Tartrate Gossip

    Keywords: People, Humour

Many people are curious to know what tartrate's identity in real life may be, despite his wish not to make it a quest. Here are a few guesses and arguments.

1. Tartrate is Jie Li.

NeoNemesis: I think that tartrate is Jie Li. Jie li isn't pro yet. I also know that Li Jie is very busy recently because he got into UCSD and during the last week or so he moved to San Diego. I also heard from my teacher that Jie Li has an account on KGS. Being known as a pro slayer in the US, Jie Li undoubtedly could be tartrate.

He has a new picture in his profile which appears to be a bottle of some sort of Smuckers product with a black and white Go stone on top. He claims there's a secret message encoded in it. It appears that the contents of the jar in the pic are either marmalade or pineapple dessert topping. If it's the latter he might be Cho Chikun as he used to play on IGS under the nickname "Pineapple."

The chemical symbol for tartaric acid is C4H6O6...'CHO'. Tartaric acid is found in pineapples as well as grapes

Tamsin: I think we can rule Cho Chikun out for sure, although I love the byzantine reasoning given above. Tartrate can speak good English, right? But I am reliably informed, i.e., by somebody who has met him and conversed with him, that Cho Chikun speaks "not a dickybird" of English.

FunkyBSide: From past discussions, I do believe tartrate lives in the Central Time zone, so I'm not sure if he could be at UCSD.

Velirun: Then again, he may just be messing with you.

Fhayashi: Clearly, there's jelly in that jar, and that's because he is "Jie Li" which sounds like jelly. He seems to have confirmed my long standing suspicion.

Fwiffo: He was on KGS again tonight. He said something along the lines of "Apparently I'm Jie Li and I didn't even know it all these years. Wow."

mgoetze: A reliable source told me he knows who tartrate is (he's not telling, obviously) and it's not Jie Li.

Dieter: Hmmm. You don't want to tell us who told you that someone told him he's tartrate and that he's not Jie Li but that same unknown didn't want to tell you who. Now I'm telling you I'm going to tell this to somebody but I'd rather not tell you to whom. It might be tartrate, for all I know.

mgoetze: I didn't say the method this person used to find out was having someone tell him he is tartrate. ;)

Fhayashi: Anyways, have you ever seen Jie Li and tartrate in the same place at the same time? I don't think so... =)

NeoNemesis: Forget it, Tartrate isn't Jie Li. I've talked to Jie Li somehow and he said he's not Tartrate. He had a look at Tartrate's games, and supported the idea that Tartrate is Jimmy Cha.

2. Tartrate is Jimmy Cha

Tamsin: According to Alexandre Dinerchtein, he is from Chicago. Now, Jimmy Cha lives there, I believe. Think of a drink rich in tartrates, and you come up with tea (among others). What is tea in Korean? It is cha. Personally, I'd bet money that Jimmy Cha and Tartrate are one and the same.

Anonymous: I was in the English room one evening, around 9 pm ET. tartrate was on but said s/he couldn't play because s/he "had to go to dinner". Assuming the evening meal is meant, Chicago (1 time zone earlier[3]) works well. However, I see that Jimmy Cha is listed as 4p. If mymy really is 6p, that seems to put the kibosh on that idea. Anon2: That logic is flawed, Jimmy Cha has beaten various top 9p's such as Cho Chikun. His 4p rating is not terribly indicative of his strength.

Velobici: Tartrate has mentioned that he speaks eight languages and can read/write four. His English is fluent, without unusual sentence forms or word choice, indicating use of the language among native users for an extended period of time. Several years ago there was a mystery player on IGS. This mystery player was undefeated, amazingly strong a la Sai of Hikaru No Go. That mystery player was Jimmy Cha. Perhaps Jimmy has returned to KGS as our own Sai.

ZeroKun: Now that hes back on, his english seems worse than before. Incomplete sentences and wrong words and such.

Fhayashi: (May 18, 2003) tartrate claimed not to be Jimmy Cha, but who know's if he (or she) is telling the truth?

Kijoe: (May 20 2003): It is quite unlikely that tartrate is Jimmy Cha. Tartrate was playing on KGS on 19th and 20th of May 2003, and on both days Jimmy Cha was playing in World Series of Poker 2003.

Fhayashi: and the World Series of Poker news website lists La Hambra, CA as the hometown for Jimmy Cha, rather than Chicago as mentioned above.

jergarmar: Jimmy Cha has always been a bit of a fixation for me. I am personally convinced that he is tartrate because of things like his multi-lingualism, his outgoing attention-grabbing nature, his strength, and so on. In regards to the 2003 poker tournament mentioned by Kijoe, it seems consistent that he might hop onto KGS to unwind (unless it was discovered that they happened simultaneously, of course).

3 Tartrate is Catalin Taranu

marwin : Tartrate may be Taranu

           - Taranu is 5p and the strongest european player
           - he speaks good English
           - he is mathematician and he likes rebuses
           - I met Taranu and he is very very kind and modest,it looks to me, that tartate has the same qualities.
           - His name begins with tar

What do you think about it?

4 Tartrate is TicTacToe

Tartrate is clearly a nonsense name. However a player of tartrate's strength would surely never pick a frivolous name. Therefore the name itself must be a clue to his identity. Examining the name closely we can see that it contains 3 T's. The same number of T's appears in TicTacToe's name. TicTacToe is often seen watching the games of Tartrate and sometimes acurately predicts the next move. The final clinching proof is that both names end in E.

Matt Noonan: Though I like that theory, I've watched all of Tartrate's games and also played many games with Tictactoe. They aren't the same person, I'm sure of it, and I have no logical proof of this statement. Sometimes you just know, you know?

Hu: Completely different style of interaction and of English usage.

Spooky? Tartrate is also an actual English word: see below.

5 Tartrate is GnuGo secret beta 3.5.4

phenomene: Sorry, couldn't resist. :-) But if you disagree, please prove this hypothesis is worse than the preceding ones! After all, isn't Tartrate's style beyond any human style?

6. Tartrate is not Michael Jackson.

MK: Michael was on Friday in court. Friday was the day Tartrate lost on KGS for the first time. Although this is a coincidence, let's assume tartrate is not a pop music star.

7. Tartrate is Go Seigen

bobulatorm: Is this at least feasible? After the very unusual fuseki (if you can even call it that) in the last game against redrose, perhaps this is what he's doing in his old age? ;)

kokiri: Am I the only one that finds message 7 in this [ext] google chain interesting.

bobulatorm: I can't think they would give a hint that obvious. You never know whether it's double or triple bluff though ;) is there a Go equivalent of handwriting recognition? :p

Ellbur: Bobulatorm, I don't think you meant that seriously but it is a very good idea. Similar algorithms have been applied to writing style, and have been used effectively. I don't think such a method have been developed for Go yet, but it could.

Rakshasa: I doubt such an algorithm is feasible in this century. Judging whetever a move fits in a certain players style requires more than just pattern matching. Assuming the game position is new, then you need to be able to judge the status of the whole board and then find out what kind of move was played. It is not just where but when and why that define a style. Handwriting is a static set of characters in relatively few possible combinations. (Like, how does i look when it's preceded by s and followed by m)

Ellbur: I think there is a feasable method: analyze the frequency with which the subject uses certain common moves, especially in fuseki. With each individual game, the style is unrecognizable, but with enough samples, it may be possible to compare playing styles this way. Computers can already recognize most common moves, enumerating them should be easy.

Fwiffo: Funny this should come up. I've been working on a brand new [ext] Go fingerprinting technology.

Alex Weldon: You give examples, but you don't seem to have the script itself available. Any plans to make it available at some point?

Fwiffo: Probably at some point, when it sucks less. Right now the script is pretty much an embarrasing hack.

It's still a bit rough around the edges, but it uses a super-advanced "quick-and-dirty" bean counting technique to uniquely fingerprint any collection of SGF files. Sadly, it requires a fairly large sample size to get useful results, so I don't think I've got enough tartrate games to get a positive ID. A couple interesting (or possibly obvious) things show up though:

  • Players with distinct playing styles have distinct looking charts.
    • JohnAspinall: This discussion might be interesting in its own right, (i.e. independent of the Tartrate identity question). Suggestion: find the other discussion of statistical analysis of Go games, (search for GoGoD, and Kombilo?) and combine with that.
  • You can see how efficiently territory is made in various parts of the board.
  • The majority of play occurs on the third and fourth lines, and particularly around the 4-4 points (wow, duh!).
  • The least popular points inside the fourth line are the four 5-5 points.
  • Go etiquette is visible in the charts -- scandalously, TheCaptain breaks with tradition.
  • In parallel fuseki, Black tends to take the right much more often than the top even though Black has a choice after White takes the lower left corner (which is the most common place for White to play after Black's opening).
    • JohnAspinall: The right-vs-top choice for parallel fuseki is purely one of appearance. Suggestion: do another analysis with a pre-processing step that canonicalizes the game so that move 1 is always in the top right, and use move 2 and possibly move 3 if necessary to break all remaining symmetries.
  • No amount of data fudging can hide my trademark style (namely, running head first at the enemy, arms flailing wildly, wailing like little Miss Muffet).

Rakshasa: If you got a large collection of few players, yes it would work, but good luck finding that one style amongst hundereds of pro's. (Pro's will propably have the same repetoire of moves and the number of possible best moves in a situation is not as large as for amateurs)

Crimson: I believe you can check general fuseki principles, as well as how they play common josekis, and how they resopnd to common moves.

8. Tartrate is Jho Poong Chun?

MK: Jho Poong Chun?, 7 dan pro from Korea, also known on KGS as vic1000. Why? Just a feeling.

Hu: Completely different style of interaction and of English usage.

9. Tartrate is Gari Kasparow?

Google for |Weinstein Kasparow| vs. |Weinstein Tartrat| to find the answer...

Of course the Miramax-Weinsteins are candidates...

10. Tartrate is Otake Hideo

ZeroKun: I think he is Otake Hideo, I find similarities in their style, mostly all the honte moves and such.

Malweth: LOL I think you're just obsessed with Otake ;)

ZeroKun: Yes I am! But their styles do seem similar to me.

weiqidevil: I agree on the theory that tartrate may be Otake Hideo. Tartrate called himself "Tinkerbell", which is a figure in a comic. Otake reads comic books during his games. The styles of the two as ZeroKun stated really seem to be the same.

11. Tartrate is jyem

Spectrums: Erased game files? The only person I know of that can do that is jyem, so...

Griffin: What erased game files?

Koffein?: i canīt find any erased game file

12. Tartrate is an ancient go spirit inhabiting the body of a teenage boy

antic: I think there is tremendous evidence to support this theory. First of all, Tartrate's apparent fluency with English and his juvenile love of attention could be explained as characteristics of his corporeal host. Second, his aforementioned love of honte moves and seemingly old style are surely atypical of modern go! And, most importantly, the fact that the number of this proposal is twelve, which begins with the letter "T", and etymologically means "two left over", which is precisely how many letters are left in Tartrate when you subtract the same number of letters there are in "twelve" from his name.

And is it a coincidence that these two letters, when pronounced phonetically, produce the letter "T"? I think not.

13. Tartrate is Chuck Norris

DejikoNyo?: No one can be so close to the Hand of God than God himself.

Chips: Chuck Norris can beat anyone at Go in 1 move.

Stable: Unfortunately that single move is a roundhouse kick to the face.

juhtolv: Chuck Norris is so strong at Go, that he can kill even groups having three eyes.

Pungyeon: Chuck Norris can win a seki

14. Tartrate is Uusis

15. Tartrate is Kim Myoung Wan

According to Kim Myoung's page here on Sensei's Library, he played mymy on KGS and won. Not many players have done that. Tartate is one of them.

Alexandre Dinerchtein [ext] asserts, and DrStraw agrees, that Kim Myung Wan played as tartrate on KGS (Ian Davis, aka javaness, disagrees: see [ext] this godiscussions.com thread).

Anonymous: No, according to Kim Myoung's edited page here on Sensei's Library, he actually denies playing as mymy on KGS. And now recently, according to [ext] http://notquitepro.blogspot.com/2009/05/player-profiles-kim-suengjun-9p.html , its been revealed that Mok Chinseok 9P plays as mymy on KGS. So Kim MyoungWan may not be tartrate afterall.

Phelan: If you check the edit history(on the alias), that denial was added by an anonymous user (only an ip is visible). There is no guarantee that it was Kim Myeong-wan himself to do so.

The etymology of tartrate

Doug Ridgway: To save the curious a web search, "tartrate" refers to any salt of tartaric acid, which naturally occurs in many plants, particularly grapes. Potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar) often crystallizes in the wine cask, and is used in various parts of cooking. Pharmaceutically, many basic drugs are formulated by reacting them with a weak acid such as tartaric to form a rapidly dissolving salt, which would then be called drugname tartrate, but the tartrate is just there to help the drug dissolve and plays no role in the bioactivity of the drug.

Charles: Tartaric acid or tartrate crystals often are found at the bottom of good bottles of wine. Makes me wonder if this handle was chosen less than randomly.

jvt: About the fridge picture: tartrate crystals are what you get in wine bottles after temperature changes, especially cooling. The dissolved tartaric acid falls out of solution.

GoStone: To remove tartrate crystals just decant the wine carefully. The wine is then detartrated, the longest palindromic word in the English language.

More clues from Webster's Dictionary:


Etymology: Middle English Tartre, from Middle French Tartare, probably from Medieval Latin Tartarus, modification of Persian TAtAr -- more at TATAR
Date: 14th century
1 capitalized: a native or inhabitant of Tartary
2 capitalized: TATAR 2
3 often capitalized: a person of irritable or violent temper
4: one that proves to be unexpectedly formidable.


Etymology: Latin, from Greek Tartaros:
a section of Hades reserved for punishment of the wicked.


Etymology: Persian TAtAr, of Turkic origin; akin to Turkish Tatar Tatar
Date: 1811
1: a member of any of a group of Turkic peoples found mainly in the Tatar Republic of Russia and parts of Siberia and central Asia
2: any of the Turkic languages spoken by the Tatar peoples

wms: I have heard this before, that tartrate lost games in simul before, but I cannot find any such games in the KGS archives. Can anybody confirm this to be the case? If it is true, then it seems games were lost. Twice I lost a day's worth of game records due to errors, perhaps the simul game was in one of those days.

  • wms: Oops, just solved my own mystery. The account that played the games was called "Tartrate2". Now the mystery is, how can we be sure that Tartrate2 was Tartrate? And why did Tartrate use that other account?

ZeroKun: He said he would get on another account before, i guess he didnt want to lose on the original account :)

Fhayashi: The most disturbing fact was that tartrate "returned" ZeroKun's soul not long before his first loss in a normal game. Coincidence? I think not...

Floris: Eh? Returned ZK's soul? Did tart steal his then??

ZeroKun: no, actually i gave it to him for a game :)

Shredder: I think you guys are looking too far into this. I doubt that his/her name or that pic has such a deep meaning. What's the point of wasting the time in making his/her name and that pic to be a clue to her/his identity? For all anybody knows s/he is some player on KGS or IGS that was a beginner and was flamed a lot, left, went to a different server with a new name and got a lot better or just got a good teacher and joined some clubs, then s/he came back to KGS and decided to mess with everyones' minds. Heck, I've done it before (not with Go or other games, but on forums and such online) and it's like having a second chance in life, and if you know what your doing, it works like a charm (some skill is required though, different personalities, typing, charteristics, etc.). It's also a lot of fun going back and forth between 2 accounts and messing with people (having them trying to figure who you are, etc.). I'm not saying that s/he is doing so, but that it's possible that s/he is.

Hikaru79: It is very doubtful that tartrate is "just some player" who got stronger on IGS. Remember, s/he is almost certainly a pro (and definetly of pro strength). He has beaten several pros, and except for his game against charm, which he lost on time, he has never lost any of his games, which were against the very best of KGS. Therefore, tartrate is, with little argument, the strongest player on KGS. He has almost certainly been playing Go since long before KGS existed. So I doubt he just gained his skills as a revenge against flamers :P

Malweth: Well... when I get that strong, I'm going to change my name to something wacky and try and trick everyone! I'd do it now, but people would say "who's that 10k" - "what 10k" - "the one with all the losses..." - "yeah, he hasn't won a single game!" - "well... I think there was one, but it was won on time".

Warfreak2: A lot of these possibilities would be ruled out by considering that the KGS user "tartrate" used the Japanese language KGS client, perhaps without realising that this would become public information. Also nobody seems to have pointed out that tartrate's email address is on his profile? I'm assuming it isn't fake, as hush.com seems to be the kind of thing to use for anonymity.

You assume wrong, this is most likely somebody squatting on the name

That is correct.

SirLyric: Has anyone considered it might be a shared account among two or more pros? Might have originally been someone like Jimmy Cha, and wouldn't it be just like him to have offered the password to one or two other people, to play a joke on all of us guessing out here?

Anonymous: DrStraw on KGS said tartrate was 7p (but wouldn't name him). Choose to make what you want of this.

xela: There is a KGS user named "tartaric", registered on 2nd July 2007, ranked 9d (but not undefeated). Is this purely a coincidence?

Uberdude: No this is not a coincidence. We ([ext] 2007 Go'n'Games trip) chose the name for one of our teachers (Liu Yuanbo 2p) to play on KGS and confuse everyone! ;-)

Boo 7d (John Karlsson) has email address of tartrate@gmail.com so eat your heart out. ;-)

Tartrate Gossip last edited by on January 25, 2015 - 20:59
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