American Go E-Journal

THE “IMPOSSIBLE” TIAN YUAN TOWER PROBLEM, SOLVED

Monday June 7, 2010

The “Impossible” Tian Yuan Tower problem (5/27 EJ) is “Far from impossible,” writes John Fairbairn, “especially once

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you know the name of the problem, Shenlong Guotu, or Divine Dragon Shedding Its Bones. The Daoist phrase ‘shedding bones,’ or variants such as ‘shedding a skin’, always signify it’s an under-the-stones problem,” says Fairbairn, a longtime go writer and co-author of the Games of Go on Disk encyclopedia (GoGoD). Fairbairn was one of just eight readers to correctly solve the problem:  Steven Burrall, who also knew it was an ishi no shita, or “under the stones” problem; Daniel Gourdeau, Jimmy Guo, Marek Kamiński, Carlo Metta, Solomon Smilack and our very own weekly AGA go problem-meister Myron Souris. We won’t mention the name of the reader who wanted to know “is the problem black to play and kill or white to play and live?”

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