I don’t really like playing with a traditional handicap. I dislike having all the black stones on hoshi, as it excludes a lot of nice opening strategies. But still I would like to sometimes win against the computer, so over time I have come up with some alternative handicap systems, to spice things up so to say. I’d like to present them here and ask if anyone can come up with some other fun things to try
- For completeness: black gets a certain amount of stones to place on the board, but can also choose where to place them.
- A regular game, but with ridiculously high komi
- White is forced to pass every X turns (or equivalently, every X turns Black gets to move twice)
- A variation of the previous ones, but a limited number of times White has to pass at a moment of Black’s choosing (possibly with a certain number of rests in between).
- A weaker variant of the previous two: Black can decide a limited number of times that White has to play his second choice.
- Black can decide a limited number of times that White’s next stone becomes black.
- To make things more fun, any of the previous ones, but at random moments that Black also doesn’t know about
And then there’s some that are a little difficult to get working without a real board, or to teach to a computer program designed to bash human go players into the earth:
- Black can choose a limited number of times to change the colour of a stone on the board instead of playing
- Black can play an immortal stone, whose group cannot be captured.
- Black can decide a limited number of times to move a stone to an adjacent point
- Black can decide a limited number of times to remove one of the stones from the board (with possible restriction that it must be White / Black).
EDIT: Of course most of these are meant to be used very sparingly, so wherever I mentioned “a limited number of times” I mean anything between a single time and four / five times (I guess), as not to cripple the game too severely.