Write down your move before you play it discussion

   

Moved from How to avoid blunders.


Warning: This might constitute as cheating.

8) Write Down Your Move Before You Play It. This is a tried-and-tested technique favoured by chessplayers, and it works. If you are making a game record, write your move onto it before you play it. The only drawback is that this is quite significantly time-consuming, which is a problem given the comparatively short time limits in go tournaments (in chess tournaments, you typically get an hour and a half for just 40 moves).


Nacho: I have tried number 8, and it works, except when you write down your move, look again at the board, and decide it wasn't the best move, so you play a different one, and now you have a problem: you have to erase the one you didn't play.

Tamsin: Pencil?

Nacho: Luckily, I never use pens, always pencils, for everything. I don't trust myself enough. I know I'll always make some mistake. But in this case, it proved useful. I lost some time correcting the kifu, though (I had to search for the eraser which was lost in the bottom of my pocket). Maybe I should add that recommendation in the kifu page...


Andrew Grant: Speaking as a tournament organiser, I feel that this practice could be considered cheating. If you write down your move on a game record you are able to see the proposed move in place before you play it on the board, which will certainly aid you in spotting blunders; but in what way is this different from trying out candidate moves on a separate board (which certainly would be considered cheating)? You are supposed to visualise the move in place before making the decision to play there. If you play the move then see you've made a blunder... well TOUGH. Learn to read better next time. The comparison with chessplayers' practice is not valid since chessplayers use an algebraic notation which does not lend itself to easy visualization of the move in place. But in go a kifu is in effect a picture of the board. You could write down your proposed move, see it was wrong, then decide to play your actual move elsewhere. Tournament rules, at least in Europe, state that you are not committed to your move until your fingers have left the stone, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to use this as a loophole.

Tamsin: I absolutely see your point. But where do you draw the line? I vaguely recall reading that it is not forbidden to use pen and paper to make a note of the current score, so long as you are prepared to show your opponent the calculation if asked to do so. Also, would you consider using a set of rosary beads or even one's fingers to check off points on a checklist a form of note-taking or cheating?

Charles: It has been ruled illegal, on occasion, to use the stick-on number form of record-taking before playing the move. As for drawing the line - I think I've seen this sort of discussion before, in relation to rules. However much people say 'oh, there ought to be explicit rules about what is allowed', there is never going to be an adequate formulation.

Tamsin: So, ultimately, it's down to the tournament official's disgression?

Andrew Grant: Maybe there cannot ever be a complete formulation of tournament rules, but that's no reason not to try. I once produced a set of rules for player conduct in tournaments which I may post here if anyone is interested; they forbade any external note taking such as pen and paper scorekeeping but I admit that they had nothing to say about using rosary beads!

Charles: So, I suppose none of those joseki handkerchiefs, no accomplices doing tic-tac outside the window to the rokudan in the car park[1]. How about disappearing from the playing area for 45 minutes without explanation, as was once done to me?

Andrew Grant: Innocent until proved guilty, I'm afraid. Have you any evidence that those 45 minutes were used for some nefarious purpose? And what were the time limits? 45 minutes out of 1 hour is a long time to spend on one move, however good it is. 3 hours, on the other hand.

Charles: Oh, it was a well-known British 4 dan sitting in the car park trying to get over having played a kikashi that made a knight's move net work for me. Rude rather than rule-breaking, I thought, as was the subsequent use of six periods of overtime when losing by a final score of 29. It was 90 minutes each. But 'player conduct' might imply more.

Dolgan: I think it would feel sour for me. I want to play well, but that does mean play well by myself not with the help of a sheet of paper. If I am still not good enough to win - well go is just a game after all... (Though Honinbo prizes would perhaps let me feel different, but as long as I am far from a one-digit-kyu... ;-) )
I want to have fun and I want to improve, but whether I win or not is not the most important thing. Some of my most intensive games were ones that I lost. Fighting hard can get quite exiting - even if I lose that huge group in the end.


[1]: Charles: So I should try to explain. Tic-tac is a kind of semaphore language used on race courses for passing information about current odds in betting. A rokudan is a 6 dan. I was trying to make an example for a way of cheating that might not be explicitly mentioned by a listing of things players shouldn't do.

Tamsin: It's unfortunate that we in the West have something of a culture of cheating. "Win at all costs and by any means". That said, I wonder whether it's just another example of stereotyping to assume that in Asian cultures it would usually be considered unbearably dishonourable to cheat. Not that this has anything to do with avoiding blunders, but perhaps there's material for a discussion on Cheating In Go??

Blake: Well, I'm not sure about more specific 'over the board' cheating, but Jowa is commonly believed to have politicked his way to his title. Despite cultural differences, the East is full of human beings, too. And quite a lot of them, at that.

Tamsin: Good point. Jowa's chicanery was not exactly praiseworthy, but on the other hand he is regarded by many as the strongest fighter of all time, so perhaps this should not tarnish his legacy too much.

Exswoo No, the typical Eastern attitude is that Cheating is only cheating if you're caught Hey, Cheating is called Cunning in Japanese for a reason! :)

Charles Yes, I doubt the cultural lines are really drawn the way Tamsin suggests.


Write down your move before you play it discussion last edited by blubb on January 10, 2007 - 22:58
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