Life In 19x19

1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #4 (9 Jan 2013)
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Author:  John Fairbairn [ Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  1001 GoGoD Games for your Coffee Break #4 (9 Jan 2013)

It is fairly well known that a 1928 game between Segoe Kensaku and Takahashi Shigeyuki featured a dispute over a 10,000-year ko. What is barely known is how that dispute played out among the rules mavens.

There was a considerable amount of research by the "Kyoto Group" of professional mathematicians in Japan over the following decade and a half, by which time they had become aware that Taiwanese rules of the time were Japanese based but featured an extra point for the last unmade move if fully alternating plays had not been made. Some attempt was made to incorporate some of this Chinese thinking into rules proposals, and the first attempt can be attributed Kaise Taketeru in 1942.

Against that uncertain background the game here was played on 26 and 27 May 1943 in the Oteai (so there was no komi). A 10,000-year ko developed. It was not really as a dispute. It was more a case of the players, Hashimoto Utaro and Hayashi Yutaro, being uncertain what to do. The result hinged on whether the ko was played out or the seki option chosen. The ko option depended on how many ko threats there were. Hayashi spent several moves eliminating ko threats inside his own territory, but ran out of these and so resorted to passing. Hashimoto, the player with the seki option, initially chose not to take it (perhaps he was unsure of the score) but did eventually and won. This is also a very rare case of passing in professional go.

Before you scoff at the players, try to work out what you would have done? Dunking your biscuit to help you think is allowed, but try not to dunk each time you count the ko threats or you will come to a soggy end.

Let's try not to turn this thread into yet another rant about Japanese rules. Suffice it to say that no go stones were harmed during the playing of this game, the sky did not fall down, and Chicken Licken lives!

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