Amending the Anti-Stalling Feature

Too Long, Didn’t Read

Instead of giving both players the option to end the game by server decision if either passes 3 times consecutively, it is proposed that only the player who passes 3 times in a row be given the option to end the game by server decision, the player who is still playing stones be not given that option


There are two most likely explanations when one player is playing useless moves after all dame and teire are filled: the player is new to the game, or the player is trolling (specifically by stalling)

New Player

I encounter new players more often than I encounter stallers, but even if I didn’t, they still warrant consideration. I am always excited to help beginners, and as the best way to learn is by doing, I am generally willing to play well past the end of the game if the beginner isn’t sure why something is dead (or alive). In such situations, it completely undermines the didactic value for the server to end the game, and if the beginner in this situation wanted the game to end, they wouldn’t even have to resign: they could just pass and agree to your scoring proposal (if you’re refusing to pass back, then see the next section on how this proposal handles trolls)

If the player is new, you have three things you might want to do in some combination: explain to them in chat why the game is over, let them play out their useless attempt to live until they’re satisfied that they can’t live, and/or force the game to end by server decision

However, as it stands now, you cannot repeatedly pass while letting them attempt hopelessly to live if you’re more than 10 points ahead, not because you would be given the option to end the game (you can just choose to ignore it), but because they will be given that same option, and being new, are likely to take it, thus unwittingly wasting the time you have invested in giving them the chance to better understand why removing dead groups at the end of a game works and cheating themselves out of that learning experience

This proposal would simply not give them that option: they have to keep playing, because they’re not passing. If they start passing, you can pass back and go to scoring. If you feel like there’s no point in continuing but they won’t pass, you can just take the option to score the game by server decision then. If they keep playing and you’re willing to play on to help them, you can continue passing and/or playing moves as needed, until you decide to take one of the previous two options


I do not encounter stallers as often as new players, but I have encountered them before, and it bears noting that this proposal will in no way interfere with the ability to force games to end by server decision against a staller

In such a situation, you want the game to end, and thus after filling all dame and teire, you must simply pass 3 times. Since you are the one passing, you do get the option to force-end the game by server decision, exactly as intended


Two concrete examples where this proposal would have resulted in a better outcome (taken from GH issue 2473)

  1. Black had the opportunity to kill a small group and win by 26 points, but neither player saw it
  2. The boundaries are filled, white passes
  3. Black continues to play in white’s area
  4. After three of White’s passes, Black is presented the option to win by Server Decision

Black was ahead by ~10 pts. Around move 300, Black started passing, while White kept playing. Then White placed a stone that changed the staus of a group to undecided - but clearly neither player realized it. Because Black had passed 3 times and White was ahead by 15 it the group was dead, White was given the option to force the win, despite not passing.

I also recall a scenario in one of my own games. I was ahead, and we initiated the passing sequence. Unfortunately forgot borders, so I resumed the game. Due to a confounding bug, we needed to pass 3 times between the two of us to get to my turn, and I was presented with the option to end by server decision.


I do agree that it will be logical amendment but this will create a new difficulty.

In cases similar to what @benjito mention, a player who understand how the anti-stalling works, want to use it but don’t get it to work.

and that would be because of it’s own wrong assessment of some life and death like in the first example.

so AI will interfere, giving some crucial information to one of the player.

If I understand you correctly, this would already happen, so it’s not a knock against this proposal


I don’t think it gives a reason for not working. When the conditions aren’t right, it simply doesn’t kick in after three passes. Anyway, players can get that information by clicking the score estimator.


Let’s say 2 players A & B

Score according players: A > B
Score according AI: A < B

A pass 3 times and don’t trigger the dialog to accept to win

A knows there is a problem in his estimation.
B doesn’t know (it doesn’t know if a choice were given to A)

I hope the idiotic SE one can use during the game to not give that much help as that was the intention when keeping it.

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I was thinking on this and how it also helped me very much as a DDK/weaker SDK to be able to learn where I needed to defend/respond or not, and to die or have swings at the end of the game as a result of missing teire.

I feel that’s an important part of the game & learning experiences when improving in Go, and I also worried that the anti-stallling features would lead new (or experienced) players to learn much less in that way – simply because the buttons currently read :

“Server Decision, Player+X (points)”

“Accept” and “Ignore”

This can give payers the impression that games are just ended this way sometimes and that this is a “usual” way to end them early.

I wonder whether something clearer, like being explicit that it’s an anti-stalling feature (not just that the server ends games by AI decision – as I’ve seen a fair bit of confusion surrounding that & why it is there) would help.

Something like
“Anti-stalling protection : Server decision : Player+X”

“Prevent stalling & accept result”
“No stalling/Continue the game”

As well as a “?” pop-up after the game ends (or on the Anti-stalling itself) with a longer explanation to the effect of :

"This is OGS’s anti-stalling feature. It is triggered in cases of potential stalling (such as continuing to play useless moves when all neutral points and endgame moves are filled) and can end the game in one player’s favour to avoid extreme cases of this, but if you feel this isn’t the case you can ignore it.

(It is recommended to continue games if your opponent is not stalling, and not to use the feature when you are unsure whether they are finished or disagree with its assessment.)"

There’s also the option to link to the anti-stalling feature thread, as new or experienced players who didn’t read that when it was a site-wide announcement are unlikely to know what the feature is, or where to find information about it.

(something like "For more information on this feature click “here”)

But I think that at least clarifying that this is an unusual feature and being explicit about its purpose would help prevent users clicking on it without knowing why it is there (or confusing beginners/other players, thinking that it is normal to cut the endgame short)


Actually the SE is very good near the end of the game. It is in many instances better than the autoscore, because it is apparently not subject to the Autoscore Bug.

Do you mean the old buggy one in use when playing a game?

I’m speaking of the current “Estimate score” button.

That button doesn’t link always to the same SE so sorry if i ask you.
When you use it during your own game and before it ends you get a SE assumed to be very weak (not sure it could detect the L&D in @benjito example)

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These are very interesting suggestion. This anti stalling process is very new and not commonly implemented anywhere so a few words of explaination in-game won’t hurt


I believe that one is still pretty naive near the end of the game. Unlikely to consistently understand bent 4.

I can’t speak to whether it works on Bent 4, but I have never seen it make a single mistake near the end of the game.

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This example could already occur under the current system.

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