Looking up an old comment from an earlier thread for another unrelated discussion reminded me of some thoughts that I had about draws in the game of go. This post is just to further discuss that and some extensions.

### In the following, *score* is defined as black’s points minus white’s points.

## Standard Komi Practices

The most common practice these days is to use a non-integer komi, which makes a tie impossible.

For a typical komi of 6.5 points:

- Black Wins, if score > 7
- White Wins, if score < 7

However, an alternative (that is even mandated in the New Zealand rules) is to use integer komi that allows for possible ties.

For an integer komi of 7 points:

- Black Wins, if score > 7
- Draw, if score = 7
- White Wins, if score < 7

However, even with integer komi, draws may still be somewhat uncommon, and reaching one requires the game to proceed along a delicate balance, where one point mistakes can flip between winning, losing, or drawing.

## Margin Komi

**Margin Komi** is an extension of the standard komi practices that introduces a non-negative *margin* to widen the range of scoring outcomes that results in a draw, i.e., if the score is within the margin value around komi, then the game is a draw.

For a **Margin Komi** of 6.5 ± 3 points:

- Black Wins, if score > 9
- Draw, if score = 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
- White Wins, if score < 4

For a **Margin Komi** of 7 ± 2 points:

- Black Wins, if score > 9
- Draw, if score = 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
- White Wins, if score < 5

Naturally, a margin of ± 0 reduces to the original standard komi practices.

Maybe the terminology could be improved. Perhaps, it would be more clear to respectively call the above examples something like “4 - 9” or “5-to-9” margin komi, in order to explicitly state the range of scores that are declared draws.

However, even with margin komi, one could have a game end with a delicate balance. If the score is close to the boundary of the margin, again a one point mistake can swing between a draw and a win (or loss). This leads us to the next idea, where the shift in outcomes is smoothed out with *randomness* …

## Random Komi

Okay, so this is a crazy idea that is going to be controversial, since it introduces an element of chance into the mechanics of the game. I’m not suggesting that this should become standard, but just putting it out there as a crazy variant to consider.

Instead of a fixed komi value, we could instead pick a random distribution for the komi parameter, which is only randomly selected after the score is determined. This could also be combined with the use of a margin to increase the draw probability.

For a **Random Komi** of “Uniform over {5, 6, 7, 8, 9} with a margin of ± 3”, the final outcome will be random depending on the score, with probabilities given by:

- If score > 12, then Black Wins 100%
- If score = 12, then Black Wins 80%, Draw 20%
- If score = 11, then Black Wins 60%, Draw 40%
- If score = 10, then Black Wins 40%, Draw 60%
- If score = 9, then Black Wins 20%, Draw 80%
- If score = 6, 7, or 8, then Draw 100%
- If score = 5, then Draw 80%, White Wins 20%
- If score = 4, then Draw 60%, White Wins 40%
- If score = 3, then Draw 40%, White Wins 60%
- If score = 2, then Draw 20%, White Wins 80%
- If score < 2, then White Wins 100%

## Why have draws at all? Why make them more common?

In an older post, I discuss how games/sports where draws are common are philosophically different than games where draws are impossible or at least very rare. If draws are common, then they should indicate that neither side has significantly outplayed the other to decisively earn the win, but if draws are very rare or impossible, then winning could happen by very thin margins, simply since one side ultimately must.

## Why mess with adding randomness?

That part is just a thought experiment and a wacky idea.

**Note: I am not suggesting that we adopt margins or randomness as standard practice. Rather, I’m just putting these ideas out there, maybe for consideration as variants. since these ideas significantly alter the game.**