully applied to join an umbrella organisation for mind sports, but this put them under an obligation to enforce rules strictly. Looking back at this period of a decade or so, it seems that a pattern has emerged: losses for infractions have increased and most of them involve older players (the "seniors").

The four main types of infractions in go are considered to be taking back a move, playing two moves in a row, taking a ko out of turn and playing a move on a prohibited point. How frequent these are in current Korean go, I have no idea, but all these infractions with the exception of "take back" do occur in pro go in general, not often but not rarely enough to excite much attention. And I gather that it is not these types of booboos that are on the increase, anyway.

I haven't seen any figures, but I have seen descriptions of recent examples that are apparently typical of other infractions that have increased.

One example is of a problem well known in amateur tournaments: capturing lots of stones when playing with clocks. Details were lacking in what I read, and I infer that pro practice there may be different from amateur practice here, but it seems a player made a move capturing some stones and (having played a move on the board as per the rules) apparently pressed his clock. Then he proceeded to remove the dead stones. His opponent, however, was short of time and as he was worried his clock would run down, he did not wait for all the dead stones to be removed and made his next move (then pressed his clock). He was adjudged to have infringed the rules and was awarded a loss. I repeat, I have had to infer some elements of this tale. In one way it seems nonsensical - surely you can't leave scope for the opponent to dawdle over removing stones and run your clock down - but this may be the result of the Law of Unintended Consequences. See later.

In another case, a player short of time, and so apparently flustered, made a capture and removed some but not all of the captured stones. When he subsequently continued the game with the board in that state, he was adjudged to have lost. There was a similar case in Japan, which was more amusing because neither the players nor the referee noticed at first. But when the referee some move slater, he backtracked and declared the incomplete capture an illegal move and a loss; see The Incident Room.)

There is a widespread rule that you play a move with the right hand and press the clock with your left (another thorny issue in amateur play). In Korea pro go, in the first instance you get a warning. Do it again and you lose. This has been problematical there for players used either to having game recorders, or to decent time limits and not the hurry-hurry Mickey Mouse time limits so prevalent in recent times.

The next example is a bed of nails made for itself by the KBA. In 2017, they changed the original definition of a move (a 着手) from "when the finger has left the stone" to "when the stone has been placed on the board." (No reference to making removal of captures in either case).

The reason that this has been problem is that many players are used to banging a stone down on the board in an open area and then sliding it into place. This is often one way of showing kiai. This has been the norm in all pro go cultures, and there are some who have liked to vary the procedure by not sliding the stone but flicking it instead. The reason that Koreans changed the rule was to avoid any suspicion, in line with the mind sports charter, that a player was changing his move (i.e. taking it back) once he had seen it on the board.

Now it seems that all, or nearly all, these types of incident have involved senior players (who have spent most of their lives playing on a real board and not with a mouse, and also without Mickey Mouse that in the case of ridiculous time limits). The problem may not be senile decrepitude but simply a case of old habits die hard. The sliding stone issue seems to have caused most outrage, and has been exacerbated by the fact that Cho Chikun (of Korean origin) has played in Korean seniors events and routinely does the fancy slide (accepted as legal in Japan), but he has never been penalised for it.

The fact that this has come up in the Korean press indicates to me (as a journalist used to the way things like this work) that some seniors have been speaking off the record as a way of getting a campaign for the restoration of common sense rolling.

I think we have to hope they succeed. If they don't, the next step in age discrimination may be to have to piddle in a bottle after games. That will be really difficult for some seniors. (And maybe too easy for others - splash, splash!).

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 Post subject: Re: Age discrimination in Korean go
Post #2 Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:10 pm 
Lives with ko

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I fail to understand the "age discrimination" referred to.

John Fairbairn wrote:
There is a widespread rule that you play a move with the right hand and press the clock with your left

Surely you mean playing the move and pressing the clock with the same hand? Playing with one hand and pressing the clock with the other is so ridiculously unfair to the player that doesn't have the timepiece to his weaker side that it should warrant forfeiting the remaining games in the tournament when repeated.


At any rate, there are so many possible irregularities when it comes to making a move that attempting to regulate all of them is futile. In the end we really just need to be able to request that each player makes their moves like everyone else. In that regard this obsession with declaring "illegal moves" to be a loss appears to be counterproductive. You mention that KBA has a practice of allowing a move to be finished before the captures are removed, then while the captures are being removed the opponents clock is running but any move at this stage is illegal -- what? Is this really an accurate description? In that case the move is finished in name only.

The European Go Federation has a very good "General Tournament Rules" that handle most such cases sensibly (if a referee is anywhere to be found):
1. illegal moves are taken back if noticed within 3 moves
2. errors are in general corrected if possible
3. penalties are a last resort and do not default to loss by forfeit

There are probably other strong points, but I always find it amusing that "sportsmanship" is relegated in importance and I have wondered if that is due to poor use of the English language -- something being lost in translation.

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 Post subject: Re: Age discrimination in Korean go
Post #3 Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:51 pm 
Oza

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Age discrimination is caused by creating rules us wrinklies can't cope with. But it's partly an in-joke, anyway, that goes back to uberdudism on L19.

Yes, I was typing too fast I meant playing a move and pressing a clock with opposite hands is not normally allowed. Sorry, but I rarely re-read what I write - a habit that comes from years of having sub-editors to do that for me. I'm also lazy in that I probably rely on memory too much.

I agree the rule about captures apparently in force looks stupid. I didn't say that was the rule. I said I inferred the possibility of such a rule from the limited information I had. I also indicated I might have interpreted wrongly. There may be factors such as politeness being expected, and maybe even the rarity of such large captures in pro go may have caught the rule makers on the hop. I don't know.

Yes, certain Germans at least have their own definition of sportsmanship which differs markedly from that of English speakers (to them it means more like gamesmanship). Just as fair play is routinely misunderstood by foreigners. But threads on those topics have had their turn on L19. Please don't encourage them back again.

I'd agree that the EGF tournament rules start from a good base (i.e. the proper meaning of sportsmanship) but I also rather like the relaxed attitude or pros in Japan. I once took a chess master into a shogi pro tournament to meet a particular pro, and we knelt there chatting at the board (not about the game) for about 20 minutes, clocks still running, and none of the other pros showed they were the least bit put out. As we left and slid the door shut, the chess master just gasped and said, "I can't believe we just did that. If that had happened in a chess tournament we'd have all been thrown out." I was surprised he was surprised.

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 Post subject: Re: Age discrimination in Korean go
Post #4 Posted: Fri Oct 08, 2021 4:06 am 
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I'd certainly be interested in the definitions of »sportsmanship«, »gamesmanship«, »fair play« and maybe »pathological competitiveness«. Different thread?

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 Post subject: Re: Age discrimination in Korean go
Post #5 Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 9:14 pm 
Lives with ko

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Harleqin wrote:
I'd certainly be interested in the definitions of »sportsmanship«, »gamesmanship«, »fair play« and maybe »pathological competitiveness«. Different thread?


It all sounds interesting but I'd guess that most people had a good idea of what these terms mean. I guess it is subject for another thread or two.

John Fairbairn wrote:
I'd agree that the EGF tournament rules start from a good base (i.e. the proper meaning of sportsmanship) but I also rather like the relaxed attitude or pros in Japan. I once took a chess master into a shogi pro tournament to meet a particular pro, and we knelt there chatting at the board (not about the game) for about 20 minutes, clocks still running, and none of the other pros showed they were the least bit put out. As we left and slid the door shut, the chess master just gasped and said, "I can't believe we just did that. If that had happened in a chess tournament we'd have all been thrown out." I was surprised he was surprised.


That seems a little bit overrelaxed! I'd be surprised as well.

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