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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #61 Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:00 pm 
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I'm flattering myself that a cooler response isn't a total waste of time. I saw your response to Jasiek as both insulting and inconsistent.

As far as it goes, you're right that you haven't said that human rights are nonsense. You have the advantage here: calling them a religion is clearly insulting, but so vague that you can say your opponents miss the point. I thought you might have meant that belief in human rights is a dogma that people hold with no good reason--that if someone is talking about human rights, they are probably just spouting nonsense. If the problem is just that human rights advocates get carried away on the board, then what you really mean is no bible-thumpers on the board, not no religion. In any case, one-liners rarely communicate subtle messages, and you'll have trouble complaining that your audience heard a different insult than the one you meant to convey.

The inconsistency that I saw is that you have a variety of opinions about legalism and logic in Go that are just as open to the kind of casual dismissal that I thought I saw you applying to human rights. I spoke about tradition, but not in the sense of "adhering to past rules, come what may." Really, I am thinking of a variety of claims you make about there being a distinctive Oriental way of thinking, including respect for authority and community, with a de-emphasis on stating rules and norms in a logically precise way. In that sense, adhering to Japanese rules in lieu of the kind Jasiek would propose is fine because traditional Oriental values accomodate a ruleset that is gappy, or requires interpretation by a respected authority.

I don't expect you to remember every (any? :)) word that I write, but I'm closer to you than Jasiek when it comes to rules, assuming I understand your position. That is, I respect efforts to investigate the logical consequences of various rule-sets (I know you've said this to Jasiek) and respect attempts to make rules that are easily understood. On the other hand, I think that you can't prove that one set of rules must be accepted by pounding the table and insisting that they are logical, or even by proving that there are circumstances where the "inferior" set of rules issues no clear verdict. I guess I personally (and I'm unsure whether you agree on this) would like to see some sort of simplified rules adopted. But I think that the reasons that I have for that aren't self-evident ones that anyone has to agree with. And honestly, I'm not that exercised by the question of rules. My biggest bugbear in the discussion is apocalyptic claims about how the Japanese rules will leave us all brain damaged via mishandled triple kos.

Now, several people on these boards will hear this any think "how on Earth can tradition or deference to authority be a substitute for clear rules that avoid needless conflict? Now that's a religion. I can offer you a cost-benefit analysis. Simpler rules! Fewer disputes! Logical exactitude!" And I think they'd be on about equal footing with calling Human Rights a religion. You're more moderate, but you're still showing your religion on the boards.

=========
(boring "he said, she said" stuff below)

P.S. One thread that makes me associate your position with tradition
is the following one: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2401&start=100&hilit=authority. You do not actually use the word tradition there, but I think the appeal to respected authorities and so on is much the same sort of viewpoint. I think you're saying you don't quite prefer the Japanese style of adjudication, but that you respect it.

P.P.S. You also called Human Rights (emphasis on the capitalization)
"sanctimonious hooey." I think that might have colored my interpretation of your views. viewtopic.php?f=45&t=2648&p=43516&hilit=human+rights#p43516. It sure sounds like you're saying that the idea of culture-transcendent rights is as mysterious as the flying spaghetti monster.

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #62 Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:30 pm 
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Mivo wrote:
RobertJasiek wrote:
The AGA is educated enough about rules so that you need not fear.


John's post gave the impression that on many AGA tournaments, players use territory/Japanese scoring/rules.


I think the majority of players use territory counting (which is allowed under AGA), but not Japanese rules. E.g., experienced players in AGA tournaments do use pass stones, etc., and that is certainly not Japanese rules. That being said, a lot of tournaments are fairly informal and not all TDs clearly explain the rules. I've been in tournaments where even the komi was not stated. A player who is concerned should verify with the TD ahead of time. Also, just because in a theoretical sense you can count using area scoring, it does not mean you should do so---you may unnerve your opponent if you start throwing your captures back in his/her bowl. Not all AGA players are properly trained in area counting. It doesn't bother me as I have played both ways, but there are some who would be confused. If you want to count using the area technique, please ask your opponent ahead of time if that's okay.

At the U.S. Go Congress, in the Die Hard tournament on Wednesday, Craig Hutchinson used to teach area scoring and recommended that players count that way for that tournament, so many U.S. players learned area scoring that way. But since he passed away this tradition seems to have gone with him. Now, you might have to go to a Chinese club or play with a lot of Chinese players to practice this in person.

Although I am grateful to Mr. Ing for supporting Go worldwide, in the AGA, Ing funding has dried up, so as time goes on, I think you'll find fewer and fewer tournaments with Ing rules. But I think the pass stones and the 7.5 komi are here to stay, so you should expect to deal with those and their theoretical implications if you are not okay with playing roulette in your very close games. (When I was 11k, I didn't mind that. I figured if the game was that close, I played so poorly that I was okay losing anyway. There was no point to me in having an ego about it. Actually, I still feel that way. Someday I may learn to play endgame ko / dame more correctly, but right now there are more valuable things to study.)

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #63 Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:59 pm 
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hyperpape wrote:
adhering to Japanese rules in lieu of the kind Jasiek would propose is fine because traditional Oriental values accomodate a ruleset that is gappy, or requires interpretation by a respected authority.


Even that I don't buy. Nobody wants pseudo-sekis due to unfilled dame. Nobody wants ko-pass rules so there should not be any. Nobody wants artificial terms like "eye point". Nobody wants life in rules to be defined via (un)capturability when transformation to two eyes is an available alternative. Nobody wants rules to forget prisoners in the game aim ("to get more territory") or to forget excess stones which cannot be filled in. Nobody wants game procedures nobody knows to apply correctly like "both players lose". Therefore proper, written Japanese rules for the Japanese instead of the Nihon Kiin 1989+ Rules should be about as follows:


Basic rules:

- The referee decides about gaps in these rules.
- [Basic definitions and rules are omitted.]
- Suicide is prohibited.

Repetition:

- Immediate ko recapture is prohibited.
- Positional repetition in a sending-2-returning-1 shape is allowed.
- Other positional repetition like in a triple ko ends the game prematurely. Details are specified in tournament rules.

Game end procedure:

1. The regular alternation ends with successive passes. Tournament rules specify how a pass may be performed.
2. Common, informal knowledge of Go theory determines which stones are independently alive, alive in seki or dead and which intersections surrounded by a player's independently alive stones belong to his territory. Sekis do not have any territory. The players may skip this step. If the players disagree during this step or later, then the referee's knowledge of Go theory applies.
3. The opposing dead stones are removed from territory and added to the prisoners. No stones are removed from sekis.
4. A player's points are the number of his territory intersections and prisoners of opposing colour. Tournament rules specify how to count territory. White's points are increased by the komi (currently 6.5 points.)
5. The winner is the player having more points. The game is a tie in case of equal points.




Comments:

The Japanese would have to admit that they are neither able to define life nor willing to learn about western definitions but that is the reality. Of course, common, informal knowledge of Go theory is undefined and creates a vicious circle but the Japanese don't mind and use common, informal knowledge of Go theory anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #64 Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:34 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
hyperpape wrote:
adhering to Japanese rules in lieu of the kind Jasiek would propose is fine because traditional Oriental values accomodate a ruleset that is gappy, or requires interpretation by a respected authority.


Even that I don't buy. Nobody wants pseudo-sekis due to unfilled dame. Nobody wants ko-pass rules so there should not be any. Nobody wants artificial terms like "eye point". Nobody wants life in rules to be defined via (un)capturability when transformation to two eyes is an available alternative. Nobody wants rules to forget prisoners in the game aim ("to get more territory") or to forget excess stones which cannot be filled in. Nobody wants game procedures nobody knows to apply correctly like "both players lose". Therefore proper, written Japanese rules for the Japanese instead of the Nihon Kiin 1989+ Rules should be about as follows:


I think this is the sort of paragraph that undermines the great effort you have put into clarifying rules, and highlighting inconsistencies in rulesets. As soon as you start saying "Nobody wants this, the Japanese should have done this instead" you show a lack of appreciation for people who don't necessarily share your opinion, and something that the Japanese appear to be happy with, feeling no great burning desire to readdress and change.

You say nobody is happy with the interpretation that pseudo-sekis just due to unfilled dame. However, I am happy interpreting them as non-sekis, and filling in dame on or off the clock, and this is how the Japanese appear to have interpreted it. Heck, game records often finish prior to dame being filled at all anyway, does that mean you have whole board sekis in some cases? I am happy with ko-pass rules to resolve disputes, as I can see the logic to it. If I designed a ruleset, it wouldn't have them in, but I don't consider them a big deal.

By putting words in my mouth (which you do whenever you say "nobody" or "everybody"), you make me feel like your problem is a lack of understanding, and I feel somewhat aggrieved at being told I adhere to a certain point of view when I may well not. I think it is unreasonable to believe that a logically applied set of consistent rules is a better system than one where interpretation is required and a respect for higher authority is valued. I think it's unreasonable to believe that the other is better either. It's clear you prefer the former, and other people prefer the latter, but logic and consistency are not the only important aspects for a fair number of other people.

By saying this, I'm not advocating either, as I think they both have merits. However, being so evangelistic about the correctness of your approach, compared to the purported woolly inadequacy of previous traditions, earns you few friends and supporters from a) those who currently don't agree, and b) those who are either happy either way or sitting on the fence. I would gladly play J1989, and I would gladly play J2003, and I would gladly play Ing or AGA rules too. If there are disputes, I want there to be a higher authority I can turn to regardless of which is used, and I will respect their decision. I understand that you would rather have a ruleset that allowed you to manage your own disputes with some understanding of whether you are in the right or not, and that's fine by me. However, I would prefer it if you treated my feelings as valid too.

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #65 Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:24 am 
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topazg wrote:
As soon as you start saying "Nobody wants this, the Japanese should have done this instead" you show a lack of appreciation for people who don't necessarily share your opinion,


Rather it means that so far I have heard of nobody or of only such a tiny number of people that "nobody" is a very good approximation.

Quote:
and something that the Japanese appear to be happy with,


They are not happy with the aspects I have mentioned. This is apparent from their ignorance of those aspects or their explicit statements of disliking.

Quote:
feeling no great burning desire to readdress and change.


While they ignore or dislike those aspects, they also do not feel a great desire to change and correct them. Their missing desire does not invalidate their disliking of those aspects though.

Quote:
You say nobody is happy with the interpretation that pseudo-sekis just due to unfilled dame. However, I am happy interpreting them as non-sekis,


So also you are not happy with the interpretation that independently alive groups with dame are sekis. This means I am right when saying "nobody".

Quote:
and filling in dame on or off the clock, and this is how the Japanese appear to have interpreted it.


No.

Those Japanese knowing the J1989 rules in this respect interpret them correctly as creating pseudo-sekis. The other Japanese ignore this rules aspect because they do not know them.

Quote:
Heck, game records often finish prior to dame being filled at all anyway, does that mean


It means the same as said many times before: That scribes and / or editors of journals / books are very careless by omitting the last moves of many games and any informal additions of dame and teire filling.

Quote:
I am happy with ko-pass rules to resolve disputes,


You have not understood them. They are not applied only to disputes but ALWAYS (after the game stop).

Quote:
as I can see the logic to it.


If you could, then you would notice that a) they contain mistakes and gaps, b) they violate Go theory in more frequent examples than they want to solve in (*) and c) they are entirely superfluous because usage of the ordinary basic ko rule serves the same purpose. *) There are only two known shapes where differences occur. Since you pretend to understand the logic, you can easily tell us which shapes these are (violated versus solved). (Read my commentaries if you don't recall the shapes...)

Quote:
By putting words in my mouth
[...]
I would prefer it if you treated my feelings as valid too.


Convince us that you do belong to the tiny minority not represented by the "nobody"!

Quote:
being so evangelistic about the correctness of your approach, compared to the purported woolly inadequacy of previous traditions, earns you few friends and supporters


The purpose of rules precision is not to gain friends but to inform about rules matters.

Quote:
I would gladly play J2003,


LOL. In the context of ignoring their procedural inapplicability due to too many existing hypothetical-strategies?


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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #66 Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:55 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Even that I don't buy. Nobody wants pseudo-sekis due to unfilled dame.


This may be straying from the topic a little bit.....But I want pseudo-sekis due to unfilled dame. I don't have the position off hand (though I'm sure Robert has a reference to it), but when I first saw that position where filling the neutral points caused a potential ko threat to be 2 points larger (thus meaning that a game deciding ko would be decided based on who filled those points) I thought it was an incredibly clever, counter-intuitive position that nevertheless, I would absolutely consider a seki. It is a position where you have neutral points that neither side is willing to play, because doing so will result in a loss of points. To me, if you are going to have a ruleset that defines seki, I see no reason not to include such a position.

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #67 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:13 am 
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Mef, please confirm that you want the following to be a (pseudo-)seki:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$ In-seki
$$--------------
$$ | . X . O . |
$$ | X X . O O |
$$ | . X . O . |
$$--------------[/go]

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #68 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:57 am 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Mef, please confirm that you want the following to be a (pseudo-)seki:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$ In-seki
$$--------------
$$ | . X . O . |
$$ | X X . O O |
$$ | . X . O . |
$$--------------[/go]



If both players have decided that it is not in their best interests to play the neutral points, why wouldn't it be? Either player has had the option to fill the neutral points, and they both would have the option to resume play to fill them in if they so desired. If they have agreed the game should end at this point with the understanding with position would be seki, I see no reason it shouldn't be seki.

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #69 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:25 am 
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Speaking as a confused non-rules-expert, why would anyone consider that position to be seki? Both groups are alive with 2 explicit eyes, and filling the neutral points is not going to change the status of anything.

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Post #70 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:21 am 
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robinz wrote:
Speaking as a confused non-rules-expert, why would anyone consider that position to be seki? Both groups are alive with 2 explicit eyes, and filling the neutral points is not going to change the status of anything.

Simply because in some rulesets stones with adjacent dame are defined to be a seki.
Quote:
Japanese Seki Definitions

Different Japanese rules describe seki differently. The Japanese 1989 Rules do not define seki but define stones to be in seki if they have dame (where, informally, dame are points that aren't inside eyes). It is possible for players not to fill dame points before passing. However, a pedantic player is pefectly within his rights to demand that any group of his opponent's (even if it has 15 eyes) is in seki if it is touching dame, and therefore its territory isn't to be counted. [4]

However, this isn't really important as there is another Japanese rule that says if one player asks that the game be resumed - the other player MUST oblige but the other player plays first (of course they can pass). So if your opponent tells you (rightly) that one of your groups is in seki, you can just resume play.

http://senseis.xmp.net/?Seki#toc14

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Post #71 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:23 am 
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robinz wrote:
Speaking as a confused non-rules-expert, why would anyone consider that position to be seki? Both groups are alive with 2 explicit eyes, and filling the neutral points is not going to change the status of anything.



The Japanese rules required explicitly defining life and death (because there are cases where demonstrating a capture could cost you points). Part of defining life and death required explicitly defining seki. The definition of seki in Japanese rules is "Stones that are alive but possess dame." The idea is that any living stones that aren't in seki would have dame filled at the end of the game (This dame filling is often done casually. Online this step is commonly omitted for convenience). If you have a group that cannot be captured, but also has dame that cannot be filled, it is a seki.

In that sense, the position Robert showed would be counted as seki (if left at the end of the game and agreed upon by both players). It may seem silly to make the distinction, however there are some positions (albeit very rare ones) where groups that would normally be considered alive (having 2 eyes) have unfillable dame between them.

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Post #72 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:05 am 
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robinz wrote:
why would anyone consider that position to be seki?


Because the major author Sakai Takeshi 9p and the co-authors incl. Saijo Masataka, then 8p overlooked the side-effect of their seki-construction. So it made it into the official rules.

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Post #73 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:12 am 
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OK, that makes sense, although it sounds like pure rules-lawyering with no relevance to practical play. (One presumably would actually fill the dame in f2f play - I know that's how I've always been taught to do it, and I am happy to, as I can't always see much in advance what protective plays are going to be required once/before the dame are filled.)

Mef wrote:
however there are some positions (albeit very rare ones) where groups that would normally be considered alive (having 2 eyes) have unfillable dame between them.


This sounds intriguing (and impossible to me at first hearing - although I guess there could be dame which are unfillable due to being part of a "normal" seki which are also adjacent to 2-eyed groups at the same time) Do you have any examples you can show (or a link to Sensei's or anywhere else discussing such an example)? :)

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Post #74 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:29 am 
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Quote:
The definition of seki in Japanese rules is "Stones that are alive but possess dame."


There are problems with translation here. More literally the Japanese reference is just "stones which have dame are 'called seki groups'". Dame are earlier described as "empty points other than moku [countable points].

If you then proceed in one western legalistic tradition, where the text takes priority, you derive certain meanings from this, but add nothing (or try not to add anything). It is pure, It is elegant. You then draw inferences - but these are often startlingly different from those drawn by Japanese people.

If you approach the same text from a usual Japanese tradition where the text is just a guide and real life, expert authority or previous practice take priority, you end up drawing different inferences. Literalness is not enough.

A western person is liable to start by defining, say, four rules A, B, C and D, and drawing a logical chain that results in a game X. This game X may be a game no-one has seen before, or a game no-one likes, but if the rules A, B, C and D cannot be gainsaid, that's the way it has to be: game X or nothing (in go terms, superko or nothing).

The Japanese person is more likely to start with game Y that he knows millions of people play and love. Asked to write down rules that describe it, he will make the rules fit the final result. He may start with A, B, C and D, but when he realises they don't quite work, he will change the rules to A, B, C and E, or A*, B*, C, D, and if none of these works, he will give up and go and have a game of go. It would not normally occur to him to change game Y to X.

However, you often also get an in-between position where a Japanese person may be convinced that A, B, C and D do actually describe the game he sees, and yet a westerner tells him otherwise.

Dame is one of those in-between problems. A westerner sees dame as whatever the definition on paper is and applies it universally. A Japanese "knows" and superimposes several things onto the text. First he knows that dame ordinarly implies something useless or worthless (which, e.g. may preclude immediate understanding of a "dame fight"). As a go player he will also be previously familiar with three distinct meanings of dame, which are of long standing, which he understands thoroughly and which he superimposes on any rules texts he reads. The two main meanings he will know are dame in the sense of the worthless intersections in no-man's land between opposing territories and the separate meaning of the shared points inside a seki. He will also know a third meaning, which refers to the liberties that are filled in a capturing race. Some Japanese are aware of the different western approach, and even if they don't feel in tune with it, can sense some of the problems. For this reason, there has been a late 20th-century trend to use katsuro for the capturing race kind of liberty, but it is far from universal. (A few writers will even use the English word "liberty").

In short, when a Japanese sees "stones that are alive but possess dame" he does not necessarily see what a westerner sees.

The different Japanese approach is sometimes carelessly described as doing things back to front. Take the case of a Japanese describing go. As stated, he is apt to start with the game as it exists. The 1949 Japanese rules, therefore, which were fairly well embedded in the traditional way of doing things, start off by describing the difference between pros and amateurs, the dan rankings, the Meijin, the equipment (including precise sizes and the location of handicap points and the order of placing handicap stones), how handicaps are changed, usual komi, nigiri and much else in great detail, all before it tells you how to play. To repeat, these rules describe the game as it exists, and the writer of the 1949 rules would have believed, no doubt, that he was presenting them in a well tried and trusted format of "big picture first, gradually zooming in on the smaller details" to an audience who would probably recognise the big picture but not the details. This is sensible enough, and not a perverse Japanese tradition. It is a technique used extravagantly in old Chinese painting and poetry, but it's not even a specially Oriental tradition. You will see the same technique at the start of many Hollywood movies. There is really no good reason to describe it as back to front.

What is special about Japan's use of the technique, however, is that they often use it in legal or rules texts where we tend to believe it is inappropriate. We often prefer to define the tiny details first, and build up from there. But the Japanese are perfectly capable of realising there are different ways of doing things, and it may be said that the 1989 rules were their attempt to ape the western style of "elegance". But the result was a pig's breakfast. They probably lacked the experience but, most of all, their hearts just weren't in it. Deep down they are still much happier with 1949 style rules (and this is still the way, for example, things like personnel rules in domestic companies are drafted).

Deep down, it seems, most of us even in the west are much happier with 1949 styles rules, probably because most of us have learnt the game the "Japanese" way: rough-and-ready instructions from a friend or book first, bumping into the detailed rules later, if ever, only when an anomaly such as triple ko occurs. But even if you are not one of these happy bunnies, and you do prefer to ponder rules from the get-go (so to speak), it is wise to be extra careful before quoting Japanese statements about rules.


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Post #75 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:37 am 
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1) J1989 are generally seen as the answer to Japanese criticism of J1949 by people like Go or Ikeda.

2) J1989 uses an attempted definition-first approach.

3) Sakai and Saijo both interpret J1989 in the logical / legalistic way. I have seen them doing it for life, territory, dame and ko-pass and being interested in their own better understanding of the underlying theory. This should not be surprising because, regardless of remaining ambiguity, they wrote in the (2) style.

4) I do not agree that there would be a great fraction wishing to see written Japanese rules in a top-bottom approach. Rather almost all of those preferring to avoid details tend to prefer verbal Japanese rules right away.

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Post #76 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:27 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Quote:
The definition of seki in Japanese rules is "Stones that are alive but possess dame."


There are problems with translation here. More literally the Japanese reference is just "stones which have dame are 'called seki groups'". Dame are earlier described as "empty points other than moku [countable points].

If you then proceed in one western legalistic tradition, where the text takes priority, you derive certain meanings from this, but add nothing (or try not to add anything). It is pure, It is elegant. You then draw inferences - but these are often startlingly different from those drawn by Japanese people.

If you approach the same text from a usual Japanese tradition where the text is just a guide and real life, expert authority or previous practice take priority, you end up drawing different inferences. Literalness is not enough.

A western person is liable to start by defining, say, four rules A, B, C and D, and drawing a logical chain that results in a game X. This game X may be a game no-one has seen before, or a game no-one likes, but if the rules A, B, C and D cannot be gainsaid, that's the way it has to be: game X or nothing (in go terms, superko or nothing).

The Japanese person is more likely to start with game Y that he knows millions of people play and love. Asked to write down rules that describe it, he will make the rules fit the final result. He may start with A, B, C and D, but when he realises they don't quite work, he will change the rules to A, B, C and E, or A*, B*, C, D, and if none of these works, he will give up and go and have a game of go. It would not normally occur to him to change game Y to X.

However, you often also get an in-between position where a Japanese person may be convinced that A, B, C and D do actually describe the game he sees, and yet a westerner tells him otherwise.

Dame is one of those in-between problems. A westerner sees dame as whatever the definition on paper is and applies it universally. A Japanese "knows" and superimposes several things onto the text. First he knows that dame ordinarly implies something useless or worthless (which, e.g. may preclude immediate understanding of a "dame fight"). As a go player he will also be previously familiar with three distinct meanings of dame, which are of long standing, which he understands thoroughly and which he superimposes on any rules texts he reads. The two main meanings he will know are dame in the sense of the worthless intersections in no-man's land between opposing territories and the separate meaning of the shared points inside a seki. He will also know a third meaning, which refers to the liberties that are filled in a capturing race. Some Japanese are aware of the different western approach, and even if they don't feel in tune with it, can sense some of the problems. For this reason, there has been a late 20th-century trend to use katsuro for the capturing race kind of liberty, but it is far from universal. (A few writers will even use the English word "liberty").

In short, when a Japanese sees "stones that are alive but possess dame" he does not necessarily see what a westerner sees.

The different Japanese approach is sometimes carelessly described as doing things back to front. Take the case of a Japanese describing go. As stated, he is apt to start with the game as it exists. The 1949 Japanese rules, therefore, which were fairly well embedded in the traditional way of doing things, start off by describing the difference between pros and amateurs, the dan rankings, the Meijin, the equipment (including precise sizes and the location of handicap points and the order of placing handicap stones), how handicaps are changed, usual komi, nigiri and much else in great detail, all before it tells you how to play. To repeat, these rules describe the game as it exists, and the writer of the 1949 rules would have believed, no doubt, that he was presenting them in a well tried and trusted format of "big picture first, gradually zooming in on the smaller details" to an audience who would probably recognise the big picture but not the details. This is sensible enough, and not a perverse Japanese tradition. It is a technique used extravagantly in old Chinese painting and poetry, but it's not even a specially Oriental tradition. You will see the same technique at the start of many Hollywood movies. There is really no good reason to describe it as back to front.

What is special about Japan's use of the technique, however, is that they often use it in legal or rules texts where we tend to believe it is inappropriate. We often prefer to define the tiny details first, and build up from there. But the Japanese are perfectly capable of realising there are different ways of doing things, and it may be said that the 1989 rules were their attempt to ape the western style of "elegance". But the result was a pig's breakfast. They probably lacked the experience but, most of all, their hearts just weren't in it. Deep down they are still much happier with 1949 style rules (and this is still the way, for example, things like personnel rules in domestic companies are drafted).

Deep down, it seems, most of us even in the west are much happier with 1949 styles rules, probably because most of us have learnt the game the "Japanese" way: rough-and-ready instructions from a friend or book first, bumping into the detailed rules later, if ever, only when an anomaly such as triple ko occurs. But even if you are not one of these happy bunnies, and you do prefer to ponder rules from the get-go (so to speak), it is wise to be extra careful before quoting Japanese statements about rules.


The Japanese 1989 rules redefined the game of go. I do not exactly know why, but I doubt that Western criticism was high on the list.

Here is my translation of the relevant parts of Article 8:

Empty points surrounded by live stones of only one side are called "eye points". Empty points other than eye points are called "dame". Live stones that have dame are called "seki stones".

The naive Japanese player might assume that "dame" here has its familiar meaning of neutral point between territories. He might then be surprised to find that the marked points in the next diagram are dame.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$W Dame in double ko seki
$$ --------------+
$$ . X O C W X . |
$$ . X O O X X X |
$$ . X X O O X C |
$$ . . X O . O B |
$$ . . X O O O O |
$$ . . X X X X X |
$$ . . . . . . . |[/go]


Of course, he is used to not counting those points as territory, but calling them dame is something new. Why are they dame? he may ask.

They are dame because the marked stones are not alive. Not alive? That idea is certainly new. Why are they not alive? Mmm, that's not so easy to explain. See Articles 7 and 9.

Well, if they are not alive, do we pick them up as prisoners after the game? No, we don't. See Article 10.

By now the naive Japanese player has probably thrown his hands up. The Japanese 1989 rules are quite clever, and they describe a game that has the same result as the traditional game nearly all of the time. The three points without capturing position is scored differently, but when does it come up. And the new seki rule has produced at least one anomalous position in pro play, although the players did not recognize it. And there are ambiguities with life and death that will not go away, although a related crisis may not happen for a long time.

I think that most Japanese players do not play by the 1989 rules, and never will.

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #77 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:52 am 
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BTW, I have written a version of the Japanese rules at http://senseis.xmp.net/?SpightJapaneseStyleRules . They are not as clever as the J89 rules, but, IMO, clearer.

For comparison, here are my versions of Article 7 and Article 8.

----

Article 7. Life and Death

When play is paused according to Article 9.1, the players may agree about which stones on the board are dead, if any. If they do so, those stones are dead and all other stones on the board are alive. Dead stones are removed without further play.

Comment: This article gives human, operational definitions of life and death. I think that the way the Japanese rules attempt to define life and death generates problems and potential confusion. The original article also gives the ko rule for virtual play. That is addressed in the encore article, for clarity.

Article 8. Territory

After all dead stones, if any, have been removed, empty points that are surrounded by stones of the same player are called eye points, and any empty points that are not eye points are called neutral points. All stones that surround the same eye points belong to the same group. A group is called a seki group if it adjacent to a neutral point, or if one or more of its stones is in atari. Eye points that are surrounded by a group that is not a seki group are territory. Territory belongs to the player whose stones surround it.

Comment: The current definition is unclear. First, it distinguishes eye points from neutral points, and later distinguishes some eye points from territory in an unclear way, talking about seki stones possessing neutral points that they are not connected to. I replace the idea of seki stones with that of a seki group, and include the idea of atari, to cover double ko seki and other strange seki.

----

Now, my Article 9, for settling disputes over life and death, is more detailed than in the Japanese 1989 rules, and yields different results. I also provide for ending the game without agreement. There is no hypothetical play, everything is played out in an encore if there is a dispute. There are no dead stones left on the board during scoring. And the Three Points without Capturing position is scored as three points if it is played out in the encore. :)

To be sure, the dispute resolution procedure is unfamiliar, but disputes are very rare between experienced players, anyway. :)

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #78 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:16 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
The Japanese 1989 rules are quite clever


They have their stupid parts (example: logically impossible removal of dead stones from territory), their clever parts (example: generalized ishi-no-shita) and their partial research gaps (example: capturable-2 was not understood as a concept yet). From the global view of (Japanese style) rules design, they are a failure though (example: no concept of 2 eyes; also thereby the pseudo-seki flaw was made possible).

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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #79 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:54 pm 
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robinz wrote:
OK, that makes sense, although it sounds like pure rules-lawyering with no relevance to practical play. (One presumably would actually fill the dame in f2f play - I know that's how I've always been taught to do it, and I am happy to, as I can't always see much in advance what protective plays are going to be required once/before the dame are filled.)

Mef wrote:
however there are some positions (albeit very rare ones) where groups that would normally be considered alive (having 2 eyes) have unfillable dame between them.


This sounds intriguing (and impossible to me at first hearing - although I guess there could be dame which are unfillable due to being part of a "normal" seki which are also adjacent to 2-eyed groups at the same time) Do you have any examples you can show (or a link to Sensei's or anywhere else discussing such an example)? :)


The first example that comes to mind was one brought up on RGG a while back --

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c Unfillable Dame? \n(No prisoners, 5.5 Komi).
$$ ---------------------
$$ | . . O . . O X . X |
$$ | O O O O O O X X O |
$$ | X X X X X O O X a |
$$ | . . . . X O T X . |
$$ | . X . . X O O X X |
$$ | X . X X X X O O T |
$$ | X X O O O X X O O |
$$ | O O b . O X . X O |
$$ | . . O O O X X X O |
$$ ---------------------[/go]


The basic theme of the position is this -- At first glance, it looks like black is ahead by 0.5 points, but with dame present there are no points awarded to the top black group or the top white group (they are seki), meaning white is actually ahead 0.5.

White has a ko that can be started after capturing in the corner then playing 'a', but this ko is only possible if the dame are filled. This gets tricky because who fills the dame prior to playing out the ko will control how big the ko is (if black fills the dame, the group threatened by ko is 2 stones larger). Black has a ko threat at 'b' that is big enough to win the smaller ko (i.e. if white fills the dame) but is not big enough to win the larger ko (if black fills the dame). Hence, if either player fills these dame it will be a game losing move.

Since it is Japanese rules, needlessly capturing the white stone or playing to remove the ko-threat would cost a point and also be game losing.


This post by Mef was liked by 7 people: ChradH, Dusk Eagle, Harleqin, jts, Li Kao, Redundant, robinz
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 Post subject: Re: AGA Rules vs. Japanese
Post #80 Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:03 pm 
Tengen

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I'm a total noob in rules discussions and in counting, so let me confirm this. Does white win by .5 under area scoring?

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