American Go E-Journal

Your Move/Readers Write: Spoiling a Masterpiece Unnecessarily

Monday November 5, 2012

“What a shame that the Lee Sedol-Gu Li game (Quadruple Ko: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol in the 17th Samsung Cup 11/3 EJ) was left as an unsatisfying draw!” writes Terry Benson. “Starting in the 1920’s and particularly with American rules experts Robinson and Olmstead in 1941, many of those interested in the rules of go have proposed a ‘super ko rule’ to treat all ko’s – even complex ko’s – as we do a simple ko: break the full board repetition with a ko threat. Traditional Chinese rules, Ing rules, AGA rules (now used in France and Britain), and the rules of New Zealand and Australia all have super ko in some form. Only the resistance of Japanese and Korean traditionalists has prevented this simple and logical change. Why should the death of a Japanese warlord in 1582, the day after a triple ko occurred, be the superstitious basis for a rule of go? Lee and Gu created a masterpiece of go that was spoiled by an ugly rule. They could have played it out. With examples like this, maybe someday the countries of the go world will agree on clear, logical, complete rules.”
photo: Lee Sedol 9 dan (foreground) and Gu Li 9 dan (far right).