the following section, about alleged differences in books' treatment of these conventions, has been removed, for below comments by John Fairbairn, who can be considered an authority in the field
Japanese and Chinese books follow different conventions in that Japanese books tend to have problems with usually only one solution, whereas Chinese books may have more than one solution or have ko as the solution. In both cases, seki is an allowed outcome.
As far as the solution goes: in Japanese books it is considered enough to establish the status. That means life, death or ko. Matters to do with endgame plays and leaving ko threats, for example, aren't covered. A solution would be preferred if it gave first capture in a ko to the attacker for a 'to kill' problem (resp. to the defender in a 'to live' problem) (see try to get first capture in a ko). Probably matters such as number of ko threats go beyond the normal specification of tsumego, however important they might be in a real game.
John F. This "In Books" section is totally wrong and should be deleted altogether. There is a case for regarding ancient Chinese books as different, but the difference is not the one described here.
This addition was posted to TsumegoConventions by Reuven, without claiming ownership in any way:
Just as there are logical life, ko and death priorities there's also another priority: To live with the whole group / Kill the whole group if possible. (Unlike endgame problems, normally you aren't asked to count points but keep as much of your stones)
Bildstein: I think this is particularly unethical, because we were in the middle of a discussion on this exact issue on GoProblems.com. Read our comments at http://www.goproblems.com/comment.php3?prob=5651.
ElDraco: Hello Bildstein, please see the goproblems.com forum at http://www.goproblems.com/zorum/index.php?method=showhtmllist&list=message&rollid=6%2C256&clearoff=1& for another discussion between Santa C (aka Reuven) and myself. This was about http://www.goproblems.com/comment.php3?prob=5652 but also about life and death problems and what should be counted as a solution in a "how many ways" problem. Adum posted an answer in the forum which I found a satisfying definition of "how many ways".
Hope that clarifies some stuff. I agree though that it seems a little dubious about how Reuven added it as being factual and not his own opinion and in an open-minded way. I hope that's not the way you like to have discussions, Reuven.
Rich: I have to support Bildstein; if a group is alive, but there is a question of how best to make it live, then the problem is an Endgame problem, not Tsumego. However, I am not sure about one point on the parent page here: escape to the centre is given as acceptable life. However, the point of Tsumego - which I believe means 'stuffing go', after all, is that escape is *not* possible.
Bill: Hang on! Reuven did not put himself forward as an authority. He simply added a paragraph to the page, without attribution. Anybody can edit it without misrepresenting Reuven. It can even be deleted. It's a wiki, folks. There is no ethical problem here.
Bildstein: I really have to disagree with you here, Bill. I may have chosen the wrong words ("setting yourself up as an authority", after some of the arguments over aLegendWai's contributions), but I think that if you are going to add content to such an authorative page, if you are not completely sure that the Go playing community agrees with you, you should make your contribution in the form of an opinion or question. Otherwise, some people will read it and accept it and never know better.
The ethical issue is whether or not you should put up a contribution like this as fact when you are in the middle of a debate with someone on whether or not it is fact, again without mentioning that it is opinion, that it is a question, or that there are people who would disagree.
(Meh, I actually needed to censure myself here o_O - Didn't I already mntion the request for confirmation? Well maybe I should've put it here instead and all. But will you please stop with the "unethical name calling"? How ethical is IT, anyway? Well I'm sorry if I don't find being and having my comment "labeled" as such a compliment... Reuven)
Bildstein: I should have chosen a less offensive word. But can you see my point? We were having a disagreement on GoProblems.com, and before resolving the problem, you came on to Sensei's Library and added this statement to the relevant page, as if to prove you were right in the argument. I understand that you asked for clarification, but I don't think the comment on your edit was the right place to do this, because most people who read the pages come through links from other pages, not through Recent Changes. If your edit had been phrased as a question, it would have been entirely understandable - you would have been asking the general SL community for clarification on the issue.
I didn't want to cause an argument (except perhaps in my comments on GoProblems.com, for which I am sorry), unless it was to argue about what the tsumego conventions should be. And I didn't want to make an enemy out of you, Reuven. I don't know why I let myself get emotional about, nor why I didn't choose my words more carefully. I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again. Will you accept my apology, and we can all get on with the buisness of having fun exploring go?
meh I over did it too ^^* - I only use the recent changes lately you see, so it came naturally... sorry ^^* Reuven
Lol, so the discussion went on without me. ;) Good that you two made up now. Still, Reuven, you could've known you were sending people to the page without going through the Recent Changes because you put a link to it straight from the goproblems.com forum... I'll give you the benefit of the doubt about what your motives were for doing that and hope we can get on with enjoying go and having healthy discussions about it with mutual respect. --El Draco
Benifit of the doubt is an american term? Just like the "Not (proven, yeah we failed to prove that the <insert insult here>'s) guilty" in courts? Well... *returns to peace-mode* ;) Reuven
(and yea btw, I did login for that change to have my name there - I don't login that often you know...)
(Also this page should be edited and maybe have some conclusions posted... I'd do it, if I wasn't afraid of being accused of something new... ;)
Most of this page isn't really a discussion about Tsumego Conventions so can be deleted in my opinion. Hope someone else wants to take the time to do it ;). --El Draco
Unethical? I asked for confirmation - It's simply how I see things... "Applies to the whole group? please correct ;)" was the editing comment! BTW, since I first saw such a problem by adum, I'm going to follow his criteria in the future...
And btw Rich, In endgame problems and such you actually need to count unlike in tsumego. However if it's as obvious as saving/killing the whole group... Shouldn't you do so?
Another argument may be - You're asked to save the group - Not a PART of it - If it's impossible to save it all.. It's another story but... It'd be the exception, not the common case!
(And yeah, look at living group definition - One which may make eyes - Escaping may not be "living" but at least put the group as unsettled or living if there's space...You're so negative o_O) Reuven
Rich: A cautionary tale: not everyone sees the editing comments, unless they go to the page via RecentChanges :)
Endgame problems can be about counting, or they can be about ending in gote/sente, or leaving large plays elsewhere. They are 'best move' problems.
As regards whole group/part of the group: you might ask to save the whole group, but you should do so explicitly with the problem: it is the exception, many problems require the sacrifice of stones. Tsumego as thousands of people do it is about making life, or about killing; that simple. Look at the Tsumego page: it is not about capturing stones, but life and death. Making life is success for the defender, killing is success for the attacker. I really can't put it more plainly than that. Otherwise, to name one problem, beginners get confused whether they're allowed to sacrifice stones.
To answer your final point, although I'm not sure why you are determined to drag personal attacks in, my point about escaping is that Tsumego are local problems. Hence their name. So yes, escape is a great option for a group in a game, but it's not in Tsumego. Do you see the point?
Finally, on the Tsumego page it says there should be one solution. So perhaps we can conclude that this is whole discussion is best avoided by avoiding sloppy problems with more than one way of making life? :)
(was adding this while Rich was also adding (hi Rich, we played eachother in Arnhem) ;)
Rich: Hi Emile! Didn't recognise you with your pen-name on :P
I think that the best way to look at it is to compare kill and live problems. In kill problems, the goal is to kill all of the other colour's surrounded stones, else you would've failed in killing. Failure would consequently mean that the other is alive by definition. Hence, the opposite of kill problems would follow to be to live with non-zero stones.
It all follows the principles of Logic and complements. If kill and live problems are eachother's complements (together they form all life&death problems), then logically:
LD = L + D
L = LD - D
D = LD - L
For the sake of simplicity:
LD = all life&death problems
L = all life problems
D = all death problems
Note that L and D are mutually exclusive (life & death can't overlap eachother).
Let's say that D consists of problems where you have to kill all of the other's surrounded stones. (I doubt we'd have a disagreement on this)
Let's also say that if you don't succeed in doing so, the other is alive (he's not dead or in some limbo, is he?). This leads to the definition of L, namely the rest of LD (or LD - D). Hence, L must be all those problems where you can prevent the other from killing all your surrounded stones.
If you oppose this, you're saying that LD = L + D + X (unknown component X) where X is something that didn't belong to L or D. I'd rather think that X would belong to "best move" or "endgame" problems, rather than life&death problems, since having LD consist of L, D and yet another group of problems is too troublesome in my opinion. An example of a problem in X would be: "live with all your stones". You could just as well split this problem into an L problem combined with a "connect the stones" problem. It's essentially nothing more than that.
What I didn't exactly cover here, are "connect to the outside" problems, but those don't belong to the L&D realm in my opinion, since there's no concept of eyes there and they're not really surrounded (isolated).
I only want to show the ambiguity of having "live with all your stones" in L. I like to think of things in simple terms instead of awkward definitions. Alive is not-dead and dead is not-alive. Can't we just keep it as simple as that? --ElDraco
So "kill black" problem asks to kill all of black (Or as much as you can, right?;), right? Wouldn't the absolute opposite be to live with everything (that you can live with)? ;)
ElDraco: You're reading my explanation very selectively, aren't you? ;) Maybe the opposite would be as such, but not the complement (which is needed to make LD = L + D).
Btw the whole point of living is saving points ;)
But leaving that alone - Saving your whole group not cause of the points (even if it all comes down to it..) - But to do what you're asked to - TO LIVE! With it all as I see it. No need to actually add it to the instructions, if it's possible to live with everything it should be the only way... (Unless instructions explictly contradict it or it's a whole board position or some other special case...) Reuven
Rich: Conversely, if it's word-games you're after, "kill black" asks you to finish with no living black group on the board; the opposite is hence to finish with a living black group on the board. :P
I agree that if it's possible to live with anything it should be the only way - but then it's the puzzle-setter's task to ensure that it really is the only way to live; that other living solutions are not available. You hold that if sacrificing stones is necessary to live, this should be explicitly stated in the problem? This is certainly not like any Tsumego I've ever seen...
ElDraco: You can also compare it with the go variant where black has stones on the border and white has to try to live inside. Black wins if white hasn't got a single living stone on the board, white wins if he has at least one living group on the board. Reuven, you can't have both at the same time. E.g. let's say white wins if all of his stones are alive and black wins if all of white's stones are dead (as with your conception of L&D). Then it would become a tie in almost all cases, because you haven't defined the win-loss criteria unambiguously. Now you tell me which rules you'd prefer?
And btw, I'm not questioning the merits of finding the best way to live (with all stones) since it seems like you're saying that I don't understand that or something. I'm only talking about what problems fit in L&D and which belong to "best move" or "endgame" or other categories. It's just a matter of how you look at it, while at the core, we don't disagree with eachother that you should look for the best way in all cases. We just disagree on what should be labeled 'correct' when all that is asked is to live. And partly alive is just what it says: 'alive', since it's not 'dead'. Or is it dead in your opinion??
Another thing that I thought of just now is: as long as there's a spark of life inside your body, you're not dead but alive, even when your limbs are dead and/or amputated. It's the same thing again.
nah if sacrafice is required it shouldn't be stated ^^* - i meant cases where it's stated that u preffer sente over living wholy...
and yea i'm not sure i'd like to be a "vegatable" - brain dead... even if i'd be breathing and such... why make poor groups families suffer?! ;'( Reuven
 See Tsumego page for more on the meaning. --Bill
 Or 'partly dead' ;). Don't think there's such a thing. ;) --ElDraco