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 Post subject: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #1 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:04 am 
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When playing on a 19x19 board, a fair komi is considered to be something around 6.5 to 7 points for White. I read the interesting discussions about this on the forum.

I was wondering, what is a fair komi when playing on smaller boards, like 13x13 or 9x9?

Since on the smaller boards less points are at stake, I expect that the fair komi would be smaller. But do you have any idea how much it is?

Similar question about the handicap stones. If two players have 4 ranks difference, it means that when they play on the 19x19 boards, the weaker gets 4 stones, and the probability of winning is almost balanced.
But if the same two players decide to play a game on a 13x13 or 9x9 board, how many stones the weaker has to get to have a balanced game? I expect he has to get less than 4, but do you know how many?

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Post #2 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:31 am 
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19x19... 6.5 to 7 points for White.
Certain engines give 50+% winrate for :white: with 7.5 komi at the start of the game.
So the value is up for discussion.
( There are also restrictions for the odd-even-ness, depending on certain rules sets. )

Some pros have studied 9x9 and 13x13 ( they're almost entirely different games IMO ).

From my experience, for amateurs, two people have to play multiple games ( on any board size ) to figure out the distance between them. The ranks are merely guidelines.

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 Post subject: Re: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #3 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:32 am 
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As for komi, in my experience keeping a 6.5 komi on 9x9 and 13x13 works fine. Yes there are less points to share on smaller boards, but the board being smaller also means that starting first is a bigger advantage (a tengen on 9x9 is more troublesome to white on 9x9 than on 19x19 for instance).

Handicaps is more tricky because if I regularly play on a 19x19 board with someone, there are few occasions when we'd play on smaller boards (and vice versa). Still, I 'd say that dividing the number of 19x19 handicap stones by three/four for 9x9 and two/three for 13x13 should be close enough (so if you play at 8 stones on 19x19, 2/3 stones might do on 9x9 and 4 on 13x13)?

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 Post subject: Re: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #4 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:41 am 
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For 13x13 handicap check http://cugosoc.soc.srcf.net/competitions/sonoyama.html. With these handicaps dan players and ddks have won the event, but note
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These handicaps work very well with a 10 minute time limit but they probably make it a bit too easy for black in a leisurely game.

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 Post subject: Re: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #5 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:43 am 
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19x19 komi is 7.5 with area scoring and 6.5 with territory scoring, and the latter makes it harder to adjust strategy to area scoring for people using both scoring methods. IOW, 7.5 for territory scoring would also be right. The converse cannot be said about area scoring because 6.5 is like using 5.5.

13x13 handicap is an extra topic. If 13x13 komi is meant to involve some handicap easing play for weaker players too lazy too study 13x13 strategy seriously, then komi can be as small as necessary to make winning of the weaker player likely.

13x13 even game komi is fair for 8.5. This komi assumes Black to know 13x13 strategy. The komi has been used in most years since 1993 in European 13x13 Championships (i.e., side tournaments in European Go Congresses) and results in relatively many 0.5 games among equally ranked players, as I have observed and experienced because I have participated in or watched all preliminaries and finals since 1993. The komi means that Black should not play like 19x19 but must attack more harshly. If you expected a constant komi for all boards - nope. Not only tiny boards have larger komi but 13x13 is another such exception.

If, however, 6.5 is set for 13x13, weaker Black play results in a self-fulfilling prophecy of relatively many 0.5 points among equally ranked players. It only proves that both komi and strategy are wrong.

9x9 komi is 6.5, and here Japanese professionals and amateurs agree. When 19x19 komi was 5.5, 9x9 komi was also 5.5 in Japan and the major reasons were the same: insufficient understanding of black strategy and too persistent tradition of the smaller komi.

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 Post subject: Re: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #6 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:58 am 
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Thank you all for the input!

I was trying to understand what a tengen is, and I found this page that discusses tengen on a 9x9 board. They also seem to say that the komi should be 6.5.


Also, is there some maximum handicap that makes sense to use on smaller boards?
For the 19x19 board the maximum is 9 stones. But for the smaller boards, maybe it should be less?

For example, a 9x9 board with 9 stones would look like this:


Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . X . X . X . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . X . X . X . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . X . X . X . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ------------[/go]



Does it make sense to play from this position? It seems very awkward to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #7 Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:25 am 
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Circumgon wrote:
Also, is there some maximum handicap that makes sense to use on smaller boards?
For the 19x19 board the maximum is 9 stones. But for the smaller boards, maybe it should be less?
For example, a 9x9 board with 9 stones would look like this:
Does it make sense to play from this position? It seems very awkward to me.

9 stones on 9x9 is indeed rather silly, but maybe a strong player can win against a 40 kyu. Not resigning on the first move is half the battle. In the 13x13 tournament I linked I have given 13 stones and won. Making the handicap free placement can help as it gives weak players with loads of handicaps the opportunity to place them inefficiently so it's not quite so mental (of course they can also place them efficiently, e.g. 4 small shimaris plus some extras and then you sigh and attach and crosscut everywhere and hope they always play atari and die). In fact quite a few more than 9 stones on 19x19 is a lot more playable against than 9 on a 9x9 or 13x13 as you have more space to play some white stones which aren't instantly dead in gote. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Fair komi and handicap for 13x13 and 9x9 boards
Post #8 Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Uberdude wrote:
Making the handicap free placement can help as it gives weak players with loads of handicaps the opportunity to place them inefficiently so it's not quite so mental


Very interesting point! I never thought about this. It is not very logic, logic would say that free placement must be better for Black than fixed placement. But when it is about beginners, psychology is more important than logic. So it is better to give them a chance to do worst! Cool!

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