Take a bet on life and death

    Keywords: Life & Death, Variant

Take A Bet At Life And Death is a tsumego tournament, with the following rules and options. This is one of the go variants.


  1. Each player starts with the same amount of points, displayed by a supply of stones he holds.
  2. Rounds are organized according to the RoundRobin system so that each player meets the other.
  3. In a round each player meets one other player. Between them lies a tsumego. Black to play and live.
  4. By default, the weaker player takes Black. In case of equal strength there is a nigiri.
  5. If the Black player makes the group alive he receives 5 points, by taking five stones from a supply bowl next to the tsumego in question. If the White player kills the Black group, she receives 5 points in the same way.
  6. There is a time limit of x minutes per player. Exceeding the time limit means a loss.
  7. The White player (the stronger one) can offer 1 to 4 stones from his supply to the weaker player, in order to change colors. The weaker player can either accept or refuse this offer. If the exchange takes place, the procedure described above still applies.
  1. The winner of the tournament is the one with the largest stone supply at the end of all rounds.


  1. The tsumego are of equal/mixed level.
  2. The organizer can adjust the level of the tsumego to the average strength of the two players.
  3. If the stronger player offers n stones to change places, and the weaker one refuses, the stronger one may take n stones from the bowl to add it to his supply.


  • Assume this game is played with all tsumego at level (appr.) 10 kyu. If a 1D and a 5D meet than obviously the 1D will refuse any offer by the 5D and grab the 5 points. This is why option nr. 3 can be invoked.

Is there any point for a 5D, player to be playing this? I mean, unless you have some really tough tsumego booklets out there. I'm also guessing that you'd have to use tsumego from a book to do this thing, otherwise it'd be silly, having to think up and arrange on a board for every question, just take ages... especially if the guy solves it in 1 second and it took 2 minutes to set up...

Anonymous: Just today I saw 7D problem books in the bookstore (in Japan).

WillerZ: Matthew MacFadyen reviews problem books based on how long it took him to do them and how many he gets right. [ext] See here for the list. So even strong 6 dan players make mistakes.

  • I invented this tournament variant only this week and never tried it. Your comments and experiences are most welcome.


Jasonred You mean the stronger player can offer to defend that position instead of attack? Good idea. With the optional "refusal" rule, this system takes the difficulty of the question into account with the scoring!

Phelan: Option 3 can only be used once per game, right? If not, it could be abused...From what I guess, it's purpose is to make sure a player who can solve that particular tsumego can also get the points for it.

Sebastian: Just a question: The counters used for scoring are different from the stones used for playing, or aren't they? -- 2003-09-19

Take a bet on life and death last edited by bugcat on February 19, 2018 - 20:14
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