Rule Disputes Involving Go Seigen / Discussion

John F. Where does it say that ("Go Seigen agreed with Iwamoto in the game above")? It just seems to say Go acknowledged it was unnecessary for Iwamoto to capture as Go had won anyway. Go clearly didn't agree otherwise he wouldn't have played so many dame moves as ko threats, expecting Iwamoto to answer.

Bill: It states: 呉はこの時は岩本の手入れ不要を認めたのである。As you say, Go acknowledged that Iwamoto did not have to play teire. But a couple of sentences later it states: 手入れ不要が論理的正しいと思ったから認めたのである。That is, Go acknowledged that because he thought that it was logically correct that teire was unnecessary.

John F. OK, Bill, thanks. That made me go back to the book and not just my notes, although it seems to be this is editorialising there rather than Go's own opinion, and I remain confused. The reason I am pursuing it by the way is that I am finalising the Go-Takagawa book and there is a reference to the similar rules dispute between them there. If we look at the actual game with Iwamoto, Go played a string of dame moves as ko threats, expecting Iwamoto to fill in. Given that he had plenty of time and Iwamoto was in time trouble, if Go really did believe filling was unnecessary, he was guilty of gamesmanship, though (amongst other good reasons) since he won either that doesn't seem likely. Also, since it came up as a dispute that required the referee's attention, it would seem there were two opinions in the room somewhere. But as I understand Go took what we might call the Iwamoto view against Takagawa, that is he flipped. Or he was being perverse. Or he obliqueley accusing the Nihon Ki-in of being perverse. Given the nature of the exchanges at the time, either of those possibilities don't seem unikely. What's your take on that?

Bill: My impression of Go Seigen is that he is a highly ethical person. I do not think that playing the ko fight out means much. Yes, Go Seigen could have stopped playing and said, you do not have to protect. But he could also have stopped playing and said, you do have to protect. Perhaps Go Seigen did not wish to make either claim, regardless of his opinion. From a psychological standpoint that gives an explanation for playing out the dame. Playing a dame avoided the dilemma of what to say. Once Go Seigen ran out of dame, he relinquished the move, as did Iwamoto, without protecting. Iwamoto's action amounts to a claim, and now Go Seigen could ask Segoe if Iwamoto has to protect. Perhaps Go Seigen thought that it was up to Segoe to make a ruling, regardless of his own opinion. (As a contract bridge director, I know that that is the correct attitude, according to the bridge authorities. Players are not supposed to make their own rulings.)

My only source is the Modern Famous Games book, which does not go into detail. However, I doubt if the written record quotes Go Seigen's opinion in 1948. Otherwise, how could he later claim that he actually agreed with Iwamoto? My suspicion is that he did not have a firm opinion at the time, but upon reflection came to agree with Iwamoto (and Shusai). Then, some 20 years later he imagined (false memory) that he had agreed with Iwamoto all along. His dispute with Takagawa gave him a strong motive to defend that opinion, and, hence, to believe that he had always held it. Certainly flipflopping would contradict his own sense of personal integrity. I do think that the dispute with Takagawa reflected the genuine opinions of both men. Both were straight arrow types.

yoyoma Or he just wanted the rules to be improved to be less ambiguous, so he took the opposite opinion as his opponent.

John F. I think I have the answer now, but it remains provisional on further data coming to light. The problem seems to be that people talk of a dispute and claims. Go Almanac does this. The main page here says "At the end of the game, Go reminded Iwamoto that Black should fill in at a. Iwamoto said that it was not necessary because Black has more ko-threats than White." I have therefore always had it mind that Go claimed a capture was necessary here.

However, (as I should have done in the first place) I went back to the man on the spot, Yamada Fukumenshi, the newspaper reporter, and read his report. There is no mention of a dispute or a claim or any of the words quoted above. According to Yamada the players appeared not to know what to do as they played out the final ko, and Iwamoto technically lost on time because he ran out of possible moves. He put his hand on his head and said, "So what do we do here?" (Koko wa dou desu ka ne). Obviously he was laughing as he said it because Yamada then adds that Go also laughed and just said Saa, while all the bystanders just stared at the board as if they had been pinched by a fox (i.e. transfixed). Referee Segoe looked nonplussed and it seems as if he took the initiative in looking up a solution. But not only did they find Shusai's ruling they also (new information this?) found a contradictory ruling by Shuei. Since the overall result was the same either way they decided to leave it for another day.

A temporary ruling was made later but I can't recall seeing the reasoning behind it. However, the novelist Sakaguchi Ango, who was present, got very excited at being involved in a rare happening, and wrote about it in Igo no Tomo. This may have been enough to force the officials' hands.

I repeat, no hint of disputes, claims or the like. It would seem safer, therefore, to rename the original page Rules Incidents rather than Rules Disputes, although I also repeat that further data may come to light (but it would have to be pretty strong stuff to override Yamada).

And on this reading, there was no contradiction in Go's stance in his game with Takagawa (which could be fairly called a dispute).

Bill: Thanks for the research, John. :) Yes, I think that the Go-Takagawa game was a real dispute, but this one, and the earlier 10,000 year ko incident might better be called rules confusion. ;) Yamada's impression that the players did not know what to do bolsters my guess that Go Seigen had not formed a firm opinion at that time. :)

unkx80: Thanks John and Bill for all these research. When I wrote up the original version of this article, I based it on Chinese sources, including those Bill found out subsequently. If I recall correctly, the sources gave an impression that it was a dispute, especially if you put both games together. I am happy to rename the page to "Rule Incidents...", if I can get a firm confirmation on this matter.

Ing also refers to this incident, see [ext] SST, search for "Go Seigen".

Rule Disputes Involving Go Seigen / Discussion last edited by axd on December 1, 2009 - 20:54
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