Cheating with the score estimator

I think you didn’t accept my apologies (or missed them?)


I agree that it would be useful to have a good score estimator for the scoring phase as well.

However, having AI help during scoring is much narrower than allowing players to query a strong AI during the game. Of course, players could potentially resume a game to exploit some knowledge gained from the AI during scoring, but I think that’s a much lower risk, since it requires both players to first pass, in belief that the game is already settled.

Key to these issues is striking a balance between user convenience and competition purity. I think using a scoring estimator during the game is essentially a form of AI assistance, but it’s accepted on OGS only because it has long been the norm and the estimator is very poor. Note that the score estimator will even provide an estimate after playing out one or more moves in a variation. If the score estimator wasn’t terrible, one could essentially use the tool to provide advice on what one’s next move should be.


Nice. But we cannot just see all in the way of progress.

There is the factor fun too. And someone can just find it fun to play and use a (even better if possible) SE.
Without being implied in some teached scheme.

Now I see players who want to challenge players playing the same game. With or without AI, SE, pros … Whatever.
Just they want to know for their fun


I pedantically concede this point, and hence one could argue that the SE violates no rules. In fact, as a feature built-in to the site, I think it is implicitly accepted by the rules, since otherwise it shouldn’t be presented as a feature.

However, I think the crux of this debate is not how it is classified, but whether it should be available as a form of assistance at all.

With the score estimator available, one could put down hypothetical moves (using the explore variations feature) and then query the estimator to judge which may be better paths (by comparing the relative value of the scores). Essentially, one could base the choice of their next move on the judgments provided the score estimator after putting down hypothetical moves. Taken to the extreme (although maybe impractical for live, this could certainly be done in correspondence), one could evaluate all (or nearly all, focusing on only the reasonable) potential moves using the score estimator and pick what the SE judges to be best.

Would it be acceptable to play in such a fashion?


That is great that that is what you mean. I agree hands should not be allowed.

However, the rules were not written wrt your interpretation of external, and any semantics you want to play is immaterial.

The rule’s use of externality references the site’s inbuilt capabilities.
You are the one “playing with words” here.

Honestly it is not even that.
Its not even a discussion of if SE is good at this point. It is litterally the OP arguing the the TOS bans it and that it is cheating and the same as running a copy of lizzie in the background.

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Here’s a hypothetical question…

How would you view on this matter change (if at all) if the score estimator was upgraded to use a strong AI engine?

Keep in mind that it is possible to call the score estimator on variations to test potential next moves.


POLL: should score estimator be available during the game?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

EDIT: Poll close on Tuesday August 11

I went figurative where you are going literal, but I think we’re going in the same direction :wink:

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I didn’t go that far, it’s an amazing way one could use.

I was just thinking when you ask a score estimation, of all these not yet counted areas, and in which sometimes you may have overlooked some tesuji.

But your analysis make all this even more clear.

I agree, but I was considering mostly how I cheat myself more as anyone else. I’m going to play moves that in fact I didn’t find myself, so sad.


There is no “I’m fine with it either way” option here…

On the other hand, I only play correspondence, where taking some time to count is never a problem. I can see how SE can make a big difference in blitz.

But even then, the best move should just be played regardless of what the score is.

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Thought of that too, a neutral category, but decided against it.
Wanted black and white, not grey.

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My first idea was not about using the counting in itself but checking what is not counted (then to point some wrong assessment). Then @yebellz pointed another way of using a SE to help guessing a move, in which case it’s more about speed/capacity of evaluation.

Some pros advise to count to determine what’s the best move (well at least a few times in the game) so not too be too greedy or reverse. There is even one book on this


This is something I have both read about and thought about a great deal.

I am a user of SE. I use it in both live and correspondence games. But I also just use my head when I want to as well.

SE does not give you information on where to play. If it did, I’d be a 9dan player by now and would have masted its use to get me there, but that is not the case.

SE is a tool that helps people quickly assess if they are ahead or behind. and with how bad SE actually is, especially at early mid-game, it’s not like it adds anything of huge value in terms of a tool that is going to tell me where I need to paly. It also does not tell me the moves in a sequence, to guarantee me the best result.

There is already a means in which a person can play the game without the SE being available to use for both sides. As such, I very much feel this is a moot point/ debate.

Let people use the tool, and don’t call them cheaters. They are not cheaters for using something that ultimately everyone else also has access too. That would be like saying that everyone who uses the plan conditional moves tool is a cheater and trying to make people feel bad because they know what’s going to happen. It’s just nonsensical and silly.


I’m a bit late to this thread I feel but wanted to add that I’m rather with @Goule here. The SE is a tool and like any tool can be used for good or for ill.
@Gia’s use I would say is good and I’m sure there are other such uses.
The ways suggested by @yebellz (and probably others) I would say are ill.

I think the SE should only be available in unranked games, in the scoring phase of ranked games and in reviews (i.e. finished games). Maybe there is a case to make its availability rank dependant idk.

Same for analysis really.

I would look to implement conditional moves in a way that didn’t show the stones on the board. Just click your sequence and save it. I don’t even really like the shadow stone on the move you are playing but that’s just me.

I find it tempting to “cheat” using SE. I only realised its potential for this after a certain strength. But this is the same with tools.
Although I accept that it’s not actually “cheating” since it’s provided by the site itself. For now


Put aside the today’s SE quality,

SE provides more as counting, it defines not counted areas which can conflict with your own assessment and eventually make you change your mind.

If you use it for simply counting, well fair enough, I wouldn’t qualify it as cheating.
I never said users of SE are cheaters, I spoke about ways of cheating with. Which exist.
Conditional move is much less a problem to me as no information is given from the tool to you.
In no way I try to make players feel bad at reverse. Sorry if your preferred tools may be misused by someone else.
Now I think it’s all far from being silly, I would more call it low silly, as some just reject much more as I do.


I’m surprised anyone agrees with Goule. Frankly, ridiculous. What next, are you going to argue that the last move indicator is external help.

I like SE. It’s like wbaduk ducks but without ducks.

I can’t honestly believe that anyone cares if their opponent uses SE. You’re reaching so much with convoluted reasons to even come close to arguing that it’s bad in some way. But in the real world, with SE the way it is, normal people shouldn’t care.


But that still makes no sense at all. It would if the other player could not draw those exact same conclusions in the game, from using the same took. Thus, its still not cheating.

And, as i said, there is already means with which SE can be restricted in the game options when setting up a game. This, at best, is simply a nonissue.

If SE has caused you these problems, simply click the button that disables analysis tools, and have done with it.

I dont really see any reason to debate this topic. Any and all tools on OGS have the oppertunity to be used and " Exploited" in the same ways.

And while SE can be used to see areas that are not " descided", the only actual information it gives, is a lack of counting. what you do with that information is entierly up to the user of the tool. I know for one, that this has happned many times. But, ive been able to see, that while an area isnt counted, im able to read out (Basically) how an area could be effected by either my move, or an opponants move. It in no way informs my descisions in the game beyonf telling me “You are ahead,” so cool, i can get away with playing defence. or “You are behind” damn, i need to pick up points and play agressive now. But it does not actually give me, or anyone else, the moves that need to be played to win the game.


How anyone? Maybe read with a bit more interest? Well if you don’t, fine.


The title of this thread ( Cheating with the score estimator) influenced the course of this discussion. I think that a more neutral title (Using score estimator: yes or no?) would have been beneficial for this discussion.
Alas, too late for that.


How I wish I have those ducks! :smile:
Actually SE is less than ducks because ducks are always there while SE you have to ask clicking a link. I hope nobody uses SE for each move played from both players! :smile:

I’m trying to imagine someone who uses SE for evaluating the game, then uses analysis + SE to check every move that comes to mind to choose the best one and play it.
Well… that wouldn’t be fun at all for me.
I can understand if someone calls that “cheating”. For me is just the wrong way to play a game.

Anyway, cheaters are cheating themselves: I really don’t care if someone uses AI or SE to pretend to be a stronger player.
It doesn’t harm me in any way.