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 Post subject: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #1 Posted: Sun Apr 30, 2023 10:26 pm 
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This is probably not a new idea (and may be incorrect, of course). It concerns a (hopefully) faster and more convenient method of calculating the difference of Black's and White's scores in a game that uses stone scoring.

Stone scoring has an appealing codition for deciding the winner: Play until no more stones can be played on the board. Then the player with more stones on the board wins (adjusting for komi).

However, playing out the game to this point can be tedious for some players, and counting all the stones can take a while. One can avoid some of this by agreeing to end play earlier, and then use area scoring with group tax. But this counting also may take a while. The question is, is there a faster procedure to determine the final score?

Now, in the case of pure area scoring, i.e., with no group tax, the problem was, in my opinion, solved by the designers of the AGA rules. Probably most people are familiar with these rules already, so I will just mention that they use pass stones, and require White to make the final pass. Prisoners are then placed in their respective territories, and territory counting is used. Then it can be shown that the difference between Black and White's area scores is exactly equal to the difference in their territory counts. For those (like me) who find territory counting more convenient, this is very nice idea.

For stone scoring, we could follow a similar procedure: First, use AGA rules to find the difference in area scores. We could then subtract two points for each group, as well as deduct any points that had been given for sekis. But this strikes me as a somewhat bothersome extra calculation. It would be better if we could make this more automatic, avoiding the need to compute the group tax.

Accordingly, a better method, I think, would be to add two extra stones (black or white, according to the colour of the group) to each group, as well as filling in any points in seki. This will automatically reduce each territory by two points, as well as removing any points in seki. Then compute the territory scores of what remains.

However, this may not work out so well in practice: The players could become uncertain if the two tax stones had been added to every group. (One could instead try placing white stones in black groups, and black stones in white groups, to help distinguish them from the other stones in their group. But then one might perhaps mistake them for dead stones that can be removed.)

I would therefore suggest that these group tax stones be of a third colour, blue for example, different from black and white. This would have the advantage that one could see at a glance if the tax had been applied to each group. Of course, one could use other objects for this purpose, such as buttons or coins, as long as they are easily distinguished from the black and white stones.

(One could even use three different colours for the group tax stones: one for the Black territories, a second for the White, and a third for any points in seki. But I do not think this is really necessary. Though it would make the final state of the board more colourful.)

So that is my suggestion, to make the ancient method of stone scoring (hopefully) more convenient:
1) Use pass stones, as in the AGA rules.
2) At the end of the game, add the special (blue) group tax stones to the groups.
3) Finally, as in the AGA rules, use territory counting.
And so, you should then know the exact difference in scores under stone scoring rules.
It is, I think, almost as simple as using AGA rules to find the area score.

I admit, this is a rather simple idea, perhaps even trivial. But I cannot find it suggested anywhere, in particular in any of the relevant sections of Senseis Library. So at the risk of some ridicule, this is sent out, in the hope that it may encourage more people to try a few games with the old method of stone scoring.

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #2 Posted: Mon May 01, 2023 1:07 am 
Judan

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Stone scoring can be counted simpler with one of my following procedures:

- Prisoner-counting for stone-scoring.
https://senseis.xmp.net/?PrisonerCounti ... oneScoring
AGA style. Count white prisoner stones minus black prisoner stones.

- Pairs of one black stone and one white stone are taken off the board as long as possible.

- Point-symmetrical arrangement of all stones on the board. The black respectively white stones are put on the upper respectively lower half of the board.

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #3 Posted: Mon May 01, 2023 7:38 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
Stone scoring can be counted simpler with one of my following procedures:

- Prisoner-counting for stone-scoring.
https://senseis.xmp.net/?PrisonerCounti ... oneScoring
AGA style. Count white prisoner stones minus black prisoner stones.

- Pairs of one black stone and one white stone are taken off the board as long as possible.

- Point-symmetrical arrangement of all stones on the board. The black respectively white stones are put on the upper respectively lower half of the board.
Well, most people are rather biased towards their own creations, and I am probably no exception. But the problem I have with these schemes, as mentioned above in my first post, is that they require the players to play out the game in full, until there is no room for any more stones. On a 19x19 board, I think this could be a very dull phase of the game, possibly dull enough to turn people away from stone scoring altogether.

Of course, it may be possible to end the game early with these methods, if one wishes only to determine the winner and loser. But if one wants an exact score, it seems that they require the game to be played out in full.

Perhaps I should modify that a little: If one player makes a mistake in this filling-in stage, and reduces one of his territories to one eye, that could be entertaining. But this is unlikely with experienced players :)

There may also be an issue, that some players will not care for unusual scoring methods. It may make the game feel too different from more orthodox go.

So I am hoping that my modest proposal might be more acceptable to go players. But in the end, it probably does not really matter. Though I would like to see go played more frequently using the old group tax rules, perhaps even with a major tournament using them, I do not see any signs that such things will ever happen.

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- Rudyard Kipling, "The Light That Failed" (1891)


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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #4 Posted: Mon May 01, 2023 10:23 pm 
Judan

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The purpose of stone scoring is to get as many stones on the board as possible so do not complain about that if you want stone scoring! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #5 Posted: Tue May 02, 2023 1:07 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
The purpose of stone scoring is to get as many stones on the board as possible so do not complain about that if you want stone scoring! :)
Well, in principle, yes, stone scoring implies placing as many stones on the board as possible. But it seems to be historically inaccurate to suppose that this was done in practice. We have records of old games played under the old Chinese rules (i.e., using group tax), and so far, I have never seen one in which the board is filled to its limit. Players were far too intelligent to spend their time doing this. They would stop as soon as the status of every point on the board had been decided, whether or not it was occupied by a physical stone.

It is conceivable, I suppose, that beginners might have been taught to play as many stones as possible on a smaller board, at least until they learned to recognize some of the basic living and dead shapes. But I see no evidence that experienced players would bother doing so. The notion that ancient Chinese players would continue on and on after the game was really over, playing uninteresting moves, seems to be a modern fantasy :)

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #6 Posted: Tue May 02, 2023 8:43 pm 
Judan

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tundra wrote:
Players were far too intelligent


It is not a matter of intelligence but of preference.

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #7 Posted: Tue May 02, 2023 10:09 pm 
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RobertJasiek wrote:
tundra wrote:
Players were far too intelligent
It is not a matter of intelligence but of preference.
As you wish.

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- Rudyard Kipling, "The Light That Failed" (1891)

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #8 Posted: Wed May 03, 2023 2:41 am 
Oza

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Quote:
Well, in principle, yes, stone scoring implies placing as many stones on the board as possible. But it seems to be historically inaccurate to suppose that this was done in practice. We have records of old games played under the old Chinese rules (i.e., using group tax), and so far, I have never seen one in which the board is filled to its limit.


We have extremely little data to tell us how old Chinese games were scored, so we have to make some assumptions and some guesses to add to the smidgeon we do know.

There are three sources to guide us:

1. Actual game records.
2. Comments in text.
3. Tradition.

Let us look at each of these in turn.

Actual game records
There are lots of these. It is true that we never see a record with all the moves filled in. We also very, very rarely see the actual result given. Very many results that are seen now have actually been added by later editors who were not at the scene. At least, we have no record yet of Dr Who being a commentator.

What we do have is a fair number of game records that appear to end at what we might call the dame stage, as if playing under Japanese rules. However, there is a subtle difference. Under Japanese rules, we should only stop when all fill-in moves have been made. In the Chinese case, you can see examples where such fill-in moves have not been made - no reason to make them under Chinese rules. So that gives us an indication that Chinese stone-counting rules were in force.

As to why records stop at this "dame stage," it may be a question of neither intelligence nor preference. In practical terms, one likely reason is that it would cost an arm and a leg to inscribe many more (and unnecessary) moves on a block and, if you did, you would make the game record unreadable. This is especially so because cost constraints meant that almost always only one diagram was used per game.

Text comments
These are sparse but there are some and they all point in the same direction. For example, one player wryly complains at the end (i.e. before the dame stage) that he had too many groups. So we can infer group tax was in operation. Another game excites the spectators because one side had just one group. Ditto. But of more interest is a comment of the type where, as a momentous tussle is coming to an end, one player sighs that it is now clear that he is going to lose by 1 zi. In other words, top players were capable of counting a game closely during play, and, except in presumably rare cases of disagreement, they would see no reason to do the actual count-up. Indeed, that might explain why results are rarely given. The point is, the sort of people who authored go books were invariably strong players, and often very strong players. They were amateurs but typically took only two or three stones from the guoshous. We may assume that they, too, were, capable of counting a game without doing all the fiddly stuff at the end.

Tradition
Even today, Chinese players seem unbothered about filling in all the dame. It does not take long at all, especially if you've been doing it all your life. And this is the main element they retained when switching over to Japanese-style play - why? My experience is that it's only western players who are unused to it who object. And I believe they object not to the time it takes but to the possibility, in their suspicious minds, that the opponent may be more familiar with the process and may rip them off in the count-up. There are many westerners who get very upset of they lose by, say, 51 instead of 50 points, and, according to a non-go book I am reading, there is a good explanation for this by evolutionary psychologists. I didn't know they existed till now!. But under the heading of tradition, and also looking back at old Chinese society in terms of social evolution, we can confidently say that the time it might take to count up a game the Chinese way would hardly be an issue. With no tv, no movies, no internet, no social media, no pop concerts, no Superbowls, no car trips, no holidays abroad and so on, they'd probably welcome anything to fill the time in. Indeed, I'd say that filling in the dame at the end while chatting with the opponent would be a welcome form of winding down after a tough game. (And even so, today.)

On a slightly different tack, as far as I can see there is a (total?) lack of discussion among the rules mavens about pay-back stones for last move and handicap stones. I've not seen anything in old Chinese texts either, as far as I can recall, but tradition fills the breach here, too. And what I see in English texts doesn't seem to marry up all that well with what I see in Chinese texts, though I admit I try to avoid reading about rules as much as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #9 Posted: Wed May 03, 2023 5:23 am 
Judan

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John Fairbairn wrote:
one player wryly complains at the end (i.e. before the dame stage) that he had too many groups. So we can infer group tax was in operation. Another game excites the spectators because one side had just one group.


A more detailed text reference is needed for us to judge whether that might indicate stone scoring or little of relevance.

Quote:
there is a (total?) lack of discussion among the rules mavens about pay-back stones for last move and handicap stones


Do you mean Western, Chinese or other rules fans? Western rules fans have discussed them as far as necessary but then not exaggerated these aspects. In particular, AGA style last pass stone and the like have been discussed in rules discussion circles.

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #10 Posted: Mon May 08, 2023 7:38 pm 
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I have looked further into this, perhaps more than the question is worth, but this may be worth pointing out:

It may not be surprising if the old Chinese writers did not go into details about the mechanics of the game. They could assume that their readers were familiar with these things.

However, instead of pure speculation, we can refer to some descriptions of the game by European observers, written at a time when Chinese players were still using group tax. They did need to write about all these details, for the benefit of Westerners who had never seen the game. The accounts I have been able to read are as follows. (Where possible, links are given to copies on the Internet Archive and Hathitrust Digital Library.)

1) Herbert A. Giles, "Wei-ch'i, or the Chinese Game of War"
- first published in Temple Bar Magazine, vol. 49, January 1877, pp. 45-57.
- scoring is explained on pp. 55-56:.
https://archive.org/details/sim_temple- ... 49/page/45
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 1up&seq=53
- the article was reprinted in "Historic China, and Other Sketches" (1882), pp. 330-352.
- scoring is explained pp. 348-349.
https://archive.org/search?query=title% ... 28giles%29
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001257249

He says that, in general, play stops when it is clear that playing within groups will not gain any more points. Score is calculated by counting both stones and spaces surrounded by one's stones. (You can check the reference for his exact phrasing.)

2) Z. Volpicelli
"Wei-ch'i", in Journal of The China Branch of The Royal Asiatic Society for the Year 1891-92, New Series, vol. 26, pp. 80-107.
- scoring is explained at the end of the article, on pp. 105-107.
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 6/mode/1up
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 1up&seq=92

Volpicelli gives the same counting method as Giles.

3) Edward Falkener
:The Game of Enclosing", in "Games ancient and oriental, and how to play them" (1892), pp. 239-250.
-scoring is explained on pp. 246-248.
https://archive.org/details/GamesAncien ... 9/mode/2up
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/100552230

Falkener gives a method that I believe is similar to that used by some modern Chinese players: At the end of play, one player's territories are then filled with stones (and adjusted for group tax). These stones are then formed into rectangular shapes, and counted. (He gives an example for which, I must admit, he is either making an error, or I am misundestanding.)

Btw, I have the impression that Falkener was more of a collector of games rather than a go-player. I am also not sure if he visited China. So part of his description may owe much to other writers. But he also says, as one of the sources listed at the head of his article, "Playing with Chinese and Japanese gentlemen 1865, 1872, 1889". That is, he had direct experience with at least one Chinese player. So I think we should give his account some credence,

4) Daniele Pecorini and Tong Shu, "The Game of Wei-Chi".
Published in 1929, it was reprinted in the 1990s and early 2000s. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an online version. So I must ask you to believe me, when I say that their method involved arranging stones into rectangular shapes as much as possible, and counting stones and enclosed spaces.


Thus, these authors may give several different methods of computing the score. But none of them suggest playing out the game until no more stones can be physically placed on the board. It does look like that would have been an unusual thing for players of that time to have done.

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And the go-fever which is more real than many doctors’ diseases, waked and raged...
- Rudyard Kipling, "The Light That Failed" (1891)


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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #11 Posted: Wed May 10, 2023 7:26 am 
Oza

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Pecorini is the one to trust, as his book was really written by a Chinese player, given as Tong Shu but really Xu Tongfu/Xu Quji, who was a Chinese diplomat sent to Rome (Pecorini was his main contact within the Italian civil service). Volpicelli uses the same method of counting. Falkener does, too, essentially, but is marred by a bad misprint (5 instead of 3, from memory).

But it all seems academic now as I have just learned that in Chinese tournaments (as opposed to amateurs playing on servers), they now use an app which counts the game for you (reliably apparently, but then that's Chinese rules for you!) after you photograph the final position. I gather that amateurs have already been using the app. Maybe there are people here who can confirm that.


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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #12 Posted: Wed May 10, 2023 8:51 am 
Judan

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Such a software was presented conceptually during the last Italien EGC.

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 Post subject: Re: Stone scoring and AGA rules
Post #13 Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2023 7:18 pm 
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tundra wrote:
4) Daniele Pecorini and Tong Shu, "The Game of Wei-Chi".
Published in 1929, it was reprinted in the 1990s and early 2000s. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an online version.

A small update: A copy of this book is available online, on the Internet Archive. The scan seems rather crooked at times, but is otherwise readable:
https://archive.org/details/the-game-of ... i-shu-1929

Chapter 6, "Calculation of Points", gives three counting methods. It will be noted that none of them expect the players to fill every possible point on the board.

A few other things to note:

1) Some go-related anecdotes appear on pp. 14-20. I wish they had been fleshed out a little more, but still, the reader may find a few that they have not heard of before.

2) Plate 1, used in explaining their system of notation, is on p. 31. All other plates are at the end of the book.

3) Three sample games are given in Part 4 of the book. For those who would like to follow along using GoGoD, they appear to be these:

a) Fan vs. Su:
- This is Fan Xiping vs. Shi Ding'an
- GoGoD: 1740hcem002.sgf
(Note that the book says the game was played in 1763, while GoGoD gives 1740. From looking at another description of their games, the GoGoD date is probably the correct one.)

b) Chou vs. Huang:
- This is Zhou Donghou vs. Huang Longshi
- GoGoD: 1660-a.sgf

c) Fan vs. Siao:
- This Fan Xiping vs. Xiao Luoli (a 5 stone handicap game)
- GoGoD: 1740hcem284.sgf

Note the the first two games are commented, while the third is not.

4) This particular copy appears to have been owned by Herbert Giles, who was mentioned earlier. He has written a few stray comments in it. One point: Pecorini and Shu have reprinted part of Giles's 1877 article as Appendix B, on pp. 124-128. But they have spelt Giles's "wei-ch'i" as "wei-chi", i.e., without the mark of aspiration. Giles objects, underlining it with the comment "Never so by me".

5) Inside the cover, Giles has pasted a newspaper or magazine photo of a Captain Pullein-Thompson, said to be introducing the game to the country. I had not heard of this person. But the British Go Journal has an article about his efforts, written by Theo van Ees. It can be found here:
https://www.britgo.org/files/bgj/159-Pu ... ompson.pdf

It seems his go sets were being promoted alongside Pecorini and Shu's book.

Although Pullein-Thompson was rather unsuccessful in the short term, he may have had a long-term effect: It appears that a young John Barrs may have become aware of the game through Pullein-Thompson's sets. And a few decades later, Barrs would go on to found the British Go Association.

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And the go-fever which is more real than many doctors’ diseases, waked and raged...
- Rudyard Kipling, "The Light That Failed" (1891)


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